→ Colonial charm at Kuala Lumpur’s Majestic Hotel …
I HAVE a thing for Asia’s colonial-era hotels.
I love everything about them – from the old-time architecture to a serene sense of history suggested by the internal design – and seek out historic addresses when heading to the Orient.
So when I find myself in Kuala Lumpur, my first visit to the Malaysian capital, there is no chance I will stay anywhere but The Majestic Hotel which claims to be the city’s only heritage hotel.
The iconic address was built in 1932 but fell into disrepair following World War Two before being rescued and renovated by the YTL group during a seven-year restoration that wrapped in 2012 and included the addition of the 15-floor addition now called the Tower Wing.
I’m occupying a handsome chamber in the modern annex with the suite a sanctuary that mixes the 1930’s aesthetic so thoughtfully maintained during the remodel with a modern business-traveller convenience.
And while my west-facing room is too high to see anything but sky from the bath the window frames the puffy tropical clouds that gather above the horizon in every afternoon and the red sky that arrives with sunset.
The bathroom is equally spacious with the tub positioned in the centre of the room, so I must walk around it to get to the second of two sinks, and both the toilet and shower are in cubicles against the back wall.
There’s even a television hiding in the mirror above the bath so I settle on a movie, set the air-conditioner to arctic so I can fill the tub with the hottest water I can tolerate, and sink into the bubbles for a long soak after a big day sightseeing.
The cavernous lobby is complete with a round table, a mirrored piece sitting beneath a rococo recess painted gold, that’s always crowned with an oversized vase stuffed with colourful blooms.
The Majestic Hotel rests in one of KL’s most strollable neighbourhoods – opposite the elaborate old Malayan Railways Station that boasts fairy-tale features like turrets and spires – with the historic enclave also boasting vintage villas, a couple of modest museums, and an old-time church or two.
While there are many reasons to leave the hotel – KL is an intriguing city that demands to be explored – there is one very good reason to stay “home” and that’s the swimming pool perched up on the lobby roof.
It’s not a big pool, just big enough to escape splashing children, but is so warm and blue that I cancel my sightseeing plans one afternoon and occupy a lounge under an oversized blue umbrella to enjoy the tropical heat.