Earlier this month, I had a transit in Kuala Lumpur on the way back home from Perak. The transit afforded me the chance to try out the latest hotel in Kuala Lumpur, ACES Hotel, which has just opened its door in December 2020.
When I first found out about its location – in Kota Raya Complex – I was feeling rather sceptical. The building is actually an old shopping complex that was built in the 1960s and was popular up until the early 1990s (I think) before newer and more modern shopping malls took over. It reminds me of the time when I had to wait for my bus (the infamous Bas Mini Wilayah) on the steps of Kota Raya in order to get back to my college in the KL suburb of Cheras. It wasn’t exactly fun, but I digress. Today, there is still a bus terminal there, although now it is located right behind the building – a proof that the place still remains a centre for many folks in the capital city.
Anyway, below is my review of ACES Hotel Kuala Lumpur, following my 2D/1N stay there in early January 2021.
1. The Hotel
ACES Hotel Kuala Lumpur is a hotel with budget travellers in mind. It has 68 rooms (in 4 categories – Superior, Premier, Family & ACES Suite), all with en-suite bathroom.
1a. The Lobby/ Reception
The lobby of the hotel is located on the fifth (top) floor of Kota Raya and is served by 6 lifts. Despite it being located on the top floor of a shopping complex, access is 24/7 either via the shopping complex itself or on the dedicated side entrance. To enter, you’d need to use your room card or get buzzed in by the reception.
The lobby & reception area is spacious enough, with plenty of seats for guests. The overall outlook is pretty modern & chic, which instantly made me forget about the age of the building.
Check-in process was smooth and I was assigned to Room 154, a queen-bed room in the Premier category. (Guests may also choose 2 single beds for this type of room, by the way.)
1b. The Room
My first impression upon entering my room is that it is spacious enough for two guests. In fact, at probably around 20ms in size, I don’t think the room size reflects the “budget” idea of the hotel.
There’s a simple but nice (read: Instagrammable, haha!) industrial-style clothes rack in the entryway, a 42” TV on the wall, a table and a chair, a luggage rack and 2 bedside tables by the bed. The furnishing is rather minimal and unpretentious, similar to many 3-star chain hotels, and I’m saying this not in a negative way.
The bathroom is also quite roomy; it can comfortably fit in 2 guests (if there ever needs to be the case! 😐) and looks shiny, clean and, dare I say, rather inviting! There is a water heater for the shower (which has 2 showerheads, including a rain shower head), a bum gun by the toilet bowl, and a large, round mirror just above the sink. The sink is big enough should you need to do a quick clothes wash – although you really don’t need to worry about doing the laundry whilst staying at the hotel. Why? Just read on.
The mattress and bed are firm and very comfortable. Linens and towels are of standard hotel issue.
Overall, the room is adequately furnished in a no-nonsense approach but the bathroom, on the other hand, looks much better than many other 3-star hotels that target budget travellers.
On top of the positive things mentioned above, there are 3 things of note that I very much like about the room:
- There are actually 2 power points AND 2 USB ports on EACH side of the bed! I asked, and was told that this is standard in all rooms;
- There is no bottled water in the room. Instead, the room comes with a jug and 2 mugs. You can get your drinking water supply from the dispenser not far from the reception area. (Not only this is more environmental-friendly, but it is also more pocket-friendly if you bring your own water bottle during your travels); and
- Last but not least, while there is no under-bed lighting, the room has under-the-side-table lighting and the bathroom wall is frosted, which allows for soft lighting in the room for those who prefer not to sleep in the dark.
So what are the negative points on the room, you might ask? I can only think of 3 things that could be improved on or considered by the hotel:
- 2 Pillows for each guest, i.e. 2 on a single bed and 4 on a queen bed. (I actually think they do. However, my room only had 2 pillows - it's probably because they knew that there'd be a single occupant. Otherwise, I'd have shared a photo of my fort. 😜);
- A reading light on each side of the bed. Even though I personally don’t do much reading while in bed, I still think it’s nice to have it; and
- While the shower water pressure was adequate (during my stay), I wish it could have been stronger.
- All rooms look pretty much the same. The cheapest option at the hotel – Superior Room – in general, is just slightly smaller by 1ms in size than the Premier room and has no windows. Everything else is the same.
- If you’re planning a family or group stay here, go for Family rooms (which have either 2 queen beds or 1 queen and 2 singles) or ACES Suite (which has 2 queen beds and 1 single bed)!
- The hotel is disabled-friendly but has a very limited number of wheelchair-accessible rooms. If there’s a need, you may request such a room at the time of booking.
