These are the best luxury hotels to check in to if you're in Kuala Lumpur on business. By Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop 

Malaysia’s capital is a city of contrasts, where modern structures cosy up to heritage buildings, particularly around Merdeka Square. Islamic, Chinese and Indian places of worship sit in peaceful coexistence, underlining the nation’s rich ethnic diversity. Hawkers ply their trade alongside fine-diners and the bright lights of high-end malls provide a glittering backdrop to grittier night markets.

Kuala Lumpur is a place that is charging ahead with the energy of youth. What started as a small settlement for Chinese tin miners in the mid-19th century has grown into an ambitious metropolis. And it continues to expand, with construction sites everywhere (be prepared for the five-minute walk on your map to take longer or for traffic congestion to double driving times). The sparkle of the city’s skyscrapers is a triumph of determination over apparent destiny, as Kuala Lumpur means “muddy confluence” in Malay. While it endures flash floods during downpours, it is generally driest from May to July.

The Golden Triangle, which encompasses the Petronas Twin Towers and the trendy shopping area of Bukit Bintang, is a magnet for international corporate offices and the closest thing that Kuala Lumpur has to a CBD. But a second business district has emerged around KL Sentral railway station, with five-star hotels, shopping malls, cool bars and chic restaurants making it an ideal base, especially on a fly-in, fly-out visit. You’ll need time to navigate the city. It can be disorganised and a little disorientating. Be patient.

Hotel Stripes Kuala Lumpur

The area around Jalan Kamunting is a mix of old and new. Famed for The Row, a cluster of 1940s shophouses now inhabited by cafés, bars, restaurants, galleries and shops, it’s a hip-and-happening neighbourhood in gritty Chow Kit. Stripes, one of the city’s newest hotels, is perfectly positioned in this creative enclave close to Kuala Lumpur’s business hub. The 184-room hotel has a contemporary urban vibe that reflects the district’s aesthetic.

Business facilities: No business centre but there’s a team of meeting planners and six multipurpose meeting studios.

Wi-fi: Complimentary throughout.

Food and drink: Brasserie 25, a spacious restaurant with curved brick walls and Mid-century Modern chandeliers, is ideal for a business lunch. Alternatively, head to The Snug for all-day dining or up to the Man Tao pool bar for cocktails and Chinese steamed buns.

Fitness and wellbeing: There’s a small, fully equipped 24-hour gym and an attractive rooftop pool with impressive views of Kuala Lumpur Tower.

Coffee nearby: League of  Captains (Lot 42-50, The Row, Jalan Doraisamy; +60 3 2602 2281) is a popular café in one of the old shophouses.

25 Jalan Kamunting, Kuala Lumpur

The St Regis Kuala Lumpur

The affluent lifestyle of the Astor family, who opened the first St Regis hotel in New York in 1904, sets the tone for this 208-room hotel where the elegance of a bygone era meets modern-day glamour. Inspired by an opulent Manhattan apartment, The St Regis has an impressive private art collection and the minibar in every guestroom is housed in a large imitation steamer trunk. The game of polo is a recurring theme, with two huge depictions of players dominating the lobby. It’s all about tradition, exquisite style and exceptional service – just as the Astors liked it.

Business facilities: The hotel has about 10,000 square metres of well-equipped meeting and event spaces, plus a 24-hour self-service business centre.

Wi-fi: Complimentary throughout.

Food and drink: Taka by Sushi Saito is the first overseas outpost of Tokyo chef Takashi Saito’s three-Michelin-starred Sushi Saito, claimed to be the best sushi restaurant in the world. Make a booking to guarantee a spot at the 300-year-old hinoki wood counter, where the selection of omakase dishes will set you back 1400 ringgits (about $410). A second Japanese restaurant, Ginza Tenkuni, serves Edo-style tempura. For aperitifs, you can’t go past The St Regis’s signature Bloody Mary in the sophisticated Astor Bar.

Fitness and wellbeing: After a session in the 24-hour gym, book the muscle-relieving Polo Connoisseur treatment and massage at Iridium Spa.

Coffee nearby: It might look more like a lab than a café but don’t be put off by the minimalist décor at X Coffee (Level 12, Q Sentral, 2a Jalan Stesen Sentral 2; +60 14 338 6544), as the Japanese coffee here is brewed to perfection.   

6 Jalan Stesen Sentral 2, Kuala Lumpur Sentral, Kuala Lumpur

Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur 

Situated next to the Petronas Twin Towers in the heart of Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle, the Mandarin Oriental is an exclusive urban sanctuary. Mandarin Oriental Club premium accommodation packages have a host of benefits, including use of the Club Floor boardroom for two hours a day. The top floors (levels 24 to 30) are reserved for Club guests. Ask for a Twin Towers View Room.

Business facilities: As well as a business centre and a range of admin services, there’s a tailored package called Mindful Meetings that gives your agenda a healthy boost with activities such as yoga and meditation breaks.

Wi-fi: Complimentary throughout.

Food and drink: Choose from 10 on-site restaurants and bars (plus many more in nearby Suria KLCC shopping mall). Mosaic restaurant hits the spot for breakfast and all-day casual dining, while the elegant Lai Po Heen Chinese restaurant and contemporary Mandarin Grill are the picks for fine-dining.

Fitness and wellbeing: With tennis courts, a golf simulator, a well- equipped gym (5am to 11pm) and fitness classes, there are plenty of ways to unwind after work. The large infinity pool overlooking KLCC Park is also a drawcard. Run route Any run here is likely to be steamy; fortunately, there are drinking fountains on the 1.3-kilometre route in KLCC Park.

Coffee nearby: They’re passionate about their craft at Eight Ounce Coffee Co. in Suria KLCC. Order a cup of the characteristically smooth single-origin Colombia La Cacica.   

Kuala Lumpur City Centre, Kuala Lumpur

The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur   

Another oasis in the heart of the city, this 364-room hotel was revamped by the same team that worked their magic on the Waldorf Astoria New York and The Dorchester in London. It prides itself on impeccable service, which means personal butlers for all and limousine transfers in a Maserati Quattroporte. Ritz-Carlton Club guests have use of the Club Lounge in the hotel’s all-suite wing, where there are computer terminals, a complimentary selection of food and evening cocktails.

Business facilities: The Carlton Conference Center offers a range of rooms and facilities and the Chef-on-Call dining service.

Wi-fi: Complimentary throughout.

Food and drink: Li Yen Cantonese restaurant serves a dim sum lunch, while the daily-changing dinner menu at The Library is paired with fine wines from around the world.

Fitness and wellbeing: At the on-site Spa Village, chill out with the Sensory Sound Bath treatment, perhaps after working up a sweat in the training room. There’s also a sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi, plus a pool surrounded by lush greenery.

Coffee nearby: For a customised brew just the way you like it, go to The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in Pavilion Kuala Lumpur shopping centre.

168 Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur

SEE ALSO: Things to Do in Kuala Lumpur on Your Next Business Trip

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