Saturday, April 21, 2007

Business Hotels don’t have to be stuffy, look at Traders Hotel

It’s hard to say which you’d miss most after checking out of KL’s Traders Hotel: the amiable service or the super-duper 40in LCD TV.

The service is great, but a TV like that in your bedroom is emotionally hard to let go of.

The Skybar
Barely a year old, Traders represents a new generation of business hotels that are trendy, eccentric and youthful, with service that is courteous and helpful but respectful of privacy.

This Shangri-La-managed establishment has a great location, being virtually within the shadows of the Petronas Twin Towers. Having a huge shopping centre 10 minute’s walk away makes Traders an extremely convenient address for business and shopping. And it’s integrated with the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

Though it is given a four-star rating, almost everything feels five-star, but with a difference – the luxury is understated. Minimalism is the word here. The reception area for checking in is nothing more than a few bar tables in a room and easy to miss.

Forget fancy, chandeliered lobbies. Chill-out, Balearic tunes fill the air. In the evening, it’s house tunes. No Kenny G or elevator-type music here. White sheets of translucent material hang within frames, suspended from the ceiling via cables, and on them are projected abstract visuals.

A simple reception area;
The staff seem genuinely friendly – always ready with a smile and a few courteous words. Though one tends to miss home after a few days in a hotel room, I felt no urgency to check out and head home. The monster TV, which takes pride of place in all the suites, might have had something to do with this.

Service is efficient – any request for ice from room service was fulfilled within minutes, followed by a call to check if it had been received.

The hotel has a location that can’t be beat. Minutes from shopping, it is also just a short distance from all the major clubs downtown, so, really you can stumble back without too much trouble after a night out.

Just beside the hotel lies the KLCC Park. You can get a view of this and the Towers from some of the rooms – the park actually looks like a little Legoland, with a huge and very vivid playground.

Rooms have large windows, and it’s glass all round for the corner units. The average room size is 35sq m. Full-length windows on the wardrobe doors add depth to the room, while the work desk hides a handy feature under a flip-out cover – sockets that fit all plugs, so there’s no need for travel adapters.

Other little touches add to the hospitality, especially in the suites – they even provide travel nail clippers and mouthwash. The amenity bag they hand out contains all that you need, so there’s no need to bring toiletries.

An executive suite.
The bathrooms are huge, with bathtubs included. The marble sink-top is pretty classy and lit from within. A heated mirror ensures you don’t need to look at yourself through a layer of condensation after a hot shower, while the vanity mirror comes with its own light.

There’s a couch with lots of cushions in some rooms and also a sink-in, bucket-type personal chair with a footrest – presumably the place to park yourself when you want some alone-time with the tele.

Traders is a business hotel with a little fun thrown in, as evident by its popular after-dark hangout, the Skybar, on level 33. This is the hotel’s pool area, which doubles up as a little rooftop bar. Ultra cool.

There are also a couple of Jacuzzis here and comfy nooks with cushions thrown in, from where you can gaze down at the city beneath you. Music ranges from chill-out tunes to jazzy house, and the place gets full on weekends. It operates from 7pm for non-guests (until 1am and 3am).

On the roof is also the health club, spa and gym. Of course, there are also business facilities, with the integrated convention centre being available for larger gatherings.

Other outlets here are Gobo Chit Chat, the restaurant and coffeehouse, and Gobo Upstairs, a funky bar & grill.

The former is shaped like an aircraft hangar, with moving-head lights, normally seen on dancefloors, projecting colours and designs on the ceiling. It runs lunch and dinner buffets, and serves from a menu as well. The latter has a reputation for good steaks and a delectable prawn cocktail. The bar uses lots of glass and mirrors in its contemporary design, a decent alternative to the Skybar.

Rates are tiered, meaning they vary depending on occupancy, but deluxe rooms start from RM310.50 net.

Sensible pricing adds to the hotel’s brilliant package. Business hotels need not be serious or conservative, and Traders Hotel KL shows how.

Source : STAR
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