I visited Kuala Lumpur a number of times last month to complete a series of mattress runs as I wanted to achieve SPG Platinum Elite before the program merges officially on 18 August 2018. In hindsight, it would have been better to complete the status challenge for Marriott Platinum Elite (since it will map to Platinum Premier Elite) instead but hey, I really should not be complaining. On my way from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, I stopped by TGM (still one of my favourite Priority Pass lounges in Singapore!) for a quick lunch before heading down to the lounge for proper drinks.
Since I did not have any existing status with SPG, my reservation at the Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur was for a club room and getting down from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) to the property is really simple. Now the Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur is not located near the Petronas Towers or KLCC (well you can't walk there anyway) but one of greatest things about staying here is the convenience that you get when you are coming from the airport. The KLIA Ekspres will take you directly to KL Sentral from KLIA in 28 minutes (yes, I actually timed it and it is indeed 28 minutes!) and purchasing a ticket is super easy - you can either do it there, use a contactless credit card or purchase one via Klook (which I personally chose to since it is the cheapest). If you intend to use Klook to buy a ticket for the KL Ekspres, you will be sent a QR code which you can then immediately use when you get to Kuala Lumpur.
In order to make as little trips (but more importantly, to complete the status challenge as quickly) as possible, I have actually booked three rooms for this trip - I ended up inviting two friends over to join me since I have already paid for the room (and let's be honest, I do not need three rooms) but SPG allowed me to earn room credits on up to three rooms (amazing!). Since I actually visited Kuala Lumpur over the Hari Raya weekend, the immigration took forever (almost two hours to clear!) and I actually got to the property really late - it is also time for me to seriously consider getting an APEC Business Travel Card.
The Le Meridien Club Rooms here offer 36sqm of space and they feature panoramic views of the city as well as Lake Gardens. If I am not mistaken, the Le Meriden Club Rooms are essentially Premier Rooms that are located on higher floors that come with access to the Le Meridien Club Lounge (which is beautiful but more on this later!). All 420 rooms and suites here at the Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur has been renovated back in 2016 and following this extensive USD 12 million refurbishment programme over the course of a year, the hotel now showcases a modern theme that juxtaposes traditional Malay motifs with modern styling and clean lines.
If you are staying in a Le Meridien Club Room, chances are that your room is located on a high floor. Even though you will probably not be able to see the famous Petronas Twin Towers from your bedroom, you will still enjoy a city view. There are a number of shopping malls located nearby and definitely reachable on foot. Alternatively, getting a Grab ride (remember Uber no longer exists in this part of the world) from the hotel to anywhere nearby is also exceedingly affordable.
If you are here for work, you may or may not appreciate the work desk here in the room - while I did find it comfortable enough to get some work done during my stay, I found it slightly uncomfortable to sit in for a prolonged period of time. Perhaps I was not used to the high table (it felt almost like a bar stool) but I did find it a lot easier to work from the club lounge instead. If you are here for leisure, there is a massive TV here in the bedroom where you will be able to enjoy a selection of cable and satellite channels. There is also an in-room safe here next to the work desk where you will be able to store some of your valuables.
The king-size bed that I slept in at the Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur was really comfortable but I thought that the room was not cold enough (even though I have already set the temperature at its lowest). With that being said, it is probably worth noting that I enjoy sleeping in an extremely cold room - I am probably the least environmentally-friendly consumer in this aspect but I have trouble sleeping in anything warmer than 20 degree Celsius (actual temperature).
You should be able to control most of what you require from the bed via this control panel - there is also the option to set an alarm should you require it. The curtains are also not automated here so you will have to get out of bed unfortunately should you need to close or open them.
In the event that you are sharing this room here with a friend, you do not have to worry about privacy in the bathroom since the glass is actually opaque and you will not be able to look in from the outside. There is also plenty of space in the bedroom so one of you could be relaxing by the window while the other one works from the work desk.
As part of my welcome amenities, I received a box of eclairs from the hotel which were beautiful to look at. Unfortunately, the taste of these eclairs were slightly off and definitely not to my liking so I actually left most of it alone. In times like these, I appreciate the simplicity of a fruit bowl - simple and practical.
The bathroom of the Le Meridien Club Room here at the newly-renovated Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur is modern and sleek. Like most modern business hotels, there is no more bathtub here but you do get a really nice shower area that is complete with a rain-shower head. Consistent to the Le Meridien brand, bath amenities here are provided by MALIN+GOETZ and they are actually quite good.
Now the most impressive part of this stay has to be the Le Meridien Club Lounge - this 420sqm space has only recently been refurbished and it features a beautiful live kitchen, a private meeting room, shower and changing rooms (perfect for those late night flights out of Kuala Lumpur) as well as a comfortable lounge seating area which caters for different groups of travellers.
Even though the Le Meridien Club Lounge is already really big in reality, the double-height ceiling makes it feel even roomier and larger. Guests with access to the Le Meridien Club Lounge (opens from 6:30AM to 11:30PM daily) will be able to enjoy a private check-in and check-out experience (even though I really encourage you to use the app instead) as well as all-day refreshments here at the lounge. This is also a great spot for you to catch up on some work while enjoying the beautiful interiors while you are at it.
Evening cocktails here at the Le Meridien Club Lounge run from 6:00PM to 8:30PM each day and there is a wide selection of beverages and food during this time. If you are not insanely-hungry, the food will definitely be more than sufficient for dinner. In fact, I was a little surprised that the Club Lounge actually served that much food (since a lot of hotels stop doing this to minimise the cannibalisation of restaurant sales).
If you do not wish to head out of the hotel at all, the amount of food served during evening cocktail is typically sufficient but if you are still feeling hungry after, I really recommend giving Favola a try. Favola is possibly the best italian restaurant that I have ever tried in Kuala Lumpur and if you are an SPG member, you can get up to 20% off your total food bill here. Chef Domenico (who has previously worked in Singapore) does an amazing job here and some of my favourite dishes include the Risotto Bianco and Sardinian Mixed Seafood 'Pingiadedda' and Fregula (a definitely must-order for seafood-lovers!).
Enjoy an evening tipple or two? The Le Meridien Club Lounge here offers up to 2.5 hours of free-flowing alcohol each day so you are actually getting a lot of value from these stays (especially if you have guaranteed lounge access from the loyalty program!). In all honesty, I did face a little challenge trying to figure out how to dispense the gin from these holders but thankfully one of the friendly lounge staff came by to sort it out for me - simply put your glass underneath and push upwards for one proper jigger of spirit (repeat if necessary).
As a hotel guest with Le Meridien Club Lounge access, I had the option of having a full buffet breakfast at the main restaurant downstairs, or a private (but smaller selection) breakfast in the Club Lounge. Since I spent a couple of nights here at the Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur, I actually tried both and prefer the latter location - even though there is less variety, the ambience is a lot better since you do not have to queue up for anything (except perhaps the egg station). It also feels a lot more exclusive which is great if you are here for leisure since you do not wish to be rushing first thing in the morning.
Now that the merger between Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) is somewhat over, I am very inclined to put my Platinum Elite status in the new program to good use here at the Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur. Even though Sentral is not exactly the place I like to be located in (I actually prefer the KLCC and Jalan Ampang area instead), hopping on a Grab is easy here in Kuala Lumpur and the fares are more than reasonable. The Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur is definitely a property worth returning to and with 29 different brands under the Marriott International portfolio, there is definitely going to be more to look forward to in the months ahead (e.g. W Kuala Lumpur!).