Checking in: The RuMa Hotel and Residences, Kuala Lumpur
Your home away from home
There's just something about doing staycations. Maybe it's the fact that not everyone's house comes with a bathtub. Or has the softest pillows or silkiest sheets. Or has a whole breakfast buffet spread ready for you in the morning. On my list, it includes the fact that I don't have to worry about cleaning. A worthy contender for a staycation destination in KL is none other than The RuMa Hotel and Residences, Kuala Lumpur.
After a tour of the establishment back in November when it first opened its doors, I was already sold by many of its elements. One, of course, is the design of the place. So many of it pay tribute to the Malaysian history and culture but without trying too hard or being in your face. The first space you walk into before the "lobby" is The Birdcage which takes inspiration from the tin mining industry in the past where miners would take canaries in birdcages along to help detect gas leakages. Same goes with the generous touches of copper around the hotel—also a nod to the mining industry.
And for the centrepiece of the lobby, a grand, glittering "Kebayaku" showpiece by Dato' Sri Bernard Chandran using only gold geometrical squares and butterfly-shaped cut metal. The designer was quoted saying, "It symbolises prosperity and health and Malaysians simply love all things that shine."
That isn't the only artist collaboration though. The hotel's staff uniform differs from most places simply because it's the work of iconic local designer Joe Chia. "The hotel's uniform was built around the notion of entwining the past, the present and the future. We wanted to create a collection that can withstand the test of time, reflecting the past through traditional silhouettes and layering while infusing a twist of the modern minimalist," said Joe Chia.
Well, enough about the story behind The RuMa—because we can really go on and on about that—and on to what you're really here for: the review.
The official number: A total of 253 elegant guest rooms and suites with exceptional interiors and artisanal furniture, and some with views of the iconic Petronas Towers. Some of their room categories include the Deluxe Room, Corner Studio, Grand Suite and the vast 2-bedroom RuMa Suite. My stay was at the Corner Studio King Room, and for two people, that's a lot of space. There was a mini pantry area, complete with a well-stocked mini bar, Nespresso machine and on the small dining table, a bowl of fruits.
My view wasn't anything great but everything within the room was a joy to look at: warm earthy tones, wooden floors, rattan detailing and lamps that do more than just shine. And then, there was the bed. Oh my, the bed, its pillows and the softest sheets (to be specific, a 330-thread count Egyptian cotton bed linen). The bathroom too was spacious enough with two vanity basins, a rainforest shower and a bathtub by the window. They even provided one packet of bath salts.
One of the things I love about The RuMa's concept was the option to have your breakfast served in the room. That, however, would mean less variety but you'll get the comforts of your room and you need not fret about needing to get ready, or look ready, to head down to Atas. Even so, curious about the variety, I decided to have breakfast at Atas anyway and was not disappointed. Served semi-buffet style, hot dishes can be ordered from the menu and the selection is truly decent and the dishes, satisfying.
As breakfast is part of the stay, it's worth it but to order a la carte, it might be a tad pricey considering the small portions. As a guest, however, it meant being able to order more than one main. Between me and my staycation partner, we ordered six mains and all was pleasant. The buffet portion had a lot of options for bread, yoghurt toppings, fruit, juices; and they even had a honey counter. Quality is assured right here.
If you don't plan to head out during your stay, you'll be glad to know that Atas is ready to please, be it for lunch or dinner. But that's for a separate review (stay tuned!). The only other dining options in the hotel is more of a drinking facility. For alcohol (they have a pretty neat variety of gin) or afternoon tea, head over to Seven Lobby Bar and Lounge. For refreshing cocktails, snacks and refreshments by the pool, there's Santai Pool Bar and Lounge.
A staycation destination should definitely have a spa and The RuMa has just that, and more. UR Spa offers the necessary for guests to truly rejuvenate in the heart of a bustling city, with treatments ranging from a 30-minute express service to a whole-day ritual. To complement the spa is famed Truefitt & Hill with gender-neutral beauty treatments and its standard barber shop things.
There's also the pool, as mentioned earlier, and a 24-hour state of the art gym. You do you.
Located on the quiet Jalan Kia Peng, The RuMa is an easy five- to ten-minute walk away from Pavilion KL. As someone who's very honest about her feelings about walking in KL, trust me when I say it's an easy walk. On our first night, we walked over to the mall for dinner, Tiger Sugar and a spot of shopping before retiring for the night. The rest of our next day was well spent rejuvenating in the comforts of this home away from home. It's the kind of staycation you're looking for if you can't travel far, and require peace and quiet without sacrificing the comforts of a city. The RuMa has the right balance.
Address: 7 Jalan Kia Peng 50450 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
Fun fact: It's ranked #1 of 414 hotels in Kuala Lumpur on TripAdvisor—that's saying something.