Hotel Review: Citizen M Kuala Lumpur

Hey guys! Sorry for the lack of updates – I had my wedding ceremony over the weekend and it was crazy. Now that it’s back to regular programming, I’m procrastinating by blogging instead of doing actual work, lol.

N and I recently checked into Citizen M Kuala Lumpur, a stylish boutique hotel in the heart of the city. This is the Dutch brand’s first hotel in Southeast Asia, so we KL-ites are pretty blessed! All Citizen M hotels share the same thing in common, namely location + comfort at an affordable price.

VIDEO REVIEW AND MY NASALLY VOICE: 

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We start off with the self-check in process, which is done at computer terminals at the foyer. The process is seamless, convenient and totally automated. All you have to do is key in your details, pay by card or app, and get your room cards.  For the non tech-savvy, fret not as there are actual humans on hand to assist.

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Doing away with the conventional rigidities of five-star luxury hotels, the hotel is quirky and fun, with cool inspiring spaces that are designed to appeal to a younger crowd. The lounge area boasts a modern and contemporary look, its open spaces blending into each other seamlessly. Every nook and corner seems to be occupied by some amazing art piece/installation or other, so Instagrammers will have a field day.

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What I imagine my home to be like. It actually reminds me a lot of the Lyon Housemuseum in Melbourne!

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Our room is small but cleverly designed and furnished to make it look more spacious – almost like a studio apartment. The platform bed is flush against the window, with blinds for privacy and to shield against the sun. Both the bed and the pillows are extremely comfy – not too soft (which tends to give me back aches) nor too rigid. Of course, the view of the street is awesome – I feel like I’m in New York, surrounded by towering skyscrapers!

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Room amenities include a safe under the bed, a mini fridge, and these cheeky toiletries. Since the hotel is pretty tech-driven, you get a tablet that acts as a command centre for everything in the room, including the blinds, lighting, temperature as well as media such as TV and radio. There is also a ‘mood pad’ which allows you to select different ‘moods’, such as one which darkens the room and plays relaxing sleep music, and another that helps you to focus if you need to work. You can even adjust the lighting in the bathroom to suit different moods.

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Breakfast is served at the lounge/foyer. They don’t have a restaurant per se, so you can basically sit wherever you want.

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The selection is not fantastic, but what they do have is pretty tasty. For our meal, we had cold cuts of ham and cheese, bread, pastries, dimsum, chicken sausages and cereal with milk and fruit juice. They also serve salad, nasi lemak and porridge.

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The bar island where you can grab a couple of drinks after dark is the most striking fixture of the lobby, thanks to the chess-like black and white tile flooring and red bottles at the top.

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Bold, quirky and colourful best describe Citizen M Kuala Lumpur’s eclectic design. There is literally not a single corner that isn’t Instagrammable! In a way, it is also like an art gallery – N and I had a lot of fun looking and admiring each of the pieces, including:

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Portraits of famous artists and designers such as Yayoi Kusama and Frida Kahlo made from folded paper art 

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Hand sculptures depicting different gestures. I interpret them as a ‘story’ whereby everything starts off with A-OKs and likes, before ending in a handshake. Once the deal is sealed, the last hand flips the bird (I find it hilarious that they used an actual figure of a bird as part of the installation lolol)

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You also get some sexually suggestive installations…

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…along with something more blatant lol. Well, it IS a Dutch brand…

I am curious as to how a cock ring with a buzzer works. Aren’t you?

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A whole collection of popular fiction and rare titles for the bookworms

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The Mezzanine floor above the lounge is equally quirky and stylish. The meeting rooms are located on this floor, as well as workstations. The feeling is like that of one of those hipster co-working spaces in the Sillicon Valley, complete with sofas and stuff.

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That being said, there are some cons to Citizen M KL. If you’re looking for the full experience of a traditional five star hotel then look elsewhere – the hotel does not have facilities such as a gym or pool. Parking is another con: if you’re driving, the only place you can park is on the street (if you’re lucky) or at the open-air carpark next to the hotel, which charges RM12 per entry (additional RM7 if you’re staying overnight.) There isn’t much security since it’s an open-air space.

