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Energetic, colorful and culturally rich, there’s a lot to love about Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia’s capital city is a modern metropolis where tradition continues to thrive. With so much to explore, Kuala Lumpur is a fantastic destination for a stopover or a luxury city break. This guide will take you through the best sights, bars, restaurants and hotels to help you enjoy your Kuala Lumpur luxury city break.
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Kuala Lumpur is a year-round destination. It’s always hot and there’s always a chance of rain! March and April tend to be the wettest months, whilst May, June and July are drier. Rainstorms usually happen in the late afternoon and evening but I’ve found that with Southeast Asian weather there are rarely any guarantees.
The good news is that you can still have a lot of fun in Kuala Lumpur during a rainstorm. The weather really wasn’t great when I was there, but I still enjoyed my time in the city. There are plenty of upscale malls and entertainment complexes to shelter in should you need to – not to mention chic cafes and wonderful restaurants.
I’d say that 3 days is the ideal amount of time to spend in Kuala Lumpur. That’s enough time to dine, shop, sightsee and get a little relaxation in, too.
There are many amazing 5* hotels in Kuala Lumpur. All of my favorite chains, such as the Four Seasons and St. Regis, have hotels in this city. It was tough to narrow it down to just three favorites, but I managed it!
You can enjoy all the elegance and decadence you’d expect from a Four Seasons resort at their Kuala Lumpur property. You can enjoy live cooking shows at Curate’s kitchen and sample delicious regional Chinese cuisine at the Yun House restaurant. I’d also recommend stopping by the Trigona bar for a sustainable cocktail or two.
The Majestic Hotel is an iconic part of Kuala Lumpur’s colonial heritage. In its heyday, it was the city’s grandest hotel. The Majestic was a high society social hub where the elite went to see and be seen. However, it fell into disrepair after the Second World War and was converted into an art gallery in the 1980s. In 2012, the hotel was lovingly restored to its former glory and the new Tower Wing was added. Today, it offers guests a chance to experience the old-world class and charm of prewar Kuala Lumpur. The original Majestic Wing is charming and elegant, whilst the new Tower Wing is an impressive art deco masterpiece.
The Banyan Tree finds itself in the heart of the Golden Triangle, which is the city’s shopping and entertainment hub. Its sumptuous suites offer impressive views of the amazing Kuala Lumpur skyline, including the iconic Petronas Twin Towers. This funky, bright and modern hotel is a true luxury experience from start to finish.
If you prefer to go self-catered, there are also many luxury Airbnbs inside KL’s skyscrapers. I’ve picked a couple of my favorites out for you:
This spacious apartment is the perfect place to rest your head after a long day of sightseeing. Friendly Superhost Yvonne is always on hand to help and you’ll get access to the building’s gym and infinity swimming pool. Best of all, you can enjoy a view of the Petronas Towers as you soak in the bathtub.
The name says it all. This sleek apartment is well-equipped, spotlessly clean and hosted by an exceptionally friendly Airbnb superhost. It’s a ten-minute walk from the city centre and offers views of the twin towers, so you’ll be close to all of the action.
This stylish studio is bright, modern and thoughtfully decorated. It’s perfect for a solo traveler. It feels luxurious yet homely at the same time, with helpful hosts who are always happy to offer recommendations and travel tips.
The city centre is very walkable, but if you’re going a little further then your options are as follows:
Kuala Lumpur is hotly tipped as Southeast Asia’s next gourmet destination. There are many upscale restaurants to choose from in the city, but here are some of my favorite dining spots:
Have you ever heard of Japanese tapas – aka ‘Japas’? I hadn’t either, but that’s where Babe comes in. The restaurant is the brainchild of Michelin-starred chef Jeff Ramsey, who aims to honor seasonal Japanese produce with the ever-changing menu. It’s located on the 11th floor of the Clearwater building and thus offers amazing views as you enjoy this unique ‘fun dining’ experience.
A trip to Nobu is always a special experience, but even more so when the restaurant in question is located inside the Petronas towers. Eating a Michelin star meal from inside Malaysia’s most iconic building has to be the ultimate Kuala Lumpur luxury travel experience.
