Else, a mindful hospitality brand, launches its inaugural property this September in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Located in the former Lee Rubber Building in the heart of Chinatown, Else honours the iconic landmark’s architectural legacy while embracing contemporary design and a new approach to hospitality. Providing respite from the bustle of city life, both local and international guests can embark on a journey of exploration and meaningful connection — disconnecting and connecting at their own pace.
The 49-room, restored and repurposed property sprawls over 56,000 square feet and across seven levels. Else Founders Justin Chen and Javier Perez commissioned local leading designers, artists and partners to create their vision of conscious hospitality. Malaysian design firm Studio Bikin conceptualised the design and oversaw the restoration which was executed by Faizah Architect, another celebrated Malaysian partner.
Commenting on the opening, Co-Founder Justin Chen said, “Else has been a four-year project realized through the challenges of the global pandemic and inspired by the emerging new era of traveller. The result is an urban haven for the globally minded and curious. Our design and construction team have sensitively balanced a contrast of new and old with a refined juxtaposition of a pre-war building beautifully preserved and innovative design that invites all our guests to explore the property on their own, and discover intimate pockets to pause and reflect.”
Four categories of rooms have been curated for guests, starting with the Mantra Room (Standard), a quaint 25 sqm sanctuary with a King-sized bed and luxurious en-suite bathroom and the Urban Room (Deluxe) — a 33 sqm elegantly appointed room with seating area. The Sanctuary, located on the upper floors, is furnished with a Super King-sized bed and a private balcony, allowing guests to soak up the vibrant city energy. Sutera (left), a 69 sqm suite, exudes quiet luxury, complete with a private living area that can accommodate extended family.
The largest of the rooms is the Else Suite, an 84 sqm expansive retreat with sweeping views of Kuala Lumpur city skyline and a private balcony stretching from the bedroom to the living area. Else Suite is perfect for couples, as well as private, corporate and intimate celebrations. Rooms are tech-enabled with in-room a multi-media tablet and Bluetooth sound systems. In all rooms and suites, guests can enjoy sustainable personal care products by Omno, LULLA bathroom robes and Dyson hairdryers. A splash of inspiration is provided by Art from locally-sourced artists and reading paraphernalia by Malaysian authors.
Low-Impact and Sustainable Partners at the Heart of Else
Independent, local, sustainable, artisanal brands and partners were selected for minimal environmental impact and to inspire a meaningful stay. Custom-made bedhead textiles, rugs and arresting carpets have been designed and crafted in Malaysia by Singapore-born, KL-based Omar Khan. Antiquities and cultural artwork can be found throughout the property, including guest rooms and the Library Den. Each piece has been hand-picked from Gilded Lion, a curator in rare, fine antiques and cultural curiosities.
Local Art to Inspire Reflection
Complex, thought-provoking and inspiring art pieces have been acquired from award-winning Malaysian artists, including Fauzul Yusri, Fendy Zakri, Fawwaz Sukri and Nathan Fikri. Emerging local artist W. Rajaie. B’s beautiful art and reflective work by Firdaus Ismail also adorn the Else walls. Art by Canada’s Joe Fleming, who has exhibited internationally for over two decades, including at the Holocaust Museum in LA and FIAC Paris and raw, free-spirited pieces by celebrated Argie Bandoy from the Philippines are also showcased.
Place of Peace and Calm
Wellness facilities span throughout the hotel. One highlight are the two floatation pods inside the state-of-the-art gym. In an over-stimulated and overworked world, the pods provide a chance to slow down and access a profound level of stillness through sensory deprivation. Guests are free from mental stimulation, and physical strain as the mind slows down and enters a deeply meditative state, while the body recovers rapidly from aches, injuries, and stress. The gym also caters to free-weight training and callisthenics, promoting a greater sense of body awareness and mobility. Extending on, the infinity pool at the podium level utilizes salt-water which is softer and less harsh on the skin than chlorine, providing a relaxing escape to a long day with a renewed perspective of Kuala Lumpur’s skyline.
Dining and Cocktails
Two dining concepts are explicitly designed to bring dynamic social energy to the property. Our all-day dining restaurant Raw Kitchen Hall (below), an extension of its sister brand in Singapore (Raw Kitchen Bar), s expanding with Else. The menu is light and elegant and headed by Malaysian Chefs Leong Chee Mun and Wah Yin Xing who are returning home after stints at Singapore’s world-class restaurants (including Spago and Burnt Ends). The culinary team will execute Asian and Mediterranean-inspired recipes unique to Else and led by seasonal, local produce.
On the fourth floor, The Yellow Fin Horse will open by year-end and is a destination open-fire restaurant that forges International and Malaysian seafood flavours with elegance. Helmed by celebrated Malaysian Chef Jun Wong, the menu will be paired with a fine selection of natural wines. Guests will enjoy personalised service in an intimate setting as they indulge in fresh flavours of the sea cooked to perfection by authentic flame cooking.
Award-winning Proof & Company have designed Else’s boutique bar programme and will lead the spirit curation for a classic and elegant cocktail menu.
Else opens on 10th September 2022 with opening rates from MYR 398 until 31st October 2022.