UR­BAN RE­TREAT

Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur is a be­guil­ing oa­sis for har­ried city folk

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Kuala Lumpur as a city is a feast for the senses. With a myr­iad of re­tail and din­ing op­tions, re­turn­ing to the ho­tel is of­ten the last thing on your mind. But on a re­cent trip to Malaysia’s cap­i­tal, I found my­self con­stantly look­ing for­ward to my suite in Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur.

In its first Malaysian prop­erty, Banyan Tree’s be­guil­ing rest­ful touch is the per­fect foil to the ho­tel’s prime lo­ca­tion in the city’s Golden Tri­an­gle, where the Pav­il­ion Kuala Lumpur shop­ping mall is just a linkbridge away and Bukit Bin­tang’s restau­rants and bars within an 11-minute stroll. Floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows through­out the ho­tel from the rooms to the lobby and restau­rants bring a sense of the city’s buzz in­doors, en­tic­ing you to ex­plore even as you’re en­sconced in lux­u­ri­ous homey com­fort.

Upon ar­rival, guests are served re­fresh­ing iced lemon­grass tea at the 53rd floor lobby, which is a stun­ner with its high 4.9-me­tre ceil­ings, sooth­ing neu­tral pal­ettes, metal ac­cent walls and sleek fur­nish­ings.

In my well-ap­pointed Sig­na­ture Sky Re­treat suite, wooden floor­boards play off tex­tured wall cov­er­ings for a rus­tic yet con­tem­po­rary touch. Mod­ern ameni­ties such as USB ports and uni­ver­sal sock­ets – all ne­ces­si­ties for busy C-suite ex­ec­u­tives and leisure trav­ellers alike – are lo­cated con­ve­niently and un­ob­tru­sively near the king-sized bed. Art­works by lo­cal artists evoke a sense of place and a ro­tat­ing se­lec­tion of es­sen­tial oils and in­cense lulls you into rest­ful sleep each night.

A daybed at the end of the room marks the per­fect spot for watch­ing the sun set be­hind the KL Tower, an ex­pe­ri­ence only ri­valed by soak­ing in the same view from the deep oval tub in the spa­cious bath­room, which is also im­pres­sively kit­ted out with ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy such as an in­tel­li­gent Toto toi­let with bidet func­tion and a chro­mather­apy shower.

Re­lax­ing kneads

Any stay at Banyan Tree is not com­plete with­out a trip to its award-win­ning spa, which prides it­self on us­ing in­gre­di­ents freshly made and mixed min­utes be­fore a treat­ment. Go for max­i­mum in­dul­gence with the 2 1/2-hour Malaysian Bliss, which was cre­ated spe­cially for the ho­tel. Views of the the Petronas and KL Tow­ers book­end the treat­ment as you be­gin with a honey and green tea foot scrub and end with a warm rose petal and green tea soak in the bath­tub while nib­bling snacks of fruit, yo­ghurt and gin­ger tea.

In be­tween, a steam bath, honey fa­cial scrub and goat milk face mask clear the pores for baby smooth skin with a pearly glow, while strong skilled hands ap­plied an in­vig­o­rat­ing Nu­san­tara mas­sage on me, a tra­di­tional Ba­li­nese mas­sage comb­ing knead­ing tech­niques and thumb pres­sure to re­lieve ten­sion. Feel­ing nim­ble and re­freshed, I was ready to take on the world of shop­ping and more din­ing once again.

Din­ing on a high

By now, spec­tac­u­lar views were fast be­com­ing an ex­pected norm so din­ing at the 58th floor Hori­zon Grill is a no-brainer. Lo­cal chef de cui­sine Daniel Wong and Aus­trian ex­ec­u­tive chef Alexan­dra Waschl whip up plat­ters of con­ti­nen­tal clas­sics, fo­cus­ing on grilled seafood and steak with stand­outs such as the Kyushu Ja­panese beef and crus­tacean bisque soup. Af­ter­noon high tea at Al­ti­tude is a must. Make sure you get – you guessed it – a win­dow seat to en­joy the sweet and savoury morsels pret­tily plated on a tiered sculp­ture to the strains of live mu­sic.

For the ul­ti­mate high, head to Ver­tigo at level 59. It is cur­rently the high­est rooftop ho­tel bar in the city and gets filled up quickly by the evening as guests and the gen­eral pub­lic stream in to snap pic­tures of rosy-hued skies at sun­set. The wine and liquor list is fairly ex­ten­sive and the cock­tail menu in­cludes lo­cally in­spired cre­ations such as Pan­dan Love, a Stolich­naya vodka with pan­dan-in­fused syrup and ly­chee juice, and the Hazel­nut, a kraken spiced rum with gula melaka (palm su­gar). With the glim­mer­ing lights of the city in the back­ground and a balmy breeze ca­ress­ing my face, this top-of-the-world feel­ing would take much to beat.

ABOVE: Af­ter­noon tea at Al­ti­tude gives guests a fab­u­lous view of Kuala Lumpur’s sky­lineMID­DLE: Sanc­tu­ary SuiteBE­LOW: Tak­ing a shower or a bath be­comes spe­cial with a city view

Treat­ment room at Banyan Tree KL

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