If you’re from out of town and not driving, Citizen M has an excellent location. It’s steps away from KL’s famous food street, Jalan Alor, and the glitzy shopping district of Bukit Bintang is just a couple of minutes away. There’s also a 7-11 downstairs if you need to grab some Indomie to satisfy your late night noodle cravings.

Rooms start from RM220++ per night.

CITIZEN M KUALA LUMPUR

128, Jalan Pudu, Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Bookings: Website

 

Review: Alila Bangsar – A Zen-Like Oasis in The Heart Of The City

Tucked in a quiet corner of the Brickfields neighbourhood in Kuala Lumpur, Alila Bangsar is a relatively new boutique hotel by Singapore-based luxury hotel and resort chain Alila; the brand’s first in Malaysia. The hotel has been gaining a steady clientele, mainly business folks and couples looking for a chill place to relax within the city, but still close enough to business and entertainment hubs.

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N and I checked in for a weekend staycation, and I was very impressed by the hotel’s distinctive look and design. Modern and zen-like, the lobby on Level 41 was decorated with lots of greenery, and there were floor to ceiling windows which allowed for plenty of sunlight to filter in + offered great views of the surrounding skyline.

We checked into a King Bed Studio Room with Balcony, which was extremely spacious at 38 square metres. The design followed the same vein as the rest of the hotel spaces, with lots of wood, as well as calming, subtle white and beige tones with darker accents.

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Among all the places I’ve stayed at, I think this has got to be my favourite hotel room by far! I’d be happy to come home to a studio apartment like this, to be honest. 🙂

I liked how areas such as the bathroom and the ‘balcony’ (essentially a small living room/work space) were partitioned, but still very open so as to give a sense of added space. Everything was also neatly tucked away, like the fridge and tea/coffee making facilities in the cupboard next to the TV. The warm, ambient lighting added to the overall cosiness.

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A very Instagrammable workspace

 

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Large bathroom with not one but two lighted mirrors!

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I liked the fact that the rain shower and the toilet were separate. No bathtubs since they’re big on being sustainable/environmentally-conscious here. Which means you don’t get the tiny bottles of shampoo and whatnot, but instead refillable pump bottles. They also don’t use plastic bottles, so you pour water from a glass bottle when needed.

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The King-sized bed was so massive I think four thin people could have fit on it! Pillows were soft and fluffy, as was the duvet although it was a tad too warm even when the room temperature was set to 20 degrees. In-room facilities were good too, with many channels to choose from and plenty of plug points for charging, ironing board, weighing scale, laundry bag, bathrobes, etc.

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Guests will find an Alila bag in the room. If you have any items you’d like to leave behind such as clothes, you can put it in the bag and place it into a receptacle/bin on the ground floor. The clothes will then be recycled or donated. The bag can also be purchased for RM35.

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After checking out our room, we made a beeline for the pool, which is located on the 40th floor surrounded by a stunning three-storey atrium. This is one of the hotel’s prettiest spaces, surrounded by loungers and decorative plants to evoke a resort-like vibe, with sky-high views of the neighbourhood. The pool is not covered so you will not be able to swim when it rains (exactly what happened to us after about half an hour in the water).

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Night view.

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Dinner that night was at Botanica + Co, the restaurant downstairs which serves Western and Asian fare. Our order of a seafood pizza was ginormous:  loaded with shrimp, mussel, squid and cheese. Quite tasty.

Unfortunately we did not manage to visit the bars. For those who would like a sip or two, Alila Bangsar has two very nice bars; Pacific Standard on Level 41, and Lido on the rooftop.

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Woke up early the next morning refreshed after a good night’s sleep. Time to hit the gym! The hotel has a small gym. Not exactly state-of-the-art, but adequate, with mostly cardio equipment.