ACES Hotel doesn’t have an in-house restaurant but for breakfast, should you need it, they do offer a couple of selections - local and continental sets. You’d, however, need to inform the reception about this during the check-in. The breakfast set costs only RM9 each (including a cup of tea or coffee) and it is prepared by a sister hotel that is located nearby – Berjaya Times Square Hotel. You can then have it either in your own room or in the common space at the lobby of the hotel. I had mine in the latter.
What is interesting about the breakfast sets is that they are all meatless/ plant-based. I tried their local breakfast set (Nasi Lemak) and didn’t actually realise that the anchovies and rendang weren’t real anchovies and meat respectively until I was told about this. Goes to show how hungry I was at the time, lol!
1d. Internet Access
Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel, including the rooms. I didn’t think about checking the speed but when I used it, it was good enough for my usual internet browsing and social media scrolling.
1e. Other Facilities
Other than free Wi-Fi and unlimited, filtered drinking water supply, there’s one facility that amazes me. The hotel has a washing machine and a dryer, and guests can use them for free without any limits! The only catch, if you’d call it one, is that you’d need to buy the detergent.
Feeling bored but prefer not to go out of the hotel? Go to the reception and ask for one of the many board and card games that they have in store just for their guests! They even have local traditional games like congkak and batu seremban!
Located on top of a shopping complex does have its own advantages. Whatever else you need, you probably can get it downstairs. There is also a 7-11 right next door and at least 2 pharmacies just across the road.
2. Where to Eat
As mentioned earlier, ACES Hotel doesn’t have an in-house restaurant. There is, however, a plethora of eateries to choose from in the area around the hotel, ranging from street food like Malaysia’s favourite burger Ramly to fast food, cafes and restaurants.
If you’re adventurous when it comes to food, the following are my suggestions based on what I had during my stay at ACES Hotel:
2a. Lunch at Merchant’s Lane (About 500m from the hotel)
Merchant’s Lane is probably one of the first “hipster” cafés to be set up in Chinatown, which is located just across the street from the hotel. It is popular, not only because it’s very much Instagram-friendly (a point, which somehow (sadly) could be a deciding factor on whether or not a place is worth visiting in this social media age), but the food that they serve here is pretty good and the portion is rather generous too. I had Italian Chow Mein (fried spaghetti with chicken rending) for lunch here but what I would recommend is either one of these: Pipit’s Nest, the Taukay 2.0 or Kg Sg Tua (pronounced Kampung Sungai Tua). Port Klang and Better than Sex are highly recommended too. If all these names sound alien or weird to you, then be prepared to be (pleasantly) surprised. 😉
2b. Tea at Luckin Kopi (About 500m from the hotel)
If you’re into coffee for tea, then Luckin Kopi is the place to go. It is one of the latest cafes to have popped up in one of the refurbished old shophouses in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown. Thanks to the generous portion of food that I had earlier at Merchant’s Lane, I could only order for something light here – kaya butter peanut bun (which was just perfect!) and Luckin Kopi 5 States Kopi, a selection of coffees from 5 different places in Malaysia. (For a more comprehensive review of the coffee and these café places, check out my Instagram story highlights under the “#aceshotel” folder. And while you’re at it, why not give me a follow on Instagram right away? 😝)
2c. Dinner at Lauk Pauk : Urban Warung at REXKL (About 100m from the hotel)
I had seafood mi goreng (fried noodles) here, which was not bad at all but I would also recommend their grilled squid kerabu and ramen laksa with prawn. If you’re on Keto diet, their cauliflower fried rice comes highly recommended!
Tip: While you're here, check out the rest of REXKL too! There are food stalls, knick-knack shops, a second-hand book store and shop, pop-up booths and even an event space/hall in this historic building that used to be the home of Kuala Lumpur's very first cinema house!
3. Getting Around
How to get there: Kota Raya Complex is located in the city centre, right across the road from Petaling Street and Pudu Sentral. The nearest LRT station is Plaza Rakyat station (400m). Two other LRT/MRT stations nearby are Pasar Seni station (550m) and Masjid Jamek Station (600m). There are Go KL City Bus stops nearby too for the free bus service that would bring you directly to Bukit Bintang.
Interesting places nearby, if any: There are plenty! Petaling Street (Chinatown) is just across the road from the hotel. Central Market (300m), River of Life/ Masjid Jamek (400m), National Textile Museum (550m), Dataran Merdeka and Sultan Abdul Samad Building (600m).
5. Further Information
|Level 5, Kota Raya Complex, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Kuala Lumpur.
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A Thank You and Disclosure Note
I would like to thank the management & staff of ACES Hotel as well as Berjaya Hotels & Resort for the arrangement to stay at the hotel. As with other similar arrangements, the sponsorship has affected my weight (fret not, I’m back on diet now) but definitely not my review of the hotel.
For other blog entries on Kuala Lumpur, click here.