While it’s disheartening to see the last vestiges of Singapore’s past vanishing behind the façade of modernity at a quickening pace, it is reassuring to know that just across the Causeway, opportunities to step back in time to a simpler, purer and more authentic way of life still exist. In February, YTL Hotels debuted Hotel Stripes (stripeskl.com) in Kuala Lumpur in the Jalan Kamunting neighbourhood, an enclave famed for legendary landmarks, art galleries and some of the city’s most awesome local grub.
“With its distinctive characteristics of the neighbourhood where 1940s shophouses and decades-old family-owned business such as Yut Kee and Ah Loke Tailor still stand, it is a valuable asset to be exploited,” said Francis Yeoh, Managing Director of the YTL conglomerate, in his opening address. “This endearing neighbourhood holds very fond memories for us. YTL’s very first office was built on this piece of land in 1955.”
Indeed, not only is the Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel built on a historical spot, its very architecture is reminiscent of the city’s past. “At the end of the 19th century, most of the neighbourhood’s buildings which had been constructed from wood and thatch were replaced with bricks and tiles as stipulated by the British colonial administration,” said Yeoh, referring to the inspiration for the hotel’s brick façade.
Inside, however, the 184-room hotel is pure urban chic. Apart from the headboards that feature historical scenes of Malaysia, the design of the rooms is decidedly contemporary – think minimalist chaise longues, rain showers and sinks outside of the bathroom. This aesthetic is echoed in The Snug, an all-day dining restaurant and Brasserie 25, where guests can partake of a mouth-watering menu of local and international offerings. Both venues feature the same brick walls seen on the hotel’s exterior, a design choice that seamlessly brings the outside inside.
There’s a gym on the lower roof level, and a flight of stairs outside of it leads to an infinity pool with an unblocked view of the 421m tall Kuala Lumpur Tower just a stone’s throw away. The majestic Petronas Towers peek out from behind a compact assemblage of high-rise commercial buildings, symbols of progress that are offset by more traditional establishments at their base. These include the celebrated Restoran Yut Kee (an old coffeeshop known for its Hainanese pork chop, roti babi and kaya swiss rolls) as well as The Row (a group of 22 refurbished 1940s shophouses that are home to hip cafes, art galleries and event spaces).
For a taste of home (or more specifically, Orchard Road), head to Bukit Bintang – the fashion and entertainment epicentre of Kuala Lumpur – just a 15min car ride away. So really, Hotel Stripes, ahem, earns its stripes by being a choice boutique hotel not only for its stellar location but also its finesse in coalescing the past and the present. A bonus: To commemorate its opening, the hotel is offering guests travelling there from now till 30 June 2017 special rates starting from RM285++ per room per night, with complimentary daily breakfast at The Snug, and access to the room’s minibar and Wi-Fi.
For more information on Hotel Stripes, click here.