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Review: The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur

Suite

The Colonial Suite is the Majestic Kuala Lumpur’s pitch for old-world grandeur. In the hotel’s original Majestic Wing, these two-room apartments mix original waxed wooden floors and plantation-shuttered windows with opulent Art Deco furniture. The bathroom is all yards of black marble, with a Majestic signature claw-footed tub. There’s an enormous desk in the lounge if you really must work, but this is first and foremost a luxurious retreat from the Kuala Lumpur heat.

 

Locale

The centre of Kuala Lumpur has over the years slowly moved away from the Majestic towards the northeast, but the hotel is close to the bits that matter: Central Market, a gentrifying Chinatown, the Perdana Botanical Garden and KL Bird Park. Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC), ex-pat hangout Brickfields, the beautiful, bucolic suburb of Damansara Heights and the nightclubs of Bangsar Baru are all just a short taxi ride — or Grab, or Uber — away.

 

Look & feel

The old and new cleverly intertwine at the Majestic. As a first impression it’s hard to go past the porters in their anachronistic pith helmets, but step inside the foyer and you’re overcome by the ultramodern atrium with a scale suitable for its giddy Art Deco sensibilities. The hotel’s parlour trick is being almost two properties in one: there’s the newer Tower Wing built in 2012, its spacious suites slanted towards the modern, fuss-free traveller; and the original 1930s-era Majestic Wing, where everything is more laid-back and exclusive. Your preference probably depends on the extent of your needs, but the charms of the original building are hard to resist.

 

Eat in

Breakfast and a buffet dinner are served in Contango, the sprawling 250-seat restaurant in the ground floor of the tower wing. It juggles its different cuisines skilfully enough, but the real star is the Majestic Wing’s Colonial Cafe. Dining here on a Friday night with live jazz playing, the hotel’s painstaking insistence you’ve travelled back in time begins to do a number on the brain. Still, it’s The Majestic’s High Tea that’s become a prized Sunday social outing for Kuala Lumpur locals. Consider it essential for your stay, but be sure to book well ahead — particularly if you want a spot in the hotel’s beguiling orchid conservatory.

 

Treat yourself

It would almost be unconscionable to stay at the Majestic Kuala Lumpur and not experience the hotel’s own Majestic Spa, frequently rated as among the city’s very best. The spa is carefully themed around the clash of east and west that defined colonial-era Malaysia, and offers exotically named signature treatments such as Queen Victoria’s Lavender and the Malaya Golden Chersonese (the latter inspired by the adventures of Englishwoman Isabella Lucy Bird). I opt for the latter and for two and a half hours hand myself over to a heady mix of foot baths, banana honey hair masks, herbal steams and, finally, a thorough East Indian spice massage. Afterwards, I’m so light on my feet I hardly need the elevator to get back to my room.

 

 

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