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First-hand Exploration

Is Pan Pacific Hotel at Kuala Lumpur worth the rating as best airport hotel in Asia?

Ted Macauley, eTN  Jul 19, 2011

(eTN) - For the past seven years, the Pan Pacific Hotel at Kuala Lumpur International Airport has been rated “The Best Airport Hotel in Asia” by Business Asia magazine and holds the prestigious title of “World’s Leading Airport Hotel” bestowed upon it by World Travel Awards. And there are many more accolades that would easily fill this page.

Rather then just list the awards, a personal account of a very pleasant stay would be better.

The hotel, inspired by KL International Airport, “airport in the forest and forest in the airport” theme best describes the oasis - like feeling one gets when entering the hotel, which is connected to the main terminal via a sky bridge. The hotel is just far enough away from the terminal to feel that you are not in an airport hotel.

I have been repeatedly stopping at the hotel in between or before flights for a drink or dinner but never enjoyed a night there. The time had finally come when I had a departing flight at 2:00 am, so I decided to stay the night, be truly rested for my flight, and see if all the hype was accurate.

Residing in Kuala Lumpur I was able to hope on the KLIA Express train, which links the central rail hub in KL, with the airport in 28 minutes. Upon arrival, it’s a seamless buggy ride (3 minutes) to the hotel reception. Naturally this option works both ways for guests staying out at the airport but wanting quick access to the city.

I was given a room on the club level, which truthfully is the way to go; it is a small extra fee for a multitude of services and benefits. Starting with a complimentary hot breakfast buffet, snacks, and soft drinks all day and a true service of complimentary evening cocktails. Drinks are accompanied by an elaborate spread of canapés (sushi included), which would make dining out later a real chore!

The club floor has meeting facilities, free local calls, and printing and photocopying services thrown in for free, which is a definite plus for the business traveler. Late checkout till 3:00 pm is available at no extra charge as is express checkout.

Having the opportunity to meet Hans Winsnes, the general manager, who can often be seen working the lobby and meeting guests, made me aware of the new revolutionary digital food and beverage menu system using iPads. “Actually the hotel will be the first in Asia to launch what is called the patented VIPSeat (tm) Restaurant system solution by Tiare Technology. This system will allow our guests to experience a unique type of personalized service,” Winsnes said, “that this platform will enable us to enhance our operational efficiencies in order to better deliver the high-quality amenities and service excellence that our guests expect.”

Frankly, having been a frequent diner at Degrees Restaurant, the main food and beverage outlet, I would be hard pressed to find any fault in either the quality of the excellent lunch and dinner buffet or the present high level of service.

All things taken into account, as far as airports and airport hotels go; KLIA is one of the world’s best airports with a Pan Pacific Hotel to match.

Is Pan Pacific Hotel at Kuala Lumpur worth the rating as best airport hotel in Asia?
Hotel lobby / Photo from Ted Macauley

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