During my recent home trip to Malaysia, I decided to spend a night in Kuala Lumpur as my flight landed in KL close to midnight and there weren't any flights to Penang after midnight. Besides, I had a free night certificate from the 2017 Marriott Fall Megabonus (earned from 2 stays) that was expiring in June 2018, so this trip was a good time to use it.
My free-night certificate was for Category 1-5 hotels, and these hotels were on my shortlist. All these are nice hotels and they are all Cat 3 hotels (incl. JW Marriott). As much as I would like to 'maximize' my certificate in a Cat 5 hotel, I'm happy with a nice Cat 3. That's why I prefer using these certs in Asia.
As seen above, JW Marriott is the most expensive, priced at MYR609 ($150) per night. The Renaissance and Majestic Hotel was about the same price around MYR310 ($77) per night. The 'kiasu' option would be to go for JW (more 'value' for the points), but I chose Majestic Hotel this time mainly because I've stayed in JW Marriott previously and have heard good things about the Majestic.
The Majestic Hotel KL is one of Marriott's Autograph Collection of iconic historic hotels and the Majestic (old) wing is a national heritage site. As compared to other hotels, the biggest draw of this hotel for me was its heritage and colonial charm. Besides, I've never stayed in a heritage hotel before so why not try it (for free) right?
The room available for reward redemption is a Deluxe Room in the Tower (new) Wing. Making the reservation with the free-night certificate was easy, here's a guide. I had to change my booking by a day so I called Marriott's customer service to help with that. I also emailed the hotel directly to clarify a few things and they were very helpful and responsive.
Getting to the Hotel
It was already 12.30am by the time I got my baggage and got out of the airport. Was thinking about taking the bus to KL Sentral but I figured the last bus had already left so I went straight to the KLIA Ekspres station within the airport to buy the express train ticket to KLIA.
I used the kiosk and my US credit card to purchase the single trip KLIA Ekspres + GRAB Package for MYR 55 ($14), which included a MYR 10 voucher for a GRAB ride (GRAB is the equivalent of Uber). The train ticket would have costed MYR 55 itself so you're better off getting the package.
Boarded the last train at 1am and arrived KL Sentral station at 1.30am. There was free wifi on the train so I launched the GRAB app and set The Majestic Hotel KL as my destination in advance. I submitted the request for my ride as soon as I hopped off the train (before losing the free Wifi), and headed to the arrival hall pick up point to wait for my GRAB ride.
The Majestic Hotel KL is only 2.2km (1.4 miles) from KL Sentral Station, and the ride was less than 10 minutes. Since my fare was only MYR 5 (less than MYR 10), I didn't have to pay extra for the ride.
To park at the hotel, it is MYR 15 ($3.80) per day. Even though I didn't drive, I offered to pay for my friend's parking when they visited the next day.
Grand lobby at the hotel. It was almost 2am by the time I made it to the hotel and all I wanted at that point was a bed...lol!
The staff pulled up my reservation, and informed me that I've been upgraded (sweet!). I also confirmed the location of the complimentary breakfast for two, access to the Club lounge, and requested for 4pm check-out, not knowing that they've already left a letter for me (with some classic White Rabbit Candy) in the room with all the Platinum benefits. =)
I didn't know which room I was upgraded to until I got to the room and was pleasantly surprised with this 77sqm/829sqft suite! A lil' wasted that I was the only one staying and for only 14 hours.
A quick check on the hotel's website and found out that I was upgraded to the Grand Suite in the Tower (new) wing, priced at MYR1,000 ($250) per night!
The bedroom is separated from the living room, and was quite spacious. The bed was very comfortable but I didn't sleep much because I stayed up for an hour reading a book provided in the room, and set my alarm to wake up early the next morning to work out.
The bathroom was huge with a transparent glass door, but you can close the curtains for privacy. There was a bathtub, handheld and overhead shower heads, and 2 sinks for me, myself, and I. =P The toiletries were printed with Majestic Hotel logo, and they also had bath salt, which I didn't use.
The living area came in handy when my 3 of my friends + 1 baby came over to hangout the next day.
I was surprised to find a separate closet in the room...not that I needed that space but it was a nice feature. Other amenities in the room included a mini bar (not free), Nespresso coffee maker, and several complimentary bottled water.
