Inspiration

Asia’s Best Awards 2022: Malaysia’s Top Hotels, Restaurants, Bars and More

The votes have been counted for the first ever Asia’s Best Awards 2022 and here we reveal all your favorites in Malaysia.

Kuala Lumpur City Skyline. Photo by MasterLu/Getty Images/Canva

Jun 27, 2022

MUCH LIKE HOW HOTEL ROOM prices on OTA websites are shooting up as much as crypto on a bull run, travel is coming back big. Malaysia is entering its sweet spot because of this resurgence and the relative weakness of the ringgit. Weekend trips are better value than ever before; and best of all (for the fully vaccinated), no pre-flight PCR tests are needed. So, if you’ve been missing the beautiful diversity that is Malaysia, peruse our Asia’s Best Awards voters’ picks of their (your!) favorites in the country and start dreaming of millennia-old rainforests, gorgeous beaches and melting-pot modern/heritage city life. – David Ngo

ASIA’S BEST AWARDS 2022:
BEST OF MALAYSIA

Best City Hotels in Malaysia

1. EQ Kuala Lumpur

EQ Kuala Lumpur
Courtesy of EQ Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia’s former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad probably couldn’t imagine his contribution to the country’s hospitality industry when he decided to swap KL’s former horse racing track for the now iconic César Pelli-designed Petronas Twin Towers. These days, most of the city’s five-star hotels swoon around the said towers including EQ KL. Its rooftop Blue, with a strong Insta-feed predilection and front-seat Twin Tower vistas, is a bar that at weekends gets so buzzy you definitely need to call up (or Whatsapp)  for a table reservation. Then add the snazzy Kampachi, a Japanese joint whose very name generates hushed whispers of amazement from a clientele nurtured since the restaurant’s first iteration opened back in 1974. To wit, one voter said: “Kampachi has the best Japanese food in KL! Will definitely visit EQ every time I have the chance!”

Other voters commented that they love EQ KL’s zen ambience. The gleaming 440-key property is part of the homespun Equatorial brand, rejigged to match offerings from the international luxury chains that have flagged up in recent years. As a delicious nod to EQ KL’s local roots, the all-day dining restaurant Nipah fans daily flames to sear its celebrated satay —a dish as Malaysian as they come. 

eqkualalumpur.equatorial.com

Best Beach/Upcountry Resorts in Malaysia

1. Four Seasons Langkawi

Four Seasons Langkawi Asia’s Best Awards Malaysia
Courtesy of Four Seasons Langkawi

There are beach resorts, and there is the Four Seasons Resort, Langkawi. The property is composed of a gorgeous necklace of buildings ranging from secluded villas to double-story pavilions, interlaced between 500-million-year-old karst hills and stretches of beach with an impossibly alluring off-white hue. While some parts of the island might resemble a theme park, this 92-room resort is more UNESCO World Geopark. A chat with naturalist Aidi Abdullah will reveal the ins-and-outs of the local avian real-estate scene. He can tell you the nesting places around the resort of those reddish brown eagles from which the island gets its name. Or the favorite tree homes of the ever-faithful hornbills —they only ever have one partner in a lifetime.

A recent addition to the resort is the Rumah Ikan, a structure that sits on stilts, accessible by boat. At this authentic if slightly posher rendition of a fisherman’s abode, guests can spend laidback afternoons fishing, sunning and slurping icy cocktails, packed in a cooler bag, devised by Rhu Bar’s mixologist Anandha Ruben. Voters’ comments on this award-winning resort are equally agreeable: “I just stayed there three months ago on my first visit to Langkawi and it was heaven on Earth.” The same guest was “wow-ed beyond expectations with the amount of activities available in the resort. [It] never ever felt crowded, which is perfect during this ‘endemic / pandemic’ situation.” As travel resumes, we’re placing big bets on this winner. 

fourseasons.com/langkawi

Best Hotel Pools in Malaysia

1. The Datai Langkawi

langkawi reopening; the datai Asia’s Best Awards Malaysia
Courtesy of The Datai Langkawi

Voters said:

“The tranquility is different when you are surrounded by a 10-million-year-old forest in the pool. Amazing!”

“Nothing better than immersing yourself in that pool while allowing nature to unfold around you.”

“Stunning views in the middle of the jungle.”

Favorite Hotel General Managers in Malaysia

*write-in category

1. Alex Porteous, Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur

Alex Porteous, GM of Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur Asia’s Best Awards Malaysia
Alex Porteous, GM of Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur. Courtesy of Four Seasons

2. Grant Young, The Westin Desaru Coast Resort

3. Arnaud Girodon, The Datai Langkawi

Best Restaurants in Malaysia

1. Kayu Puti, The St. Regis Langkawi

South Terrace, Kayu Puti Asia’s Best Awards Malaysia
Courtesy of Kayu Puti

Voters said:

“The menu created by chef Mandy Goh is exquisite! View from the terrace is amazing.”

“Delicious food, fantastic service, and million-dollar view and decor.”

“Can’t think of a better place for sunset.”

2. Atas Modern Malaysian Eatery, The Ruma Hotel and Residences

3. Cilantro, Kuala Lumpur

4. Nadodi, Kuala Lumpur

5. Entier French Dining, Kuala Lumpur

6. Fuego at Troika Sky Dining, Kuala Lumpur

7. DC Restaurant By Darren Chin, Kuala Lumpur

8. Akâr Dining, Kuala Lumpur

9. Table & Apron, Petaling Jaya 

10. A Li Yaa, Kuala Lumpur

Best Bars in Malaysia

1. Bar Trigona, Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur

Bar Trigona Asia’s Best Awards Malaysia
Bar Trigona at Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur. Courtesy of Four Seasons

Voters said:

“Local, sustainable ingredients, super team, stunning decor.”

“Staying true to Malaysia.”

“The main reason why this is the best bar in town – in fact in Malaysia – is that they believe and use only indigenous and sustainable ingredients in their menu. We all know sustainability is the future.”

2. JungleBird, Kuala Lumpur

3. China House, George Town

4. Aviary Bar, Hilton Kuala Lumpur

5. 61 Monarchy, Petaling Jaya

6. Coley,  Kuala Lumpur

7. Manchu, George Town

8. Taps Beer Bar,  Kuala Lumpur

9. Joloko,  Kuala Lumpur

10. Kayu Puti, The St. Regis Langkawi

Best Pizzas in Malaysia

*write-in category

1. Pizza Mansion, Petaling Jaya

Pizza Mansion Asia’s Best Awards Malaysia
Courtesy of Pizza Mansion

2. Atlas Pizzeria, Kuala Lumpur

3. Prego, Westin Desaru Coast

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