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Okay, we know the real reason we worked out was so we could eat more at breakfast! Morning meals are served at Entier, which doubles as a French semi-fine dining restaurant for lunch and dinner. The chef used to work at a 2-star Michelin restaurant under world-renowned celebrity chef Joel Robuchon, so he has some serious chops.

Entier offers breakfast set meals and a small buffet selection; which I think is great as it reduces wastage.

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Buffet consists of typical breakfast items: cold cuts, pastries and breads with jams, cereal, cookie, salad and fresh fruits.

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Loved the cold cuts ! Especially the smoked duck and the salami.

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N had the Western / Continental set which consisted of scrambled eggs, chicken sausage, beef bacon and potatoes with mushrooms and cherry tomatoes, baked beans and a pancake with strawberry jam. I had the Asian set of congee with fried crullers, mihun goreng, soft boiled egg and chicken dumplings. Tastewise, not particularly impressive but pretty tasty.

All in all, there are a couple of things that I think they could improve on, but it was still a very enjoyable stay. If you’re looking for a calming, resort-like setting that is still close to the city, then Alila Bangsar ticks all the boxes.

What I Liked: Amazing design, contemporary spaces, the whole ‘sustainable’ vibe, very comfortable bed

What I think they can improve on: Service; staff are eager to please but seem a little inexperienced. Also I don’t think this is something they can ‘improve’ on but the lifts are pretty troublesome. There is a lift from the carpark to the ground floor, then one from there to the lobby, and then guests have to take another lift from the lobby to their rooms. So a total of 3 lifts just to get to my car or out of the hotel to the nearby LRT station.

Shuttle services are available to places such as Mid Valley and KL Sentral.

Rooms start from RM430++ per night.

ALILA BANGSAR 

58, Jalan Ang Seng, Brickfields, 50470 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

Reservations: alilahotels.com/bangsar

 

 

Review: Hotel Stripes Kuala Lumpur

Tucked along a quiet stretch of Jalan Kamunting and surrounded by heritage buildings, Hotel Stripes Kuala Lumpur is a luxury boutique hotel – ideal for business people and couples who enjoy the convenience of being close to the city centre, minus the chaotic hustle and bustle. I’ve been eyeing to stay there for some time now, and Mother’s Day felt like the perfect reason to splurge on a treat for the Moomins! 🙂

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Parking is limited, but guests can opt for valet parking service for a flat rate of RM10 per night. The hotel’s unique facade features brick fixtures, paired with a classic colonial-style frontage. Wood, as well as a black and gold colour scheme, are dominant themes throughout the hotel, giving guests a sense of warmth and modern elegance.

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Our Deluxe Room came with a comfortable king-sized bed, fluffy pillows and duvet, a sofa and a cosy worktable. There was a large black and white photo of Jalan Kamunting in the 1940s hanging over the bed. I felt it offset the otherwise modern furnishings quite well and lent the space a sense of nostalgia.

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The workstation had a Bible in the drawer, and there was a glass jar with complimentary candy. The candy was the kind one would be familiar with from one’s childhood – traditional suan mei tang (sour plum), coconut sweets in colourful clear plastic wraps, hawthorne flakes – so it was a nice surprise.

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Floor to ceiling windows meant the room was well lit with lots of natural light. I liked how the sink was designed to be outside of the bathroom, which made it more convenient for us to wash up, in addition to saving space.

Shower was pretty spacious, and there was a bench where you can sit – good for the elderly like the Moomins who can’t stand for long periods of time. Rather than shower amenities in tiny plastic bottles, the bathroom had a wall mounted dispenser, which is better for the environment and reduces wastage.

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The TV had a good selection of channels, and there were also a few in-house magazines showcasing the YTL brand of hotels around the world.

Guests will also find must-have amenities that you’d expect from a five-star luxury hotel, such as a safe, bathrobe and slippers and tea and coffee making facilities. The canned drinks in the mini bar are included with your stay, rather than chargeable as it usually is in other hotels.

