Kuala Lumpur is a sometimes overlooked gem. It’s overshadowed by its glitzy cousin, Singapore, but this city has its own vibrancy and a unique character that deserves to be promoted. It’s not just a stop-over en route to some rather nice beaches, it can be an exciting and exotic destination in its own right.
It’s the federal capital and most populous city in Malaysia with an area of 243 sprawling square kilometres (94 sq mi) and has an estimated population of 1.6 million. It’s the official residence of the Malaysian King and has played host to many international, sporting and cultural events over the years including the Commonwealth Games and the Formula One Grand Prix. Even those of us who have not the slightest interest in excellence on the track for either man or machine will surely know that Kuala Lumpur is home to the spectacular Petronas Twin Towers.
The ground floor entrance to the Grand Hyatt is imposing, spacious and airy and what one would hope for in this standard of Asian hotel. Its sweeping staircase, pond and a crescent-shaped sculpture which is symbolic of Brunei and Malaysia, is the centrepiece. A circular coloured glass art feature inscribed with a classic welcoming verse from the Quran, “A thousand dinar,” stands near the entrance to the ground floor restaurant.
Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur is a 39-storey hotel that officially opened on August 24, 2012. Its location is superb in every regard. Those towers decorate the view in the most impressive fashion from the hotel lobby – that is the Sky lobby for check-in, on the top floor. One has a sense of height and space when one looks towards the towers.
This well-appointed hotel has spacious accommodation that includes 370 regular rooms and 42 suites. Those suites are remarkable in both style and facilities, and equal, in this traveller’s opinion, to the best you will find anywhere. The floor-to-ceiling windows give views over the city or to the Towers, making the panorama quite memorable when appreciated from the vantage point of a roomy, round, marble bathtub. It’s a pampering and sensual experience.
The hotel is aware that many of its guests must work. Its proximity to the Convention Centre assures many business visitors who would, doubtless, much rather be lounging in the bath-with-a-view than working. The desk is substantial with every connection for entertainment and communication that a budding executive might need.
Kuala Lumpur has a wealth of dining options and luckily one of the best can be found on the ground floor of this very hotel. JP teres showcases the most iconic of Malaysian dishes in a contemporary restaurant and terrace. The open kitchen adds to the atmosphere, which attracts both hotel guests and locals alike.
JP teres features some of the most traditional of Malaysian dishes. There are both indoor and outdoor dining areas set amongst lush greenery and trickling water. The ambiance is tranquil and cool but the food is vibrant and exotic.
I love Asian food in general and I find that Malaysian cuisine offers so much that is exciting in this culinary region. The food ranges from the spicy and addictive to the mild and comforting. Desserts are not forgotten and they take advantage of local ingredients to produce confections that will gladden the heart of anyone with a sweet craving.
Samosa – Potato, peas, Indian spices are familiar to every lover of Indian food but they are a popular snack or starter in Malaysia, which is a country of ethnic diversity, and that has added to the complexity of cuisine and breadth of dishes on offer. Indian food is well represented at JP teres, which has an imported tandoor, and the Chef de Cuisine Azman Ahmad, although a local lad, draws upon his sub-continental heritage.
Pilihan aneka satay – barbecued skewers – must be the national dish. In Malaysia those flavourful kebabs are served with cucumber, onion and compressed rice cake, along with the peanut sauce.
Otak otak is one of my favourite dishes from the Malay peninsula. It’s a peranakan dish and is made by mixing fish paste (most often mackerel) with spices. The resulting fish mousse is usually wrapped in a banana leaf and cooked. It’s a must-try for any visitor.
Curry laksa – Yellow noodles, tofu, shrimp, fishcake, beansprouts, mint and chicken in a curry broth is a classic and ubiquitous dish …and moreish.
Nasi lemak – Coconut rice, fried chicken, egg, crispy whitebait, cucumber, peanuts, sambal – is a leaf-wrapped parcel that is often consumed for breakfast but is popular at any time of the day
Murgh makhani – tandoor-oven roasted chicken, tomato and kashmiri chilli – is a dish from India and is one of the most popular across the globe.
Rendang daging – Braised beef, lemongrass, galangal, turmeric leaf, spices and coconut combine to make one of the most delightful dishes in the region. The meat is cooked to tender perfection in an aromatic sauce.
Carrot cake – White radish, shrimp, chilli paste, pickled vegetables, sweet soy sauce make this unique dish. That white radish is in fact mooli or dikon that cooks with rice flour to give a type of vegetable pasta. Don’t miss this one.
Pandan Chiffon Cake is beautifully impressive. It has the texture of an American Angel Food Cake but that pandan is the key ingredient. It’s a leaf that is used extensively in this region and it gives an unmistakable flavour and colour. A light cake to enjoy with a cup of tea.
Chendol is a refreshing dessert of shaved ice, coconut milk, pandan jelly and gula melaka (palm sugar). I find this far lighter than regular ice cream and it’s difficult to replicate at home as the ice shavings are very fine, so try it here. The gula melaka is an essential part of the dessert and brings an almost caramel sweetness.
Pineapple tarts – bite-size shortbread-style cookies (biscuits) that are topped with pineapple jam. The fruit is cooked down to a soft paste with a golden hue, with a sweet and mellow flavour.
Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur offers accessible luxury laced with Asian charm and attention to detail. The staff are professional and friendly and will make any weary traveller feel at home. The hotel location makes this one of the world’s greats.
Daily, 11:30am – 11:00pm
For more information phone: +60 3 2182 1234 extension 2333
or email email@example.com
Dress: Smart casual
Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
12 Jalan Pinang
Phone: +60 3 2182 1234
Fax: +60 3 2182 1288
Visit Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur here
For more information on Malaysian holidays visit Malaysia Airlines Deals here
Hotel and Restaurant review by Chrissie Walker © 2018