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Malaysia Hotels

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
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Carcosa Seri Negara
Taman Tasik Perdana
Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia 50480
Tel: 60 603 2282 1888
carcosa@ghmhotels.com
www.ghmhotels.com/hotels/hotel_home.asp?hotelid=10§ion=home

These two neighboring hilltop mansions—Carcosa, the century-old official residence of the highest British representative to the country, and Seri Negara, the guest “bungalow”—have played a significant role in Malaysian history, yet they didn't open as a public hotel until the 1990s. The King of Malaysia retains the right to use the mansions for state receptions. The feeling is very much that of being a houseguest at a great estate: There is no reception or lobby; one simply arrives at the porte cochere to be greeted by the staff before being swept off to one of the 13 sumptuous rooms, all different in layout, and done up in classy colonial style. The Dining Room is a tour de force of sublime yet relaxed classical formalism in rich Wedgwood colors, with tinted period lithographs on the walls. The Drawing Room, which overlooks the wooded grounds with the city's skyscrapers shimmering in the middle distance, is a perfect spot for afternoon tea.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
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Clove Hall
11 Clove Hall Road
Georgetown , Penang
Malaysia 10050
Tel: 604 229 0818
manager@clovehall.com
clovehall.com

This six-bedroom 1910 colonial has been given new life by hotelier Christopher Ong, who put Sri Lanka's Galle Fort Hotel on the five-star map. Here, Art Deco–inflected teak chairs share the airy ground-floor living and dining space with furnishings that combine British colonial, Malay, and Chinese styles. French doors lead to a sea-foam-green-tiled swimming pool and copses of clove trees, Macarthur palms, and frangipanis. Only breakfast is served here at this upscale B&B, but an SUV is on call to ferry guests into Penang's diverse dining scene as well as on tours of Georgetown, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Return in time for sundowners in the garden, when the smiling, quiet staff light lanterns around the verdant grounds. The rooms feature four-poster beds, plenty of loungers, and antiques from Ong's personal collection. Some have colossal stone baths that take up to 45 minutes to fill, others open-air showers or bijou balconies, and all are unique.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
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The Datai
Jalan Teluk Datai
Langkawi Island
Malaysia 07000
Tel: 60 4959 2500
datai@ghmhotels.com
www.ghmluxuryhotels.com/Datai.htm

A stay at the Datai puts you as far into the heart of the jungle as you can get while still having ready access to foie gras and Champagne. The hotel's majestic pavilions and courtyards sit in a tropical rain forest overlooking a half-moon cove edged by silvery-white sands. The 110 guest rooms in the main building, a rustic fortress of teak and dressed granite, are luxuriously furnished and equipped with a 37-inch LCD flat-screen TV, a Bose sound system, wireless broadband access, and a Lavazza coffee machine. The roomy villas, finished in polished local woods, are perched along a creek that meanders down to the cove. The beach is completely undeveloped (except for the Datai's sister property, the Andaman, a hundred or so yards away); at night, flaming torches planted along the water's edge light your path. Wildlife abounds: Frisky monkeys play around the terraces and poolsides, and the screech of hornbills can be heard at dusk. Activities range from complimentary guided nature walks to golfing on a championship 18-hole course a five-minute drive away.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
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E&O Hotel
10 Lebuh Farquhar
Penang
10200
Tel: 60 4 263 0630
reservations@e-o-hotel.com
www.e-o-hotel.com

The Eastern and Oriental was opened in 1884 by the Sarkie brothers—Armenian entrepreneurs who would go on to build Raffles, in Singapore. A millennial renovation brought the hotel up to 21st-century standards, with a minimum of architectural tampering. The original Otis elevator, the oldest in Malaysia, is still in operation, and the lobby dome's famous echo is as uncanny as ever, but the decor suffers slightly from Ye Olde Repro syndrome, with bellhops dressed in pith helmets and khaki shorts. The 101 rooms are typically colonial, decorated in creams, dark woods, and Persian carpets. Go all out to book one of the seven ground-floor rooms, which open directly onto the seaside gardens overlooking the harbor of Penang.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
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Four Seasons Resort Langkawi
Jalan Tanjung Rhu
Langkawi Island
Malaysia 07000
Tel: 800 819 5053 (toll-free)
Tel: 60 4 950 8888
reservations.lan@fourseasons.com
www.fourseasons.com/langkawi

