What: Newly-opened in August 2010, the DoubleTree by Hilton is the chain’s first foray into Southeast Asia, with plans to open more hotels in Bangkok and Malacca by 2013.
You could call the DoubleTree by Hilton the younger, friendlier sister of the Hilton hotel brand. No less, it is a full-service hotel with all the modern amenities one would expect from the Hilton brand name, only with none of the stuffiness.
Location: The hotel is located within the Golden Triangle district, and is just five minutes away from the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center (KLCC) and eight minutes from the Bukit Bintang area. The hotel is also connected via a covered walkway to the Ampang Park LRT station. Daily shuttle services to the Bukit Bintang area, Chinatown and the nearby KLCC and Petronas Towers are also available for hotel guests.
Rooms: The hotel has 540 guestrooms spread over 34 floors. Each room is equipped with the DoubleTree signature Sweet Dreams brand of bedding and linens. High speed broadband internet access can also be found in every room.
For guests looking for something extra, the hotel has nine executive floors with 152 executive rooms, 19 deluxe suites, 21 executive suites and five terrace suites. Guests who stay in these rooms can also make full use of the executive lounge on the topmost floor of the hotel, for complimentary food and drinks throughout the day.
Ambience: The mostly light wood décor and high vaulted ceiling imparts a warm, peaceful and laid-back vibe to the hotel, with large floor-to-ceiling glass windows drawing in plenty of natural sunlight.
Dining: You don’t have to look too far to find great dining options available within the hotel itself. Head to Tosca, an Italian Trattori-style restaurant located right beside the pool on the 10th floor which serves up hearty Italian cuisine the likes of risotto, linguine and the requisite pizza.
If Italian food isn’t what you’re looking for, you’ll be pleased with the hotel’s signature restaurant, Makan Kitchen. Located on level 11, the restaurant melds together three distinct cuisines – Malay, Chinese and Indian – all in one place. Traverse all three “show kitchens” to taste all 150 local dishes if variety’s your thing. The buffet is priced from RM59 (approximately SGD30) per person for lunch and RM79 (SGD40) per person for dinner.
(Above) The dining area (Below) The Chinese kitchen
Grab some food to go if you have no time for a sit-down meal from The Food Store, a cosy café located at the lobby. Pack sandwiches for a day out, or sit by a cup of freshly brewed coffee and people watch.
Visit the Cellar Door if you need a nightcap, the wine cellar reminiscent bar offers wines from all over the world and is a fantastic place to wind down after an activity-filled day.
Facilities: Soak up the sunrays while lying on a deck chair beside the hotel’s outdoor saltwater pool or work up a sweat at the Precor-equipped gym next door. If you’re in need of some pampering, don’t forget to check out the Sompoton Spa located on the 10th floor. Renowned for their out-of-this-world massages using a traditional Malay technique, a visit to the spa is bound to leave you feeling impossibly relaxed.
During my stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton, what struck me most about it was how I felt completely at ease in the hotel. For all the luxury that this full-service hotel provides, there were no airs about it.
There, I didn’t feel like I had to whisper in hushed tones or be stared down by unblinking staff, and I didn’t feel like I had to be dressed in my best to fit in. Almost immediately when I stepped into the wood-and-marble sunlit lobby, I felt as if the vacation had truly begun.
But that’s not all. At check-in, while I waited for my room key, I was handed a brown paper packet, in which contained a pleasant surprise – a huge chocolate chip cookie, still warm from the oven. I later discovered that the cookie is a DoubleTree tradition, cookies are handed out to every guest at all branches around the world. Needless to say, the “I’m on vacation” vibe only went from good to better.
My room, the King Bed Executive Room, was a real treat too. I enjoyed how spacious the room felt, and loved the rain shower – so much so that I ignored the bath tub for my entire stay. But the real star of the room was the view. From my room on the 29th floor, I could almost see the whole KL city spread out beneath me and even to the hazy hills beyond.
Facilities-wise, the outdoor saltwater pool is one of my personal favourites of the hotel. It is inviting by day and mesmerising by night, and without a doubt, the most relaxing spot in the hotel. I loved how the rest of the hotel partially surrounded the pool so that at some strategic spots, it was shady and yet comfortingly warm. And there were no screaming children either, so I was content to lie by the pool the whole day, occasionally hydrating myself with refreshments from the nearby Tosca.
(Above) The pool by day (Below) By night
Speaking of restaurants, I dined at both Makan Kitchen and Tosca, and both won me over in different ways. Makan Kitchen was superb for the sheer variety of food while Tosca charmed me with its cosy, convivial, dining-by-the-poolside ambience. I couldn’t decide which one I preferred.
Room rates are reasonable, starting from about RM405 per night, so for the urban resort feel the hotel offers, I wouldn’t be surprised if this ends up my to-go hotel the next time I’m in Kuala Lumpur. One word of caution though. Once there, you might not want to leave.
The DoubleTree by Hilton, Kuala Lumpur is located at 182 Jalan Tun Razak, 50400 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Tel: +60 3 2172 7272.
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