While I knew I would stay at a Starwood hotel my second night in Kuala Lumpur, I didn’t actually make the booking until the night before my stay, because I couldn’t decide between the Westin and Le Meridien. That was probably a foolish move, as I ended up paying about $190 including tax and service charge for the night at the Le Meridien.
I left the InterContinental shortly after 2PM and caught a cab to the Le Meridien, which is on the other side of town. The ride cost about $4USD, though took about 45 minutes. It’s interesting to note that there are two identical towers, with the left tower being a Le Meridien and the right tower being a Hilton. They’re nice buildings, though I still found that kind of weird.
Upon arrival I immediately proceeded to the reception desk where I was further directed to the club lounge on the 33rd floor for check-in, after they saw I was a Platinum member. The agent had to get in the elevator with me so that I would be able to access the floor, since a key is required, though she didn’t go up with me.
When I arrived upstairs I was greeted by a friendly agent that invited me to sit down as she processed my check-in. She said that they had upgraded me to a suite, though that my room was not ready yet. She said that the people in the room would be checking out by 4PM and it would take an hour at most to service the room, so I’d have the room by 5PM. She gave me the alternative of taking a corner room, which would be available immediately.
I had a bit of work to get done, so two hours (at most) of waiting didn’t sound like the end of the world to me, so I went with that option. I sat down in the club lounge and got some work done. The lounge was beautiful and spacious, with great views of the Lake Gardens Park. While the lounge wasn’t as “exclusive” as the one at the InterContinental (based solely on the fact that there were always more people in it), the views were nicer and it was very well stocked.
At around 4:30PM I stupidly locked myself out of the club floor, so had to walk down 32 floors of exterior stairs. We’ll avoid the details on that, but yeah, I’m an idiot.
By the time I made it to the front desk it was 5PM, so I checked with the front desk to see if my room was ready. I was unceremoniously informed that my suite would not be ready until 7:30PM, though the agent advised me the normal upgrade for Platinum members was to a corner room, so I could always take one of those. Clearly the fact that I had been offered that room two hours ago, and was waiting in the meantime, was lost on her.
So I’ll avoid all the boring details, but in the end I tweeted my frustrations at around 7PM, and six minutes later the director of sales and marketing showed up at my table with room keys and an apology. As frustrating as it was to wait for four hours, I found that to be rather impressive. So I believe you can put the Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur in the “Twitter goes to the phone of someone important” pile.
In the end, the suite I was upgraded to was really, really nice. At the entrance it had a half bath and very nicely decorated living room with a couch, a couple of chairs, and a desk.
The bedroom was also nicely decorated with a large, flat screen TV and very comfortable bed.
The bathroom featured a shower and tub.
Unfortunately there’s construction going on outside the hotel, which is what my view was of.
Much like at the InterContinental, the evening club lounge spread was very nice, though in a different way. While the InterContinental had a chef freshly preparing stuff, the Le Meridien had a very extensive buffet. They had salad, fruit, about six or seven hot dishes, assorted breads, etc. It was one of the better evening spreads I’ve seen anywhere in the world.
One of the nice things about being a Platinum member at this hotel is that they let you eat breakfast in either the club lounge or in their restaurant, Latest Recipe. I’ve experienced a lot of top notch hotel breakfast buffets, including several breakfasts at Peninsula hotels in Asia, and this was easily one of the best out there, both in terms of quality and selection. They literally had everything you could possibly want.
As far as the hotel facilities go, the hotel has a very nice pool that they share with the Hilton, which almost has a Bali-esque feel to it. The only (major) downside, as mentioned above, is that there’s construction going on outside the hotel which can be pretty loud and is right by the pool. That takes a bit of the tranquility out of the pool area, though it’s still quite nice.
As far as the location goes, I think it’s not nearly as good as the InterContinental if you’re a tourist. For one, it’s very hard to leave the hotel without taking a car, since you literally have to walk across streets without crosswalks to get anywhere. There’s a very nice park right across the street, though that’s about the extent of it as far as what’s in the area.
Summing it up, the facilities on the whole are great. The hotel is modern, the club lounge is top notch, and they have a nice pool. However, the employees didn’t seem nearly as eager to please as at the InterContinental. The location also isn’t ideal if you’re on vacation and just wanting to walk around, though it is great for taking the train straight to Kuala Lumpur Airport.
If I returned to Kuala Lumpur I’d probably split my time between the two hotels again, depending on the rate. The breakfast buffet, club lounge, and excellent upgrade I received make this place worth returning to.