When the first person you encounter in the lift is carrying a massive gun, the best strategy is to stay calm and realise you’re staying in a hotel that hosts some very important people.
That was my first experience at the Mandarin Oriental in Kuala Lumpur – before even checking in. Because when you’re booked into a suite, you check in upstairs, at the Mandarin Oriental Club lounge.
Thankfully, no shots were fired and the gun carrier headed to his room, making check-in stress-free.
Some hotels are just made for business travellers, with every aspect catering to the expectations of a guest staying to work, conduct meetings or relax after a long day at a conference.
The property, located just steps away from the Petronas Twin Towers and KLCC mall, fits into this category. It has 571 rooms, 21 suites and 40 executive apartments. Most of the suites have a spacious living area with TV, sofa and a small dining table and guest bathroom.
In the bedroom, the comfortable king-size four-poster bed dominates the space, with as a large leather-top desk overlooking the Malaysian skyline beside it.
The desk is designed to be worked on, with an array of stationery (pens, pencils, paper, stapler, paper clips and envelopes), an international plugs station and ethernet cable. Newspapers are delivered daily to the room and Wi-Fi is fast and, more importantly, free.
Guests of these suites have access to the club lounge on the 24th floor, where complimentary breakfast, lunch and dinner is served as well as afternoon tea and light snacks throughout the day. The international menu changes daily. Compared to other hotel executive lounges, this is one of the best thanks to the quality of the food, service and the layout, which offers privacy in some sections – ideal for holding meetings.
Executive suite guests also receive a 20 per cent discount at the spa and five pieces of clothing laundered for free. There is also an iron and ironing board available in the rooms.
Yet something is missing. Despite the modern amenities available, the rooms were a little dated in decor, almost colonial.
q&a plenty of things to do
Triska Hamid expands on what the Mandarin Oriental in Kuala Lumpur has to offer the business traveller:
How much for a night?
A standard double room costs from US$150 per night, an executive room from $365 and a three-bed apartment from $605.
How many meeting rooms does the hotel have?
There are 11 meeting rooms and two ballrooms. Prices start from $152 per hour for a meeting room with various packages and menus available. Those with access to the club lounge get complimentary use of the club’s meeting rooms with coffee and tea facilities.
Is there a business centre?
Yes, but it is on the small side with three workstations and a couple of boardrooms.
Is it easy to get around the city?
Yes, there is a steady stream of taxis available outside the hotel at all hours. Uber is also available in Kuala Lumpur.
Tell us more about the restaurants and food.
Malaysia has a very rich dining culture, drawing influence from its ethnically diverse population. The Mandarin Oriental has 10 different restaurants and cafes offering cuisines that range from steak to sushi. Room service is just as varied; the breakfast set menu options start from $17 and go all the way up to $171. There is also a coffee machine and tea set available in the room.
What can I do if I want some time out?
Explore the local area, or get your blood pumping at the outdoor infinity pool or gym, which opens from 5am until 11pm. The hotel also has a spa and a nightclub as well as indoor golf.
* The writer was a guest of the hotel.
Follow The National's Business section on Twitter