Apparently the view from the summit, also known as Marriott’s pinnacle, is that J.W. Marriott is going to be up there on a luxury level with Ritz-Carlton and St Regis. The gal went to have a look at one of Malaysia’s most opulent city centre hotels, J.W. Marriott, owned by YTL and actually adjacent to its St Regis Kuala Lumpur. J.W. is Grand Hyatt or even Versace-like. Its lobby has acres of marble and a crystal neon coil that wafts upwards. The lobby is gorgeous, but then so too are views from some of the bedrooms (see above).
The two hotels are absolutely separate as far as customers are concerned but obviously there is a lot of sharing, back of house and out of public view. J.W. guests have their own gym, and spa, and pool, and a splendid club which certainly comes into its own at cocktail time when a chef cooks up noodles or whatever, on demand. All J.W.ers too, can head down to Starhill Gallery, which is marbled walkways of designer stores, with one ‘street’ entirely brand-name watches, a reminder that the powers, at YTL if not Marriott, seem to be into timepieces, and the more the better.
YTL’s portfolio includes the Swatch Art Peace Hotel in Shanghai, which has retail shops on the ground floor, opening on to The Bund, for four of the Swatch brands, which include Longines. On top of that hotel is a Shook! international restaurant, and there is a 150-seat Shook! here too in Kuala Lumpur. I lunched there, with J.W. Manager Yannick Mauchle, just before he rushed off to Langkawi for the weekend (yes, coming from Switzerland he had toyed with ‘business’, first banking and then insurance but he found them both so boring). The Shook! kitchen composed a fascinating sashimi boat for me, a bit of a change from the mass-feeding fare they will be producing for over 400 at tonight’s Iftar, which Muslims devour as soon as sunset allows them to end the day’s fast.
Cleverly, this 578-room hotel manages to combine eating with all its luxury shopping. Afternoon tea is served right in front of Louis Vuitton, which must be good selfie material. They certainly encourage you to eat and drink here – they also promote exercise. This is the only luxury place I have checked into where the bedroom television, turned on as is general industry standard, shows a hotel video starring two Joffrey Ballet stars, with words indicating how many times I, and an everyone, should do this lunge, that plié. Soon, perhaps, J.W. Marriott may have even more of a following. Discussions are under way to turn upper floors of Starhill Gallery into another 150 bedrooms, which could well be a wing of the hotel. As I left, end-of-day feasting was not only beginning in Shook! but in streets around. NOW SEE VIDEOS OF MY SUITE, AND STARHILL GALLERY