Kuala Lumpur is one of my favorite cities and the Doubletree Kuala Lumpur is one of my favorite hotels anywhere. However there are is a new breed of Hilton properties in town. The two brand new Hilton Garden Inns in Kuala Lumpur post rates at just $29 but are stricken by incredible road noise and less than ideal locations.
I had never tried the Hilton Petaling Jaya (which is still just 10,000 points a night) and was curious how it stands up to the competition. I arrived rather late and was hoping for a simple and quick check-in.
The agent seemingly had never checked in a Hilton Honors elate member. No mention of status, no mention of amenities or upgrades. I asked nicely why and she mentioned that ‘my profile had just updated’ – ooookay. She proceeded to type way and after 10 minutes I ran out of patience.
I asked if there are any suites upgrades available (plenty of one-bedroom) suites showed available on hilton.com for that night. She mentioned that these are already ‘sold out’. I explained that they can’t be sold out and for sale at the same time. To which she replied that this is must be a ‘software issue’. I had heard that ‘spiel’ many times and kept pressing in a nice manner if we could talk to the duty manager. Once we tracked her down she gave me the same ‘spiel’ only to suddenly discover a suite that had a ‘maintenance issue’ and just came back into ‘upgrade inventory’.
I found this disappointing – Hilton Honors has straightforward upgrade rules and the front desk management lied and lied again and again. It is easy to make a mistake and not see the status but to breadcrumb to status recognition is a little ridiculous for a hotel with hundreds of room (and doubtless dozens of elite members checking in every day).
After a solid 45 minutes a room was found that I could be upgraded to.
Indeed it was one-bedroom suite that seemed to have no ‘major’ maintenance issue that i could spot. However it was exposed to the enormous noise from the freeway. I thought it would die down but it never did throughout the night – I was just too tired to change rooms again and accepted my fate with a minimal sleep of a few hours.
I liked how spacious it was and most thing worked as designed. The AC worked almost too well and it got really freezing quickly. The shower would only produce minimal water pressure with mostly scathingly hot water (it barely mixed in cold water) maybe that was the maintenance issue the front desk was concerned about).
In the morning I checked out the main breakfast menu which looked like it had a lot of options – quite similar to the Doubletree Kuala Lumpur which goes way beyond the minimum brand standard. I decided to try the lounge too and I liked the items there even more. The executive lounge is enormous and feature a number of high quality items easily on par with the Doubletree Executive Lounge (that hotel has watered down the former excellent lounge service sadly).
I asked to be transferred to quieter room and was told to pack up and be ready for a new room in the evening (this fit my plans well).
Indeed the new suite was quiet and was even better equipped. It seemed to be newer and I could not find anything wrong with it. As with other parts of the hotel – once I got the Premium Internet to connect it was very fast at 30 Mbit without interruptions.
I also felt the Executive Lounge staff were excellent with the verbal and technical skills. Check-in (or Check out) was a breeze and none of the issues the night before occurred.
Sadly there is not much around the hotel – you will be required to drive pretty much anywhere – there is a free shuttle to Public Transport.
I wasn’t impressed by the hotel. It is in an odd location. The check-in was a disaster and the hotel has a number of parts that are just too old.
However the Executive Lounge is impressive and the staff fantastic once you make it up there. Given the strong competition in Kuala Lumpur (that also isn’t expensive) I feel the hotel will find it easier to cater to huge Chinese tour groups than Business Travelers in the future.