by Santorini Dave • Updated: November 25, 2018
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Kuala Lumpur Hotels – Tips and Advice
- Best Luxury Hotels in Kuala Lumpur: The St. Regis (most luxurious) • The Ritz-Carlton (best spa retreat) • Renaissance (outstanding service) • E&O Residences (best for families) • Mandarin Oriental (upscale local flair).
- Best Cheap Hotel in Kuala Lumpur: 1000 Miles Hotel.
- The best neighborhoods in Kuala Lumpur for visitors are Bukit Bintang (the shopping and nightlife center), KLCC (home to the iconic Petronas Towers and attractions), Golden Triangle (the city’s central business district and a prime location for exploring the city), and Sentral (featuring gorgeous parks, the historical mile, and easy transit options).
- Malaysian food is known for spicy sambals and flavor fusion of Malay, Chinese, and Indian cuisines. The best Malaysian-style, upscale restaurants in KL are Bijan Bar & Restaurant, Enak Kuala Lumpur, and Songket Restaurant. For cheap eats, check out the street food stalls. Jalan Alor is the busiest night hawker area, with food stalls serving mostly Chinese dishes. The street vendors in Kampung Baru cater to a local crowd and feature more traditional Malay dishes. You’ll also find lots of vegetarian options in the Little India/Brickfields neighborhood near Sentral. For dinner with a Petronas Towers view, check out SkyBar or Troika.
- Though public transportation is inexpensive and extensive, the trains, light rail, and monorail lines do not run on a set timetable and are not integrated with each other, making it somewhat difficult to navigate. Unless you’re staying near the main rail station at Sentral, you’ll likely have to walk a long way from one train to connect to another. It’s worth learning the system for a long stay, but for a short trip, GrabTaxi and Uber are the best options, usually much cheaper than taxis. For sightseeing around the city, use the Go KL free bus.
- There is also a new air-conditioned pedestrian skybridge connecting Bukit Bintang to KLCC. The bridge spans almost two kilometers, beginning on the third level of Pavilion Mall and leading to the KLCC area, with exits at the Impiana Hotel and the convention center. From the convention center, you can walk down to the basement to connect to the Aquarium or walk just a little further to Suria KLCC mall and the Petronas Towers. The whole walk takes around 20 minutes.
- Many public restrooms in Kuala Lumpur don’t have toilet paper, so always carry tissue with you.
- Smoking is still allowed in most hotels in KL, though it is usually confined to bars and certain floors. Be sure to request a non-smoking room if you are sensitive to cigarette smoke and smells.
The 20 Best Hotels in Kuala Lumpur
1. The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur – Sentral
This new, ultra-luxury hotel boasts the largest rooms in the city, some with attached spa treatment rooms, and a gorgeous rooftop pool and sun terrace. Guests never have to lift a finger: dedicated butlers see to each traveler’s personal needs, from small tasks like packing and unpacking to arranging dinner or elaborate adventures. Dining is unparalleled here; be sure to savor a meal at Taka by Sushi Saito, one of the finest Japanese restaurants in the world. The St. Regis KL is located in Sentral, near the Lake Gardens and the Bird and Butterfly Parks.
Hotel phone: +60 3-2727 1111
2. The Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur – Bukit Bintang
A true urban oasis, this refined, downtown hotel is convenient to shopping and nightlife, while also offering the most comprehensive spa retreat in the city. Their featured wellness treatment, the Sensory Sound Bath, combines deep tissue, hot stone, Thai, and Indian massage performed while draped on a floor that vibrates with sound waves. This hotel is great for families, featuring a pool and kids’ club, while larger suites come with kitchenettes. In the heart of Bukit Bintang, the Ritz is connected to the Starhill Gallery mall via a covered footbridge and is only a five minute walk to the luxury shops at Pavilion Mall.
