Villa Samadhi

Embassy District, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Book from

Reviewed by Viv Monahan
Uncompromisingly luxurious boutique hotel with a gourmet restaurant and lagoon-style pool, 10 minutes from the Petronas Towers
Villa Samadhi has an impeccable pedigree: it’s the sister hotel of the exclusive JapaMala Resort on Tioman, and the same architects, designers and contractors created this equally stylish city retreat which opened in 2011. It’s therefore not surprising that Villa Samadhi manages to nestle comfortably beneath Kuala Lumpur’s office and apartment blocks without conforming to their chunky uniformity; indeed, its thatched pagoda roofs, lush gardens and bamboo screens cock a veritable snook at its urban surroundings.

By day, there’s a coolly efficient atmosphere at this luxurious little hotel. Staff slip discreetly between the 21 vast rooms to leave fresh chocolates and crystallised fruit, and drinks appear at your side as if by magic. By night, the pool glows with the soft light cast by torches flickering among the lemongrass fronds. Guests here feel really special: complimentary drinks are served at the manager’s nightly cocktail party, and there’s a residents-only restaurant whose chef is destined to make it onto the list of greats. This is a place for those who want a taste of this culturally diverse city but who wouldn’t stay in one of its many carbon-copy chain hotels to save their lives. And its reputation is clearly growing: even our taxi driver told us it would be fabulous - and he wasn’t wrong.


  • Top location - a 10-minute walk from the Petronas Towers and 5 minutes from the monorail
  • Hushed, almost temple-like atmosphere; ideal for couples who want to unwind after exploring the busy city
  • Sleek rooms, all huge and contemporary Asian in style. We particularly loved The Loft, with its rooftop pool and skyline view
  • Gourmet food in the restaurant, Mandi-Mandi, with inventive flavour combinations
  • Lots of little extras - free cocktails at the manager's gathering, complimentary fruit and drinks by the pool, in-room snacks, and a shuttle service to run you around


  • No children under 12 allowed (a plus for some)
  • No in-room phones yet - if you want to call reception, you have to ring from your mobile
  • You can hear the nearby highway from the garden
  • Full payment is required upon reservation
  • No twin rooms, but this is couple's retreat

Best time to go

Kuala Lumpur’s temperature hovers between 30-35 degrees all year round, with tropical rainstorms likely to erupt at any time. Peak times are December and January, when it’s worth booking well in advance. If you plan to combine your trip with a visit to the east coast islands then avoid November to February, when the monsoon means the sea is often too rough to cross.

Our top tips

Dengue fever and malaria are both present in the city and KL’s mozzies bite day and night, so don’t skimp on precautions.

Great for...

City Style
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 21
  • Restaurant + bar (open daily)
  • Over 12s only
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Shuttle service
Room: The Loft


Some rooms were still a work in progress when we visited, but we liked what we saw. Each is different, though a continuous - and very stylish - theme runs throughout. Natural tones such as ochre and sienna are used as a backdrop for interesting textures (polished dark wood, concrete made to look like leather), and sleek furniture sits under low-hanging lanterns adorned with tassels or swathes of silk.

All rooms are vast - even the cheapest Crib room - and come with kingsize beds so high you almost need a ladder to climb into them. You also get a terrace or balcony with a daybed, air-conditioning, a minibar, complimentary tea and coffee, and all the usual electronics (satellite TV, DVD players, iPod docks, WiFi).

Our favourite was The Loft, a huge room (sometimes called The Nest for obvious reasons!) with a private rooftop lap pool to splash around in. You also get impressive views of the city skyline; it’s really romantic. Indoors, there’s sleeping area tucked away under cosy eaves, a spacious sitting area, and a bathroom with a double shower.

Similarly impressive are the Luxe Crib, Sarang and Luxe Sarang rooms, which have a Jacuzzi plunge tub on the balcony or beneath a roof opening in the bathroom.

