Where to stay: MALAYSIA
For people who care where they stay. Authentic. Soulful. Charm. Design. Indie. Local.
Eastern & Oriental Hotel | Penang, Malaysia
Year opened: 1885 (annex 2013). Like a venerable old relative, the E&O wears its illustrious heritage proudly. More than a hotel, this is a George Town institution, welcoming nostalgic travellers in search of the city’s colonial history with open arms – and a chilled gin and tonic. The entrance into the hotel’s cavernous atrium echoes back to its 19th century heyday, with a white grand piano, Asian antique furniture, and the original gated lift still in working order.
The Majestic Hotel | Kuala Lumpur
The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur comprises two sections: the original hotel that was built in 1932 and became one of the most gracious addresses in the city, and the Tower Wing, a 15-storey addition completed in 2012. The Majestic Wing truly is a step back into the days when The Majestic was the largest and grandest hotel in the city. It’s a hybrid of neo-classical and art deco styles; a place where afternoon tea is still served while a pianist plays languid afternoon tunes.
Macalister Mansion | Penang, Malaysia
A quirky and sophisticated lifestyle destination, Macalister Mansion nods both to Penang’s colonial past and to its colorful present. The hotel differentiates itself from the local hotel scene by its intimate scale (just 8 rooms), contemporary design, and attention to detail.
One&Only Desaru Coast | Malaysia
For various historical and infrastructural reasons, Malaysia’s resorts have all tended to cluster along its west coast, leaving the eastern flank in a remarkably pristine condition, thick with virgin rainforests and soft sanded beaches. Capitalising on this natural bounty is the One&Only group’s first Asia property. Set on a 128 acre estate, the resort’s 45 breezy bright suites are the work of the Kerry Hill Architects.
Alila Bangsar | Kuala Lumpur
- design by Neri & Hu. This stylish, new (2018) hotel is strategically located at the top levels of a mixed-use development known as The Establishment, with its lobby situated on level 41. It offers a gourmet restaurant, bar, outdoor pool and fitness centre.
The Chow Kit | Kuala Lumpur
For too long now, Kuala Lumpur’s cache of five-star hotels have tended to default towards the cliché of big marble foyers and equally massive flower arrangements. Hats off then to the fledgling locally-based Ormond Group for its chutzpah. Inspired by the neighbourhood’s colour and somewhat seedy reputation, the Brooklyn-based Studio Tack has created an appropriately moody noir-ish vibe which it layers with thick fabrics, tufted banquettes, and rugs.
88 Armenian | George Town, Penang | Malaysia
Set in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of George Town, Penang, 88 Armenian is located on Lebuh Armenian, named after a lodging house that hosted the enterprising and well-educated Armenian traders, before being taken over by the Chinese migrant community who occupied the street with copper and brass businesses.
Mo Mo's | Kuala Lumpur
With experience and cultural stimulation at heart, Mo Mo’s Kuala Lumpur is an exemplar among the trend for social hotels with style… As much of a local hangout as it is hotel, Ormond Group’s latest hospitality concept is a design-conscious property housing 99 guest rooms, dynamic social spaces, a self-serve dive bar and cultural programming; making Chow Kit neighbourhood hotspot, MoMo’s, a real hit with the cool cats of Kuala Lumpur.
The RuMa Hotel | Kuala Lumpur
Occupying the first 18 floors of a 37-storey mixed-use skyscraper in the Golden Triangle neighbourhood, is an urban retreat with local references inspired by the country’s colourful history: latticed patterns dotted throughout are a nod to traditional chequered sarongs; original pillars at the entrance have been salvaged from historic Malaysian homes; and details like the copper ceilings, wall lamps and the grand spiral staircase nod to the country’s tin mining history.
Villa Samadhi | Kuala Lumpur
Peace and privacy are the central pivots of this luxury boutique hotel, which is surrounded by a high wall as well as old trees and clusters of bamboo. Villa Samadhi is a luxurious retreat that is set around an organic-shaped pool fringed with tall grasses and palms and shaded sun beds. Inside the décor is inspired by Malay architecture and dotted with Asian antiques.
citizenM Kuala Lumpur Bukit Bintang
Architecture & Interior Design: Concrete, Amsterdam. The existing building of the former Sky hotel has been stripped completely and has been rebuilt as a 210-key citizenM. The first floor was removed to increase height, light and air in the lobby on the ground floor and the therefore created void now hosts societyM and meeting rooms. A colorful painted art ceiling presents the colors and lush nature that Malaysia is known for.
W Kuala Lumpur
This luxury hotel combines the bold, vibrant design and dynamic lifestyle programming that W is known for globally, but with a unique Kuala Lumpur twist. It offers 150 rooms, several bars and restaurants, a spa and rooftop swimming pool - all with Petronas Towers views.
Cheong Fatt Tze - The Blue Mansion | George Town, Penang | Malaysia
- an 18-room boutique hotel that has been called the “most atmospheric Chinese hotel that isn’t in China” – complete with tranquil courtyards, Chinese carved screens, with other art nouveau influences.
The Prestige | George Town, Penang | Malaysia
Here, the mood riffs off Christian Bale’s Victorian magician flick The Prestige with long corridors camouflaged with dizzying Escher-ish black and white cubed floor patterns, Art Deco chrome lattices, bathrooms behind hidden doors, and desks that seem to float over chrome spheres.
The Datai | Langkawi, Malaysia
The phrase game changer gets bandied around a lot, but the Datai was truly that when it opened 26 years ago, transforming this under-the-radar Malaysian castaway spot into the go-to Southeast Asian escape. With Kerry Hill’s woodsy jungle-luxe architecture, the rain-forest setting, and the crescent of feather-soft sand, it was an instant classic. Fast-forward to now, and it is making its mark again after a $60 million overhaul.
Sekeping Kong Heng | Ipoh, Malaysia
An avantgarde design hybride hotel/hostel located in a vibrant and authentic (read: noisy) neighborhood of Ipoh. The ground floor is a well-established popular coffee shop and café. Upstairs, a mixture of cleverly arranged, modern interiors sit comfortably inside walls of charming, crumbling plaster, offering the best of both old and new worlds.
Mangala Resort | Kuantan, Malaysia
The result of a 15-year journey of rejuvenation, which transformed an abandoned barren mining land into a tropical oasis of palm plantation, organic gardens, rehabilitated lakes and undisturbed wetlands. From the private villas built on stilts over the lake, to those beside lily-dotted wetlands, every inch of this eco award-winning luxury resort built with eco-conscious materials brings guests closer to nature.