The Ruma Hotel & Residences captures the spirit of Malaysia past and present, bringing a hint of the country's mining heritage to the heart of the modern city. Right at the centre of the Golden Triangle, the hotel is just a stone’s throw from the commercial district and the city’s postmodern icon, the Petronas Towers. Step inside, however, and the design takes you back to the country’s industrious 19th century, nodding to Malaysia’s mining boom with gold, copper, blackened steel and lantern-esque lamps. In the rooms, rattan furniture and pale-wood panelling add a softer domestic touch – the word rumah is Malay for house, after all – but the clean-lined design is very much of the modern age. Downstairs, the diversions include mod-Malay restaurant Atas and a cantilevered infinity pool that juts from the sixth floor. There's a sleek Ur spa on the sixth floor and and an outpost of legendary London barbershop Truefitt & Hill to boot.
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20 per cent off food, soft drinks and spa treatments
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £108.10 (MYR541). Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of MYR10.00 per room per night on check-in.
Rates include breakfast, served in Atas, the hotel’s mod-Malaysian eatery.
The backlit dress behind the staircase is a kebaya, the traditional Malay costume worn on special occasions. It was designed by Malaysia's prince of couture, Dato Bernard Chandran, who fashioned it from handmade gold and metal butterflies, a symbol of rebirth.
At the hotel
Gym; Truefitt & Hill barber shop; free WiFi throughout; laundry. In rooms: flatscreen TV; free minibar and a free welcome drink; Nespresso coffee machine and traditional tea set; free access to the Luxe Guide Kuala Lumpur app; La Bottega bath products.
Our favourite rooms
From the entry level up, all the rooms nod to traditional Malaysian design with their elegant their rattan furnishings, lantern-like lampshades and screen doors. Even the smallest have decadent bathrooms with an oval soaking tub set by the windows. Speaking of views, we’d recommend going for a Grand Studio or above – that way you can guarantee a view of the Petronas Towers.
Clad in shimmering gold and black tiles, the cantilevered infinity pool juts out from the sixth floor, giving swimmers a sweeping view of the Golden Triangle and the Petronas Towers. The pool bar and lounge is just off to the side, ensuring you don’t have to stray far from your daybed for a top up.
The therapists at the sleek Ur spa will tailor each session to you, offering everything from 30-minute express massages to indulgent full-body rituals that last most of the day. All of the products are organic, too, made bespoke by skin care specialists Comfort Zone. The spa also has an area for beauty treatments, a state-of-the-art gym and an outpost of legendary London barbershop Truefitt & Hill.
Leave space in your case for a few purchases – the hotel’s surrounded by luxurious malls and bustling markets.
All public areas are wheelchair accessible, and there’s one specially adapted room on the seventh floor.
All ages are welcome, but you’ll need to book one of the Two-Bedroom Family Studios if you’ve got family in tow.
At lunch, go for a table on the veranda; in the evening, aim for one of the half-moon banquettes.
It’s technically smart casual, but don’t be afraid of dressing up a little – atas means ‘upscale’ in Malay.
Mod-Malaysian restaurant Atas is on the mezzanine above the lobby, reached by climbing the impressive double spiral staircase. Rich-toned woods dominate the design scheme, appearing on the decorative ceiling, gleaming parquet floor and elegantly curved furniture, which nods to traditional Malay craftsmanship. Executive chef Tyson Gee has devised a menu that takes guests on a culinary journey through the peninsula, using choice local produce and classically Malay ingredients. It’s no run-of-the-mill heritage trip, however – his dishes make a few twists and turns along the way, combining diverse flavours in new and unexpected ways. Try the raw beef tartare with smoked oyster aioli, puffed beef tendon and crispy garlic to start; follow with the charred river prawns, served with salted egg, curry spices and laksa mint.
Seven Lobby Bar & Lounge is near the entrance to the hotel, with lounge chairs and sofas spread beneath the light-filled atrium. Try their signature cocktail, the jungle bird, a blend of dark rum, Campari and pineapple. Afternoon tea is served in the lounge (and library) from 3pm to 5.30pm daily, and includes Malay-style petit fours (try the single-origin dark chocolate and hibiscus eclair) and tangy salt-beef pretzels.