Bathrooms appear hewn out of the fabric of the hotel. Some resemble airy caverns, with black cement walls polished to a mirror finish and glass ceilings looking up to the sky; others have bamboo poles and grey stone to give a natural feel. But there’s no rusticity about the way they’re kitted out: walk-in rain showers, twin sinks, and fluffy white towels.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Coffee tea making
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Ipod dock
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


The modern Asian cuisine served at Villa Samadhi’s Mandi-Mandi restaurant (open to hotel guests only) is light, refined and gently challenging, with inventive flavour combinations and delicate presentation. Executive Chef Thiti Thammanatr, a Burmese Thai who trained in Vancouver, brings a variety of influences to bear on his elegant plates. Though they're built around healthy, organic components, they’re made much less virtuous (and much more delicious) by devilish slices of truffle, cream, and lashings of chocolate.

Our dinner started with mushroom soup accented by coffee, kaffir lime and a spoonful of truffle oil, and accompanied by green tea bread and orange butter. Our main was a feather-light tranche of salmon served with a punchy lime salsa, a naughtily creamy bisque-like sauce and huge king prawns. There was no pretence of healthiness in our dessert of moelleux au chocolat with candied orange though, in all fairness, it came with some low-cal berries.

Breakfast mixes Malaysian dishes with international favourites. Choose from a range of freshly pressed juices, delicious smoothies, tropical fruit, home-baked muffins and cakes, and cold meats and cheeses.

There’s further indulgence at the hotel’s private rooftop bar, Bumbung, where the manager hosts free nightly cocktail gatherings in front of city skyline views from 6.30-7.30pm. And down by the pool you’re kept hydrated throughout the day with complimentary chilled water, fresh fruit and homemade lemongrass and pandan leaf infusions.

If you fancy a change (though you probably won’t), 2 of KL’s top restaurants, Cilantro and MiCasa, are within walking distance. Also worth sampling are the chic Il Tempio, Neo and Tamarind Hill, all run by Thiti when he’s not behind the scenes at Mandi-Mandi. Frequented by well-heeled KLites, ex-pats and visitors in the know, they’re easily accessible via the hotel’s shuttle service.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Coffee tea making
  • Complimentary cocktails from 6.30-7.30pm
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating: Restaurant
Activity: Petronas Towers


  • In a city where walking is rarely an option, you can reach the Petronas Towers - still the tallest twin towers in the world - on foot. If you have a head for heights, take the lift to the 86th floor for panoramic views, stopping off at the iconic 41st-floor ‘skybridge’ that connects the 2 skyscrapers. Afterwards, explore the vast Suria KLCC shopping mall (complete with a cinema, aquarium and science centre) at their base
  • Sample KL’s street food, said to be some of the best in the world. Try meltingly tender belly pork at Siew Yok or roti channai at Devi’s Corner in Bangsar
  • Head to the National Museum and the Islamic Art Museum to learn about Malaysian culture
  • Don’t miss the city’s Chinese and Indian quarters, where you’ll find extravagantly decorated temples and old colonial buildings that have escaped the developers’ attention
  • Visit the elephant orphanage at Kuala Gandah, about 90 minutes outside KL. This ambitious conservation programme is run by the Malaysian Wildlife Society and gives visitors the opportunity to feed and bathe elephants, and to learn about the threats they face. No entrance fees are charged, but donations are gratefully received
  • If you’ve got a full day to spare then Malacca, the oldest trading port in Malaysia, is worth the 2-hour trip for its dusty Chinese antique shops and stunning Dutch colonial architecture
  • Take time out from sightseeing on a cushioned daybed by the hotel’s lagoon-style pool. Smiling staff will bring complimentary water, fruit and herbal infusions as you relax

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Wildlife


This is a place for couples and quiet relaxation: under 12s aren’t accepted, and there would be very little to amuse teenagers here. That said, extra beds are available on request in all rooms except the Cribs.

Family friendly accommodation:

Extra Beds Available

Kid Friendly:

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