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A few weeks ago, I spent two nights at the fabulous Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral Hotel. The property is connected to the NU Sentral shopping mall, and is located directly across the street from the city’s central train station. KL Sentral is the hub for the city’s transportation network, and the hotel’s close proximity to public transit made my time in Kuala Lumpur much less stressful.
Aloft is a brand of Marriott Hotels. I would describe the property as a modern boutique hotel with a smart, contemporary design. It certainly was not one of those stuffy hotels that I seem to stay in all too often. My stay was a change of pace that I hope to experience more often!
Reservation and Check-in
The hotel graciously extended a complimentary stay to support my work in Kuala Lumpur. That said, I made a test booking using the hotel’s website just to see how easy it is to book an accessible room.
For the two nights of my stay, the hotel’s breakfast rate totaled 890.40 MYR, or about $109 USD per night. Based on the hotel’s location, amenities and the quality of the included breakfast, I would rate this as an excellent deal.
Wheelchair accessible rooms could be reserved easily on the website. The hotel has a total of 4 wheelchair accessible rooms with roll-in showers. I always recommend calling to confirm that your reservation is guaranteed after booking online.
Check-in at the hotel’s front desk went smoothly, and the staff were incredible friendly. I was given a beautiful room on the 7th floor.
Wheelchair Accessible Hotel Room #712
My wheelchair accessible hotel room was exactly as describedon the hotel’s website, complete with a functional roll-in shower and plenty of space. Let’s take a closer look:
The bed is my favorite spot in any hotel room, so I always start my reviews there. The king size bed at the Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral was a dream – plush and comfortable, with plenty of pillows and a soft mattress. In the photograph above, you’ll notice the limited space to the left of the bed. Wheelchair access is not possible from this side, but the space to the right is more than generous.
I am asked often whether or not there is space under the bed to accommodate a hoyer lift. Since I do not travel with or use a lift to assist with transfers, you can use the photo above to determine if this hotel will work for you. Although this is a platform bed, the mattress extends out approximately 4 inches from the platform base.
While I unfortunately do not have an exact measurement of the bed’s height, it was level with my power wheelchair. Transfers for me were easy in this regard.
This close-up shot of the bedside nightstand highlights a feature that I love: a master switch. Turning off every light in a hotel room is a chore before bed, and you still need some light to operate your mobility device. A master switch allows you to turn-off all the lights in a room at once. Get in bed, make yourself comfortable, and flick the switch.
Unfortunately, there was no easily accessible power outlet within reach of the bed, so I’ll share how I charged my power wheelchair in a bit.
A desk with chair, sofa and television are located on the wall opposite the bed. My room had a window with a view of KL Sentral station. You’ll notice the large amount of space surrounding the bed. This allows for comfortable use of a wheelchair – you won’t bump into things!
On the wall next to the desk, multiple power outlets, audio/visual and USB ports are available to charge electronic devices. My power wheelchair uses an off board charger, so I plugged it in here. The cables of my charger stretched over to my wheelchair (parked alongside the bed) with room to spare.
If you are traveling abroad with a power wheelchair, remember to consider the higher electric voltages used in other countries. I traveled with my own step-up/down power transformer to safely charge my chair.
Bathroom with Roll-in Shower
The bathroom is the most important space in any wheelchair accessible room. It must be something that you can use safely and effectively. Designs vary widely, and I’d like to discuss the accessible bathroom design at the Aloft KL Sentral Hotel.
The bathroom sink and countertop were both easily accessible from my wheelchair. There is space for wheelchair users to roll safely underneath. The sink bowl/basin extends out from the countertop 4-5 inches – a great design feature. Hand cloths, drinking glasses, soaps and tissue papers are all easy to reach.
The toilet is tucked between a wall and the sink countertop. There was not enough space for my wheelchair to roll alongside the toilet – a problem that is becoming increasingly common in new hotel construction. That said, if you are able to transfer at an angle, the features of this toilet space are great. A grab bar is affixed to the wall, with a fold-down bar attached for support of the toilet’s left side.
A bidet shower (also known as a “bum gun” or “butt hose”) is installed next to, and within reach of, the toilet. More hotels need this great feature!
The bathroom’s roll-in shower had three specific features which I really loved. The first was the shower seat, which folded down from the wall. The seat was large and allowed me to enjoy my shower. Space was available on all sides to park a wheelchair, so I was able to transfer in the way I am most comfortable with. The second – grab bars. The grab bars were present where they should be and absent from where they should not be. One folded down from the wall. Both were sturdy and allowed me to feel secure. The third feature I liked was the dispensers for body wash/soap and shampoo. No more fumbling soap bars or keeping track of tiny bottles.
The shower drained incredibly well, and a water track around the shower floor meant there was no spillover into the rest of the bathroom. A shower curtain helped with this also. The handheld shower nozzle was within reach, and could be adjusted to the height I desired. Finally, the water pressure was very strong – something I am always searching for!
Restaurants & Dining
The Aloft Hotel contains multiple options for dining and cocktails. The tiki-themed rooftop Mai Bar, W XYZ Bar and the Nook Restaurant each provide great service. Since my room rate included breakfast, I was able to enjoy a wonderful buffet each morning.
The Nook Restaurant serves an expansive breakfast buffet, inclusive of an omelette station. Fruits, meats, pastries, breads and more were all very tasty. I highly recommend starting your day with breakfast at Nook – you won’t be disappointed.
If you would prefer to eat outside of the hotel, there are many options in the NU Sentral Mall, including one of my favorites – Nando’s. I also recommend trying some of Kuala Lumpur’s fantastic street food, available in markets throughout the city.
My stay at the Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral Hotel was wonderful, and I have no complaints with the room. As I said before, the room and its accessibility features were as described on the website – no surprises. The hotel staff and concierge were extremely helpful to me in making the most of my time at the hotel and in the city.
As always, I recommend that you carefully review the room features I have described here to determine if this hotel will adequately accommodate your accessibility requirements. As a triple amputee and full-time power wheelchair user, the property met my expectations and needs. It also proved to be one of the most accessible hotels I have stayed at in Asia. If you have stayed at this property, I look forward to your thoughts in the comments below.
UPDATE — JULY 2016: When I spot things in a hotel room that can be improved for the sake of greater accessibility, I let the hotel know. Some properties implement the changes I recommend, while others do not. Within a few days of sharing two recommendations with the Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral Hotel, I received a reply that the changes had been made in all 4 of the accessible rooms.
My recommendations were to install a power outlet on the nightstand next to the bed, and to move the soap/shampoo dispensers to the wall closest to the shower bench. Both changes were made, and the hotel provided these photos to share with you:
When you stay at a hotel, be sure to share any issues with accessibility you encounter – the management will hopefully take your advice to heart!
Disclosure: My trip to Kuala Lumpur was a press trip organized by the Kuala Lumpur Tourism Bureau. I was kindly hosted by the Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral Hotel. As always, all opinions expressed here are my own and have not been influenced or approved by the sponsor.