For over two years since March 2020, Malaysia had closed its borders. There were multiple lockdowns, during which no interstate or inter-district travels were permitted.
In fact, people were not allowed to travel beyond a 10-kilometre radius from their homes, except with official letters from employers, doctors, etc. But most businesses remained open, and that included restaurants, retail stores, supermarkets, and even hotels.
So in February 2021, after months of staying put at home, I decided to give myself a break by checking into a hotel in my area.
DoubleTree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur
The Hilton DoubleTree is located within an upscale shopping center — The Intermark on Jalan Ampang.
It’s easily accessible by public transports, with frequent buses and a pedestrian bridge that connects it to the Ampang Park LRT station, which is one station away from KLCC (Petronas Twin Towers).
Although there’s nothing much in its immediate vicinity apart from the Intermark itself and a few banks and office buildings in the area, its proximity to the LRT station means you can easily get to any location in Kuala Lumpur.
I walked there from the Twin Towers and it took me more or less 15 minutes.
Room Rate at DoubleTree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur
During the pandemic, most hotels slashed their prices to encourage domestic travel, since they were not getting any international tourists. Some even offered day rates for those who wished to work from hotel rooms during the day instead of at home.
For my stay in a Double Room at DoubleTree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur, I paid RM180 (room rate) + RM18 (taxes) = RM198.
I’m not sure how much the discount was or if there was any, but for a weekend stay and a last-minute booking at that (I booked just a few minutes before check-in time), I think it was quite a good deal — cheaper than similar hotels in the same location.
Since the hotel is inside a mall, you actually have to go through the mall to get to the reception. There’s no separate entrance.
The reception is located one level up from the main entrance of the mall. It’s on the same level as the pedestrian bridge from Ampang Park LRT station.
Due to its location, the hotel lobby is rather small — only a narrow walkway with a few settees and coffee tables lined up along it.
But the check-in process went smoothly. I paid by card and wasn’t asked for any deposit. Despite several reviews I had read that said the service could do with some improvement, I found no fault in it whatsoever. Shalinda, who attended to me, was very polite and helpful.
The Free Cookies!
The service may be great and all, but the best way to my heart is through my stomach, and it seemed like this hotel knew my weak point.
If other hotels had welcome drinks, the DoubleTree offered something different: welcome cookies! Apparently, this is a long-standing tradition at the DoubleTree hotels worldwide, with over 30 million cookies consumed every year. But since this was my first time being their guest, it was a pleasant surprise.
And best of all, the cookies were still warm, like they just came out of the oven!
The cookies (yes I’m still raving about the cookies) are the crunchy type, with generous chunks of chocolate chips and chopped walnuts. I liked that they were not too sweet and the size made each one of them quite a substantial snack.
I can imagine myself arriving at the hotel tired and hungry after a long flight, and being presented with this gloriously warm cookie at check-in. What a thoughtful gesture, really! I think I’d go for cookies over drinks anytime.
I was assigned Room 1719 on the 17th floor.
The Double Room, although the cheapest, was quite spacious, with a king-size bed, a desk with a proper office chair, and a sofa by the windows.
The fridge was empty (which made me wonder if the days of hotel minibars were really long gone), but there was a kettle and a selection of teas and coffee available.
The bathroom contained a walk-in shower with a rain shower head, and the toilet was right next to it. There was no bathtub, which was fine by me, because I’m not fond of long baths anyway.
But what pleased me the most were the toiletries: Crabtree & Evelyn with the refreshing scents of verbena and lavender. This, to me, was considered a luxury, as my toiletries at home were usually the cheapest ones I could find at the dollar store.
After a hot shower, I spent the rest of the day watching Nat Geo and FOX Movies, and making use of the free WiFi to get some work done on my laptop.
It felt good to be sitting on an ergonomic chair at a proper desk, after so long working from home (which typically involved lying down on my bed with a cardboard box as a makeshift laptop stand).
I booked a room without breakfast, although if I wanted one, I could have it for an additional amount of RM64. Due to the pandemic, the buffet breakfast was unavailable, but replaced with an ala-carte one instead, served at their Makan Kitchen restaurant between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m.
This, however, was the least of my concerns as I never wake up early enough for breakfast.
In-room dining was also available from 6 a.m. – 11 p.m. daily. However, with the premium pricing, I would rather just go down to the various restaurants and cafes at the shopping mall, or order a delivery.
List of restaurants at the DoubleTree Kuala Lumpur:
- Makan Kitchen (Level 11)
- Tosca – Italian Restaurant (Level 10)
- The Food Store and Axis Lounge (Level 1)
Safety Measures at Hilton Hotels During the Pandemic
As guests’s safety is their top priority, Hilton has partnered with RB, the producer of hygiene products — including Lysol and Dettol — to create the Hilton CleanStay program.
Through this program, the hotel chain promises to build on their already rigorous cleaning standards to help deliver an even cleaner stay for their guests.
This was evident from the Hilton CleanStay Room Seal, focused disinfection of high-touch surfaces in the guest room, as well as the notices in common areas reminding guests to maintain a safe distance from one another.
On top of that, they also increased the scheduled cleaning of public spaces and introduced some changes to their amenities and services:
- Face masks were required to be worn in all public areas, including restaurants and the hotel lobby.
- The gym on level 10 allowed only a maximum of 8 guests at a time.
- The swimming pool, sauna, and steam room were closed.
- All guests must be registered with valid identification at the Front Desk, for contact tracing purposes.
- The number of guests in the room at any one time must not exceed the maximum occupancy of the room. Unregistered visitors were not permitted to visit the rooms.
When I travel abroad, I tend to avoid big hotel chains — firstly because of the price, and secondly because they all start to look the same after a while. I prefer something that exudes more character.
But with no international travel for the past one year and probably none in the near future, I suddenly felt in the mood for some 5-star treatment in my own city. And I didn’t regret choosing the DoubleTree Kuala Lumpur.
Although I must say that it’s not much different from any other 5-star hotel in the city, what really got me hooked was the cookie at check-in. And the fact that the Front Desk officer actually took the time to check in on me through text messages.
It’s interesting how such little things can make a huge difference.
Have you stayed at DoubleTree by Hilton, Kuala Lumpur? What was your experience like? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.