For my first time in Malaysia, I wanted to stay somewhere comfortable. Thankfully, it's a very affordable country, so I was spoiled for choice. The JW Marriott KL is located in the Starhill mall (which is also home to the Ritz-Carlton KL) in the popular Bukit Bintang shopping district. The location was the main selling point, and I chose the JW over the Ritz because of the Executive Lounge.
There were several options available for booking, and I chose to redeem points for this stay. The hotel is only a Category 3 property, which means it can be had for just 15k Marriott Rewards points per night with the 5th night free. Cash prices are approximately $170 CAD/night, or about $850 for 5 nights. This means that I got 1.4 cpp after all was said and done. Not a bad redemption for Marriott Rewards.
I arrived to the hotel around 2pm to check in, and was told no rooms were ready yet. Fair enough; rooms aren't guaranteed until 4pm. The check-in agent and I went over the paperwork together, and she offered to call me when the room was ready. This gave me a chance to grab lunch and explore a little bit, and I returned to the hotel around 4:30pm. Apparently the room still wasn't ready, so they suggested I could wait in the executive lounge.
Around 30 mins later, a lounge attendant finally came up to me and handed over the keys to a Deluxe Room - exactly what I had booked. As a Marriott Platinum member, I was eligible for an upgrade, so I politely asked what had happened. The hotel insisted there were no other rooms available, even though there were still suites available for sale for the entirety of my stay on the Marriott website. Either I was being lied to, or they were having some major tech and room management issues. Not a great start to the stay.
The room was as you would expect from a 5 star hotel - clean, modern and comfortable. I was assigned room 2509, which faced away from the Petronas Towers. Housekeeping was great and there were no major signs of wear. Turndown service wasn't a daily offering, and had to be requested - a bit disappointing for a JW Marriott. The bathroom was nicely done in contrasting black and white marble and the shower was fantastic. There was a rain head with lots of water pressure, and it warmed up quickly. The tub however, was built for a child - I have no idea what the use of it was. Around 7pm on my last evening, I got a call offering to swap to a suite one floor down, so of course I took it. This was a great upgrade, although it would have been appreciated much more at the beginning of the stay.
The lounge was fantastic and definitely makes the hotel worth it. Although food is affordable in Malaysia, there's still great value provided from the 5 times daily meal service. All Marriott Gold and Platinum Elite members have access, and you can purchase access in certain room rates. That being said, the lounge was packed almost every time I was in there. The lounge offers breakfast, light lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and cocktails & dessert daily. The light lunch and dinner were fantastic. They served traditional curries, as well as roasted meat such as lamb, beef and chicken every day. I definitely saved a fair amount on food and drinks while in KL, and for a free hotel stay, you can't go wrong. The manager of the Executive Lounge is a very kind and humble man named Velu, and he was a pleasure to chat to. Velu made an effort to get to know each guest and was very personable. It was obvious by the way his colleagues acted that he is well respected.
Overall, the JW Marriott KL is a great place to stay in the heart of Kuala Lampur. With great cash rates, and solid point redemption values, I would recommend the hotel to anyone looking for a comfortable and affordable stay in the city. While there are certain things that can be worked on, I would still return to the hotel next time I'm in Malaysia.