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