Description: Taking its name from the Sanskrit word for 'state of mind', Villa Samadhi boutique hotel offers a luxurious departure from the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur. Located in the Malaysian capital's leafy embassy district, this Malay-styled temptress will seduce with lantern-lit paths, a curvaceous central pool and ultra-private rooms.
|Highlights: Spacious, private rooms with indulgent plunge pools#
Lagoon-style pool at the heart of the hotel#
Fab mod-Malaysian fare in the intimate restaurant#
|Smith extra:A Samadhi gift (a sarong or chopsticks) on departure. Guests staying in the Sarang room (and higher room categories) will receive the gift and a bottle of wine.|
Mr and Mrs Smith reviews
Tucked away in an upscale corner of Kuala Lumpur, with the Petronas Twin Towers looming grandly in the distance, Villa Samadhi presents a cool proposition for couples who can’t decide between a resort or city getaway. Instead, it offers a chilled-out retreat with all the trappings of a buzzy metropolis – from luxe shopping malls to vivacious hawker markets – on your doorstep.
Shaded by swathes of young bamboo, the villa is easy to spot thanks to its distinctive grass-thatched roof, a lone concession to traditional Malay architecture amid the neighbouring high commissions and embassies. Framed by epic blue skies and palms, it’s oddly thrilling to leave the city behind as we enter what feels like our own private villa. We are bid a silent wai greeting by Samadhi’s resident Buddha statue, palms pressed together, before we step into the tranquil lobby area to check in over lemongrass juice and ice-cold towels.
Our Sarang suite (Indonesian for ‘nest’) is one of four similar, charming boudoirs at this cosy 21-room property. Fitted out with a rustic wooden slat for a lock (a padlock provides added security), the bedroom-meets-living space has a distinctly Asian flavour with its recycled teak walls and floors – we even have our very own Buddha to watch over us – while a squashy cream sofa adds a contemporary twist. The suite also boasts a generous kitchenette, although with an abundance of restaurants just waiting to be sampled nearby, our activity here is likely to be limited to making tea and coffee. For a dash of romance, retreat-style, all bathrooms at Samadhi are equipped with an oversized plunge tub for a pre/post dinner soak.
Having escaped the frenetic energy of KL – I keep thinking we’re in Seminyak or Samui – I complete the fantasy by stepping down the balcony ladder straight into the pool for a leisurely dip. Sumptuous gold silk lanterns blow idly in the wind overhead and guests recline on day-beds, heads in magazines, sheltered by palms. Mr Smith is flopped on a chaise longue on the terrace sipping a TWG tea (its signature blend, the 1837 Black, is a real find with a lingering aftertaste of caramel, he raves). Save for the faint buzz of dragonflies gliding over the pool’s surface, the air is silent and downtown Kuala Lumpur seems more like 50 minutes away, rather than just 15.
Ravenous, back in the suite, we crack open the jars of free home-baked biscuits (standouts include pistachio and chocolate chip) and dried fruit: fragrant guava, juicy papaya and chewy pineapple. Nibbling away, I notice with pleasure that there is nothing vaguely businessy in this Asian-inspired cocoon (although rest assured there’s WiFi).
After exploring the buzzy hub surrounding Petronas – below the two towers there’s a lively square where we order flat whites at Italian bar/restaurant Svago and watch the dancing KLCC fountains – we return for complimentary cocktails at the hotel’s Bumbung Bar. Like Samadhi’s restaurant, Mandi-Mandi, the bar is only open to villa guests and has a delightfully sleepy ambience akin to a lone bar on a quiet beach. Over star anise-spiked cocktails, we recline on vibrant embroidered cushions by the airy window.
