Hotel Majestic, recently restored to reflect its colonial history, is full of charm and the glamour of days gone by, especially if you stay in the “old wing”. Enjoy traditional afternoon tea in the lounge, and don’t miss a peek into the sumptuous Orchid Conservatory. Prepare for a night on the town with some pampering at the Spa: the Queen Victoria’s Lavender treatment is the amazingly relaxing signature treatment. At Truefit & Hill, gentlemen can make an appointment to experience world-class grooming.
5 Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin; +603 2785 8000; www.majestickl.com
DINE ABOUT TOWN
Head 15 minutes out of town to Tamarind Springs (below); set amid lush tropical gardens, you can sit back and savour the setting and the food of South East Asia. I love the Laotian chicken curry with wild bananas.
Jalan 1, Taman Tun Abdul Razak; +603 4256 9300; www.tamarindrestaurants.com
In the last couple of years, a dozen or so speakeasy-style bars have opened, many in the suburbs. Some can be challenging to actually get inside, as the entrances are not obvious. For an intimate experience with some great mixologists, head to Omakase + Appreciate, where the cocktail list is always evolving. Seek it out on the lower ground floor of Bangunan Ming Annexe; the bar’s entrance is the white shutter door with a no-entry sign: “Dilarang Masuk”. Try venturing a little way out of town to Mr Brooks within Bangsar Shopping Centre. Once inside, look for the Sunbeam Alpine car on the third floor and push through the tool panel behind the car to enter.
Omakase + Appreciate: Bangunan Ming Annexe; www.facebook.com/OmakaseAppreciate
Mr Brooks: T117A, Bangsar Shopping Centre,285 Jalan Maarof; www.thebiggroup.co/mr-brooks
There are two hammam spas within Kuala Lumpur, one at Bangsar Village and one at Publika, where my office is based. I head here for a real head-to-toe treat with a Princess Hamman, a Moroccan version of an authentic Turkish bath on the marble dias, followed by a blissful massage.
3F7 & 3F8, Bangsar Village 2 or Level 4G, Publika Shopping Gallery Mont Kiara; www.hammamspas.com
The best selection of shops can be found within Pavillion, at the heart of the Bukit Bintang stretch of hotels and malls. Many of the Luxury brands can be found here, such as Hermes, Tory Burch, Mulberry, DVF, but a few interesting, less mainstream can also be found. If you want to try some local flavours that you would find in street cafes, head down to the food court area where you can try very authentic tasting local delights without leaving air-conditioned comfort.
168 Jalan Bukit Bintang; +603 2118 8833; www.pavilion-kl.com
It’s not for the faint hearted, as the crowds can swell at this event, but Thaipusum (Feb 9 in 2017) is quite a remarkable spectacle which can only be seen here, and in India. It is a two-day event, full of colour and bustle. On the second day the devotees walk barefoot from Kuala Lumpur to a shrine at Batu Caves, to fulfil vows that they have made during the year. Some will pierce their skin with hooks, and spikes, and attach ornaments.
HEAD FOR HEIGHTS
Everyone coming to KL will want to see the Twin Towers from a few viewpoints. One of the best views is from Fuego in the Troika building. Head there for sunset drinks and dwell a while in this outdoor, yet indoor, bar. Soak up the view, the latino ambiance and nibble on the Asian/Latino tapas: my personal favourite here is the malabar snapper ceviche. It is worth booking in advance to avoid missing out.
Level 23a, Tower B, The Troika, 19 Persiaran KLCC; +603 2162 0886; www.troikaskydining.com
I love to visit the Islamic Art museum, a beautiful building in itself. Celebrating and showcasing examples of great Islamic buildings and arts, it’s an inspiring place to spend a couple of hours. Keep it on the to-do list for an inevitably rainy afternoon.