I didn't look out the windows before going to bed, and was pleasantly surprised by this view from the bedroom window when I woke up and opened the curtains the next morning!
So glad I set my alarm for 6.30am instead of sleeping in. Early bird gets the good view...lol!
The 'reward' for only 3 hours of sleep was this stunning sunrise view of KL's modern skyline and heritage sites from my room on the 14th floor. Absolutely worth it! =P
Woke up early to work out to fight off jet lag, and also to check out the swimming pool. There are two pools in the hotel, one at the 4th floor of the Tower wing and another by the spa at the Majestic wing. The pool at the Tower wing was quite small, but I had it to myself for being early.
The gym wasn't big, but was equipped with several treadmills, elliptical, bikes, and weight machines.
The colonial designs and structure are mainly seen in the Majestic (old) wing. There is a Drawing Room that is used as a private lounge, and the Reading Room which was located within the Club lounge.
The Majestic Club Lounge was located at Level 2 of the Majestic (old) wing. Beverages and light snacks are served throughout the day. There are also afternoon snacks from 3-5pm, and evening cocktail from 7-9pm. I had access for two as a Marriott Platinum member, but didn't spend much time here because I didn't want to leave my friends outside...lol! Other facilities around the hotel we didn't visit includes the Cigar Room, a high-end barber, and a screening room.
Another convenient perk the hotel offers (but we didn't use) was the free shuttle to KL Sentral Station, Starhill Gallery/Bukit Bintang shopping district, and Mid Valley Shopping Mall. Some people may not like the location of this hotel because there is not much within walking distance but I liked it because it was right across the KTM bus station where I hopped on the bus back to Penang.
One of the Platinum benefits was complimentary breakfast for two at the Contango restaurant. Buffet style breakfast is served between 6.30am - 10.30am, with a wide variety of Western, Chinese, Indian, and Malay cuisines. The restaurant was spacious and it wasn't crowded at all on a Saturday morning.
I conveniently skipped through the Western options and went for the local delicacies. They had a section for congee, dim sum, Nasi Lemak, Roti Canai, Pad Thai, and I ordered a Cappuccino for myself to keep me awake for the day.
Aunt and uncle lived close by so I invited them over for breakfast at the hotel to catch up.
The Orchid Conservatory is one of the hot spot in town for afternoon tea. However, reservations should be made in advance as the space is limited.
Afternoon tea is also served at the Tea Lounge and the Colonial Cafe, which are all within the same area. The same afternoon tea costs less here as compared to the Orchid Conservatory. Upon check-out at 4pm, I asked the receptionist if I could hang out at the Majestic Club Lounge for a bit before catching my bus at 6pm, and she said of course. But since I had friends around, we decided to hang out at the Tea Lounge to enjoy the afternoon 'high-tea'. The ambiance was perfect for chit-chat and just hanging out. It was a full house on Saturday afternoon when we were there.
The staff in the hotel was courteous, nice and helpful all around. Malaysian hospitality at its best.
This was the book in the hotel room that made me stay up for an hour. Honestly, I'm not a big history person, but it was very interesting to flip through all the news highlights over the years. I arrived Malaysia the day after the history-making election, making this book even more interesting to read.
I asked the receptionist if they had an extra copy of used/old book laying around that I can have but they said they themselves had limited copies as well. After returning to Penang, I dropped a note to the General Manager to thank his team for the warm hospitality and a pleasant stay at the hotel. I also complimented that it was a nice touch to have this great book in the hotel room, very fitting for a heritage hotel. The GM graciously offered to send me a copy of this book, which I received a few days later in Penang. Thanks Jeffrey and team! =D
The Majestic Hotel KL is definitely a solid choice for anyone planning to visit Kuala Lumpur. Its location may not be in the prime shopping area of the city, but the free shuttle makes up for it. If you like the colonial, heritage style, then this hotel is for you. There are a few other similar heritage hotels like this in Malaysia and Singapore (e.g. E&O in Penang, Raffles Hotel in Singapore), but this hotel is quite a bargain in terms of the rates. Best of all, you can use Marriott points to book a stay here.