Marini’s is a restaurant, whiskey bar and cigar lounge located on the 57th (surprise surprise) floor of the Petronas Towers. No Kuala Lumpur luxury cit break is complete without dinner inside the twin towers. What can I say? I’m a sucker for dinner with a view. You’ll find some of the best Italian food in all of Malaysia in this exclusive ristorante, not to mention a huge selection of wine, champagne and cocktails.
Malaysian coffee – or kopi – is absolutely sensational and not to be missed on a trip to Kuala Lumpur. Robusta beans are roasted in sugar and margarine to give them a rich, dark flavor. If you order regular kopi, it will be served with condensed milk to give your brew a sweet, creamy flavor. Die-hard black coffee fans, meanwhile, should order kopi o kosong. Here are the best cafes to grab a cup:
Lokl serves western-style coffee alongside amazing local blends – definitely go for the latter if you happen upon this hipster hotspot located in the historic city centre. It’s an uber-cool hangout which also serves trendy brunch food – I highly recommend the Truffle Croque Monsieur or the Thai breakfast omelette.
Address: 30, Jalan Tun H S Lee, City Centre
Another too-cool-for-school coffee hotspot, VCR is all about good coffee and vintage vibes. They’ve got a great selection of cakes on offer too, including a rather spectacular peanut butter and banana cake.
Address: 2, Jalan Galloway, Bukit Bintang
If you’ve ever wanted to dive into a comic book world, now’s your chance. Everything in this cafe has been hand-painted to appear two dimensional and honestly, it’s pretty trippy. It’s a really fun place to stop by, grab some bubble tea and take some quirky photos but I’m not sure I could hang out here for hours – it would start to mess with my head!
Address: 2D Cafe, F-03-10, Sunway Geo Avenue, Jalan Lagoon Selatan
The majestic Batu Caves are a very important Hindu landmark, so remember to dress appropriately. The Cathedral Cave, which houses many shrines, is the most popular of the three. It’s located inside a limestone hill and it’s a mere 272 steps to the top. The good news is the steps themselves are worth seeing. They’re painted in rainbow colors which makes for an amazing photoshoot.
Since their completion in 1998, the Petronas Towers have been a proud symbol of Kuala Lumpur. No visit to the city is complete without a glimpse of these iconic twin skyscrapers. There are two observation decks to enjoy; one on the 86th floor of the second tower, and the sky bridge that connects the two towers. Buying tickets on site involves getting up early and joining a very long queue, so I highly recommend booking your tickets online in advance which you can do here.
Of course, it’s also possible to enjoy a trip up the towers if you visit either Nobu or Marini’s, as recommended above.
Kuala Lumpur’s Central Market is a great place to while away an hour or two. It’s a large, indoor market that’s surprisingly calm and orderly. There are plenty of stands to check out, selling everything from handmade jewellery to batik and local artwork. Street food lovers will find plenty to enjoy here, too.
Stop by this gorgeous six-tiered temple to get a look at one of the oldest and most impressive Chinese temples in Malaysia. It’s an extraordinarily ornate building covered with lanterns, artwork and mosaics.
The impressive Jamek Mosque – also known as the Friday Mosque – is Kuala Lumpur’s oldest religious building. It features a combination of Moorish, Islamic and Mughal architectural styles and presents an almost irresistible photo opportunity. In order to enter the mosque, you must dress modestly. Shawls and scarves are available to borrow at the entrance if you don’t have one.
Helicopter pad by day, sky bar by night – does it get any cooler than that? This open air bar might give you vertigo, but it’s worth it for the incredible views of Kuala Lumpur as it sparkles after dark. You really can’t miss out on a cocktail at this awesome nightlife spot.
Address: 34 Menara KH, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Bukit Bintang
There are over 100 different types of rum on offer at this tropical-themed speakeasy bar. It’s a cosy, nostalgic spot that’s perfect for a quiet drink – or two.
Address: 15M, Jalan Medan Setia 1, Bukit Damansara
I saved the best ’til last! Altitude is part of the gorgeous Banyan Tree hotel. It’s a suave bar with a carefully curated selection of fine wines and panoramic views of Kuala Lumpur’s magnificent skyline. There’s no better spot for a nightcap.
Address: no 2 level, 53, Jalan Conlay
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