Review: JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur


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As I mentioned in the introduction to this trip I chose to book the JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur for a variety of reasons including price and convenience and, having done quite a bit of research on my options, I was looking forward to seeing what the property offered.

Location

The JW Marriott is located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur and is approximately 50 minutes drive from Kuala Lumpur International airport.

I used Uber to get too and from the airport and, although both trips took almost exactly the same length of time, the price difference was significant (in percentage terms).

The trip from the airport to the JW Marriott cost a little under 80 Malaysian Ringgits (approximately $19)…..

….while the return trip cost a little over 111 Ringgits (approximately $26):

Clearly there’s a premium for being picked up early in the morning.

First Impressions & Check-In

The JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur sits in an area dominated by upscale malls….in fact the hotel is actually part of a mall itself – the Starhill Gallery.

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur

Across the street are famously overpriced names like Fendi and Gucci….


JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur

….while inside are boutiques by Louis Vuitton and Dior:

This is definitely not the cheap end of town!

The doormen at the hotel were very welcoming and, once inside the doors, it was just a short walk to reception…..

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur

…and to the concierge desk.

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur

Check in was smooth and swift and, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I was upgraded (sort of) to a room on a high floor. I was also given a welcome letter which had details of the JW Lounge’s location, opening times and dining schedule:

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur

The JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur was in the middle of an upgrade project when I visited but, fortunately, the room I was assigned was one of the newly renovated ones.

The Club Executive Room

My room was on the 23rd floor and as soon as I stepped out of the elevator and into the hallway it was obvious that I was on a redecorated floor.

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur

There were no signs of any wear and tear on the walls or the hallway furniture and the carpet was very soft and springy underfoot – it felt very new.

My room was just the right distance from the elevators in that it wasn’t close enough so that the noise coming from other guests would be bothersome but it also wasn’t a two day hike away either.

Here’s a brief video of the Club Executive room:

 

The room itself was a good size and laid out like most regular hotel room I’ve stayed in – there’s a small hallway as you enter……

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Club Executive Room

….a bathroom complete with toiletries off the hallway…..

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Club Executive Room

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Club Executive Room

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Club Executive Room

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Club Executive Room

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Club Executive Room Toiletries

….and the sleeping area straight ahead:

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Club Executive Room

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Club Executive Room

The room featured a sofa and small table in the far corner……

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Club Executive Room

…while next to this was a minibar along with with a slew of useful items including:

  • a coffee maker
  • a kettle
  • teas/coffee/milk
  • complimentary bottles of water
  • a room safe

Ahead of all this was table/desk and chair.

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Club Executive Room

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Club Executive Room

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Club Executive Room

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Club Executive Room

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Club Executive Room

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Club Executive Room

The table and chair were both comfortable but, if you happen to use an optical mouse when working, be aware that the reflective marble (or marble-like) surface of the table isn’t of great help.

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Club Executive Room

Still, that’s a minor issue and it’s soon remedied by a mouse mat.

Lastly, at least with regards the sleeping area, there was a very large screen TV set into the wall opposite the bed.

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Club Executive Room

The closet (found in the hallway) had ample room for two people’s clothes and housed the usual JW Marriott bathrobes:

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Club Executive Room

On the quality front the closet didn’t feel particularly sturdy and it had an IKEA-type feel to it……I was half-expecting to see an unpronounceable Swedish name when I opened it up 🙂

On a more positive note, the room passed a very important test of mine with flying colors – the power outlet test.

Far too often I find myself wondering why hotels make so little effort to ensure that they provide sufficient power outlets for their guests in an age where everyone seems to travel with at least three electronic devices.

No such issues at the JW Marriott KL.

On the wall by the side of the worktable (at table height) were three universal power outlets of which two were free (there was also an HDMI input for linking devices to the room’s TV):

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Club Executive Room

Closer to floor level there were a further two power outlets….. although these only accepted UK-style 3-pin plugs:

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Club Executive Room

As if that wasn’t enough, both sides of the bed had a further two universal power outlets each.

