The InterContinental Kuala Lumpur surely competes for the title as the worst InterContinental property in the world.
Previously the Hotel Nikko Kuala Lumpur, it was reflagged in February 2011. At the time of our report in February 2015, a full four years later, renovations of the hotel are still ongoing in what looks to be an attempt to bring the property up to InterContinental brand standards.
We were awoken in the morning to a buzzsaw in the hallway. Complaints to the ‘Instant Service’ line (which is more like instant hold music at this property) didn’t result in it stopping.
Arriving at the hotel, guests are struck by the lobby. It is indeed very grand and one of the few aspects of the hotel which lives up to the InterContinental brand promise.
The reception desk is located in the lobby on the right. There is also one counter for Ambassador members, at which the guest can sit while being assisted (although this counter was unstaffed when we checked in). Check-in was painfully slow with photocopying of this and that.
The ground floor of the lobby has OneSixFive (a lobby bar) and Serena Brasserie (a buffet restaurant). The upper level of the lobby has two restaurants – Tatsu (Japanese) and Tao (Chinese) – along with Bentley’s, an English-style pub. We dined at Serena, and thought it was a very good buffet offering, but as is often the case in Malaysia was let down by the service.
We had a Club InterContinental room on a high floor, and will review the club lounge in a separate post – as it has been recently renovated. The hotel’s hallways certainly don’t feel like they have been recently renovated, or indeed any time at all.
The InterContinental Kuala Lumpur offers a two-category room upgrade to Royal Ambassador members. This is not as generous as it seems. The hotel’s base room category is Deluxe. It then has two room categories – Premier, Grand Premier – which are essentially the same room as Deluxe, even down to the size. Only then does the property have the club room – which is also the same size but comes with club access.
This ‘fake’ room category structure has the effect of squeezing another 50++ MYR (circa ~20 AUD) a night out of Royal Ambassador members in order to have club access. We are reliably informed that arm-waving at check-in will get a club room for a Royal Ambassador with a Deluxe booking.
We note that in contrast that across the street at the DoubleTree, club access is granted automatically without needing to ask, let alone engage in an argument (although as a Hilton Diamond we’ve had some difficulty getting suites out of that property, but that is a topic for another day).
The room has an exceptionally dated feel to it, although the television is a decent size and looks to have been updated more recently than the rest of the room. Turning off the television can be a challenge if you do not know that the remote control is hidden in a box located below the television.
The beds here are exceptionally wide. However, as is often the case in Asia, they are not very soft. In the morning, we noticed that the curtains let light in through a crack in the middle.
On the desk is a strip of universal power outlets and media inputs, which is useful.
The bathroom is large, with a deep soaking tub and separate shower.
The minibar at this property is exceptionally poor. The hotel strips it down when a Royal Ambassador is staying in the room so that it has three beers and some soft drinks.
Despite activating the do not disturb button (which turns on an illuminated do not disturb sign in the hall way) and despite the mini-bar having such a terrible selection, we were shocked to hear a knock at our door and find a minibar attendant wanting to check our mini-bar over five hours before we were scheduled to check-out. We sent them away.
We were surprised to find things in our room moved around while we were out in the afternoon when the do not disturb light was still on. The hotel denied that our room had been entered by anyone other than ourselves.
The hotel has a very large gym.
It also has an outdoor pool, which is very pleasant.
This 473-room property in Jalan Ampang, is very close to the DoubleTree Kuala Lumpur. This is handy as the DoubleTree is a far better property.
The hard product at the InterContinental Kuala Lumpur would make for an acceptable Crowne Plaza, but is nowhere near InterContinental standard. The service on the other hand is atrocious, and means that there is no reason why anyone should ever stay at here.