The grand entrance of this resort passes through imposing laterite walls that come straight from an ancient Thai temple; the dramatic courtyards and the domed reception area are reminiscent of an Arabian sultan's palace; and the 91 lavish guest rooms have the feel of a Malay village (with Moorish-style bathrooms). Some visitors may find it a bit over the top, but romantics will love it. The resort is set on an excellent beach, with a view of the craggy limestone islets along the Thai border. The food outlets include the homey Ikan Ikan, which serves Southeast Asian dishes, and Serai, an elegant pavilion for southern Italian cuisine. Facilities include tennis courts, two pools, a gym, all nonmotorized water sports, and a spa with six treatment pavilions.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
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Gayana Eco Resort
Malohom Bay, Gaya Island
Tunku Abdul Rahman Park
Kota Kinabalu , Sabah
Malaysia
Tel: 60 88 442233
gayana-eco-resort.com

"Summer camp for everyone" best describes this island retreat inside the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Enthusiastic staff lead guests on kayak tours through the mangroves, swim with them along the reef, and show off the Napoleon wrasses and giant groupers that are saved by sea gypsies for this eco-resort's rescue and breeding program. New Zealander chef Michael Maguire, who trained with London's Marco Pierre White, turns out dishes that are anything but camp fare. A three-room spa with Jacuzzis and sea views offers exceptional treatments. And the 44 overwater bungalows—kitted out with Frette linens, organic Harnn bath amenities, powerful rain showers, and, in the mini-bar, handmade lace cookies infused with palm sugar—feel more Maldives than Malaysia.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
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The Majestic Malacca
188 Jalan Bunga Raya
Malacca
Malaysia 75100
Tel: 60 6 289 8000
mmh@ytlhotels.com.my
www.majesticmalacca.com

With its January 2008 debut, this boutique hotel instantly became the classiest address within the historic port of Malacca. The original teakwood mansion, built in 1929 as the private home of a local rubber baron, oozes history: Malaysia's first prime minister stayed here when he announced the former British colony's independence in 1957. The restored two-story building now holds a breezy reception area, bar, library, and the Mansion restaurant, which boasts a menu every bit as multicultural as Malacca (Dutch green-pea soup with smoked sausage; Portuguese seafood paella with curry sauce; Peranakan-style shrimp). Behind a small gym and swimming pool, a new ten-story wing holds a ground-floor spa with six treatment rooms topped by a pair of suites and 52 spacious, open-plan rooms outfitted with teak four-poster beds, flat-screen TVs, and bathrooms with claw-foot tubs separated from the sleeping area by sliding wooden panels. Silk drapes frame floor-to-ceiling windows; ask for west-facing rooms, which overlook the winding Malacca River. The hotel also offers free guided walking tours of the old town.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
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Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur
City Center
Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia 50088
Tel: 60 3 2380 8888
mokul-reservations@mohg.com
www.mandarinoriental.com/kualalumpur/

Kuala Lumpur isn't a big city, by Asian standards, but even New Yorkers and Londoners will feel a palpable big-city buzz at this lavish 643-room high-rise directly opposite the Petronas Towers. The choice of princes and presidents, it is an impressively efficient city hotel in the grand tradition, with perhaps the most attractive recreational options of any of the city's central business hotels. The pool is lovely and long, overlooking the 50-acre landscaped gardens of KLCC (Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre) Park, which has the best jogging track in the city, well away from traffic. At 430 square feet, the standard rooms are spacious, with dark woods, plush fabrics, and fine contemporary art. The exuberantly designed signature restaurant, Pacifica Grill & Bar, is crowded with movers and shakers at lunch; Wasabi Bistro is a hip spot offering nouvelle California-Japanese cuisine.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
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Pangkor Laut Resort
Pangkor Laut
Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia 32200
Tel: 60 5 699 1100
plr@ytlhotels.com.my
www.pangkorlautresort.com

