The RuMa hotel, by Urban Resort Concepts, is the group’s first foray out of Mainland China. This urban resort lives up to its name, being a fantastic urban retreat right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, one of the most dynamic metropolises in Asia. A member of the Leading Hotels of the World (of which, I foresee me writing more about them), this hotel which recently opened in Q4 2018, is one of the most understated and most jaw dropping hotel openings in the region.
Up and Coming
When a mate told me that RuMa was opening in Kuala Lumpur, I did not hold my breath. For starters, I was not familiar with the group. That would, in due course, change. 2 years after I heard about it, they opened, and out of curiosity, I talked another mate in to doing a stay-cation. The location was just a short 10-minute walk from our respective pied-à-terre.
I have to admit, the lack of familiarity and the almost no expectations did me good. They price themselves at the same level as other luxury 5 star hotels in the city, and I must admit, with the knowledge that they cannot rely on brand recognition, they went all out to make sure you knew who they were.
Tucked away on Kia Peng, across the street from the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre and Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur, 5 minute walk from Pavilion Kuala Lumpur and KLCC/Petronas Twin Towers, with numerous embassies being next door neighbours, the RuMa Kuala Lumpur does well being nondescript and blending in.
The porte cochere feels at first underwhelming, but this is where the journey starts. As you get dropped off (or in my case, walk in) at the main entrance, you are led to an antechamber, one which changes in design and décor between day and night. From this small antechamber, the lobby beckons.
Once the doors to the lobby are open, you are transported to a world where no expense was spared to make it look as if no effort was made. A grand staircase is the first thing you see, with a golden kebaya at the landing. To your left, the lobby bar, a quiet, cosy corner, and to your right, the check-in desks, where they not only had a selection of tea to welcome me with, they told me the room was prepared within minutes of me booking.
Now, to put this in context, this trip was done literally at the last minute. I woke up at 7am, suddenly felt like doing a stay-cation and made a booking at 8am. I called the hotel at 8:30 asking if I could check in, and voila, by 9am, there I was, at the lobby. Call ahead and request, you can get an early check-in, and at 9am, this is one of the earliest check-in I have ever done without incurring that pesky extra night charge. My mate did the same thing, and he was impressed.
Now, they know they cannot compete with the likes of neighbouring Grand Hyatt, Banyan Tree or Traders Hotel when it comes with pools and views. However, they made up for it with a resort deck.
The resort deck is on the 5th floor, and has a cantilever pool that just out to the junction of Jalan Kia Peng and Jalan Pinang, with the urban canyon of glassy towers giving that unmistakable urban feel. While the deck chairs by the pool are limited, the room count is small, and the space in both the rooms and facilities done in such a way, you would hardly encounter other guests unless you are actively looking.
The gym, while small, is well equipped, with little fixtures and furnishings that add on to the feeling of understated luxury: look up and you will see instead of plaster, a natural weave of fibres that mimic the rattan mats in traditional Southeast Asian cultures.
Lounge and Dine
At last count, there are 3 food and beverage outlets in the hotel, but they are so interconnected and intertwined, they feel like appendages of each other. A menu from all-day dining can be used at the pool, and drinks from the pool deck can be had at the lobby lounge or in your room. Spoiled for choice, or a supply as and when?
The main restaurant, ‘Atas’ (which in local parlance can be translated as either ‘upstairs’ or ‘uppity’ or ‘posh’ depending on your context) is superb. The menu is a modern take on Malaysian cuisine, and while the ‘modern take’ has been done to death and can be underwhelming, they did pull it off perfectly here, with a Malaysian take on a hot dog being a particular favourite.
If an urban resort getaway to hide from the world has you itching to explore, then this tucked away place is a corner away from the hotspots of Kuala Lumpur. Pavilion Kuala Lumpur is a short 5 minute walk away, on the left of the hotel, if shopping and all kinds of dining is your thing. Kuala Lumpur City Centre/KLCC and the Petronas Twin Towers are just across the street behind the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, and at least 4 public transport stations and 3 urban rail networks are within reach: Bukit Bintang MRT Station, Bukit Bintang and Raja Chulan Monorail Stations and KLCC LRT Station.
And the Rooms?
Wood-heavy, with leather and dark tones that give it a very understated masculine feel. The rooms are on the larger side by Kuala Lumpur (or even regional) luxury 5 star standards, with comfortable beds, day beds and brass trimmings in the bathroom, from the shower fixtures down to the sinks.
An urban resort in Kuala Lumpur, or in fact the major Southeast Asian cities have been tried and on occasion faltered. This is among the few instances where it works, and works well. The service is top notch and super attentive without being overbearing. The rooms are well-appointed without feeling too over the top.
Like her affiliate property in the Leading Hotels of the World portfolio, the Datai Langkawi, the RuMa is a very understated, and well-deserving hotel, for those who want to hide away and be pampered with utter privacy. While not as well known as the other luxury 5 stars such as the Four Seasons, like the Datai, the RuMa, and other affiliates in the Leading Hotels of the World portfolio, they cater to a different market segment.
Booking?: I booked online on the RuMa website. If you are a Leading Hotels of the World member, check out their rates there too.
Nearest Station: Bukit Bintang MRT Station/KLCC LRT Station/Bukit Bintang or Raja Chulan Monorail Station
Peak Season?: Hard to say for a city like Kuala Lumpur, but the major public holidays tends to attract higher rates.
Jason is a world traveller and avid seeker of high perches, on a mission to capture the unique experiences that makes destinations iconic.