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Club Executive Room

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Club Executive Room

Finding somewhere to plug in your devices is not an issue here.

The final aspect of the room was the view……

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Club Executive Room View

…which was better than a view of the dumpsters or the ventilation shafts but nothing really to get excited about.

Dining

As a Marriott Platinum member I had the option of having breakfast in the JW Lounge or the hotel’s restaurant…and I did both during my stay.

JW Lounge Breakfast

As lounge breakfasts go this one was pretty impressive and is served between 6am and 11am daily.

There was an omelette/egg station complete with smiling chef….

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – JW Lounge Breakfast

…and the covered hot food next to him included hash browns, baked beans, chicken sausage and beef bacon – Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country so don’t expect to find pork on the menu.

The left of the chef’s station was a food island with more hot meal choices as well as a selection of cheeses.

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – JW Lounge Breakfast

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – JW Lounge Breakfast

The hot options here included oatmeal, mushroom fricassee, flied mee hoon (fried rice vermicelli) and chicken congee.

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – JW Lounge Breakfast

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – JW Lounge Breakfast

Behind the food island the lounge had further breakfast options including cereals…..

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – JW Lounge Breakfast

….cold meats and salad items…..

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – JW Lounge Breakfast

… and fruit (including some very flavorful papaya).

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – JW Lounge Breakfast

Along side all of these was a coffee machine and some pots with which guests could brew tea.

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – JW Lounge Breakfast

Lastly, and on the far side of the food area, there was a toaster alongside a selection of breads and conserves….

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – JW Lounge Breakfast

….pastries, including donuts and pain au chocolat…..

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – JW Lounge Breakfast

…and the ensemble was rounded off with croissants and muffins.

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – JW Lounge Breakfast

Restaurant Breakfast

The hotel’s restaurant is called “Shook!” and is located on the lower ground floor of the property.

The restaurant can be accessed via elevator or via escalator and it sits in an open atrium of the hotel so it offers a good feeling of space.

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Restaurant Breakfast

Breakfast in the restaurant is one enormous buffet (I’m not exaggerating) and it offers food to satisfy the tastes of a variety of palettes.

There were waffle and pancake stations…..

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Restaurant Breakfast

…pancake and waffle accompaniments…..

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Restaurant Breakfast

….cold meats and cheeses…..

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Restaurant Breakfast

…..salad items….

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Restaurant Breakfast

…and pastries:

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Restaurant Breakfast

The buffet also offered the usual western breakfast items such as cereals, toast, eggs (there’s an egg station), hash browns, baked beans, chicken sausage and beef bacon  but I didn’t get any pictures of those.

For guests looking for more ethnic food there was a variety of middle eastern and asian dishes including things like Ful (a dish made from fava beans)….

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Restaurant Breakfast

….and a choice of curries, including Dhall and vegetable curry.

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Restaurant Breakfast

Unsurprisingly there were dished local to the region too, including Nasi Lemak (a Malaysian coconut milk rice, served with sambal, fried crispy anchovies, toasted peanuts and cucumber) and various noodle dishes.

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Restaurant Breakfast

Those looking for dishes from South East Asia and Japan were catered for too (at one point these seemed no end to this buffet!). A section of the buffet was given over to soba and miso soup, cha soba noodles…..

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Restaurant Breakfast

….and a selection of sushi.

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Restaurant Breakfast

Coffee and tea were offered by servers who were very good at checking in regularly to make sure guests didn’t need anything else and the bar area of the buffet was home to a selection of chilled juices…..

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Restaurant Breakfast

…and freshly squeezed juices:

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – Restaurant Breakfast

I really liked having all of those options and the fact that everything was offered as a buffet made it easy to try little bits of things that I wouldn’t ordinarily have for breakfast –  I’m a big fan of curry but I can’t say I’ve ever had it for breakfast before…..now I’m a convert! 🙂

Other Dining

As well as breakfast the JW lounge offers hors d’oeuvres between 5:30pm and 7:30pm (which I didn’t get a chance to try out) as well as light snacks during the “afternoon tea period” of 2:30pm to 5:00pm.

