In July 2023, I checked into the Deluxe Suite at The RuMa Hotel and Residences, Kuala Lumpur. Tucked away along Jalan Kia Peng in the heart of Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle, the 253-room hotel is steps away from key attractions such as Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, Petronas Twin Towers and Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC). Kuala Lumpur International Airport is about 50 minutes away by taxi.
The property is managed by Urban Resort Concepts (who also run properties in Shanghai and Beijing) and is also part of The Leading Hotels of the World. Notable nearby hotels include The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur, JW Marriott Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur and Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur.
The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): 18th-century Malaysia meets sophisticated modernity in downtown Kuala Lumpur.
The must-dos (if any): Book a suite for the guaranteed 11am early check-in and 6pm late check-out; have a drink at SEVEN Lobby Bar; enjoy evening cocktails at The LIBRARI.
THE RUMA HOTEL AND RESIDENCES
With a name which means “home” in Malay, The RuMa Hotel commits fully to its sense of place concept, with its striking interior design drawing inspiration from the way of life in 18th-century Malaya. Tin mining is the most significant point of reference, with copper featuring prominently throughout the property. Your first steps into the hotel requires you to pass through a dramatic antechamber known as “The Bird Cage” which pays tribute to the practice of using caged canaries to detect toxicity of air within tin mines. Once you cross the Bird Cage and enter the sumptuously appointed lobby with its gleaming copper ceiling and pewter tile surfaces, you immediately see a 6-foot tall sculpture of a gold-flecked kebaya flanked by two spiral staircases which are inspired by the colonial residences of the British and designed to resemble drills from the mezzanine floor to the lobby – another tin mining reference. It is likely no coincidence that the hotel is situated along Jalan Kia Peng, named after distinguished businessman and tin mine owner Choo Kia Peng.
Aside from the tin mining angle, the property celebrates yesteryear Malaya by showcasing various items salvaged from traditional Malay homes, from the six kampung house pillars that greet you at the driveway and the antique iron balusters from courtyards in Penang which hang on the walls to the traditional wooden Peranakan cabinets which adorn the lift lobby area.
The hotel’s wellness facilities are located on the 6th level. Aside from a fitness centre fitted with Technogym equipment and a 25-metre outdoor pool and sundeck, the hotel also offers a Truefitt & Hill barber shop as well as UR SPA, a spa concept by Urban Resort Concepts which uses products from wellness brand Comfort Zone and offers a variety of therapies inspired by Malaysian local indigenous techniques. During my stay, I tried the 60-minute Dusun Inan Body Therapy, a deep tissue massage inspired by the rituals of a local tribe from Northern Borneo meant to alleviate the aching pains of working in paddy fields. “How many times do you gym a week?” My therapist Evie asked. Regrettably, she was not complimenting a beautifully sculpted physique, but had asked because my body was so bloody hard, tight and knotty everywhere that I made for a challenging Play-Doh to knead, and she had to apply extra pressure with her elbows in order for the “deep” in deep tissue to be felt. Aside from being masterful with her craft, Evie was friendly and kind, offering me helpful tips about skincare (Vitamin D is helpful for dry skin!) after the treatment.
Offering views of the iconic Petronas Twin Towers from a corner lounge area, the spacious 60sqm Deluxe Suite has separate bedroom and living areas, with the pantry and minibar discreetly tucked away near the entrance. Window shutters give the suite some much-needed privacy given that the hotel is surrounded by office and residential buildings, although the shutters can be manually raised to showcase the impressive skyline views or for your exhibitionist tendencies to be indulged, whichever applies. The window shutters incidentally remind me of plantation shutters, which fits into the whole colonial aesthetic when paired with the whirring ceiling fans and weaved, rattan-esque textures.
The corner lounge area in the bedroom facing the Petronas Twin Towers is my favourite part of the suite. Fitted with a daybed and low lounge chair, and with strategically positioned mirrors which make the cosy corner feel even more expansive, the space is perfect for daytime magazine lounging and after-hours heart-to-heart talks over red wine whilst taking in the scenic night-time tower views. Elsewhere, the pantry offers Malaysian traditional titbits, Nespresso coffee and Harney & Sons tea-making facilities, while the complimentary minibar is stocked with canned drinks, bottled juices and beer.
The bathroom is furnished with a wardrobe and double light-up vanities, each with its own copper sink. Using the sink turned out to be surprisingly fun – the reflections from the combination of moving water and gleaming copper makes the sink feel like a portal to an exciting new dimension. The enclosed shower room has a rainfall shower as well as a window-side bathtub, although the latter’s usefulness as a vessel to submerge in whilst admiring the Petronas Twin Towers is somewhat affected by your proximity to a nearby residential building which makes it unwise to ever draw the window shutters. Bathroom amenities are The RuMa Hotel-branded.
