The Hotel Equatorial in Kuala Lumpur has been there since 1973 and is a great example of how warm and proud Malaysian hospitality is. We stayed here for three nights on the first leg of our honeymoon and we thought it was a perfect base for exploring this melting pot of a city.
The Hotel Equatorial is located right in the centre of the 'Golden Triangle' of Kuala Lumpur, which incorporates some of its best shopping and dining venues. It is just a few minutes walk from the city's centrepiece, the Petronas Towers, which is fabulous, because in this hot and sticky climate, you don't really want to be walking for more than a few minutes! To be honest, I think you'd struggle to find a better location for a hotel in Kuala Lumpur because most of the places you want to see and visit are right there but for easy access to everything else in the city, there is a monorail station about 500 yards from the hotel.
The hotel looks exactly like you'd imagine a hotel built in the 1970s to look from the outside - almost art deco in style and a bit worse for ware against the backdrop of brand new glass fronted building that surround it. But don't let this put you off, because the inside of the hotel has been well thought out and very well presented. There is marble a plenty and the grand entrance way is at once both minimalistic and inviting. There are bellboys waiting by the entrance to help you from the minute you step out of your car and this is an indication of the fantastic level of service you can expect throughout your stay. After a 14 hour flight, we were definitely impressed.
The reception area is large and well staffed, making checking in a quick process even at busy times. All of the staff speak excellent English and have a wide smile for you, no matter what the time of day. The uniforms that the staff wear are smart yet traditional, again showing that the people of Malaysia are very proud of their culture.
The hotel is mainly designed for business users and so the rooms are functional rather than luxurious. That is not to say that the rooms aren't comfortable, because they are and they have all of the facilities and amenities that you would expect. The beds are large and very comfortable; the bathrooms are in pristine condition and are light and airy. The furniture is a little dated, but is perfectly functional and the televisions are state of the art.
The location of the hotel means that there are no stunning views from the floor to ceiling windows, but it is quite impressive to look out from the 10th floor and have to crane your neck to look up to the top of the building next to you. The hotel is located on a busy main street, but there is absolutely no traffic noise whatsoever and the air conditioning is fabulous - and much needed!
===Breakfast and Other Meals===
Breakfast is excellent and definitely worth paying for if it isn't already included in the price of your hotel room. There is a wide choice of English, American and Malaysian dishes that include everything from bacon and eggs to the traditional fish porridge. It's a buffet style breakfast and you can help yourself to as much as you like. There are chefs waiting to cook eggs, pancakes and waffles to order or you can choose from the expansive selection of pastries, fruits and yoghurts if you want something healthier. There is a choice of bacon and sausages, but this is a Muslim country so these are made from turkey, chicken and beef rather than pork. For a business hotel, the breakfast really is excellent.
As we were only in the city for a few days and we wanted to explore as much as possible, we didn't eat any other meals in the hotel, but if you do choose to, there are a number of award winning restaurants in the hotel offering a variety of choices. There are details in your room of the choices and the menus.
Surprisingly enough for a tallish building slotted in between lots of other buildings and located on a main street, there is an outdoor, rooftop pool at the Hotel Equatorial. Unfortunately, because Kuala Lumpur is a fast expanding city and there are perpetually buildings being built all over, the outdoor pool is the relaxing experience it could be. Do visit it though, because you can get a nice view of the Petronas Towers from the poolside area.
There is a wonderful bar located just inside the entrance to the hotel where you can get a range of reasonably priced cocktails whilst listening to low key live music in the evening. The bar is very atmospheric and attracts an upmarket crowd, but is a lovely place to have a pre- or post- dinner drink.
The Hotel Equatorial isn't quite as luxurious as some of the other hotels in the area, but for the price (from as little as £70 per room per night, rack rate) it offers exceptional value and a fabulous breakfast. The location is perfect and the service is exceptional, so in my opinion, it is worth every penny.