For unadulterated indulgence, few places top the private island of Pangkor Laut Resort, three miles off the west coast of Malaysia in the Straits of Malacca. The 142 spacious accommodations are in suites or villas (our favorites include the Suria and Purnama suites, which stand on stilts over the sea and have huge balconies.) The interiors were updated in a 2006 renovation that added hardwood flooring and warm color schemes in cream and brown or rich orange, red, and cream. The recently opened (November 2007) Feast Village serves up Japanese sushi and teppan-yaki, dishes from the western Grill, as well as Middle Eastern, Chinese, Malay and Indian fare in different pavilions. The Straits restaurant, overlooking the ocean, has dishes drawn from Malaysian and Thai influences. The hotel's Spa Village consists of eight treatment pavilions, including "healing huts" that offer Chinese herbal and Ayurvedic procedures, three "nap gazebos," and a "wrap house" offering botanical and seaweed wraps. Only a fraction of this 300-acre island has been developed to house the resort—the rest remains lush, two-million-year-old rain forest.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
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Rasa Sayang Resort
Batu Feringgi Beach
www.shangri-la.com/en/property/penang/rasasayangre
Penang
11100
Tel: 60 4 888 8888
reservations.rsr@shangri-la.com

The Shangri-La chain's first resort, built in 1973, underwent a huge renovation in 2002, transforming it into one of the most gorgeous resorts in Southeast Asia. Like most Shang properties, the Rasa Sayang is built around gardens, dominated by vast canopies of trees. The 304 rooms are split into two wings: The Rasa Wing, and the Garden Wing. The Rasa Wing is more exclusive with larger rooms, a separate lounge, complimentary beverage service and wireless Internet. It also has a formal continental dining room, while the Garden Wing has a bustling Spice Market, which serves authentic Malay fare. Public spaces at the Garden Wing are open to guests from the Rasa Wing, but not vice versa. Open to all is the new 10,000-square-foot, $1.4 million Adventure Zone for kids, positioned midway between Rasa Sayang and its adjoining midprice sister resort, the Golden Sands, which features drop slides and other fun stuff.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur
168 Jalan Imbi
Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
Tel: 603 2142 8000
Fax: 603 2143 8080
www.ritzcarlton.com/hotels/kuala_lumpur/

The most formal of the downtown high-rise hotels is also the most hospitable. Public spaces are decorated in the palatial, baroque style that is Ritz-Carlton's signature in Asia, and each of the 351 rooms is assigned a butler—most likely to be a friendly young woman, as relaxed as she is efficient. The hotel is well located in the city's prestigious Golden Triangle district, at the end of Bukit Bintang Road; the neighborhood is lined with luxe malls and specialty shops and is conveniently situated near the Bukit Bintang monorail station. Big, comfortable rooms come with several complimentary extras, such as broadband access and fresh-brewed coffee or tea from room service. The kitchen is superb; the award-winning signature restaurant, Li Yen, serves classical Cantonese cuisine in an atmosphere of imperial luxury, furnished with museum-quality antiques.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
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Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur
11 Jalan Sultan Ismail
Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
Tel: 60 3 2032 2388
slkl@shangri-la.com
www.shangri-la.com/en/property/kualalumpur/shangrila

When the Shangri-La opened in 1985, it immediately became the premier address for business and leisure travelers in Kuala Lumpur, offering a central location, luxurious accommodations, and flawless service—all in a setting of lush tropical gardens. Today, all of that remains true: The Shang now has a lot of competition, but it retains its position as the city's grand hotel. If anything, the location has only gotten better, as the Petronas Towers and other high-rises that have been built around it are a comfortable stroll away—just far enough to give many of the plush 701 rooms a perfect view of the twin skyscrapers. The restaurants and bars are popular with locals, especially the sumptuous Shang Palace, for Chinese cuisine, and the Lafite, which maintains a long-standing reputation as one of the city's best modern fine-dining restaurants. The Lobby Lounge, with its spectacular glass wall offering a panorama of the gardens, is always lively.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Temple Tree at Bon Ton Resort
Pantai Cenang , Langkawi
Malaysia 07000
Tel: 604 955 1688
www.bontonresort.com

Langkawi's popular Bon Ton resort has added a magical collection of nine antique houses from Malaysia's ethnically diverse regions, arranging them in a tree-lined neighborhood a five-minute drive from the beach. Guests in the Chinese House can take tea and coconut cake on the wraparound veranda, the resort's best spot for viewing sunsets into the Andaman Sea, just beyond the long infinity pool and the bird-filled wetlands. The Colonial House, built by Arab gold traders in Georgetown, Penang, has four stylishly furnished bedrooms, with plump chairs and couches festooned with ethnic throw pillows. Bathrooms in all the houses feature deep wooden bucket-style bathtubs, and evening turndown includes delivery of the next day's breakfast (with exotic fruits like mangosteen), placed in the house's fridge. Guests can visit a nearby animal clinic that is funded by both Bon Ton and Temple Tree and even walk the rescued dogs.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.