Hotel phone: +60 3-2142 8000
3. Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel – Golden Triangle
A graceful hotel featuring recently renovated rooms, a fantastic pool, and some of the finest food in KL. Service is absolutely impeccable here from the top down, and it’s not unusual to see members of the management lending a hand in any task. Spacious rooms feature a sleek, modern look, large swivel TVs, and stellar city views. The onsite restaurants are top-notch, especially the dim sum at Dynasty (ask for the charcoal buns) and the over-the-top breakfast spread at TEMPTationS. In the Golden Triangle neighborhood, the Renaissance is the closest luxury hotel to Chow Kit’s markets, foods, and sights and only a fifteen minute walk to the Petronas Towers.
Hotel phone: +60 3-2162 2233
4. Mandarin Oriental – KLCC
This elegant hotel right next door to the Petronas Towers showcases fine Malay design, food, and hospitality. The new décor features etched columns made with Selangor pewter, shimmering songket silk wall coverings, and Peranakan tiles. Stellar leisure amenities include indoor golf, outdoor tennis courts, and a rooftop infinity pool with city and park views, tented daybeds, and luxury cabanas. Located on KLCC Park near Symphony Lake, this is the closest hotel to the Twin Towers and just a short walk to the aquarium.
Hotel phone: +60 3-2380 8888
5. E&O Residences – Golden Triangle
These cosmopolitan serviced apartments in a central location with a rainforest resort vibe are perfect for family vacations. Though conveniently situated near all major city attractions, the grounds are secluded and lush, making this hotel feel more remote than it actually is. All luxury apartments are one- or two-bedroom units with full kitchens, in-room washers and dryers, deep soaking tubs, and dual vanities. Family-friendly amenities include a playground, playroom, and a pool with attached private Jacuzzis.
Hotel phone: +60 3-2023 2188
6. Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur – Golden Triangle
An opulent hotel known for its decadent suites and sumptuous food. Stunning skyline views, warm and rich décor in enormous suites, plus experienced butlers make this a popular hotel among royalty, dignitaries, and celebrities. Dining here is spectacular, with halal kitchens serving some of the best French, Cantonese, and Japanese fine dining in the city. A swimming pool and spa round out the posh experience here. The Shangri-La is centrally located near the KL Tower and Eco Forest Park, walking distance to the Petronas Towers and just a short drive to Chow Kit or Bukit Bintang.
Hotel phone: +60 3-2032 2388
7. The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur – Sentral
Blending colonial-era charm with contemporary luxury, the Majestic boasts two pools, an Art Deco-styled spa, and a renowned tea service in its Orchid Conservatory. (Book weeks in advance for this!) Spread over two connected buildings, guests can choose to stay in the original 1932 wing, complete with butler service and traditional Hainanese breakfast in bed, or in the new wing, resplendent in marble with decadent bathrooms. Located in the Historical Mile, across the street from the 19th century Moorish railway station and walking distance to the Lake Gardens, National Museum, and Masjid Negara Malaysia.
Hotel phone: +60 3-2785 8000
8. InterContinental – KLCC
This glitzy hotel near City Centre attractions offers a range of amenities for families, couples, and business travelers alike. Kids’ perks include a connected pool area plus a Disney-themed brunch with clowns every Sunday. Couples may indulge in a spa day capped off by an intimate dinner with wine pairings at Tatsu, its award-winning Japanese restaurant. Business travelers will enjoy its tech-savvy focus. Featuring glam design elements, like mirrored columns and crystal chandeliers, this upscale space near KLCC and the Petronas Towers is delightful.
Hotel phone: +60 3-2782 6000
9. Grand Hyatt – KLCC
A sophisticated urban hotel offering spacious rooms, a free-form rooftop pool, and panoramic views of the city, park, and Twin Towers. Their expansive Essa Spa specializes in ramuan treatments, uniquely Malaysian holistic herbal care. Their rooms are among the largest in the city, each with floor-to-ceiling windows and soaking tubs. The Grand Hyatt sits right next to the aquarium, overlooking KLCC Park, walking distance to the music fountain and Petronas Towers.
