I kind of regret picking this hotel over JW Marriott, Sigh.
If only I’d known I would be Platinum Elite with Bonvoy at the time of my stay. And thanks to my itchy fingers, I wanted to try somewhere else other than Westin which I’ve stayed for the past 2 trips. And I didn’t quite get around to booking JW before prices went up from MYR630 to MYR700.
I mean, how bad can a Banyan Tree be right.
This trip would prove me wrong unfortunately.
Address – 170 Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur 55100 Malaysia. Website.
Contact – +60 3-2117 2888. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Price – MYR646++ per room per night under the Advanced Saver – Bed & Breakfast package. Total was MYR1,389.52 (SGD468) for 2nights.
Getting There – we purchased a taxi coupon from the airport counter’s transporation hub (one level down from arrival hall) which costs us MYR84. It took us about 45mins-ish to get there. Taking the KLIA2 express would need us to change to a taxi or light rail at KL Sentral and would cost the same per pax so taxi it is.
Location – The main draw of this property is it being attached to Pavilion Mall, which is a mega mall containing everything you’d need. Hence, no worries be it rain or shine hehe. It was also quite a new property having only opened in December 2018 and a wallet-friendly way to experience the Banyan Tree hospitality in this vibrant city. For convenience, the mall is connected on levels 1M, 2, and 3 with the entrance hidden at one end of the long-ish shaped mall so remember where that corner is otherwise be prepared to walk. A lot.
Check In – Traffic was fairly kind to us, which was nice after the harrowing 2-hours customs queue at KLIA2. We pulled up at the street level and was assisted quickly with our luggage and informed that the main lobby for check in is on level 8. Took the lift up and I actually informed the staff that we would like to check in at the Club Lounge but she was a little unfriendly and asked to see the reservation first. While validating club check ins is good, she could have been more welcoming. Instead, I felt treated like a free loader trying to wriggle my way in.
Club Lounge – the same lady escorted us to the Club Lounge on 13A (which is technically the 14th floor), seated us, and asked for our passports to complete the formalities before excusing herself. The Club Lounge is indeed a very pretty place with high ceilings and plenty of sofas for dining tables for 2pax.
We were brought through the Club Lounge benefits (yays to 3 pieces of laundry a day!) but also informed that the room is not ready. Not a problem – we went for lunch and headed back at 2pm and our luggage was already placed in the room for us.
Room – Club City Oasis (2 single beds), Room 13A16, @ 32-49 SqM was spacious for 2pax with luggage and comes complete with everything you need for a short stay. 2 comfy beds, work desk, and TV, a big bathroom and cute Banyan Tree dispenser ceramic bottles containing the shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body lotion, and handwash.
This means we cannot ‘steal’ them and instead have to purchase from the Banyan Tree retail shop on level. Incidentally, the exact series was going at 50% off! At 105MYR for a large bottle (from MY210), it was a deal I certainly took up!
Club Lounge Evening Cocktails – At 5:30pm, we excitedly made our way up to the Club Lounge to check out the evening cocktail offerings but ended up disappointed. I mean space wise, definitely condusive, but the F&B offerings were below what I was expecting from a Banyan Tree. Lazy offerings of hot food saw fried rice and fried noodlles, along with some selection of appetizers, though they had scallops on the first evening. The cheese platter was the same I saw when I checked in and the cheeses evidently had not been stored properly in between the sessions as they were ‘sweating’. Fruit flies were also present and ate alongside us which was a little disturbing. Then some fruits and desserts. Alcohol wise, they had a small selection of spirits and wines but no sparkling except water. Good strong coffee though. I had much better experience at the Westin across the road at a lower price point.
Facilities – The infinity pool on level 18 was closed for renovation during our stay which was a disappointment but they had letters left in-room to inform guests that they would be welcomed at Banyan Tree if they so wished. I also tried the 24-hr gym located on the same level at 11:30pm one night and it was adequate for a short workout with treadmills, bicycles, and weights.
Breakfast at The Courtyard – Breakfast was a typical affair with plenty options but quality of food was not impressive. It was also chaotic at peak hours as they had no system to indicate which tables were taken when guests went to get food. My table was snatched one morning and when told that is actually my table, the blur auntie just responded with “Then where am I supposed to sit??” Errrr, I don’t know?
Lunch at Ebisu – this was a surprise nice find! a lunch set ranges from MYR58 – MYR88 depending on what you pick but beef and salmon were both delicious. With Accor Plus 50% discount for 2pax, this was definitely a highlight of the trip.
Service – Haphazard at best and definitely not on par with a Westin or a JW. Their staff needs to be trained better: we asked for more bottled water but they brought us towels instead. Another housekeeping request was only fulfilled 1 hour later when we were about to sleep. The next day, housekeeping discarded our toothbrushes which we were intending to use for the duration of our stay, but did not replenish them so we had to call to ask for replacements. The body lotion container in my room was also empty after a few pumps on my first day so it has apparently not been refilled for a while. The were also stains on the carpet which I feedback to the Club Lounge team and they said they’ll get someone to clean that up but it never happened until I checked out.
The post-stay email to ask for feedback was carelessly attentioned to my travel companion when the member is myself – a careless mistake which should never have happened. Doesn’t make one feel so valued after all.
Check Out – Swiftly done at the front desk and took about 10mins all in with the hard copy folio offered without having to ask.
Despite the location, I wouldn’t stay here again until the service improves and Club Lounge ups its game to match what their competitors offer.
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