This is a workcation series where we personally visit and review hotels, resorts, and more, to find out how well they cater to digital nomads and hybrid professionals. Our whole team is fully vaccinated, boosted, and have tested negative on the first and last day of our trip.
✓ Event spaces and meeting rooms equipped with projectors, coffee machines, and plug points
✓ Strong, fast, and reliable WiFi
✓ Malaysian-made artworks scattered around the hotel and a hidden museum for creative inspiration
✓ Bikes-to-Borrow to get you around the city for food and shopping nearby
Housed in the 275-metre tall Ilham Tower, Element by Westin Kuala Lumpur (Element KL) is a select-service hotel to its more lavish siblings under the Marriott Bonvoy brand.
What that means is that while it can’t offer everything to you (like a spa, for example), it does provide guests with the necessary luxuries and excellent service.
It welcomes guests with contemporary artworks scattered around the space, the first of which we were met with was the hotel’s way of embedding functional decor: a hidden elevator button to get to the lobby.
Perhaps in an attempt to make their elevators unique, the location of the lift buttons is flushed against the side of the door. A creative and rare design, sure, but we admit that it just confused us.
Here’s a tip, don’t use voice commands, it doesn’t work and you just look like a pair of fumbling fools trying to talk to a lift.
At the lobby on the 40th floor, we checked in for our 3D2N stay, inspired to find more rejuvenating amenities and creative designs around the eco-friendly lodging.
Plug in and relax
We were treated with two rooms to stay at (one pax per room): a Studio, and One Bedroom Suite, both with skyline views of KL.
The 40 square metre Studio came with The Westin KL’s plush yet firm Signature Heavenly beds we were so fond of during our workcation there. On top of that, there was a study desk, mini-fridge, microwave, en-suite bathroom, and LCD TV.
Next door, the 60 square metre One Bedroom Suite was similar, with extra furnishings to house longer-term guests.
The bigger suite had a small dining table, bathtub in the en-suite bathroom, an electric stove, full-sized fridge, coffee machine, and dishwasher in the kitchenette, along with a sofa and coffee table in the TV area.
As part of the hotel’s green initiatives, each room comes with its own recycle bins and National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certified filtered water system. The latter convenience is so that guests can consume clean water directly from the tap, eliminating the need for plastic bottles that must be refreshed by room service daily.
Element KL is also running a ”Work, Plug, and Relax” promotion between Sundays to Thursdays up until June 2022. It’s where guests are allowed an early check-in at 8AM and late check-out at 6PM so your usual working hours aren’t disrupted.
Claudia and I chose to work together in the One Bedroom Suite since we found working solo in our spacious rooms to be a little lonely for team-based work.
The main disadvantage of working with a colleague at the dining table is that the room lacks plug points. So you can either bring an extension cord of your own (unfortunately the hotel does not provide this to individual guests), or opt to work separately.
The main reason we couldn’t loan the extension cords was that they were being used for the events and business meetings. These were held in their event spaces and meeting rooms which are equipped with a projector, free-flow coffee machines, and recycled paper to scribble on.
Another location we tried working together at was Element KL’s TRACE Restaurant & Bar (TRACE) on the 40th floor. Though possible, the shortage of charging ports was carried forward here.
On the bright side, we faced no issue with Element KL’s WiFi whatsoever. It was fast, strong, and reliable, allowing us to work without disruption.
Clean and (some) green eating
At TRACE, we were served welcome mocktails and meals which included high tea, a breakfast buffet, as well as a healthy and wholesome lunch.
The breakfast buffet is part of the “Work, Plug, and Relax” package, along with a three-course set lunch on a per-night basis.
Each item offered at Element KL’s modest buffet line was exceptional, where hot items were kept in food warmers atop heating plates. And to reduce physical contact and ensure guests’ safety, plastic gloves are required to be worn when filling up your plates.
For lunch, TRACE served their healthy and wholesome meals, where we shared a creamy pesto pasta, mushroom soup, and Vietnamese-inspired Peking duck spring rolls.
