LUXURY TRAVEL TIPS:
BEST ROOFTOP COCKTAIL BARS IN KUALA LUMPUR
I’m a cocktails girl. Always have been. Somehow, I’ve just never acquired a taste for beer, nor wine for that matter. All those fermented and yeasty beverages just don’t gel with my palate.
Over the years, at the strong insistence of friends, acquaintances, colleagues and family members, I must have tasted just about every kind of beer and wine available to man: micro brews, dark malts, lagers, light beers, and many countries’ most famous brands.
After traveling through 25 countries over 14 years and being ‘required’ to sample everyone’s best brews, I think I can safely say that beer does not float my boat.
But cocktails? Yes, please! All those delicious sweet, bitter-sweet, and sour-sweet concoctions delight my taste buds then deliver a wonderful, unexpectedly strong kick. Wee! I’ll happily sip cocktails just about anytime.
All those beautiful colors, from vibrant pink, red, orange, blue, and purple, to creamy white and even crystal clear, already make me feel happy before I start drinking.
Served up in delightfully-shaped glasses with charming fruit or leaf garnishes, cocktails are just as much visual delights as taste sensations.
Therefore, wherever I’m traveling in the world, I keep my eyes and ears peeled for great cocktail spots. I also love getting dressed up to go out clubbing or to visit luxurious, chic places. That all goes together beautifully because, let’s face it, cocktails are expensive.
In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I’m super lucky to have a ‘personal location scout’ who’s always on the look out for wonderful places to introduce me to. My good friend, Steph, ex-pat French woman extraordinaire, always seems prepared with the next greatest spot every time I roll into town.
I have Steph to thank for experiencing all 3 of these luxurious, super chic rooftop cocktail bars; for many fun, tipsy nights out; and even my first round of absinthe.
So, thanks Steph for introducing me to these fabulous places, which I can now recommend to more cocktail lovers like us. I look forward to our next outing.
As of 2012, the following are KL’s cream of the crop, chic, ‘in the spotlight’ ‘see and be seen’ rooftop cocktail lounges. All have phenomenal views of the sparkling Petronas Twin Towers, spectacular sunset vantage points, superbly mixed cocktails, and great atmosphere.
Needless to say, they’re pricey, so go prepared with your credit card or a wad of cash to enjoy some of the most amazing rooftop bars in Asia. Cocktails generally cost 35-42 RM ( $12-$15 US) at all of these places, so you’ll run up a tab quickly. But, hey, you’re paying for views, ambiance, the company of KLs urban chic. Splurge and enjoy!
As soon as you step into Sky Bar, on the top 27th floor of Trader’s Hotel, the astounding atmosphere hits you. Center stage is a long, crystal clear swimming pool. Running alongside the pool, huge floor to ceiling windows sweep upward. Outside those glass panes the vast sky and soaring Petronas Twin Towers confront you. Wow- what a space!
Sunken seating areas line the windows. Plunk yourself down in the cushy sofas and you’ll find yourself right smack against the edge of the building, staring at sky and skyscrapers. Way down below is lush KLCC park, spreading out between Trader’s and Petronas Towers.
If you want those sunken seats, though, you’d better book ahead. Otherwise, you’ll quite likely find yourself sitting at a table on the other side of the pool.
Those views are perfectly fine, too: gaze across aquamarine water to the same tower views. In fact, every spot inside Sky Bar has spectacular views. The sunken sofas smack against the windows are simply the best of the best. And sometimes you’ll luck out without a reservation.
At the far end of the pool, djs pump out great ambient, hip, and dance tunes. Different genres of music are showcased each day of the week. Check their online schedule if you want to visit with your favorite music.
One thing to take note of: nobody dances at cocktail lounges in KL, even if the dj is pumping out killer dance tunes. What’s more, everyone there, from djs to staff to guests seem to resent people dancing. Apparently, in KL, that’s a social taboo. Clearly, chic cocktail bars are for socializing, not for dancing!
Just forget dancing and enjoy the views, mood music, and cocktails. All cocktails at Sky Bar are deliciously crafted with top-shelf spirits and liqueurs. Most have a mild punch, so you’ll need a few to feel tipsy. Sky Bar also serves beer, wine, champagne, and even absinthe, if you prefer.