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Went up to the rooftop to take a dip in the small but beautiful pool, which offers gorgeous views of the Kuala Lumpur Tower. Its a saltwater pool, which is better than chlorine and is purported to have stress-relieving properties. The deck chairs are limited, so I suggest coming in the late afternoon (if it’s not too sunny) to avoid the crowd.

The rooftop also houses a bar called Man Tou (their specialty is – you guessed it – mantou buns) which is open during the night. The Moo wasn’t feeling well in the evening so we decided to just stay in.

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On the same floor is a small but well equipped 24-hour gym accessible by your room card key.

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Chillin’ in my comfy bathrobe

BREAKFAST 

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The next morning, we headed down to breakfast at Brasserie 25, the hotel’s French-style restaurant. The breakfast selection was not extensive, but what they had was fresh and tasty.

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Salad counter had a couple of cold cuts and cheeses.

 

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Baked goods section offered a selection of bread and pastries.

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Typical Western fare like sausage links, cherry tomatoes and hash browns.  Next to these were Asian breakfast favourites such as porridge, samosa, spring rolls and fried noodles.

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French toast, waffles and pancakes, which diners can pair with various jams and condiments.

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Cereal station

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I recommend the hash browns, which were super crunchy and addictive! The mee goreng (fried noodles) was good, as was the poached egg in cream and spinach.

Overall, Hotel Stripes impressed with its warm and friendly service, good facilities and nice little touches (like the free mini bar and the complimentary candy)! If you’re looking for somewhere close to town but away from the flurry of activity, this might be a place to consider for your next staycation.

**I paid RM285++ (final total RM330) for the Deluxe Room, inclusive of breakfast for two. This is the Marriott Member price.

HOTEL STRIPES KUALA LUMPUR 

25, Jalan Kamunting, Chow Kit, 50300 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

Reservations: +603-2038 0000 or visit stripeskl.com.

 

 

Country Style Boutique Accommodation at Lindenwarrah, Milawa

Visitors on the food and wine trail across Victoria High Country in Australia will likely want to make a pitstop at Milawa, a small produce and craft centre surrounded by vineyards and low lying hills and pastures. It’s  also where our boutique accommodation for the night, Lindenwarrah, is located at. Just steps away from the popular Brown Brothers produce store/winery/cafe, the two-storey country house exudes an elegant yet rustic charm.

credit: booking.com

One of the entrances, flanked by shady trees on a sandy lawn. Sorry, didn’t manage to take pictures of the property on my camera because we were so tired at the end of the day all we wanted was to get up to our rooms. 😀

credit: lancemore.com.au

They’re still pretty old school so doors still use keys instead of electronic slots. I got to my Sunset View room on the second floor and was greeted by a spacious room with a wonderfully calming blue colour scheme, a large (and extremely fluffy!) bed, sheer white curtains framing double glass/wooden screen doors and a beautiful view of the vineyards surrounding the property. 

Bench to chill on in the room. There was also a large TV with a limited number of channels (we’re out in the country after all), a cupboard full of liquor and snacks, as well as tea making facilities.

View from room. Mountains, cattle grazing on pasture, vineyards and a beautiful sunset.

Walked out onto the verandah, which was basically one long balcony with lazy chairs; connected to all the other rooms. Not very good for privacy, since anyone can just walk past my room and peek inside if I don’t have the curtains drawn. There was a nice water feature on the ground floor and a well kept lawn though.

More scenic views. Apparently this is also where they have balloon flights but because of bad weather the next morning we had to give it a miss.

Popping back inside to check out the bathroom, I was super happy to find a wide range of bath products from Appelles, with unique ingredients such as Australian sandalwood and Kakadu Plum. No tub but there’s a spacious shower with temperature control.

Dinner that night with my companions was at the hotel’s in-house Restaurant Merlot, where we enjoyed a four-course meal that included this succulent medium rare thick cut steaks with potato gratin. The food was hearty and delicious.

Other facilities at the accommodation include a swimming pool, guest lounges, a terrace and most importantly, free Wi-Fi so you can still stay connected to the outside world.

For bookings, visit lancemore.com.au.