Dan Ahwa stays in a Deluxe Room with great views of the Malaysian capital
Auckland to Singapore via Singapore Airlines for a quick 1.5 hour stopover at the very comfortable Changi Singapore Airport; followed by a quick 50-minute flight via Silk Air into KL.
Check in: Arrived on a balmy Monday at 8pm. Hotel transfer was arranged — be prepared for the drive. Traffic was still hectic this time, and the normally 40-minute drive took about an hour and 15 minutes to get to the St. Regis.
Room: 1010, what's known as a Deluxe Room. Classy. Elegant. the hotel is still fairly new, with a light palette throughout including plush teal carpet, grey curtains and cream furniture. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide a good view of the cityscape and some of KL's interesting mix of skyscrapers and colonial architecture, particularly impressive when lit at night. The room comes with your own personal butler, who'll take you through your amenities on arrival. The St. Regis butler service has remained part of its hotels' signature service for more than a century, and is available at all St. Regis hotels around the world. They're at your beck and call 24 hours a day so the propensity to be extremely lazy here is very high.
Minibar: Shaped like an oversized travel trunk, the mini bar is well stocked with water, juice, spirits, chocolates, bar snacks and a selection of teas. Every night a butler arrives for turn-down service with a plate of truffles.
Room Service: About 40 minutes wait time, and comes with the fanfare you'd expect from a hotel that has its own butler service; silverware, gleaming cutlery and freshly pressed linen makes ordering one of its gourmet burgers and fries a memorable experience; most meals come with a fresh side salad and a glass of chilled water.
Price: A base rate of MYR808 per night, the equivalent of about NZ$265 a night. A decent price considering you get roughly MYR3.1 for NZ$1, so you feel like you're getting value for money, especially as this is a five-star hotel with plenty of trimmings.
What's so good about this place? Its standard rooms are the largest of their kind in Asia and with 208 rooms on offer of varying sizes, there's something here for anyone who likes to stay central but just on the outskirts of the main CBD. All of the comforts you'd expect and more, including world-class restaurants, bars and spa services, with a roof-top pool with its own big-screen outdoor TV. The hotel offers plenty of respite after a day sightseeing in the heat and in among the hustle and bustle of the surrounding neighbourhoods. But make sure you get outside of the bubble and explore.
And the bad:
Although air conditioning offers relief in a tropical climate, be prepared to take a jumper. The hotel is very airy with high ceilings, and this coupled with a ramped-up air con system can leave you feeling chilly on days when you're not in your room and able to control the temperature. The hotel at times does lack a sense of warmth and personality, probably due to its vast space and empty corners, but give it time. It is still fairly new and has yet to draw upon its rich history, particularly influences from its cosier and welcoming flagship in New York.
What's in the neighbourhood: There's plenty of culture nearby, including the National Mosque, a craft museum, the Islamic Arts Museum (the biggest collection of its kind in Southeast Asia) and the intriguing National Planetarium — all a stone's throw away.
Toiletries: The very fancy French brand Laboratorie Remede shampoos, body wash and lotions at your disposal along with shaving cream, shavers and soaps.
Food and Drink: The Brasserie every morning for breakfast was a highlight, whether buffet or a la carte. Try the signature St Regis poached eggs. The Astor Bar & Decanter is in keeping with the hotel's New York roots. For those who can tolerate a themed bar, it's very Boardwalk Empire. Also try stylish restaurant Taka for some modern Japanese created by Sushi Saito, the youngest sushi chef to be awarded three Michelin stars.
Grey marble with a spacious bathtub and TV set; walk-in shower, two large wash basins and a Japanese state-of-the-art toilet/bidet/dryer.
Wi-Fi: Easy access free Wi-Fi offering standard or premium Wi-Fi for MYR45 for 24 hours.
Exercise facilities: Most mornings, the spacious gym doesn't get busy and the equipment is still fairly new. The pool, on the same level as the gym, is perfect for a post-workout dip and a smoothie at the pool bar.
Noise: Very quiet with double-glazed windows, low lighting and the usual hum of a luxury hotel.