Breakfast is served from 6.30am to 10.30am; lunch from noon to 2.30pm; dinner from 6.30pm to 10.30pm.
Anything from the restaurant menu can be ordered to your room.
The Ruma Hotel is in Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle, the bustling heart of the city overlooked by the Petronas Twin Towers.
The best place to touch down is Kuala Lumpur International Airport, which can be reached directly from London Heathrow. It takes around an hour to drive from the airport to the hotel; one-way transfers can be arranged for around RM550.
You won’t need your own car if you’re staying in the city, but it’s worth downloading the Grab app before you arrive – it’s essentially Malaysia’s version of Uber, and one of the best ways to get around (there’s also an extensive public transport network). If you do choose to drive yourself, valet parking is RM35 a car for the first hour, then RM5 every hour after that.
Worth getting out of bed for
Intended as an inner city refuge, the Ruma was designed to make life as leisurely as can be. Start the day by ordering breakfast to the room – you could even sip your coffee in the soaking tub, watching the sun rising in the glassy flanks of the neighboring skyscrapers. The spa opens for business at 10am, but if you’re not yet ready for a detox, perch on one of the day beds or chaise longues on the sun deck, sampling cocktails from Santai pool bar. Come afternoon, descend to the library or lobby lounge for the hotel’s decadent afternoon tea. The hotel is just one street away from the edge of the KLCC Park, which is essentially a back garden for the Petronas Towers. The paths criss-crossing this 50-acre pocket of greenery make for a scenic morning jog, passing by soaring tropical trees and affording some of the best views of the Petronas Towers anywhere in the city. If you’re more interested in the quality of the flora, order a car on Grab and ride to the Perdana Botanical Garden (sometimes called the Lake Gardens), which is peppered with exotic spice trees and fragrant flowers. There’s even a garden dedicated entirely to the Bunga Raya, Malaysia’s national flower. After dark, join the throng on Chinatown’s Petaling Street, which is transformed into a market ever evening – bartering is the norm, so there are bargains to be had. For a more upmarket experience, head to Bukit Bintang, where many of the high-fashion boutiques have their outlets.
If you’re looking for a first-rate coffee shop within walking distance of the hotel, try Feeka Coffee Roasters, which has taken over a string of townhouses in Bukit Bintang. If you’re after more than a caffeine hit, their menu is full of hearty breakfast and brunch options – try the lemon and ricotta pancakes or the beef rye sandwich. On the third floor of the Troika building you’ll find Acme Bar & Coffee, a loft-style eatery that turns out sophisticated comfort food from around the world, including western classics finished with a hint of Malaysian spice. If you’re looking for a casual, authentic dinner, go for a wander through the bustling Jalan Alor Night Market, which is lined with stalls and small restaurants serving some of the best street food in the city. For a more formal affair, book a table at Cilantro, one of the city’s most respected restaurants. Japanese chef Takashi Kimura is at the helm in the kitchen, combining classic French cooking with the sophisticated flavours of his homeland.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this design hotel in Kuala Lumpur and unpacked their purchases from bustling Chinatown, a full account of their city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside The Ruma Hotel & Residences in Malaysia…
Going down the heritage route in a distinctly modern place can be a risky business – but not if you do it like the Ruma Hotel & Residences. Overlooking the Petronas Towers and the heart of the Kuala Lumpur’s commercial district, the hotel could never have been anything but modern, but the designers have managed to weave two hundred years of national history into the mix without losing their contemporary edge. Their choice of Malaysia's mining heritage couldn’t be a more fitting muse: the industrial boom in the 19th century paved the way for Malaysian businesses like Petronas, whose iconic twin towers can be appreciated from the bath tub in many of the rooms. Another winning piece of design is the lobby, styled to resemble an ornate canary cage – a distinctly contemporary space with an old-world story to tell. The spa and restaurant are cut from the same cloth, the former combining ancient healing techniques with the latest in skincare science, the latter taking international cuisine and adding a pinch of local flavour – think oysters served with sarawak pepper. Perhaps our favourite aspect, though, is the forward-thinking approach to the all-important little things: your minibar is free and refilled daily, you get free access to an app that guides you around the city, and you only need to check out if you want to, making a smooth getaway to the airport a breeze.
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