On a recent trip to Kuala Lumpur, springboard to exploring South East Asia, I wanted to stay near Bukit Bintang, shopping central with lots of options to shop and dine! I picked the Novotel Kuala Lumpur City Center for its great price during an Accor Private Sale and wasn’t disappointed – it’s great value in a great location!
Location: The Novotel Kuala Lumpur is located at the back of the Pavilion Mall in Bukit Bintang. The skybridge connects you with the mall in 5 minutes walk and in the other direction, you can reach the KLCC and the iconic Petronas Towers (about 20 minutes walk), making for a very convenient location to shop, sight see and eat! You also have access to the monorail at Raja Chulan Station (5 minute walk), connecting you to KL Sentral Station and other public transport options. The airport is about 1h45 minutes by public transport or about 1h by uber/taxi, depending on traffic, making this a less convenient location for short stopovers!
Service/Rewards: Service at the Novotel KLCC was a bit of a mixed bag, with some of the staff very professional and friendly, while others were rather disinterested. The hotel has bell staff, but they seemed to “hang out” in the lounger rather than assisting guests, not making for the best welcome. The check in took some time, but staff was friendly and professional. They did recognize my Accor LeClub Platinum status and upgraded me to a Suite – a generous, multiple-category upgrade. They also explained the access to the club lounge and other amenities of the hotel.
Housekeeping had an equally mixed report card: They cleaned the room thoroughly each day and restocked supplies appropriately, yet didn’t notice malfunctions in the room that should be repaired pro-actively.
The staff at the lounge was present and professional, but didn’t create the welcoming atmosphere I have come to expect at upscale hotels in Asia and was slow to restock food and drinks during breakfast.
Room: The Novotel is an older property, but well maintained. My suite consisted of a large living room, with a sitting area with TV, a large work desk with task chair and a small kitchenette, with a mini-bar and tea/coffee facilities. I liked the shiny hardwood floors and the furniture was in good condition, although not the latest style.
The bedroom had a king-size bed with a high, padded headboard, yet the mattress was oddly low. On the opposite wall is another desk and TV, giving you two places to watch movies or get some work done!
Past the bedroom is the large bathroom, with an open closet near the door, a glass enclosed shower to the left, the toilet and sink in the corner and a separate deep soaking tub under a window to the bedroom! There are privacy blinds that weren’t working properly and the faucet to fill the tub wasn’t working either – so it took a while for my relaxing bath to fill up with the handheld shower. The towels are of good quality and a full set of standard Novotel toiletries is provided.
The WiFi internet in the room was unreliable and speeds varied greatly from no internet in the evenings to more than 8Mbps in the mornings, with a measured average of 3.6Mbps. If you need to do some work during the day, you are ok, but if you are planning to stream movies in the evening, you are out of luck!
Overall, the room showed the property’s age and a renovation to the latest Novotel style and standards, like at the Novotel Manila, is due!
Amenities & Restaurant: The hotel has a large gym with a full set of cardio and weight equipment. All of it was a little older as well, but was working well and allowed a complete workout.
Outside the gym is the outdoor pool. It has a resort shape, better suited to dip in to refresh or play than to swim laps. There are a few loungers to relax and tables with chairs to sit. There is a bar as well with some lounge seating, but it wasn’t open during my stay.
One of the reasons I picked the Novotel is that it features a club lounge. As an Accor LeClub Platinum member, I have access to it and I really enjoy the happy hour and breakfast there, as it is typically more peaceful than the hotel restaurant or bar! The happy hour at the Novotel KLCC offers a limited choices of small snacks, soft drinks, beer and wine. The quality of the food offered was not as good as other Novotels in Asia. The same applied for the breakfast. It offered a selection of breads and pastries, as well as hot dishes, but the quality was more comparable to an ibis or Mercure hotel rather than other Novotels in the region!
Bottomline: The Novotel KLCC is an older property and it shows in the rooms and amenities – but with a price of only $49/night it’s great value – you can find the current prices here! I got a large suite with access to the lounge with free happy hour and breakfast, a pool and gym, all in walking distance from Bukit Bintang or the KLCC – for the price of an ibis hotel. That’s a great value proposition, I can forgive some of the shortcomings at that price point and would happily stay here again.