Take me to the Hilton was one of the catch phrases of advertising a good few years ago – what has happened to it? Stop clicking around, to encourage people to go straight to hilton.com rather than use a horrid OTA (my adjective not theirs) is getting traction, and working, but the gal would still like to see ‘take me to the Hilton’ brought back into use. Well, if you are in Kuala Lumpur, Hilton has been a magnet for many years. There was a splendid old Hilton near where is now KLCC but then it became something innocuous, and now there is a gorgeous 12-year old Hilton at Sental, right by the main rail station. No wonder this practical luxury hotel is so popular…
You can take the train direct to the airport, in 28 minutes, or go one stop in the other direction to the Petronas Towers, and KLCCand the city centre. Realistically, they have gone on the food tack, starting with the ground floor and flowing up in a big open-circle, so you walk up until you get to the restaurant of your choice – it reminds me of the Flying Elephant concept at Park Hyatt Chennai but that has an oval walkway which winds up past what is basically one restaurant with different seating areas whereas here the circular walkway goes past specifically-differentiated restaurants. Start at ground level, with a superb multi-station, multi-nationality buffet space, as shown here on the right, and walk on up. We chose what had been, at opening, the fine dining Senses but now, as in the rest of the world, haute cuisine has given way to realistic eating, here in the form of a plausible French bistro, Graze, with lovely easy to eat food.
The kitchen had just received a supply of fresh truffles, and grated on thick pasta with a poached egg on top, wow it looked good. I, however, went for fresh burrata, and a small helping of hot-smoked Loch Fyne salmon. Then Linda Pecoraro, the Italian-Melburnian who runs the 510-room hotel when the area director Jamie Mead is away elsewhere in his area, showed me the Startrac gym and spa, both shared with the adjacent Le Meridien, which is owned by a ‘relation’ of this owner, Daishu – they also partly share the expansive outside pool area, which must be weird (Linda Pecoraro says the two competing hotels work very well together on this). The pool has a kids’ water slide, which really encourages weekend business – staycations are very popular here in Kuala Lumpur, apparently.
I would definitely choose a Club room here – the 33rd floor Club Lounge, which has a mezzanine, is really light and airy. It does make me wonder why anyone, regardless of the brand, puts up a luxury hotel today without a club lounge. Such a semi-exclusive space gives more intimate lounging capabilities than a main lobby lounge and here, sensibly, they discourage kids after seven o’clock. Sit up at the lounge’s communal table and have a whisky, THE drink for smart young Malay aspirants, and plan which of the many restaurants to go on to, for dinner. SEE THE VIDEO, BELOW, ON DINING CHOICES HERE AT HILTON KUALA LUMPUR.