When I first moved to Malaysia I didn’t realise how cheap the hotels were out there. It was only once I got talking to the locals did I realise how cheap you could holiday for in Kuala Lumpur. A good 4* hotel room could be as cheap as £15 a night! I soon decided to investigate this further and look at what you could actually get for your £ in this amazing city.
When I lived in Malaysia I lived about 1hr from Kuala Lumpur in a small town. On the weekends KL is where it was ‘at’ so I soon began staying in hotels there for the weekend. My first foray into the KL hotel scene was with the Renaissance, a good western brand that is part of the Marriott group.
In September 2005 I decided to give the Renaissance a go and here is my story.
Before I booked I spoke to the hotel reservations team directly to discuss the differences in the room and check for any special promotions. Kuala Lumpur has an significant amount of over supply of hotel rooms so a lot of last minute hotel deals are available direct with the property. As it was when I booked the hotel occupancy was quite high so no deals.Later that day I went ahead and booked my room online at www.marriott.com
I reserved a club junior suite for £50 a night. I thought if I was going to make something of the weekend, then why not do it with style and off I went!
The hotel is based within Kuala Lumpur’s golden triangle district and rises high into the sky at 32 storeys. Easily found with the ‘R’ logo sat high at the top of the hotel.I had taken a taxi from my home to the hotel and the driver found the hotel easily enough. Once at the hotel transport again is easily available. There is a fleet of taxi’s available outside and there is a monorail station which takes you throughout all the major areas of KL. Not to mention the fact the central location leaves you within walking distance of many of the tourist attractions and malls etc. should you wish to brave the heat!
Once the taxi had dropped me off a bellboy was on hand to help me with my luggage. Before I know it he had taken my luggage from me and passed me a small slip to give to the receptionist. The hotel is split into two wings. One is classed as the Renaissance wing, the other the New World wing. I had booked a room in the New World wing and approached their reception desk.
In true five star style there was a huge chandelier over a large imposing reception desk. This was going to be impressive. As soon as I got talking to the receptionist she could see I was staying on the club floor and she took me straight to the elevator to check in on the club floor.
Once I arrived at the club floor I was greeted at the elevator by name, which was a nice touch. The clerk then took me to the desk and sat me down whilst we went through the registration process. Once completed I was passed my room card and directed to my room on the 28th floor.
The hotel has three main room categories, standard, club and suite. These rooms are available in both wings of the hotel. The New World rooms are slightly smaller, more contemporary and cheaper. Renaissance rooms are slightly larger, more opulent and slightly more expensive. Having experienced both I prefer the New World wing.
I had booked a Club Junior Suite, which included access to the club lounge with associated benefits.
The hotel was relatively modern and only a small number of areas had begun to age but none the less everything was extremely clean which is the most important thing when staying in a hotel!The suite was made up of a lounge, cloakroom, bedroom and bathroom and was fitted with the following,
- A king size bed with the finest linens. Crisp and cool that allowed an excellent sleep every night!
- 32” LCD TV in each bedroom with full selection of satellite channels and on-demand movies.
- Wired broadband connection @ £3 per day.
- International telephone in both the lounge, bedroom and bathrooms.
- Tea Tray and minibar. A selection of mineral water was provided free of charge.
- Iron and Ironing board.
- Writing desk and seating area in the lounge.
- Fax machine
- Large built in wardrobe.
- Electronic control panel on the side of the bed. This controlled all the lights, air conditioning, alarm clock and electric curtains!
There was a cloakroom for your guests to use in the lounge area and a large bathroom with the bedroom. There was a separate bath and shower and the pressure was excellent. As expected there was a wide selection of towels and bathrobes to keep you warm and comfy after your bath!For the £50 a night the suite was excellent. It was furnished and kitted out to a high standard and the views were excellent, looking out over the city and the Petronas Twin Towers. I was in heaven.
A large part of any major hotel chain is now the provision of an Club Level or Executive Level where guests in these rooms are extended a variety of privileges. Those at Renaissance included,
- Access to the club lounge where complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails and canapé’s would be served. Unlike other hotels where it can be self-service there is a full table service in this club lounge.
- Full soft drinks service all day
- A wide selection of the latest magazines, international newspapers and books available to borrow should you wish.
- Three pieces of complimentary pressing each day, saving you from ironing your own shirts!
To put the value of club level into perspective, a normal room at renaissance would cost about £20, a club level room around £30 and a club suite like mine at £50 a night. For the £10 extra a day to move from a normal to a club room is excellent value. You will eat and drink more than £10 worth of beverages for sure!
The hotel has a five restaurants and two bars. Unfortunately I have not experienced any of these but I shall give you a brief overview. More details are available at the website and I am aware that many of them regularly win awards for the quality of the food!
- Temptations restaurant – serves international cuisine. East meets West.
- Vogue Café – Food is from the ‘pacific rim’ in an informal setting
- MED.@Marche - Traditional restaurant with a fine dining menu.
- Sagano Restaurant – Renaissance’s take on Japanese. Appears very popular as it’s always busy!
- Dynasty – Renaissance’s Chinese restaurant. Regularly wins local awards for its cuisine so I assume it’s doing something right!
There is also a lobby lounge in the Renaissance wing with a full table service for all your drinks requests, usually accompanied by a pianist in the evenings. New World has an Irish sports bar and yes Guinness is available on tap at an extortionate price of £5 a pint!!!
The hotel can cater for a wide variety of events and has conference rooms, and one of Kuala Lumpur’s largest ballrooms. With over 900 hotel rooms there is plenty of space for both the leisure and business traveler to not bump into each other all the time!
The hotel has a fantastic leisure offering with an in house spa and hairdresser. There is also a recently refurbished gymnasium and Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room.
Outside is one of KL’s largest swimming pools that lies in the shadows of the two hotel wings towering above. The landscaping is beautiful and even in the fast pace of the city an excellent place to relax. Once you are bored of swimming you can swim right up to the bar in the middle of the pool and order a drink or some food whilst still sat in the pool, a nice touch!
The hotel also has a selection of gift shops and a convenience store should you have forgotten any of your essentials.
Parking is available for £2 per day in the basement car park should you bring your own vehicle or the valet can park it for £3 a day.
Breakfast was served each day in the club lounge or for other guests in the Vogue café on the ground floor. There was a huge selection of western and eastern dishes and plenty to fill you up. There was a full table service for drinks and toast from the lounge staff, otherwise you were free to choose from the buffet. The quality was good and there was nothing to complain about which is always a bonus!
Finally my weekend came to a close and it was time to check out. The bill was settled promptly in the club lounge and my luggage taken to reception. I caught a cab and was off back home for a hard week at University!
Renaissance KL was my first foray into the KL hotel scene and I will always remember it fondly in my heart for that reason.
This hotel showed me what Asian hotels could offer travelers. Excellent service and facilities for the price of a Travelodge back at home. Absolutely incredible!!
Many of you will have ready my other reviews about Mandarin Oriental, Hilton and Le Meridien etc, however one thing the Renaissance has that none of these do is the price. Renaissance is without a doubt the cheapest five star hotel in Kuala Lumpur and although those prices quoted in my review were 2006/7 prices, they are still pretty much the same today.
If you are looking for a quality hotel that will welcome you and take care of your needs than the Renaissance will fulfill that. It won’t WOW you in the same way as the MO or Hilton will but when you are paying a fraction of the price compared to these hotels, who cares?
Stays completed September, October, December 2005 and June 2006. Stay booked at www.marriott.com
Enjoy your stay!