Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur, Chinatown seems to hit all the right notes in the hospitality industry: it has a fantastic location, wonderful amenities and superb service. Besides, it helps that the hotel is beautifully-designed; a few seconds in its lift and I am already impressed by the taste of the individuals who were responsible for designing this property.
As the lift door opens on the seventh floor where the lobby is situated, I am taken in by the sheer attention to details put into the interior by the design team. Imagine a bright airy space with sunny hues, dark wood reception desk, comfy sofa seating, decorative floor-to-ceiling metal lattice, matching traditional tiles, and richly-coloured walls. At the far end, there are exposed walls of burnt bricks that feature paintings of the neighbourhood’s glorious trading past. I love sitting here in the afternoon as the sun casts shadows into the room. At the same time, peer through the massive windows to spot some of the city’s famous landmarks. The lobby is an understated opulence altogether, a huge departure from those ghastly, characterless spaces travellers might encounter upon check-in.
To me personally, the best rooms at Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur, Chinatown, are those facing downtown, with the KL Tower and Petronas Twin Towers complementing the glorious view. If you were to ever get such rooms, do yourself a favour by drawing back the curtains during sunset to soak up the lively cityscape that spreads out in front of you while basking in the lovely golden light. The moment is truly uplifting, and more peaceful too since you are conveniently removed from the thronging crowd and cacophony, yet still be part of the action.
The hotel’s 318 rooms and suites are among the most spacious and well-equipped in Chinatown. Mine, the Premier Downtown room, is decorated in the traditional combination of white, brown and black colour scheme with the much-appreciated splash of refreshing olive green from the suitcase rack. The room’s heritage theme is manifested through a customised wall art by Malaysian creative brand Loka Made, depicting the stories of the local community’s livelihood, craft and trade.
Furnishings include the signature Four Points by Sheraton Comfort Bed topped with crisp cotton linens, a 49-inch TV, tea- and coffee-making facilities, a mini-fridge, a strategically positioned full-length mirror, iron and board, and plenty of power outlets. In case you have some work to do, there is a workstation in the room. On top of these, I appreciate the hotel’s thoughtful gesture in providing a pamphlet (a beautiful and tasteful one, I might add) in the room that highlights insider’s recommendations on the surrounding attractions and restaurants for guests to discover when staying at the hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant, Quan’s Kitchen, is full of local pride, and the menu is rotated every day. Forget the usual morning staple, nasi lemak, for one morning, and instead dive into nasi dagang, a Kelantanese and Terengganu speciality rarely served by hotels in Klang Valley; it tastes absolutely divine. Kick your breakfast up a notch by ordering a cup of kopitiam-style teh tarik or kopi o, and you are all set for a good day ahead. Of course, for a more international palate, this bright and spacious restaurant also serves Western classics including cereals, eggs cooked to order, and fresh pastries too.
Quan’s Kitchen – named after one of the hotel owner’s daughters – dishes out the sumptuous Joy Lok Club Sunday Brunch, a buffet spread that boasts a generous amount of high quality hot and cold options, from artisanal cheese, local specialities like Portuguese grilled fish and traditional kuehs, to even dim sum and lok lok. My personal favourites are the chunky satays, braised boeuf de Bourguignon and salt-and-pepper squid in Cantonese box. Bring your children along as this is definitely a family affair, where young guests are provided with their own menu, along with colouring and face-painting stations. Live soulful performance sets the scene for a more memorable meal.
Jann, on the other hand, is Quan’s Kitchen’s little sister (aptly so since it is also named after the owner’s other daughter) where things get a little bit more playful. It’s a gorgeous chinoiserie-styled bar offering inventive locally-inspired cocktails and mocktails to pay homage to the traditional trades of the neighbourhood. Ask for Assam Laksa or Rojak if you’re feeling brave, which are absolute game-changers. Even if you were not staying at the hotel, it is still worth to dine here for meals or after-hours fun.
Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur, Chinatown has enough comfortable amenities that a stay here works well for everyone, from couples, families to business travellers. There’re a 24-hour gym and an outdoor splash pool on the seventh floor to keep your body fit, while the 2,623 square feet of meeting and banquet spaces are equipped to deliver efficient business and social functions.
After having said all of the above, I should add that a memorable stay is as good as the hospitality showered onto the guests. As for the hotel, its driving force is in the employees’ superb service. The members of staff are attentive, cheery, extensively trained and well-intentioned that you couldn’t help but value their presence. In fact, I still remember some of the team members’ names until today despite my short stay.
Another plus point for the hotel is its location, a stone’s throw to Petaling Street, deemed as the heart of Chinatown, one of Kuala Lumpur’s cultural treasure trove. Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur, Chinatown is ideal for those with a thirst for exploration because the neighbourhood brims to the edge with endless options of hip art galleries, old and new eateries, shopping and other tourism attractions. But most importantly, the place boasts a glorious history. Back in the 1800s, Chinatown was home to the early settlers – mainly Hakka and Cantonese – who worked in mining and trade. Chinatown initially gravitated towards Market Square and High Street (now known as Jalan Tun H.S. Lee) due to the ground’s higher elevation; hence, many wealthier families built their shophouses here to avoid the floods that used to inundate the city.
Interestingly, despite being predominantly Chinese, Chinatown also hosts Sri Maha Mariamman Temple, Malaysia’s oldest functioning Hindu temple. Today, there is an ongoing effort to revive and rebrand Chinatown as one of Kuala Lumpur’s tourism hubs. For instance, a once-neglected alley on Lorong Panggung called Kwai Chai Hong is now restored with eye-catching murals complete with QR codes, to showcase the community’s vibrancy and sense of place.
Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown is now gradually becoming a lively food haven with the mushrooming of more trendy bars, cafes and restaurants for the past couple of years like PS150, a speakeasy bar that hides behind a vintage toy store, and Chocha Foodstore, which highlights Asian flavours with a modern touch. Travellers with a penchant for hawker-food offerings should consider stepping into ‘Penjaja Gallery Jalan Tun H.S. Lee’ market where they can also find a massage parlour offering a quick reflexology service for free! The Hainanese family-run cafe Ho Kow Kopitiam, founded since 1956 and sitting exactly the opposite of the hotel’s entrance, proves to be locals’ favourite too.
I obtained eye-opening insights about the area when I joined the Chinatown Cultural Walk with Stevie, who grew up in the area and has amazing personal local stories with the many generations of Chinese families who live and trade in the neighbourhood. This free walking tour (tip-based) is offered to the guests of Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur, Chinatown every Saturday by Going Places Tour Sdn. Bhd. (contact person: Ms. Jane Rai, +60 19 641 4200 / info@ kualalumpurheritagewalks.com / Facebook: Free Walk Kuala Lumpur Unscripted).
Guests are encouraged to follow this tour, which is often led by passionate and licensed guides like Stevie, who use engaging storytelling methods to connect the participants with the places they visit. Besides the route featured in the Chinatown Cultural Walk, there is also the East-West route that brings travellers to historic locations around Kuala Lumpur.
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But should you prefer to explore Chinatown on your own, it would be better to use the in-room insider pamphlet as reference. And while you are at it, why not join a fun social media scavenger hunt programme entitled #TheRevivalChinatownReward? All you need to do is explore five places indicated on the Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur, Chinatown’s in-house map, snap pictures of them, follow and tag @fourpointskualalumpurchinatown, then have two drinks at Jann. In return, you will be rewarded with a voucher for a two-day and one-night staycation. The offer is open to all stay-in guests.
In conclusion, Four Points by Sheraton Kuala Lumpur, Chinatown is perfect for both visiting travellers and locals who seek staycations that please the eyes, palate, mind and soul. There are plenty of parking spaces on-site, but automobiles are not exactly necessary because everything you need is right at your doorstep. To roam further, the nearby Pasar Seni MRT (Mass Rapid Transport) and LRT (Light Rail Transit) stations connect Chinatown to the rest of Klang Valley.
T: +6 03 2035-7333