Villa Samadhi boutique hotel occupies a quiet corner of the upscale Taman U-Thant neighborhood, on the edge of Kuala Lumpur City Center
Central Kuala Lumpur’s hotel scene leaves something to be desired. While the district does boast a number of corporate, five-star properties, historically the area is lacking in boutique options compared to other cities of its size. Villa Samadhi opened in 2011 bringing a much-needed boutique persona to the upscale neighborhood of Taman U-Thant. Counting the ambassadors of Japan and Britain among its neighbors, Villa Samadhi occupies a quiet corner of Jalan Madge hidden in greenery and high wood-and-bamboo fences.
The Look: Villa Samadhi’s owner, Federico Asaro, plays a cerebral role in the design of the property, collecting antique pieces from around the region to be featured in the space. The entire property is done by his team of builders and craftsmen, using vintage woods he personally collected in his travels including jetties, lampposts, and timber from old houses and factories. Dark wood, polished concrete floors, and a luxe collection of Southeast Asian antiques throughout contribute to Asaro’s vision of rustic but lavish village living. The bamboo entrance gate opens onto a long driveway with a view of an antique Buddha statue from Indonesia. Dried grass decorates the multi-tiered, Malaysian-style slopped roof. Intricate wood doors more than 100 years old, sourced from Chiang Mai, gives way to the lobby looking out onto the pool.
The Rooms: Check-in takes place in the fountain-decked lobby at antique Thai desks with a spread of tea and fruit by the pool; guests are then escorted to one of 21 bespoke rooms, with no two rooms alike. With just two floors, the main building wraps around the pool, creating novel angles and nooks for the villas. The Loft Room utilizes its distinctive floor plan by placing the bed squarely within the slopping attic rafters. Rooms come equipped with oversize plunge tubs and select villas feature shallow pools or outdoor Jacuzzis. Singular touches from in-room fish tanks to handmade lantern chandeliers from Thailand and wooden balconies overlooking the lush pool space continue the luxe village vibe. What is consistent in all of the rooms are the mod-cons from air-conditioning, walk-in wardrobes, rain showers, and fully stocked mini-bars. For swim-up pool access, choose a Luxe Sarang room with a private garden to boot.
The Appeal: It’s hard to miss the stunning centerpiece of the Samadhi property: the glittering wraparound pool with lazy cream-colored cabanas and an island evocative of a grooved seashell. According to hotel staff, guests find it hard to wrench themselves from the pool’s misted eaves and into the city. Beyond the pool lies Mandi-Mandi restaurant. At night the glass-encased restaurant, whose name means “to bathe” in Malay, is lit from within using sparkling chandeliers and candles. The boutique hotel lacks what larger spaces might offer including a gym, spa, and multiple dining outlets. But Villa Samadhi makes up for its limited space with an extensive selection of activities including white-water rafting, mountain biking, and walks in the jungle with local Malaysian guides.
The Surrounds: Villa Samadhi occupies a choice location in the Taman U-Thant neighborhood, an area with a smattering of embassies and diplomatic residences each with a touch of modern colonial design. The neighborhood rests just on the edge of Kuala Lumpur’s city center, four kilometers from the enormous Pavilion shopping mall (though the distance can take up to an hour in traffic). From the Kuala Lumpur International Airport a taxi can reach Villa Samadhi in just over an hour, or the KLIA Ekspres takes an easy 28 minutes to the city center. The hotel is also available to arrange airport pickups for US$50 with a spread of cool ginger tea, chilled cloths, and dried fruits at the start of the journey.
For those in the know … There are more boutique getaways in the works from the folks at Villa Samadhi. Look out for the Blue Mansion in Penang to open in February 2014, and a promised respite from Singapore’s urban sprawl to open in Labrador Park later next year.
No. 8, Persiaran Madge, Kuala Lumpur; 60-3/21432300; Villa Samadhi; doubles from US$ 160
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