Inspiration Destinations Malaysia Sky-High Hotel Value at EQ Makes the Perfect Kuala Lumpur City Break

Sky-High Hotel Value at EQ Makes the Perfect Kuala Lumpur City Break

EQ Hotel in Kuala Lumpur is the perfect city break - Luxury Escapes

When the Equatorial Hotel in Kuala Lumpur was demolished in 2012, the Malaysian capital lost a beloved institution first opened in 1973 but, phoenix-like, the soaring 52-storey new Equatorial Plaza has risen in its place (EQ takes up the uppermost floors), a modern classic with one of the best rooftop bars in the city.

What’s the neighbourhood like?

Located in central KL, with famous neighbours like the Petronas Towers, EQ is walking distance from party strips like Pub Street and great local restaurants like Sao Nam Vietnamese. You can walk around the park at the base of Petronas Towers where you will find every second person mugging for a selfie or head up to the equally popular tourist spot Kuala Lumpur Tower for a bird’s eye view of the city.

Where am I sleeping?

My Deluxe King Twin Tower room is so called because it has one of the best views of the Petronas Towers, famously once the tallest buildings in the world (others face the KL Tower). The floor-to-ceiling windows frame this view while a coloured chaise lounge allows you to pull up a pew for the real fun when the sun drops and the city skyline twinkles into nocturnal life. The king is firm but comfortable and you can order off a pillow menu for maximum comfort. The glass enclosed bathroom means you need not pick between your Petronas Towers view and taking a bath, but there is a modesty blind for those sharing a room. At MYR750 (A$240) for a lead in rate these rooms are a bigger steal than when Sean Connery attempted a Petronas Towers heist in Entrapment.

One of the guest rooms at EQ Kuala Lumpur - Luxury Escapes

What's on the menu?

There are multiple dining options without leaving the walls of Equatorial Plaza but Nipah gets top billing because of its modern approach to Malaysian classics. Street food is one of the great joys of a KL city visit and Nipah manages to update staples like char kway teow, roti and curry dipping sauce and beef rendang while keeping the flavour bombs raining down. For date night, head roofward to Sabayon, named nostalgically for the previous Swiss-themed diner in the original Equatorial. This glass-and-brass stunner on the 51st floor looks like the set of a John Wick battle when the neighbouring lights start reflecting off the various glass surfaces. It’s a modern, globetrotting menu with tuna tartare, king crab salads and Australian Wagyu. Keep an eye out for the annual pop-up that brings back the old-school Swiss Sabayon menu but get in quick, nostalgic fans of the old Equatorial snap up seats faster than a downhill Olympic skier.

And how about drinks?

Sky51 shares the space with Sabayon. Enter through a lift door, the button of which is cheekily adorned with a cocktail glass, and step through to what is the best rooftop cocktail bar in Kuala Lumpur. The centrepiece is a staircase forged in one piece from marine-grade steel providing multiple photo ops before you ascend to Blue bar, the whisky-forward drinking spot that sits above Sky51. Owner and CEO Donald Lim wanted the bar design to be somewhere that would make it hard to refuse a marriage proposal: mission accomplished, and there has certainly been a few. The crowd is young locals and the cocktails are as good as the views.

EQ is one the best value hotels in Kuala Lumpur - Luxury Escapes

What are the facilities like?

The infinity pool with Kuala Lumpur Tower in the background is a top spot for relaxing, the spa is based around a nature theme and the gym is so state-of-the art that some of the equipment can only be tackled with the help of an instructor. If you are more prone to partying than lifting weights, above the infinity pool is the Aha! Suite, so named because that is what you exclaim when you walk in. Feature pendant lighting, huge semi-circle couches and top of the range Bang Olufsen speakers mean this is a place to really let your hair down.

What sets EQ apart?

The Sky51 bar is the killer app, making you feel like you are in a Bond film every time you nip up for a beer. But it is also the smaller touches that show you this is a passion-project, family-run affair like a shelf below the in-room air conditioning so it does not blow directly on you when you sleep. There is care in every throw cushion in EQ and the end result is a hotel that feels incredible luxurious but also fantastically homely, a tricky result to achieve.

EQ is one the best value hotels in Kuala Lumpur - Luxury Escapes

Who will love EQ?

The party crowd will love the rooftop food and beverage offerings, KL street food fans will love the Indonesian breakfast buffet and Nipah at night, and those seeking a city stay of outstanding value will also feel very at home.

Paul Chai was a guest of EQ.

Looking for more travel inspiration? Explore 11 Must-Have Experiences in Malaysia.

About Paul Chai
Paul Chai has been a travel writer for over two decades. He has dived with great white sharks in South Australia, walked the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival and stuffed himself with enough food and wine working on the Good Food Guide to make his GP shake his head. Chai is currently managing editor of Dream by Luxury Escapes.

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