Hotel phone: +60 3-2182 1234
10. Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur – Sentral
This kid-friendly, upscale hotel houses the largest pool in KL complete with a waterslide, plus other fun kids’ amenities, including Legos and coloring books. They frequently offer family deals here, such as complimentary connecting rooms for suite bookings or two-for-one rooms. The hotel is also home to one of the best club lounges in the city, with an interactive kitchen that serves a different themed menu nightly. Attached to Nu Sentral mall and Sentral Station (the city’s main rail station), walking distance to Little India, and near the Lake Gardens.
Hotel phone: +60 3-2263 7888
11. Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur – Bukit Bintang
This stylish hotel in the shopping and nightlife district blends classic and modern luxury design, making it a popular choice for weddings and events. Expect to see plenty of marble and gold, along with unusual elements, like pearl chandeliers. Rooms are large, and suites all include butler service. A rooftop pool, spa, and fab restaurants complete the experience. Located in the heart of Bukit Bintang, right in the middle of the four main malls: Pavilion, Starhill Gallery, Lot 10, and Fahrenheit88, plus plenty of bars and restaurants.
Hotel phone: +60 3-2117 4888
12. Ascott Kuala Lumpur – KLCC
Perfect for long stays or large families, the Ascott’s tasteful City Centre apartments all include a full kitchen, dining area, and balcony. Ranging from studios to three bedroom suites, the largest of these luxury rooms can accommodate up to seven guests. Outstanding amenities here include two pools, a spa, tennis courts, and a bar that serves late. The hotel sits right across from the KLCC Park and convention center, less than five minutes’ walk to the Petronas Towers.
Hotel phone: +60 3-2718 6868
13. GTower Hotel – KLCC
An independently owned, business luxury hotel, offering physiotherapy, two pools, the largest gym in KL, and an IT Concierge. Art plays an integral role here, with several commissioned works scattered throughout the hotel, alongside retro futuristic furnishings and design elements. On the weekends, the rooftop bar comes alive with a wild party vibe until 3 a.m. Located on the east side of the KLCC neighborhood, close to the Intermark Mall and walking distance to the Petronas Towers and KLCC Park.
Hotel phone: +60 3-2168 1919
14. Westin Kuala Lumpur – Bukit Bintang
This five star property adjacent to the Pavilion luxury mall is a superb, all-purpose hotel. Its sparkling pool, kids club, and game room make it popular with families, while in-room massage and its prize-winning Qba nightclub and Prego restaurant make this a fantastic choice for couples. Located in Bukit Bintang, just steps from the city’s best dining and shopping, and walking distance via the skybridge to KLCC and the Twin Towers.
Hotel phone: +60 3-2731 8333
15. Impiana KLCC Hotel – KLCC
Connected to the Bukit Bintang-KLCC skybridge and just across the street from KLCC Park, this refined hotel offers a pool, spa, great restaurants, and stylish bars. Its most unique asset is the Orchid Floor, a women’s only floor: no men allowed, not even hotel staff. All rooms in the hotel are large and include a pillow menu, desk, and soaking tub. Orchid Floor rooms add a yoga mat, club access, and Molten Brown amenities. Walking distance to the aquarium and Twin Towers.
Hotel phone: +60 3-2147 1111
16. JW Marriott – Bukit Bintang
Connected to Starhill Gallery mall, this is a glamorous, “new money” hotel; expect efficiency and service with pomp and flair. Rooms are spacious and richly decorated, especially the suite categories. Luxe amenities include a pool, kids’ pool, tennis courts, and a spa with an additional plunge pool and hot tub. Located on Jalan Bukit Bintang, aka Bintang Walk, with several malls, cafes, hawker foods, and nightclubs at its doorstep.
Hotel phone: +60 3-2715 9000
17. Traders Hotel – KLCC
This chic, urban hotel is widely known for having the best view of the Petronas Towers from their rooftop pool and award-winning SkyBar, a hotspot for locals and visitors alike. Rooms are sleek with contemporary flair, such as bathroom sinks that are lit from the inside. Conveniently located next to KLCC Park, attached to the convention center, and walking distance to shopping and nightlife in Bukit Bintang.
