By Shahida Sakeri on May 30, 2018
As part of a defining component of Marriott International that contributes to the brand’s vivaciousness and vibrancy since it also possesses W Hotel’s genes, the Aloft brand primarily focusses on three core elements that are cutting edge but do not break the bank to remain desirable: design, technology and music. And Aloft KL Sentral melds these elements exceptionally well.
The hotel sits adjacent to Kuala Lumpur’s major transport hub and gateway, KL Sentral, which includes access to exciting attractions within the city. Nu Sentral Shopping Mall is also an immediate earshot away. A quick walk outside of the hotel, moreover, leads guests to Brickfields – the city’s very own Little India – with plenty of historical and cultural attractions if they wish to explore ‘like a local’.
My stay at Aloft KL Sentral coincided with the hectic Kuala Lumpur Ready-to-wear Fashion Week. Thanks to the hotel’s central location, I found it easy to travel to and from Pavilion Kuala Lumpur where the shows were held and take a breather in between. The hotel itself, in fact, is one of the chicest in Klang Valley. Upon arrival, I was greeted by a smiling lady behind a circular reception counter that looks almost like a DJ booth. The lobby feels modern and sleek with clean lines, white floors and shiny metal columns. Not far from the reception counter are the social spaces with colourful comfortable couches on one side and an Xbox and charging pods on the other.
The rest of the hotel is trendy no doubt, but never at the expanse of comfort. My Urban Room, for example, is equally sleek and features loft-like decor with soaring eleven-foot ceiling. The large window makes the room feel bright and spacious, cleverly paired with the surrounding muted grey walls and innovative space-saving touches like hidden cupboard that stores iron facilities and torchlight. Aloft KL Sentral creates a local sense of place inside the room with the use of a cheeky Malaysian-inspired artwork by a local artist, placed above the hotel’s signature platform bed.
Other thoughtful additions include a recycle bin, a JBL Stereo, a striking pink bean bag, complimentary mini bar (only for Urban Rooms and Suites) and the ultimate guide book to eating and drinking according to Time Out KL. The view is amazing, too, affording a splendid panorama of the city’s skyscrapers including the brand’s sister hotels namely Le Meridien and The St. Regis KL. When it is time to sleep, the push of a button triggers the motorised blackout shades to cover the window.
The tasteful bathroom – which is stocked with exclusive Bliss Spa products – sports a contemporary look with ash grey floors, purple wall tiles and an oversized showerhead. The bathroom’s semi-open cabinet is also huge, enough to store my hand-carry sized luggage with plenty more space at the bottom for several pairs of shoes. The sliding full-length mirrored cabinet door also makes it effortless to check head-to-toe outfit before leaving the room.
Moreover, I love the fact that the room is designed with the digital generation in mind. Strategically-located power plugs on the bedsides are convenient for me to charge my multiple devices at once and within reach. The room is also equipped with a unique plug-and-play connectivity solution that connects most electronic devices to the 42” flat-screen LCD TV, making it easier for me to watch my media content on a bigger screen. Interestingly, the technology component of Aloft brand doesn’t end there. Members of Starwood’s Preferred Guest Program can take advantage of SPG Keyless app, which allows tech-savvy guests use their mobile phones as keys to their rooms.
Additionally, in a world where social media is shaping society, Aloft KL Sentral is fostering a sense of shared community by encouraging guests to upload their favourite memories at the hotel onto their social media platforms. These tagged images will then be featured on the hotel’s very own version of ‘Wall of Fame’, also known as the ‘Social Media Wall’, located at the lobby floor towards the WXYZ Bar.
Speaking of the bar, I realised that WXYZ Bar becomes a focal point come weekends. Weary locals and travellers sit to enjoy handcrafted seasonal cocktails, mocktails and conversation here. Open mic session also happens at the bar on some Friday nights, while aspiring home-grown talents perform on every other Friday nights. And as a music lover myself, I was enthralled to find out about the Project Aloft Star, whereby Aloft brand collaborates with MTV Asia to search for emerging singer-songwriters throughout Greater China (Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan) and South East Asia (Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia). Like-minded guests who love music might also be interested to try catching the glimpse of these aspiring stars if they were to perform at certain Aloft properties in Asia, including Aloft KL Sentral.
Guests who are particular with food will find Aloft KL Sentral’s myriad of food options appealing. Start with the hotel’s halal-certified all-day dining restaurant, Nook, which mimics the hotels’ energy with futuristic design featuring private pods, Rafflesia art and dazzling lighting designed by Raimond Puts. The restaurant serves a fantastic combination of local and international fares, with favourites that include Sarawak Laksa, Nook’s Luscious Beef, Lamb Shank Masala and Zaki’s Curry Udang Nenas. The breakfast spread is extensive, too.
On Sunday morning, I decided to go to Nook at 9:45 a.m. – almost close to the end of breakfast time – to witness how the dining outlet staff would perform during that juncture under increasing pressure to start clearing the space while at the same time meeting guests’ last-minute demands. Mind you, the crowd on weekends could seem never-ending. The verdict? The staff managed the entire situation impressively well. With a cup of coffee in hand, I saw the staff remaining composed and professional when attending to guests no matter how busy they were. Guests were swiftly whisked to their seats and tables were cleared speedily as soon as they finished.
For a change of atmosphere, guests should also dine at the Tiki-themed Mai Bar on the rooftop. During one afternoon meal, my friend and I savoured a grilled seafood feast comprising succulent tiger prawns, mussels, squids and seabass fillets. They were all delicious, fresh and perfectly grilled, impressing my dining companion, who is a budding chef too. The platter paired well with the flavourful roasted pear salad should you want to go light for your lunch. But if you want to go all out, there are always abundant options of pizzas and pastas to choose from the menu.
One night after the show, I came back to the hotel quite late and was feeling rather famished. Fortunately, there is Re:fuel., a fuss-free food station at the lobby that opens 24/7 for non-stop eating and imbibing. The menu is designed to provide quick bites like gourmet sandwiches and pastries on-the-go even during the wee hours. An extension to this outlet is the first hotel food truck in Malaysia called Re:fuel on Wheels, affectionately called R.O.W., which serves comfort food like nasi lemak, fried noodle, chicken rice, pulled beef burger and spaghetti bolognaise. The truck is located right next to the entrance to the lobby; however, the food truck only opens on weekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., catering to the crowd from the nearby offices.
During the day, guests may jump into or lounge around the rooftop infinity pool while taking in the panoramic view of the city’s skyline. Alternatively, health conscious guests can get their fitness fix at re:charge, the hotel’s 24/7 fitness centre equipped with stationary bikes, treadmills and elliptical machines from Life Fitness.
So all in all, was I satisfied with my stay at Aloft KL Sentral? Definitely. The hotel performs extraordinarily well in every aspect – be it location, service, style, facilities and soul. But above all, it affects the way how you feel. Life is good here and I can imagine myself staying at the hotel in long periods. It definitely has my vote as the best hotel for millennials in the city due to its digital convenience and fun character.