x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Hotel Insider: The Majestic Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur's grande dame has reopened after a seven-year renovation.

The Governor Suite in the exclusive Majestic Wing. Courtesy YTL Hotels
The Governor Suite in the exclusive Majestic Wing. Courtesy YTL Hotels

The welcome

The Majestic Hotel opened in 1935 and much of its heyday grandeur has been retained, despite a seven-year renovation that was completed last year. Pith-helmeted doormen greet guests with a colonial pomp that resonates throughout the hotel. Guests staying in the exclusive Majestic Wing - the beautifully-preserved original wing - arrive by a private car service at a dedicated entrance, while guests staying in the new wing should be impressed by the elegantly-vaulted art deco lobby and its magnificent chandelier.

The neighbourhood

In the heart of chaotic Kuala Lumpur, The Majestic Hotel, a YTL hotel, is close to the high-speed rail link to the city's international airport. Here you will find the KLCC precinct, which is home to several Fortune 500 companies and KL's best shopping. The hotel is also on the city's "historic mile" and is close to the National Museum, the National Mosque and the Islamic Arts Museum. However, the fact that the hotel is on such a major thoroughfare isn't lost when you're relaxing by the outdoor pool.

The room

For the real deal experience, opt for the all-suite 35-room Majestic Wing, with its white gloved butler service, beautifully-restored guest rooms, rich timber furnishings and deep claw-foot bath tubs. Rooms are regal and sumptuous, with tufted carpets in warm tones, eye-catching black and white chequered bathrooms and spacious work desks. If you're after something a bit more contemporary, the Tower Wing boasts the same hints of the 1930s, but in a much more modern setting. Poster beds are fused with earthy decor and open-plan bathrooms. Both feature double vanities, rain showers, flat screen TVs and high speed Wi-Fi.

The scene

The Majestic is very much the here-to-be-seen hotel it was when it first catered to visiting royalty and celebrities. High tea in the Colonial Café, complete with a white-jacketed band and baby grand, is one of the city's most coveted affairs. Private luncheons can take place in the glass-encased Orchid Conservatory, while The Smokehouse bar features its own cigar sommelier. Downstairs, a traditional barber and tailor are on hand. The opulent Majestic Spa, housed in the former staff quarters, is the city's newest house of wellness.

The service

Uncharacteristically crisp for a city known to move at a sloth-like pace. Staff are immaculately attired but the spa staff could do with a lesson in time management.

The food

The main restaurant is Cantango, a modern open-kitchen restaurant in the main tower. Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indian, Malay and Western dishes are cooked to order. The dinner buffet starts at Rm88 (Dh103) per person, and includes dishes such as beef rendang, Thai green curry, chow fan noodles with prawns, salmon, tuna and butterfish sashimi, wood-fired pizza and Tandoor chicken.

Loved

The colonial refinement of the Majestic Wing and the attention of the butlers and drivers assigned to those suites.

Hated

Waiting for 40 minutes for a pre-booked spa treatment because staff were "in a meeting". The ambience of the sizeable outdoor pool is also ruined by the ceaseless traffic and pollution.

The verdict

A relatively unknown gem in a city of tower blocks and service apartment complexes, the Majestic returns a touch of glamour to the Malaysian capital.

The bottom line

Tower Wing rooms from Rm550 (Dh639) and Majestic Wing suites from Rm1,500 (Dh1,745) per night, twin share. 5 Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (www.majestickl.com; 00 60 3 2785 8000).