Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Stepping into the Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur is like stepping back in time to the heydays of British colonial Malaya in the 1930s. Staff in pristine cream uniforms and topee welcome me in the commodious art deco lobby. I am checking in the Tower Wing of the newly restored Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur. In the boom years of colonial Malaya just before World War ll, the epicentre of social gathering for the high society, colonial ruling class, celebrities, wealthy planters and movers and shakers of that era was the Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur. It was a brand ranking among the league of the grand hotels in the east at the time such as Raffles in Singapore, Eastern & Oriental in Penang and The Strand in Yangon (Myanmar). Style and elegance were the hallmarks of these grand dames of luxury accommodation where the well heeled would wine and dine, partake in tea dances, afternoon tea and curry tiffins. One could imagine the colonial officers and their wives gossiping and guffawing at one another’s jokes or complaining about their native servants.
This travel article describes our experience of our stay at the Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur.
The small 51-room hotel reputedly served the best food in town and the rooms had hot and cold showers and long baths that were a big deal in those days. The hotel was a magnet for seasoned travellers and eccentrics while artists and writers sought refuge there for inspiration. Sadly it was mothballed into obscurity after its closure in 1983 when new modern hotels came to the fore and its business declined. It was left derelict for years until YTL Hotels, Malaysia’s leading hotelier, brings it back to its former glory. The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur was given a major facelift with restoration work spanning over a decade with the architectural team painstakingly rebuilding its structure, replicating its vintage decor and breathing new life into its dormant soul.
At Her Majestic Service
The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur is once again poised to be a landmark hotel in Malaysia operating under the banner of the YTL Classic Hotels. The original building has been named The Majestic Wing with 48 luxuriously appointed suites embracing the traditional features of its pedigree accented with art decor nuances and complete with butler service. Each room echoes the march of history. It is complemented by a new 15-storey Tower Wing with 253 luxurious guest rooms decked out in symphony of chic grey and black and bathrooms entirely enclosed within glass walls, a bold and very see-through feature!
A new addition is the Majestic Spa featuring signature treatments with colonial undertones. I opt for the English Afternoon Tea, a treatment not quite for oral enjoyment but nevertheless deliciously relaxed with antioxidant berries scrub and massage followed by a fragrant English rose natural facial and finished with a chamomile-soothing bath. It is a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the pulsating city centre nearby.
A Lethal Cocktail
The old world style bar and tea salon which serves afternoon tea in the Majestic Wing have been lovingly restored with its original gold-leaf dome ceiling as its crowning feature. This popular watering hole recreates original classic cocktails as homage to its glorious past. One of the most popular cocktails here is “Code 55 & 2 Bulat” which apparently is in reminiscence of an amusing true incident during the colonial days when an irate lady stormed into the Majestic one night and parked herself at a table where her husband was dining with his lady companion. When the barman asked for her order, the intruder hissed, “ Code 55 and 2 Bulat” much to the puzzlement of the barman as there was no such cocktail on the menu. He soon realised he was witnessing a love triangle drama unfolding before his very eyes. What the lady meant was “Colt 55 (revolver) and 2 bullets” to finish the cheating pair off. Luckily a bloodbath was avoided when the lady was ushered out of the building. The cocktail is a concoction of lemonade and beer served in a large glass with two test tubes containing whisky and vodka to represent the two bullets.
At the bar, it is all very Casablanca with the barman mixing the “Code 55 and 2 Bulat” for me while the resident pianist, attired in a Humphrey Bogart style cream jacket and black trousers, the uniforms of all the staff, tinkling the ivories playing tunes of old favourites of nostalgia. Sipping my cocktail, all I can say is “Play it again Sam” and toast to the success of the new Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur.
This travel article described our experience of our stay at the Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur.
Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur is the only hotel in Kuala Lumpur to be included in the Leading Hotels of the World as one of the iconic and legendary hotels of the world. www.majestickl.com
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