Suites, Treats, and Eats, a Malaysian Mileage Thanksgiving: Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur

  1. Introduction: Constructing — and Re-constructing — the Award Trip
  2. American Eagle DC – New York and the New Nicest JFK Airport Hotel, the Hilton
  3. Cathay Pacific First Class, JFK – Hong Kong
  4. The Wing lounge in Hong Kong and Cathay Pacific Business Class Hong Kong – Kuala Lumpur
  5. Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
  6. Malaysia Airlines Business Class, Kuala Lumpur – Langkawi
  7. The Andaman Langkawi
  8. Malaysia Airlines Business Class, Langkawi – Kuala Lumpur
  9. Intercontinental Kuala Lumpur
  10. Things to See and Do in Kuala Lumpur
  11. Korean Airlines First Class, Kuala Lumpur – Seoul and the Korean Airlines First Class Lounge Seoul
  12. Korean Airlines First Class, Seoul – Washington Dulles

As we exited baggage claim a representative from the Grand Hyatt was one of the first ones spotted, with my name on a sign. I identified myself and he handed us over to our driver for the 50 minute trip to the hotel.

Since it was my first time in Malaysia, and I’d be arriving at night after about 22 hours of traveling, I opted for the ease of a hotel pickup. I also wanted to see whether the new Grand Hyatt would execute it well. A hotel airport pickup isn’t just about a representative meeting you in the arrivals hall. It’s about the hand off on arrival at the property itself. It’s an important test, for me, of a top shelf hotel property.

When you’re picked up from the airport in a hotel car, the hotel should know who you are when you walk in the door. Ideally the driver should signal ahead when you’re almost on property, and the staff should greet you by name and be prepared for your check-in.

And that’s something that the Grand Hyatt did well. Our car pulled up, staff greeted it and removed bags, and I was met by a manager who knew my name and escorted me upstairs to do in-room check-in.

That’s also a really great feature after a long flight. I don’t want to stand up at a desk while a staff member slowly keys things into a computer and disappears to make photocopies of documents. And I don’t want to walk up to a front desk only to be told I’m in the wrong place to check in, they think they’re being helpful and honoring my arrival by escorting me up to the club lounge for check-in but now I’m just unnecessarily trekking through the hotel when I just want to go to my room.

After what’s at this point more than 24 hours since I had left my hotel in New York, I was grateful to go straight up to my room.

Well, not straight up. This hotel is built as the top floors of a new high rise, and you take one elevator from the ground level up to the top floor reception area, and then change elevators to go down a few floors to the room.

It was a one-night stay, the hotel brand new (having just been open two months) so occupancy wasn’t particularly high. And I was given a suite upgrade for my 14 hours on property, even though I hadn’t used a confirmed suite upgrade certificate. It was a gorgeous suite.

The room had floor to ceiling glass windows looking out over Kuala Lumpur, and a direct view of the Petronas Twin Towers from the bedroom which were beautifully lit up at night.

There was a small bathroom in the entryway. The living room was large, with a separate desk area and comfortable seating, although not quite large enough to fit a dining table. The bathroom was huge with dual sinks, a tub, shower, and separate toilet room. There was a walk-in closet as well. Sleek, modern, with beautiful accented lighting, the suite was just sexy.

This struck me as a room that I’d be thoroughly pleased with using a confirmed suite upgrade certificate (and even if I had a different view). It’s probably one of the better suites in the Hyatt chain that you’d get for a confirmed upgrade.

My immediate reaction though was of disappointment — not in the hotel or the room, but that I would be transiting Kuala Lumpur on the way back from my stop in Langkawi, and that stay would be for two nights and not just one, and I wouldn’t be at the Grand Hyatt. I had confirmed an Ambassador suite at the Intercontinental on the cheap, and was rather pleased with myself when I did so (and it was non-cancellable), but now I was wishing that I’d booked the Grand Hyatt for both stays.

In the morning I ran into the front office manager in the lobby and I spoke with him for a few minutes. He told me that the hotel had been at 49% occupancy the night before when I arrived (a Friday evening), and that the Saturday would be 31%. It’s a business hotel, with occupancy dropping over the weekend, and it’s a new hotel still building its business. Much of the staff are still in place from other Hyatt hotels in Asia. The manager on duty in the lounge was on loan from the Grand Hyatt Taipei.

I asked the manager who they see as their direct competition, and he said the nearby Mandarin Oriental. That could just be spin, but if that’s their narrative they’re setting the bar high which is great.

One modest disappointment, if I can call it that, was the club lounge. By North American standards it would trump anything in the Hyatt chain by wide margins. But it fell a little bit short, in my opinion, relative to top luxury hotels in Southeast Asia.

  • Breakfast is served 6am – 10:30am during the week and until 11am on weekends. Canapes and cocktails from 6pm to 8pm in the evenings. Interestingly that’s only two food services, rather than three that I might have expected (e.g. an afternoon tea).
  • While service was good, there could have been more choices available at breakfast (I didn’t have a chance to check out their evening offerings

I say that breakfast offerings were limited. There were plenty of choices. But they didn’t compare to most of the reports I’ve read on Malaysia. And the only hot items were eggs to order.

Still, the cold items were lovely.

On my short stay I had only a moment to peek at, rather than enjoy, what looked to be lovely pool and fitness areas.

All in all an excellent short stay, and a hotel I’d love to return to. Come noon, though, it was back to the airport for my flight to Langkawi.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Gary —

    You could improve your blog by having a “click through” to see the pretty pictures from your trip reports. I think these trip reports can be useful, but I suspect each individual one is of little interest to the majority of your readers. Like I’m not headed to Kuala Lumpur anytime soon, so I don’t really care about your breakfast was. 🙂 Most of us are looking for your excellent summary of “the deals,” and those are consise and clutter-free. In other words, make your blog a quick read.

  2. @BBD – I thought I mentioned it in my intro post, this was a paid stay since I needed the status credit (it was my 24th Hyatt stay of the year). ~ 550 myr

  3. Great report, Gary, as usual. Looking at visiting KL especially if I can do it on AA via evips for most of the way (as part of requalification next year)

    Can you kindly tell us how much was the airport transfer provided by Hyatt?

  4. I have to say, that is amongst the nicest suites I have seen on a ‘regular’ stay. Quite impressive! Way to go!

  5. I love the Hilton in KL. Right on top of the train station so it’s a quick 25 minute airport train ride from the airport. Also the Executive Lounge is probably the most impressive I’ve ever experienced.

  6. I second the suite being very impressive, and fun car spotting with the Ferrari 458 in the lobby pic. I can’t figure out where the actual pool is though in the pool area pic.

  7. Did you notice that the Mandarin is in your photo? It is the darker building that is obscuring the lower portion of the tower.

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