Lash’s Tip of the Year: Here’s a secret few people know, even those living in KL: Wednesday night is ladies’ night at Sky Bar. Women are served free specific cocktails non-stop during happy hour. I kid you not. All lucky ladies get to enjoy Sky Bar for free!
I stumbled upon this delicious fact quite accidentally when I planned a meet-up with local travel bloggers on a Wed evening. As soon as I sat down, a waiter walked over and handed me a margarita.
I must have looked mighty puzzled because he quickly explained that it was ladies’ night. I proceeded to empty my glass in one long tug and ask for another. The waiter soon began delivering 2 glasses at a time. At the end of happy hour, he kindly delivered us an entire tray of margaritas! I definitely got tipsy that evening. (and attempted dancing, much to my Malaysian friends’ horror. Tsk. Tsk. )
Check out Sky Bar website for info on hours, dress code, address and directions.
At View you’ll find yourself outside on the rooftop of GTower. You’ll be completely surrounded by sky, skyscrapers, and sweeping views over Kuala Lumpur all the way to the mountains surrounding the city. View Bar wraps around 3 sides of the rooftop, with ever changing panoramic views.
Petronas Towers are more distant than at Sky Bar, but the panoramic vista experience can’t be matched. And you’re outside! Only a waist-high glass ‘barrier’ separates guests from plunging off the outside edge of GTower.
View Bar offers several different sections in which to immerse yourself in cocktails, socialzing, and relaxation. Many plush sofa areas are set along 2 sides of the rooftop, all in bright cheery colors. Guests afraid of heights will beg to sit on the inside edge of these sofas, or perhaps avoid them altogether.
A section of tables rests further in from the edge, close to the long bar. A more private sofa area is tucked back around 2 turns of the rooftop.
Finally, View actually has a designated dance area, which is set inside a glass-enclosed room with a separate dj booth. If you’re shy about disdainful looks, make sure you dance inside the ‘designated’ area, and not just randomly out on the rooftop somewhere.
When I went with Stephanie, we preferred the music outside and were much too tipsy to care about others’ stares. We danced outside until we exhausted ourselves and staggered home.
Check out View website for info on hours, dress code, address and directions:
Marini’s on 57
Newly debuted in June, 2012, the up-close in-your-face views of Petronas Towers’ upper levels will leave your jaw agape. You’re right there! Phenomenal. If you think views from Sky Bar are splendid, wait until you get an eye full from Marini’s on the 57th floor of Petronas Tower 3.
And so Marini’s on 57 made a spectacular landing amidst KL’s already stunning, world-class, chic rooftop cocktail bars.
Like View, Marini’s offers several cocktail-sipping arenas. When you step off the elevator, you walk right into the main room, which is set with a very long bar to one side. Floor-to-ceiling windows line the entire room, much like Sky Bar. Along the windows are several tall bar-stool tables. The other half of the room is filled with more tables and lounging sofa areas.
But the best place, by far, is a spacious partially-enclosed, partially-open-to-the-sky room beyond the bar. This section rests right next to Petronas Twin Towers. Several brightly colored, cushy sofa areas, a solid wood conference-like table, and a few more intimate tables offer many choices for KL’s visiting chic.
Oddly, the cocktail menu lists only a small selection of standard drinks. But don’t worry, the bartenders can whip up just about any cocktail you have in mind. You just have to ask.
Perhaps this oddity was due to the fact that we visited the very first weekend Marini’s opened? Perhaps a full cocktail menu is yet to come?
In any event, you most definitely will not be disappointed by the incredible views. Marini’s also serves excellent gourmet food.
I could not locate a website for Marini’s but once you’re in KL you can visit Petronas Tower 3 for info
If you like luxury travels like me, check out this awesome guidebook:
The Luxury Traveler’s Handbook
by Sarah and Terry Lee, founders of LiveShareTravel – online travel & lifestyle magazine
In the authors’ words, “The Luxury Traveler’s Handbook proves that luxury travel doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s a show and tell guide on how to source luxury for less. Exploring everything from flights and hotels to shared ownership and glamping. The Luxury Traveler’s Handbook is your passport to smarter, more luxurious travel.”
Do you like chic cocktail bars?
If so, where is your favorite located?
Have you visited any of these 3 rooftop bars in KL?
If so, which do you like best? If not, which would you like to visit?