Dinner beckons at sister restaurant Tamarind Springs, suggested by resident manager Cherie Al-Jufferey. We savour Indochinese fare served in Ampang’s natural forest reserve under palm-fringed roofs soundtracked by the gentle hum of crickets. The salty Vietnamese duck-egg omelette is a winner. Chic red and black decor contrasted with curtains of bamboo sets the scene as flickering candles illuminate wooden Buddha statues. In such a serene spot as this, Mr Smith and I keep forgetting we’re in Kuala Lumpur – it’s like checking into Villa Samadhi all over again.
Energised by a deep, dreamless sleep between pristine white sheets, the next morning we drift over to Samadhi’s only restaurant, Mandi-Mandi, where timber flooring and bare white walls make for a minimalist feel. Banana muffins and home-made bread are proffered alongside a platter of fruit and another of cheese, cured meats and grapes. My coconut waffle sets the scales tipping even further, as does Mr Smith’s nasi lemak, a steaming round of rice with hot chili and anchovy sauce topped with a boiled egg, while a kopi ban – espresso, honey, banana and milk dusted with cinnamon – packs a caffeine buzz Malay style.
It’s difficult to extricate ourselves from the soporific surrounds of Villa Samadhi with its dangerously comfortable day-beds and restful pool ambience, but we know it would be madness not to chow down with the locals at one of the city’s hawker markets. In the Bukit Bintang quarter, we discover that Jalan Alor, a mouth-watering stretch of Malay, Chinese and Thai food stalls, is worth a visit if only for the cheap beer and authentic Malaysian staples such as bak kut the (literally ‘meat bone tea’) soup. Keen to seek out a less touristy experience, Mr Smith and I also pull up a stool at muslim restaurant Nasi Kandar Pelita, a 10-minute walk from the hotel, where Mr Smith – adventurous as ever – orders a gloriously spicy kari kepala ikan (fish-head curry). Reflecting that it’s been a very food-led trip – my shorts are definitely tighter when we head back home to Hong Kong – we discover the best mango lassi of our lives at Sangeetha in Lebuh Ampang, KL’s Little India, where Indian restaurants and sari-filled stores abound.
There’s one final culinary adventure back at the hotel, before we reluctantly turn the padlock on our ‘nest’, as a Malaysian salad of tofu and satay sauce with green beans and beansprouts for lunch sets our tastebuds singing. Mr Smith is doubly impressed as the waiter has remembered how he takes his coffee.
Motoring down our peaceful leafy street to the airport, I’m as surprised as ever to hit the KL traffic after the calm of the villa. For indecisive travellers such as Mr Smith and I, who can never choose between city or retreat when booking a break, Villa Samadhi really has delivered the best of both worlds.
No 8 Jalan Madge, Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, 55000
1.4 mi / 2.3 km from city centre
- Internet services
- On-Site parking
- Onsite laundry
Restaurant : A giant silk lantern takes centre stage in Mandi-Mandi, a pavilion-style restaurant overlooking the pool. Excellent breakfasts start with tropical fruits, cheese and freshly baked goods before your choice of hot main is served – standouts include flaky roti canai and indulgent eggs Benedict. For lunch and dinner, the menu is a mix of Malaysian and Italian cuisines, with choices spanning fragrant yellow seabass curry and grilled prawns with squid-ink risotto.
Top Table : Stake a claim at one of the pool-view tables, or lunch in one of the cushioned cabanas outside.|
Last Orders : Chef Affendi and his kitchen team call it quits at 9pm.|
Room Service : There's no room service as such, but you'll find snacks and wine in your well-stocked minibar. Ask nicely and kitchen may be able to rustle something up for you too.|
Hotel Bar : Come sunset, rooftop Bumbung Bar opens for a short-and-sweet hour-long service of free cocktails and canapés. Don't miss the 6.30–7.30pm nightly session, when the bartender shakes up specialties such as the Travel to Japamala of roasted apple, cinnamon and vodka, or a punch-packing Eliya Grapefruit cocktail of gin, tea and grapefruit jam. The bar only stays open for an hour and only seats six, so arrive early to bag your spot (or enjoy a cocktail in the restaurant, instead).
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