Hotel phone: +60 3-2332 9888
18. Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre – KLCC
An understated, elegant mix of hotel rooms and serviced apartments, The Pullman is ideal for family travel or long stays. Amenities include a three amazing restaurants, a pool with a kids’ area, plus a video game room for kids and teens. Apartments all have full kitchens and include club lounge access and complimentary breakfast daily. The Pullman is located on the southernmost point of the KLCC area, bordering Bukit Bintang, so it’s walking distance to several malls and family attractions, including the Aquarium, as well as the entertainment and nightlife district.
Hotel phone: +60 3-2170 8888
19. Hotel Maison Boutique – Pudu
This fashionable, little hotel is the only one in the city with themed rooms. These fun and funky rooms and suites are decked out in a range of wild styles from cityscapes to fairy tales to pop culture. Complimentary buffet and a la carte breakfast is included in the room rate. Located in Pudu, a quieter neighborhood with mostly locals, this hotel is walking distance to one of the world’s largest buildings, Berjaya Times Square, a huge mall with 1000 retailers and an indoor amusement park.
Hotel phone: +60 3-2145 2929
20. WOLO – Bukit Bintang
This stylish hotel is well-located on the main drag in the nightlife center of Bukit Bintang, surrounded by tons of restaurants, bars, street food, a night market, and several malls. The lobby houses a wine and cigar lounge onsite, while the entry is through a French bakery and café on the main floor. Rooms and suites have a quirky, urban, eclectic vibe with platform beds, mosaic tiles, and views overlooking the city.
Hotel phone: +60 3-2719 1333
Staying in KLCC
Kuala Lumpur City Centre, not to be confused with the Old City Centre (Chinatown) or Sentral, is home to the striking Petronas Towers and many family friendly attractions and malls. Historically, since the British colonial era, this was an affluent suburb of the city. Later development, such as the construction of the KL Convention Center and the Towers, has turned this area into the city’s central business district. KLCC now has the highest concentration of five star hotels, the best cityscape views, and plenty of fine dining restaurants. KLCC is home to the aquarium, Symphony Lake, and the Philharmonic Orchestra. Though this area quiets down after dark, it is walking distance via the skybridge to Bukit Bintang, the city’s nightlife and entertainment district.
Best Hotels in KLCC
- Mandarin Oriental • Reviews • Hotel phone: +60 3-2380 8888
- InterContinental • Reviews • Hotel phone: +60 3-2782 6000
- Grand Hyatt • Reviews • Hotel phone: +60 3-2182 1234
- Ascott Kuala Lumpur • Reviews • Hotel phone: +60 3-2718 6868
- GTower Hotel • Reviews • Hotel phone: +60 3-2168 1919
- Impiana KLCC Hotel • Reviews • Hotel phone: +60 3-2147 1111
- Traders Hotel • Reviews • Hotel phone: +60 3-2332 9888
- Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre • Reviews • Hotel phone: +60 3-2170 8888
Best Restaurants in KLCC
- TAPAK Food Truck Park • $ • Located off Jalan Ampang, about 20-25 trucks park here every night, serving a variety of local Malaysian, Asian and Western foods.
- Songket Restaurant • $$-$$$ • Traditional Malay flavors, with live music and a dance show on weekend evenings.
- Madam Kwan’s • $$-$$$ • Serving Malaysian comfort food since 1977, offering the city’s best nasi lemak.
- Eight Ounce Coffee Company • $$-$$$ • Outstanding crepes and coffee in Suria KL, base of the Petronas Towers.
Staying in Bukit Bintang
This trendy neighborhood is KL’s primary shopping and nightlife district. Several malls are located here, including the luxury malls Starhill Gallery and Pavilion, as well as Berjaya Times Square with its indoor theme park. Two major fashion weeks take place annually in Bukit Bintang. The famous food street Jalan Alor is here, as well as Changkat, the leading edge food district with some of the best up and coming restaurants in the city. You’ll also find here plenty of hawker food stalls, sidewalk cafes, lively bars, and nightclubs popping until 3 a.m. In the heart of the city, this is a perfect jumping-off point for exploring the city’s major attractions.
