Hey y’all! Here’s a guest post that’s a little backdated from last year done by another friend and writer for The Occasional Traveller – Misty headed up to Kuala Lumpur over a long weekend last year, and I got her in touch with the Pacific Regency Hotel people so she could check out their hotels on my behalf. Here is her review on her stay.
(I don’t actually call her Misty, though that is one of the names she goes by. My guest writers have been surprisingly shy so far)
With all the long weekends beckoning in 2015, a perennial convenient and favourite destination for Singaporeans thinking of a short getaway is our neighbour Kuala Lumpur. With the strong Singapore Dollar to Malaysian Ringgit exchange rate, it always seems a good time to head up north to indulge in two of our famous pastimes – eating and shopping. I know I’m guilty of that too ^^
The folks at the Pacific Regency Hotel group kindly invited me and my partner to spend a night in the Pacific Express Hotel Central Market in downtown KL – Overall I enjoyed the short getaway in a city that’s really familiar to most of us, you don’t have to be stressed out by having to plan too much. I feel that the hotel is perfect for visitors who want to maximise their holiday by being right in the center of things in an affordable no-frills, yet comfortable hotel. Here’s more on my stay.
The hotel is located right in the thick of the action – as its name implies, it is right next to the famous Central Market in KL. Other popular landmarks within walking distance are Merdeka Square and Chinatown on Petaling Street.
To save time, we took the midnight coach up from Singapore – I recommend the KKKL Travel & Tours coach which is comfortable and reasonably-priced. I like that you can choose your Singapore departure point (Katong V mall, Tanjong Katong Complex or Tampines MRT) and KL arrival points (Berjaya Times Square and Chinatown)
We chose the Chinatown drop-off point in KL as it would be easier to get to the hotel, and in 5 1/2 hours we found ourselves in the heart of Chinatown KL. At 5am, nothing much was open, so we camped at a 24-hour McDonald’s first to wait for the subway trains to start running. Once the city was up, finding the hotel was relatively easy with a map in hand. It is within 10 minutes walk of two LRT stations – Pasar Seni (near Chinatown) and Masjid Janek (right next to the mosque it is named after).
The central location also means that getting around by public transport is very convenient. You can walk to nearby attractions such as Chinatown and Central Market, or you can take the subway to the KLCC or Bukit Bintang shopping belts. There is also a free public bus service within the CBD area of KL, called Go KL although we did not try it, as the roads can get quite congested during weekend peak hours so the subway might be a better option.
We stayed in a Deluxe Room – a corner room on the top floor (8 stories up) which overlooks a busy square. The room was compact but comfortable, just right for one or two people who would be spending most of their time out of the room anyway. I liked the full-length windows that offered a great view of the square below. (Tip: if you HAVE to have windows in your hotel room, choose the Superior or Deluxe rooms, otherwise the windowless Standard rooms are slightly smaller than Deluxe, but that’s about the only difference.)
The room offerings are pretty standard for your average hotel room – The furnishings still looked shiny and new – the hotel is less than a year old after all. And don’t worry, it comes with the very important feature – free wifi!
Breakfast was provided for our stay [is it a standard part of the hotel package? or extra?] which you have at Uncle Lim’s, the small café on the ground floor of the hotel. You get to pick from you to a set breakfast choice of American (eggs, sausage, hash brown, the works) or Asian (Nasi Lemak which is coconut rice with curry chicken; or Chinese style noodles in soup). I tried the nasi lemak, it was a pretty generous portion! The food was not too bad if you’re too lazy to head out or need something convenient and quick.
Facilities wise, there is a nice rooftop swimming pool to lounge at that didn’t get too crowded and a small gym with attached bathrooms. If you are going to do some last minute sightseeing/shopping after check out time at 12pm, the hotel is happy to let you use the gym bathrooms to freshen up when you pick up your left luggage before leaving the hotel, which is great because you don’t have to endure a sweaty 6 hr bus ride back in the evening…
As for F&B options, besides Uncle Lim’s there is also a small 24-hour convenience store called myNEWS.com where you can grab snacks and other light bites.
AROUND THE HOTEL
The hotel provides complimentary shuttle service to popular shopping malls at KLCC and Bukit Bintang at 10am and 3pm daily, you need to inform the concierge at least 30 minutes in advance to take the shuttle. We took the 10am one to Bukit Bintang which dropped us off at the Pavilion KL mall. Do note though that there is no return trip.
Pacific Express Hotel is a literal stone’s throw away from Central Market, so that’s something you definitely can’t miss. Stepping into this large two-storey building is like entering an Aladdin’s cave of arts and handicraft goods: neatly laid out in themed lanes are stores selling traditional fabrics and ethnic crafts, tourist souvenirs and knick-knacks, antiques, artwork, handbags and clothes, among others. We even spotted a full suit of armour at one of the corner stores on the second floor! Another bonus: the whole market is air-conditioned, a welcome respite from the humidity (or rain) and there is a food court on the second storey.
Merdeka Square is a short walk away on the other side of the hotel, and we discovered that fthe roads in front of Merdeka Square are closed to traffic from Saturday nights to Sundays. This is so that visitors can roam around the attractions freely, and there are even parades and activities held on the roads sometimes. There are also many cultural attractions located nearby and worth checking out if you have the time, such as the National Textile Museum, and Kuala Lumpur City Gallery.
Plenty of food options are within walking distance of Pacific Express Hotel, from traditional Malay and Indian fare (nasi lemak, biryani) to the lively restaurants along Chinatown. There is a highly recommended nasi briyani stall just right opposite the hotel, called “Nasi Briyani Tajuddin”, that’s known for its deep fried chicken and sambal chilli. Word of warning: it closes after lunch so please go early if you want to have the best selection of dishes, as I discovered to my dismay (it was closed by the time we made our way down after lazing in the hotel in the morning!)
A Deluxe Room normally goes for RM 147 and above, which is pretty decent for a mid-range, centrally located hotel with new amenities. Though if you don’t mind taking the smaller Standard rooms without windows, prices drop to around RM 100, and they even dropped prices as low as RM 59 for twin sharing during the last holiday season! Check out the offers page on their website for the latest deals.
Pacific Express Hotel Central Market
Jalan Hang Kasturi, 50050 Kuala Lumpur