The healthy motif also applies to the refreshments served at the events and business meetings held at the hotel, which offer nutritious snacks like granola and fruits.
But because Malaysians still demand comfort foods like mee goreng, fried rice, and curry puffs, Element KL caters for these local options too.
To add, the team spoilt us with their four-course Mexican High Tea Set that felt never-ending. We had a huge spread, from tacos, kebabs, mashed potatoes and rice, to churros along with chocolate and cheesecakes. For RM138 that serves two pax, we deem the package more than worth it (for small eaters, bring some friends).
Functional activities while being eco-friendly
At Element KL’s heated indoor saline swimming pool on the 39th floor, you’ll find an art piece made with the tiles of the swimming pool.
The art piece is named OMBAK, befitting its ocean wave motif, and it’s best viewed as you float face-up in the pool.
It’s a mesmerising view, especially when you’re soaking in the warmth of the pool while the sun shines in from the floor-to-ceiling windows. Professionals leveraging the “Work, Plug, and Relax” package will certainly find serenity through this amenity that’s accessible from 8AM to 8PM.
While we’re on the subject of water, the Ilham Tower that Element KL is built in has an irrigation system to collect rainwater through the slanted lines you see on the windows. The water collected is meant to hydrate the plush greenery you’ll find on the building’s ground floor.
Plus, the windows are constructed to block heat and UV rays from the sun, without deterring it from supplying natural light for the hotel. This, in turn, makes the building energy-efficient too.
In line with Element KL’s encouragement of sustainable practices by guests, it has a self-explanatory Bikes-to-Borrow programme too.
If there’s a bike available, you could also get a bike lock and helmet to cycle safely around the city for nearby food and shopping.
All this is evidence why Element KL is proudly a Green Building Index-certified hotel.
But if you’re like us and aren’t confident in your biking abilities on KL roads, you could head to MOTION Fitness Center between 6AM to 10PM. It’s the hotel’s gym that’s stripped down to the essentials for those who want to fit in a short yet effective workout after a productive workday.
As Element KL is suited for longer-term business travellers, there’s 24-hour self-service laundry. Two tokens at RM10 each are required to operate the machines: one for the washing machine and another for the dryer. You buy these at the reception.
For the creatives
Other than the hidden elevator buttons and OMBAK artwork at the pool, Element KL’s owners are major art enthusiasts and use the hotel as their personal museum of sorts.
If you’re able to visit various floors that host the hotel’s 252 guest rooms, you’ll find the hallway walls decorated with unique art pieces made by Malaysian artists.
Plaques next to the artworks highlight the artists and their intentions behind the creations.
Several art sculptures are also placed in the common areas, and there is a speakeasy-like dedicated art museum called Ilham Gallery. It’s free to enter and showcases Asian contemporary modern paintings and sculptures, but could be a little tricky to find.
Psst: To get to the Ilham Gallery, go to the Ground floor and walk past the office lobby in the building. On the left of the office gates, there is a pathway that leads you to the museum and its gift store selling Malaysian artisanal handcrafted products.
Perhaps this may be a niche interest, but for those in the creative industry, having access to an abundance of artworks in a workcation spot like Element KL can spark some refreshing ideas that are waiting to be unlocked.
|What workcation crowd is Element by Westin Kuala Lumpur fit for?||Pro tip|
|Solo hybrid workers||Utilise the “Work, Plug, and Relax” package and focus on your tasks at your room’s dedicated study desks.|
|Professionals in the creative industry||Explore the hotel’s artworks by Malaysian artists and get inspired at the Ilham Gallery.|
|Expats/longer-term business travellers||Make yourself at home inside the One Bedroom Suite with a kitchenette, and utilise the hotel’s self-service laundry room.|
|Business meetings and corporate events||Book a corporate gathering at the meeting rooms and event spaces offered at the hotel with projectors and coffee machines.|
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