Best Hotels in Bukit Bintang
- The Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur • Reviews • Hotel phone: +60 3-2142 8000
- Grand Millennium Kuala Lumpur • Reviews • Hotel phone: +60 3-2117 4888
- Westin Kuala Lumpur • Reviews • Hotel phone: +60 3-2731 8333
- JW Marriott • Reviews • Hotel phone: +60 3-2715 9000
- WOLO • Reviews • Hotel phone: +60 3-2719 1333
Best Restaurants in Bukit Bintang
- Enak KL • $$-$$$ • Upscale traditional Malay food, in the luxe Starhill Gallery mall.
- Jalan Alor • $ • The city’s largest and best known night time street hawker stalls, serving mostly Chinese foods, along with Malay, Indian, and other Asian styles at a nice price.
- El Cerdo KL • $$-$$$ • A Spanish-style tapas restaurant, specializing in pork.
- Dining in the Dark • $$-$$$ • A surprise set menu served in the pitch black (you won’t see the menu until after you’ve finished). Though the dining room is completely dark, they still enforce a smart to semi-formal dress code.
- Lima Blas Nyonya Restaurant • $$-$$$ • Top notch Peranakan (Malay-Chinese) food in casual setting with vintage decor.
Staying in the Golden Triangle
Bounded by Chinatown to the west and sprawling out to include both Bukit Bintang and KLCC to the west, the Golden Triangle is the KL’s central business district. With several attractions within the area, including the Forest Eco Park and KL Tower (officially called Menara Kuala Lumpur) with a mini zoo and aquarium, this is also a perfect spot for exploring neighboring Chinatown, Chow Kit, and the colonial architecture in Merdeka Square.
Best Hotels in the Golden Triangle
- Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel • Reviews • Hotel phone: +60 3-2162 2233
- E&O Residences • Reviews • Hotel phone: +60 3-2023 2188
- Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur • Reviews • Hotel phone: +60 3-2032 2388
Best Restaurants in the Golden Triangle
- Bijan Bar & Restaurant • $$-$$$ • Malay fine dining with an elegant ambiance, known for their beef rending.
- Pampas Reserve Grill & Bar • $$-$$$ • Classic steakhouse with great cocktails in a smart setting.
- Heli Lounge Bar • $$-$$$ • This is a helicopter pad that turns into a restaurant and bar at night. Overpriced and gimmicky, but still a fun way to spend an evening!
- Skillet @ 163 • $$$$ • Fresh, seasonal, fun food, blending European and Asian flavors with a modern and artistic twist.
Staying in Sentral
The Sentral neighborhood is known for its historical, spiritual, and botanical attractions. Some of the oldest buildings in the city are here, including the Moorish style railway station and the Majestic Hotel, both relics of the British colonial era. You’ll find several, varied religious sites here, reflecting KL’s multicultural past and present, including the National Mosque, Sri Mahamariamman Hindu temple, Buddhist Maha Vihara, and the Holy Rosary Church. Sentral is just a ten minute walk to Brickfields/Little India, for excellent South Indian and vegetarian dining. This is also the main transportation hub for the city, with express trains to the airport, Bukit Bintang, and KLCC. By rail, it takes around 30 minutes to get to any of these three stops.
Best Hotels in Sentral
- The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur • Reviews • Hotel phone: +60 3-2727 1111
- The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur • Reviews • Hotel phone: +60 3-2785 8000
- Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur • Reviews • Hotel phone: +60 3-2263 7888
Best Restaurants in Sentral
- Annalakshmi Vegetarian Restaurant • $$-$$$ • Superb and affordable Indian veggie food with buffet or a la carte dining available.
- Taka by Sushi Saito • $$$$ • One of the greatest sushi and traditional Japanese restaurants in the world, so expect to pay top dollar. Come by at lunch for a little cheaper pricing. Reserve in advance for a seat at the sushi bar to watch the magic happen.
- Chennai Spice Restaurant • $$-$$$ • South Indian restaurant near Sentral station, known for their thali and biryani dishes.
- Copper • $$-$$$ • A fun and innovative Euro style restaurant. It can get packed in here at lunch time; stop by at dinner for a more peaceful meal.