Chow Kit is going through a facelift – think places like the Chow Kit market and nearby areas surrounding Jalan Haji Hussein undergoing redevelopment; but despite the changes, much of Chow Kit’s chaotic charm still remains. Located between Chow Kit market and Bazaar Baru Chow Kit, Hilton Garden Inn Kuala Lumpur is great for travellers who want a high-end accommodation option while still being able to experience this old KL neighbourhood, whose character once inspired Sudirman Arshad to pen the ‘80s pop hit ‘Chow Kit Road’.
Opened in December 2017, the 16-storey hotel houses 265 rooms and boasts a clean décor – think a brightly-lit lobby with wooden accents as well as a vertical garden in the waiting area. The hectic streets of Chow Kit, especially along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, may be overbearing for the uninitiated but in the hotel, the friendly staff and cosy rooms should make you feel right at home. Also a plus point is the nearby Chow Kit Monorail station, only a four-minute walk away.
We stayed at the cosy 250-sq ft Queen Guest Room (RM200++ per night), which comes with a view of the Petronas Twin Towers and is equipped with the standard set of amenities which all rooms in Hilton Garden Inn get – 40-inch HDTV, Slumberland bed, a walk-in bathroom, mini refrigerator, iron and ironing board, and complimentary WiFi.
The Garden Grille is the hotel’s only restaurant – the breakfast spread is your usual Western-meets-Asian fare, while an à la carte menu is offered during lunch. Highlights from the menu include the hotel’s signature Mobley Beef Burger, fish and chips, pan-roasted Norwegian salmon and more. The best part is, the two-course Express Set Lunch – priced at RM20 – comes with mushroom soup, a drink, and a choice of either fish and chips, linguini al pesto or Mobley Beef Burger (which costs RM30 on its own on the à la carte menu!). The price tag RM20 for a hefty beef burger, soup and a drink is a pretty good deal and left us thoroughly stuffed.
In terms of facilities, there’s a 24-hour fitness centre and the 24-hour Pavilion Pantry, which is conveniently located in the lobby selling all sorts of packaged snacks, drinks and toiletries; this proved useful for our near-midnight snack jaunts. There isn’t a swimming pool or a spa centre here, but having them would only distract you from exploring the surrounding neighbourhood.
Venturing into Chow Kit
Start your journey by visiting Chow Kit Market, known as the largest wet market in KL. Essentially a maze of vendors peddling all sorts of produce, Chow Kit Market is always lively and full of vibrant colours and characters. If you’re looking for hawker food, clothes and nifty knick-knacks, Bazaar Baru Chow Kit is the place to be. Set up along Jalan Raja Bot off Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, the market lights up with music, chatter and vendors yelling out deals for their wares. Sunday morning is the best time to visit this bazaar.
Other attractions near the hotel include the Gurdwara Tatt Khalsa Diwan Sikh temple, which you’ll likely stumble upon as you make your way through Chow Kit Market (Note: both men and women need to wear a head covering before entering). For a bit of shopping or to catch a movie, Quill City Mall is a nine-minute walk away – if you’re heading there at night, take the back street off Lorong Tuanku Abdul Rahman 2, which becomes a food street come dinner time with tables overflowing onto the road. You’ll be able to find all sorts of hawker fare and hearty Malay-style cuisine here which pulls in large crowds, so finding a table may be hard.
While Hilton's first Garden Inn in KL doesn’t have all the frills of a four-star hotel, it makes up for it in affordability and accessibility. Its proximity with some of Chow Kit’s most interesting places make it easy to explore and experience the town; our time here has given us a newfound appreciation for this historic part of KL.