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – JW Lounge Afternoon Tea

Afternoon snacks included mini cakes……

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – JW Lounge Afternoon Tea

…..a choice of scones with clotted cream and jam (jelly)….

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – JW Lounge Afternoon Tea

….and a selection of mini-sandwiches including tuna croissants, egg mayo sandwiches and mini salmon burgers.

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – JW Lounge Afternoon Tea

For some reason I can’t find my pictures of the rest of the lounge (it was pretty nice and very spacious) but I do recall there being coffee and tea on offer throughout the day as well as alcoholic beverages in the evening.

Other Hotel Amenities

The hotel has a spa and good sized gym…..although they were both under renovation when I visited so all I got to see were the remnants of what was once there:

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur

The renovations were scheduled to end on 31 May so they should be all done by now and, during the renovations, guests had access to the spa and gym ant the nearby Ritz-Carlton hotel.

The hotel has a very large pool area for a city centre property and I could just about see down to it from my room:

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur –  Pool Area

The pool area is open between 6:30am and 10:00pm daily but there’s no attendant on duty after 8:00pm.

On the day I went to check the pool out it was early and beautifully deserted so the pictures should give you a good idea of what it’s like.

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur –  Pool Area

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur –  Pool Area

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur –  Pool Area

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur –  Pool Area

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur –  Pool Area

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur –  Pool Area

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur –  Pool Area

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur –  Pool Area

The property also offers  a tennis court with an astroturf base…..

JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur –  Tennis Court

…although it looks like it’s seen better days.

Thoughts

Positives:

  • The few staff I interacted with were friendly, helpful and polite….but then that’s how I found everybody to be on my visit to KL.
  • The room was a good size and very well equipped for those with a lot of electronic devices.
  • The lounge was one of the better Marriott lounges I’ve visited and the choices for breakfast and afternoon tea were very nice.
  • The breakfast buffet in the main restaurant was huge and it would take a truly fussy eater not to find something there that suited their palette.

Negatives:

  • As I’ve discussed in a separate blog post, the room upgrade wasn’t much of an upgrade…especially considering the hotel didn’t appear to have very many guests. Perhaps the renovation limited the choices for an upgrade?
  • 2 of the 6 elevators leading up to the rooms were being serviced during my visit and the remaining 4 were sometimes painfully slow.
  • Some of the furniture in the room felt less than premium and that shouldn’t be the case with a property branded as a JW Marriott.
  • The hotel didn’t really have much of a bar area where you could socialise or where you could have a relaxing drink of an evening. There was a very small bar attached to the restaurant but it wasn’t somewhere you could relax with friends – if you don’t have lounge access this really limits your onsite options.
  • As a Platinum member I had access to a “super premium”internet connection but, at times, it felt more like a dial up connection than anything “super” or “premium”. The speeds could be very slow.

Bottom Line

I guess the main question would be would I visit again? to which the answer would probably be “yes….because it looks like you can book the hotel for quite reasonable rates at various times of the year”.

The lounge was excellent and worthy of a good JW property but there were bits (mentioned above) that made the hotel feel less upscale than it should have felt (the absence of a nice bar, cheap furniture etc…).

I’ve got at least two more stays at JW Marriott properties coming up this year so it will be interesting to see how they compare to the JW Kuala Lumpur….I’m expecting them to be better.

Overall I don’t really have any complaints as I knew about the refurbishment work when I booked, the staff were friendly, the room was fine and I got a pretty good rate but this JW Marriott isn’t a five star hotel as advertised….it’s a solid 4 star with aspirations.

Up Next: A Review of the Plaza Premium Lounge at Kuala Lumpur Airport (International Gates)

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