Think of Kuala Lumpur’s Bangsar district and its trendy ground-level bars and cafés are probably first to spring to mind. Towering above them, however, is an equally hip haven in the form of Alila Bangsar.
Alila, since acquired by Hyatt, started life as an independent brand in Bali, inspired by the likes of Aman Resorts. Their only Malaysian hotel to date, Alila Bangsar perfectly showcases the contemporary sophistication and unexpected flourishes they’re known for (the name means “surprise” in Sanskrit). Occupying the 35th-41st floors, this five-year-old property – designed by acclaimed Shanghai architects Neri&Hu – is an elegant and airy perch from which to look out across the city to the hills beyond.
The lobby sets the tone, a three-storey atrium overlooking an open-air swimming pool. If you’re up early, it’s a fantastic spot from which to catch the sunrise and, if you’re feeling particularly energetic, to work out in the adjacent gym.
Come evenings, it’s also where you’ll find French nose-to-tail eatery Entier, featuring signature dishes such as whole leg of lamb (RM350) and stuffed pigeon (RM168), as well as an extensive Basque tapas menu. Sadly, Covid saw the shuttering of their Pacific Standard bar, but there’s a new concept – Comptoir d’Entier – in the works and, in any case, you have that famous Bangsar nightlife on your doorstep.
Breakfast and lunch meanwhile are served on the ground floor at a branch of perennial Bangsar favourite, Botanica + Co. Fans of the original (still going strong six years on at Bangsar South) will know to expect a fabulous array of fresh bowls, sharing platters and pizzas, but you’ll also find outlet-exclusive items here like crab mee mamak and Botanica Laksa.
Ah, but how about the rooms? Well, even the entry level studios (38 sqm) – of which there are 113 – enjoy those fab skyline views and you can move up the ranks to Premier, Junior Suite and even the one-off Alila Suite (252 sqm). The place really nails affordable, elegant luxury (rooms start from just RM460) and you certainly feel like you’re getting a lot more than you’re paying for. It’s ideal for a business trip with a bit of character, or a quick couple’s getaway. It’s also walking distance from rail hub KL Sentral, making it an ideal jumping off point for exploration further afield.
Beyond the stay, Alila also offer a variety of experiences, taking in history and artisanship, conscious living, outdoor sports, culinary arts and couple celebrations. That said, while such tours certainly help you get under the skin of the ever-evolving city, it’s hard to beat putting your feet up by that pool and just taking it all in from the 40th floor. alilahotels.com/bangsar