All suite guests enjoy guaranteed 11am check-in and 6pm check-out, as well as daily breakfast at ATAS and daily evening cocktails and canapes at The LIBRARI between 5.30pm and 7.30pm.
Breakfast is served at ATAS, the modern Euro-Asian restaurant located on the mezzanine level above the lobby floor. (Fun fact: “atas” means “upstairs” in Malay and also carries the meaning of “upper-class/fancy” in modern parlance.) The breakfast buffet comprises the obligatory selection of cold cuts and pastries; Nasi Lemak components, including a delicious Lamb Rendang and a moreish and almost Buah Keulak-esque sambal; a noodle station serving daily specials such as Mee Rebus where you pick your own noodles as well as ingredients which ranged from tofu puffs and prawns to long beans and grilled eggplant; local specialties such as Paratha, Samosa and a rather spicy Fried Kway Teow; and an a la minute egg menu comprising options such as Sambal Udang Omelette (with spicy shrimp), Potato Masala Omelette (potatoes, onions and spices), Mix Omelette (turkey ham, smoked salmon, spinach, mushroom, bell pepper, tomato, cheese) and Poached Egg with Hollandaise. I did miss the presence of a local Kopi O, which was available as part of the in-room dining menu but curiously absent here.
Beyond breakfast, ATAS offers course menus showcasing dishes inspired by classic Asian flavours but with a modern European twist – think Guinea Fowl (kiam chai cabbage & shiitake roll, mustard leaf, asparagus, heirloom tomatoes, natural jus), Asam Pedas Risotto (blue belly shrimp, camaron rojo, sakura shrimp, paku pakis, winged beans, purple beans, ulam, sea grapes) and Mentaiko Otak-Otak (blue mackerel, aged mimolette cheese, tofu skin, turmeric pickled zucchini).
Located on the lobby level, SEVEN Lobby Bar is a gin specialist concept which boasts 77 different type of gins for your customized taste experience – you get to choose your own gin, tonic and garnish. Interesting gins on offer include Malaysian gins (Eiling Lim Nasty Nangka, Ginfused Golden Flower), Navy Strength gins (Four Pillars from Australia, Rock Rose from Scotland), distilled gins from Netherlands (Black Tomato, Bobby’s Schiedam Dry) as well as gins from Slovenia (One Key), Japan (Sakurao and Benizakura 9148) and Belgium (Blind Tiger Imperial Secrets). Being a Negroni enthusiast, I tried their Asam Boi Negroni, which manages to maintain its stiff, herbal aspirations even after the injection of sour plum and salt rim.
Located on the 6th level, poolside concept SANTAI Pool Bar and Lounge serves a variety of both breezy and classic cocktails alongside a food menu consisting of light bites (e.g. Garlic Shrimp, Balinese Chicken Satay and the chicken yakitori Santai Black Slate Platter) as well as more substantial choices such as Classic Cheese Burger and A5 Omi Steak. The space is popular for its stunning sunset skyline views.
Situated next to SEVEN Lobby Bar is The LIBRARI, the hotel’s afternoon tea destination that is stocked with a variety of books and magazines about architecture, design, fashion and Malaysia for your leisurely browsing pleasure. The LIBRARI is also the venue where suite guests are served evening cocktails and canapes. The evening food presentation astounded me with its scale and generosity – while the drink selection is on the modest side (you can choose from Carlsberg beer, Negroni, Cosmopolitan, a Christmassy whiskey-based concoction named Cinnamon Citrus or your choice of the house red or white, with no sparkling option available), you are actually served unlimited full-sized portions (!) of selected dishes from SEVEN Lobby Bar and SANTAI Pool Bar and Lounge’s food menus such as Garlic Shrimp, Homemade Satays (signature chicken and beef skewers, peanut sauce), Artisan Cheeses (4 types of cheese from selection), Classic Cheese Burger (Angus patty, cheddar cheese, onion cream, fries), Cendawan Goreng (Sichuan-flavoured chili assorted tempura, peanuts) and Blueberry and Pear Pie (vanilla ice cream). Many of the dishes are delectable, and there is genuinely no reason to go for dinner afterwards.
Probably one of the evening cocktail experiences that impressed me the most this year.
There is much to love at The RuMa Hotel, from the stylish interiors and rich historical references to the impressive suite benefits and evening cocktail presentation. Highly recommended.
The RuMa Hotel And Residences
7 Jalan Kia Peng,
50450 Kuala Lumpur