Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur may be best known for the Sky Bar with its swimming pool and breathtaking view but the hotel itself is no afterthought.
Mention Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur, and most people will exclaim: “Oh, Sky Bar!”
This is only to be expected because the hotel’s bar on the 33rd floor offers amazing views of the city’s skyline, especially the famous Petronas Twin Towers. Regulars used to the vista still ooh and aah, never mind “virgins” to the place.
Of course, the Sky Bar’s drinks menu will also get you nicely into the groove, aided by the tapas menu. The music can be sublime at its best and the pool that is the centrepiece of the place gives the bar extra oomph.
Thanks to the inventiveness of Traders communication manager Theresa Goh and her team, there’s always an event or promotion at the Skybar to spice things up even more.
The multi-award winning bar also offers a Sunday brunch where for RM148++, you get free-flowing cocktails, draft beer and a selection of food. From noon to 3pm, you can select from a list of 10 cocktails or you could opt for one of three set selections.
There’s also a complimentary 15-minute shoulder or head massage, and for non-hotel guests, free use of the pool. No wonder the Sky Bar was listed in The New York Times as one of the places to go if you’re visiting Kuala Lumpur. I tend to take friends visiting from overseas to the place, and none has failed to be impressed.
Arguably, it is one of maybe two bars in town that pull in the crowds every day of the week. But Traders is not just about the SkyBar. The great service you get at the bar is similarly available throughout the hotel, from their frontline to their F&B staff and just about everyone else. Their friendliness doesn’t come across as an act. It seems genuine, much like what you get in hotels in Thailand (with the exception of Phuket).
Checking-in at Traders is seamlessly done. They use the island concept at the reservation desk to make it a breeze. Priority guests who have made their reservation can even go straight to the room and do the necessary there.
The four-star business hotel opened in 2006, offering 571 rooms in 12 different categories.
I’m given the Twin Towers view room on one of the Traders Club floors (floors 25 to 32). The view is, of course, nothing short of spectacular. The room is everything you’d want it to be, with all the conveniences one has come to expect, including free Wi-Fi. Love the reclining chair, too.
As I’m on the club floor, I get access to the Traders Club Lounge which offers complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea and cocktails in the evening. You also get 10 complimentary prints at the Business Centre and a few other perks.
The hotel caters more to the business traveller than to families, so the decor is modern and minimalist, and you get all the facilities that someone on the go would require. If you’re in for a convention or a meeting, know that the hotel is attached to the KL Convention Centre. If you need a break or a spot of shopping, Suria KLCC is just a hop and a skip away.
You don’t even need to walk there – there’s a free buggy service to the shopping complex. Believe me, this service makes a lot of difference under our sweltering sun.
Dining-wise, there are two non-pork options (if you’re not on a Traders Club flour). One is Gobbo Chit Chat on the 5th floor and the other is Gobo Upstairs. Chit Chat offers an extensive spread for breakfast, with loads of options for dessert too. You can have your eggs done the way you like. And the kitchen concocts different types of smoothies every day. Yummy yet healthy.
There’s also a glutten-free corner as well as a section for vegetarians. They have their bases covered well. You can have lunch there too. Sundays at Chit Chat sees the Steamy Sunday lunch with steamboat as a highlight. On regular days, they have a sushi bar, Thai appetisers, a noodle kitchen and a show bakery. For dinner, you have the option of a smaller buffet or going ala carte.
Meanwhile, Gobo Upstairs offers some of the best steaks in town. I’ve tried their Master Kobe and loved it.
On Saturday, executive sous chef Alan Wong prepares a special three-course lunch at the poolside for me. The Grilled Pesto Chicken Salad is out of this world. The Seared Baby Bass with tomato concasse is nice and delicate but could have used a touch more seasoning. This little flaw is very much remedied by the Vanilla Panna Cotta with wild berries. Divine!
After all that wining and dining, a pampering session is called for, so off to the spa I go. There are quite a number of treatments available, including facials and such, but I opt for their signature Freedom Massage.
They pick a massage oil according to your zodiac sign. And it’s all customised – just tell them where your aches and pains are, and how long you them want to work on a specific spot.
I quickly find myself in dreamland. Bliss!
Now is there anyway I can stay permanently at Traders?
Shouldn’t WiFi services be made available to all hotel guests instead of being an option?
So here I am riding in my limousine and surfing the Internet using WiFi. Yes, you read right. There is WiFi in my limo!
I must clarify, though, that it’s not my limo. It was kindly provided by Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur to transport me from office to hotel. I’ve checked and found that most hotels in the city don’t have a WiFi service in their limos, unlike Traders.
And what’s more, it’s on 4G.
And when we drive down a tunnel, both the driver and I are shocked (pleasantly so) that the signal doesn’t even weaken. Wow! And it keeps getting better and better. As soon as I arrive at Traders and is whisked to my room, something just a little short of a miracle happens – my iPhone immediately latches on to the WiFi services in the hotel.
No signing in, no passwords.
It is a breeze messing around with the iPad in my room. Ready for the final surprise?
It’s FREE! Slap me silly, but yes, it’s true.
You may be wondering why I’m making such a fuss about WiFi in this day and age. Let me explain.
In the course of my work and travels, locally and overseas, I’ve stayed in many hotels of different grades. And the one thing that most of them have in common is that I always had problems with WiFi usage!
Many hotels provide the service only in your room, and then the charges are steep. It could be as “cheap” as €20 (RM87) a day or as expensive as €15 (RM65) an hour. Even worse, sometimes when you’re desperate enough to pay up (let’s face it, not all countries have cyber cafes readily available), you find that the signal is too weak to be of any use.
Recently, I was in Singapore for work and stayed in a five-star establishment. They did not provide WiFi in the room. It was only available in the lobby. You need to pay for the service (they waived the charges because I was a reporter), and then you will probably find you have difficulty logging in and the signal is weak. And you have to repeatedly log on every day.
At another highly-rated hotel in Bangkok, I had to do all kinds of stunts just to get a strong enough signal at their “only-available-at-the-lobby” spot, including standing on chairs and waving my phone in the air in the hope that it might catch a signal. I had to send an urgent work email out, you see, and was desperate. I should have charged them for the entertainment I provided the other guests.
You would think after you have paid so much to put up at their place, a hotel would consider WiFi services as a part of the package instead of behaving like banks that charge for everything. There are many people who own smartphones these days, so broadband in rooms alone is just not good enough anymore. Everyone is on the go, and WiFi is really crucial.
But that’s the sad situation, even in Kuala Lumpur. Only two or three hotels have complimentary WiFi services throughout their establishment. Others provide the service in common areas and rooms at a cost. Quite a number do so only in rooms, and also at a cost. Charges range from RM40 to RM70 a day to RM18 to RM35 an hour.
One of the hotels was decent enough to tell me, “We have it in our rooms but it’s kind of weak, just to warn you in advance.”
So hoteliers please take note. It’s not just me but many travellers these days who look at the availability of WiFi services when making their choice of hotels.
Is it too much to ask for a rethink? – Stories by S.S.Yoga
Kuala Lumpur City Centre
Tel: (603) 2332 9888
Fax: (603) 2332 2666