Sign Up for Our Monthly Asia Newsletter
If there’s one truism among elite travelers, it’s that airline lounges in Asia far surpass anything ever seen on domestic shores. So in a field of elite offerings from airlines recognized for their service, an airline designated as “Asia’s Leading Airline Lounge,” must be doing something right.
In fact, Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge, located at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), took home the “Asia’s Leading Airline Lounge” award at the 2011 World Travel Awards, was one of the five finalists in the same category in 2012, and is ranked number seven on Skytrax’ list of the World’s Top Ten First Class Airline Lounges.
A quick tour through the lounge shows just why the facility has earned such high honors.
A Lounge Divided
The massive lounge area encompasses more than 43,000 square feet, which as a point of reference is about the same size as the average Best Buy store. The facility itself is split into three main areas, including the first-class lounge, the business-class lounge and the reception area, which houses some shared facilities such as baggage storage.
Also located in the reception area is the lounge’s Putting Green room, where golf aficionados can test their putting skills on virtual greens, which emulate gently sloping hills.
Food service is plentiful and varied, and guests can choose from Malaysian or international food selections from the buffet, or they can order a la carte items in the bistro from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., daily.
My favorite option was the noodle bar, where we could order from a variety of pasta options and on-site chefs prepare our dish to order while we waited.
As for desserts, I’m pretty sure there was a dessert selection, but I was so distracted by the massive assortment of Haagen Dazs ice cream that I stopped paying attention to the other options.
There are also plenty of gourmet coffees, teas, soft drinks, champagne, wines and other alcoholic beverages, with an on-site barista to prepare your coffees to order. There’s even a separate sports bar area to keep rowdy sports fans separate from the hard-working business-class travelers who prefer a more serene environment.
Guests with some free time on their hands can head to the lounge’s on-site spa, which includes a full treatment menu. There are plenty of short, 20-minute treatments for in-transit passengers who want a quick pick me up, and the lounge has become known for its quick ‘Kilat’ massage.
The spa does offer a variety of longer treatments as well, and while not exorbitant, the rates are more reflective of American pricing than they are of Southeast Asia prices. A 50-minute Santai Spa Signature Massage starts at $70 and the pre-flight quickie massage is $30 for 20 minutes.
In addition to the requisite business center, comfortable lounge, PC corner, free Wi-Fi and business center, the lounge also offers printing and copying facilities, postage services and even a meeting room if your business team is traveling together.
Parents can utilize a kid’s corner, which features a variety of art supplies to help keep little ones entertained.
First-class travelers can book time in private slumber rooms, comfortable sleeping stations that resemble mini-hotel rooms.
The highest tier of frequent flyers, Malaysia Airline’s Enrich Platinum members can also utilize the Platinum Suite, a private lounge within a lounge that offers premium services, products and brands for the most frequent travelers.
On Feb. 1, 2013, Malaysia Airlines' became a member of the Oneworld alliance, opening up access to the Golden Lounges to American Airlines elite status members as well as other Oneworld partners.
Emerald-tier frequent flyers are invited to use the First Class lounge, while Sapphire-tier frequent flyers are welcome in the Business Class lounge. All guests, however, must also be travelling on a flight operated and marketed by a OneWorld carrier.
In Kuala Lumpur, travel to the airport is easy, using the KLIA Ekspres (KLIA Express) service, a premium non-stop, high-speed train service that connects KLIA and the Kuala Lumpur city center. Cruising at a top speed of about 100 mph, the journey takes just 28 minutes, operating at 15-minute intervals during peak hours and 20 minutes during off-peak.
Guests can check their luggage at the Kuala Lumpur City Air Terminal (KL CAT), which is located in Sentral Station, on the fringe of Kuala Lumpur’s city center, before boarding the train for the airport. KL CAT serves as an extension of Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and is officially recognized by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as a city destination.