Heritage areas and the famous tourist spots in Downtown Kuala Lumpur (KL), such as Jalan Petaling and Chow Kit, have seen a coat of paint and a thorough clean up with Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) embarking on an exercise to restart businesses in the area. But beyond a fresh paint job, Downtown KL is now crawling back towards its former glory as the bustling city spot to visit.
Keen on discovering (or rediscovering) it for yourself? Check out this charming selection of boutique hotels that ought to do just the trick for your next staycation. While most locations are situated in the heart of Downtown KL, a few are on the outskirts in the Bukit bintang area, but easily explorable by jumping on the Monorail.
Lantern Hotel KL
A sleek budget hotel at the heart of Petaling Street, Lantern Hotel is a structure that’s hard to miss. The façade is a show-stopper constructed of timber shutters and mocha-hued clay bricks sourced from southern Malaysia. But once inside, this industrial edginess is tempered with a primarily white palette, abundant natural light streaming across the common areas, and patches of green to soften the rawness further.
Catering to all types of travellers, from backpackers to flashpackers, there are dormitories and private rooms over at Lantern Hotel that can sleep up to three, with some units fitted with a balcony or verandah. And while the rooms don’t provide much of a view, head to the Lantern Hotel Café, an open-air terrace overlooking the busy warren of shops, stalls, and foot traffic that characterise Chinatown.
Address: 38, Jalan Petaling, 50000 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +603 2020 1648
Tucked away in the Bukit Bintang district and surrounded by pre-war, historical buildings, Indie Hotel will easily catch your eye with its chic white exterior. The folks behind Indie pride themselves in providing cosy accommodation in an aesthetic and fun-loving environment, all without a hefty price tag.
The minimalistic yet stylish rooms at Indie exude soft vibes and an on-site mart for all your emergency needs should they arise! Can you say perfect city escape? We sure can!
Address: 9, Jalan Ceylon, Bukit Ceylon, 50200 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +603 2070 9000
Momo’s is a self-proclaimed social hotel home to 99 rooms with warm ambient lighting, bespoke toiletries, 43″ smart TVs, and free high-speed Wi-Fi. A hotel with plenty of personality and charm, rooms range from those with bunk beds to queen beds on a Tatami-style raised platform! Cosy and minimalist, Momo’s provides a fun and laidback space for travellers at the heart of Chow Kit.
The hotel also houses MoMosita Taco Bar, where you can indulge in Mexican food, tacos, nachos, drinks, and The Playground, an open-plan, lively space with food, performances, and fun.
Address: 316, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Chow Kit, 50100 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +603 2776 6666
The Chow Kit
Stylishly designed, The Chow Kit is a boutique hotel under the Ormond Group with a laid-back, retro vibe. Think floor-to-ceiling windows, timber floors, rain showers, and warm, inviting beds with luxurious linens in rooms named by KL’s rich history, such as The Den and Little Towkay Suite.
Want to be inspired by KL’s history through cuisine? The kitchen and bar serve dishes with a local twist, like the grilled ribeye with sambal hijau (green chilli paste). Need a little more? The rest of Downtown KL is just a stone’s throw away right outside.
Address: 1012 Jalan Sultan Ismail, Chow Kit, 50100 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +603 2778 6666
The KL Journal
Retreat to your room after exploring the many malls, speciality bars, cafes, and restaurants located within walking distance of The KL Journal. But be prepared to get your camera out because the rooms are stylishly furnished and equipped with huge floor-to-ceiling windows that bring in plenty of natural light and photo opportunities!
Not ready to wind down? Make a splash at the hotel’s chic rooftop infinity pool and bar, where you can take a refreshing dip or sip on deliciously cool cocktails in the sun.
Address: 30, Jalan Beremi, Off Jalan Sultan Ismail, Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur.
Contact: +603 2110 2211
Tian Jing Hotel
Many of downtown KL’s boutique hotels are pre-war buildings that have been given a new lease of life, and Chinatown is at the heart of this rejuvenation. Often, you’ll find Instagram-friendly cafes conjoined within, and one perfect example of this is Tian Jing Hotel.
You’ve probably heard of the locale as one to stop at for a cup of kopi and roti bakar. Did you know that the building also houses a lovely boutique hotel? Inspired by traditional Chinese architecture, Tian Jing Hotel is a space full of natural light and cosy rooms with furniture handpicked from places across Malaysia.
Set in a lively street, the hotel is within walking distance to yummy street food, aesthetic cafes, and many hotspot attractions in Chinatown.
Address: 66-68, Jalan Sultan, 50000 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +603 2022 1131
You’ve probably caught a glimpse of the stylish WOLO Kuala Lumpur by the bustling Jalan Bukit Bintang corner. An acronym for ‘We Only Live Once’, this design-led hotel puts its money where its mouth is with an in-house gallery space that hosts the occasional exhibition.
But beyond that, its design-forward rooms are functional and comfortable, making it the perfect stop for sleep, work, rest, play, and, of course, exploration. With the city’s main shopping malls, a Monorail station, and food mecca Jalan Alor within walking distance, WOLO is the perfect intersection of rest and play.
Address: Corner of Jalan Bukit Bintang & Jalan Sultan Ismail, Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +603 2719 1333
Want a feel of living in a modern art museum? Hit up citizenM for a delightfully curated stay. Famous for their XL king-sized beds and MoodPad, where you can adjust the room’s lights, blinds, temperature, and mood to your liking, citizenM is affordable 21st-century luxury at its best.
An award-winning hotel designed for convenience and comfort, the cosy rooms are smart (read what we said about curating your experience from a MoonPad above) and surprisingly artsy, with a Living Room filled with comfortable furniture, commissioned art, books, workspaces, and plenty of little corners for you to relax in.
Address: 128, Jalan Pudu, Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +603 9212 6340
Classy and charming, Hotel Stripes is a favourite stay for many in the little hidden nooks of KL. From standard deluxe rooms to spacious studio units, you can pick from various room options depending on your budget.
And since it’s located in a central area near restaurants, cafes, and art galleries, the hotel is a perfect launchpad for exploring the city. Prefer staying in? No problem—Stripes offers a stunning rooftop pool with a kitchen and bar that overlooks the KL skyline!
Address: 25, Jalan Kamunting, Chow Kit, 50300 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +603 2038 0000