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The Shangri-La, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The Webster dictionary defines Shangri-La as a remote and beautiful imaginary place where life approaches perfection, otherwise known as utopia. It also describes it as a remote usually idyllic hideaway. I’d say this is an apt name for the hotel except it’s not hidden nor in a remote place, but everything else matches.

The term originates from James Hilton’s 1933 novel Lost Horizon as an earthly paradise, where the inhabitants are almost immortal, living hundreds of years beyond the normal lifespan and aging at a very slow rate. It is this slice of immortality that Shangri-La attempts to capture, from welcome to departure, so should a guest return they are made to feel as though they never left.

The lobby welcomes you with a fresh aroma which fills the air as you enter

Arriving at the Shangri-La, you are welcomed by staff and a beautiful red floral bouquet as a centrepiece surrounded by marble pillars that evoke a feeling of opulence. The Victorian furniture and scent of vanilla and musk with a hint of bergamot and ginger sets the tone for the relaxing and refreshing stay that’s in store. Water is a theme at the hotel with aquatic life found throughout the outdoor area for fish-feeding activities reserved for guests and children and a water fountain emanating from between the spiral staircase. The hotel is surrounded by luscious gardens that make picturesque scenery for selfies and the professional photographer alike, keeping in association with the KL Forest Eco Park nearby. Check in was a breeze, accompanied with a smile and an activity passport for children to ensure boredom was never permitted through the hotel’s wide entrance. 

The award-winning luxury 5-star hotel doesn’t disappoint when you arrive at your room. Selection of lodgings is difficult as with over 600 rooms at the hotel and 10 different categories ranging from Deluxe to the Royal Suite, however it’s worth noting that even the smallest sized Deluxe room is larger than most other hotels’ and all rooms boast a panoramic view of either the city or gardens. With velvet backed chairs and brazenly tanned wood furniture that is offset by a demure cream colour scheme across the room, the deep maroon wall features add to a carefully selected palette that oozes warmth and royalty. Elevated lamps at either side of the bed against a mirrored wall fixture allows the room to maximise its light use while the Royal Suite opts for a more traditional floor standing lamp and bedside light too. The bathrooms are marbled throughout from floor to ceiling, allowing the shiny reflection in an oversized and illuminated vanity mirror to capture all available light. The basins, bathtub and shower all fit into the amber colour scheme with functionally placed spotlights beaming down. A framed image of a red sunset is visible throughout the bathroom, reminding guests that when the sun goes down, this temporary home is calling. 

The magnificent koi pond at the Shangri-La

Activities on site include a mesmerising koi pond, the aforementioned daily fish feeding, a swimming pool with a spectacular view of the Menara Tower, spas and massages, family yoga sessions, Aqua Zumba, events in the ballroom and a kitchen tour for children which gets them in their own apron, chef’s hat and allows them to prepare their own Malaysian spring rolls. There’s even a cinema for special movie nights. Our children revelled in the midnight blue lighting, big screen and popcorn machine ready to serve up delights to munch on when the weather played up but would also be suited for a quiet night in. Whether you opt for the rear sofas, ones up front, the soft carpet or even the miniature tents for children to watch from, the Shangri-La has gone the extra mile to create a cosy cinematic alternative. The children loved their own personal cinema and the child in me wished the I had access to such luxuries at all hotels, but c’est la vie.

An impressive cinema room is perfect for movie nights

Complete with popcorn machine

The breakfast at the Lemon Garden is included in the price for a night’s stay and after viewing the spread on the buffet station, many would be tempted to extend their stay. It was such an impressive spread that we felt the need to honour the miniature banquet by dressing up for breakfast – a rare treat for some! An assortment of international cuisine is on offer including Malay specialities, Asian and western, sweet and savoury and even chocolate fountains which are usually flocked to by children and adults of all ages, desiring to dip in and taste. On offer is freshly baked pastries, fried food, fresh fruit, cereals, breads, smoked salmon, a sushi bar, an entire station devoted to eggs prepared in a number of ways, soups, dosas, juices, teas, coffees and more. There is also the option to take your breakfast into the garden behind the hotel to look out at the magnificent vista as you start the day. There are over 8 restaurants with dining options on site and even Michelin-star chef Jean-Philippe Guiard specialty French cuisine is on offer in the elegant Lafite on the ground level. Shang Palace serves Chinese food as well as having an extensive range of seafood on offer and if Japanese is more your style, then Zipangu is the place to go. Here you’ll find the only place you can eat Halal-certified Wagyu beef directly imported from Japan. 

Petronas Towers

Located in the centre of the commercial, shopping and entertainment district, most attractions are within walkable distance. A short taxi ride will get you to the Petronas Towers, KLCC, Bukit Bintang and the KL Tower. Should you forget to pick up souvenirs and wish to purchase them, then a gift shop inside the hotel offers quaint locally produced items including handicraft, KL themed tourist offerings and even aromatherapy oil that captures the fragrance of Shangri-La.

Staff service par excellence, fantastic views, a roster full of activities to keep the young ones happily occupied, fine cuisine and a decent location brings the mythical Shangri-La to life in a manner deserving of its name. The Shangri-La delivers on all accounts outdoing anything close to remotely being competition with excess to spare. It is slightly pricier than other hotels in the region but then its worth paying the extra for a slice of earthly paradise.

The price paid at this hotel was £90 for a family of 5 with breakfast feast included.


SE Staff Writer.


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