Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Radius International Hotel - Accommodations in KL

Swimming pools never figure in my choice of accommodations when traveling overseas. However, in the past 12 months or so, I've been in a few with pools (Siem Reap, DaNang, Bali, Bangkok, Cebu). Either my budget allocation has drastically improved (akin to the surge of the Philippine economy) or I've been subconsciously drawn to them. But why not? A clean body of water is always a welcome sight. So I find myself in Radius International Hotel.

Radius International Hotel is a 458-room high-rise hotel situated at the epicenter of KL's hawker's street. Jalan Alor is just a block away, There are 24-hour convenience stores, ATM machines, foreign exchange counters, fruits stands, restaurants and pubs surrounding the area - and it's a strategic location when all you're after is loads of shopping and dining.

Checking in is fast, though reception at the front desk is a bit cold you feel like they'd rather do away with you as fast as they could. In fact, I wasn't entertained until I called someone's attention. Most other hotels would welcome you first even before you could open your mouth. Their personnel wait to be called, but then they are paid to "wait", right? They're "hotel waiters", and act accordingly. Why improve on their raison d'etre? After all, they won't get a raise if they assume a more hospitable demeanor. For a three star hotel, this is quite odd, considering people pay "more" to be here. And people expect a little "more" civility and warmth. This is also why Radius International doesn't rate very well with guests.


While many hotels (I stayed in 6 KL hotels during this leg of travel) of lesser cost rate 7 to 9/10 in the satisfaction ratings, Radius can only muster somewhere in the vicinity of 6's, and its clear why! In Agoda's website, a certain Phek (a Malaysian) commented, "Receptionist wasn't as nice," and added, "Wouldn't recommend it for longer stays." Tania from Bangladesh noted, "It's alright, but not great." Kamil from Singapore says, "The front desk staff needs proper upgrading in handling customer's needs." Werdayanty, also from Singapore, remarked, "The most disappointing... the staff... no smiles even to welcome the guests." And all these come from its first page alone. This Filipino traveler absolutely agrees! They need a seminar on hotel courtesy and guest management! After all, the hotel business runs on the tenets of good will, and good will flies out the window when their staff have upper lips stiffer than the Brits.


I stayed at the upper floor (16th), knowing fully well that the area is a bastion of noise. The room was spacious, the surroundings relatively quiet. Somewhere on the 5th or 6th level was the Terrace Swimming Pool which closed earlier than their published opening-closing time. The interiors were alright although this place has seen better days. The carpet, while clean, looked worn.  The television was the boxed type variety, too small and archaic for a three-star hotel this big. What's funnier, it doesn't even have cable! I've been in dingy guesthouses with one, yet here I am paying more for a hotel that can't afford cable! Isn't this amusing? So while waiting for the rains to stop, I had to contend with one of only 3 Malaysian local channels. I picked the lesser painful show - a news program in Malaysian Bahasa covering a local politician making his speech in front of a Member-of-Parliament tribunal. Before long, this politician started, albeit dramatically, singing something. In no time, all the other members joined him, as I watched a few getting teary eyed! I thought, at least I get a real-world teleserye (with no subtitles) while holed at the Radius, right? Now tell me how "International" can you get: TV shows with no international channels, signs on doors and passageways in Bahasa, reception staff who would rather have root canals than offer a smile. Very international indeed!

My bed was comfortable. The sheets were clean. Bathroom fixtures working adequately. I had a nice view of the skyline. But I had these in way cheaper, friendlier hotels.


Most guests complained of the absence of wifi signal, but I had an excellent one. This was odd because I was in fact furtively reminded that wifi is "only available at the lobby". What lobby exactly? Or where? The hotel does NOT have a waiting room. Coming in, you're greeted by a luggage counter to your left, and though there are half a dozen bellboys, no one offers to help you carry your luggage. While this is expected from cheaper understaffed hotels, you'd expect better from a three-star. And don't be shocked by the bevy of activity here. It is a zoo! If you travel to find a bit of zen, you might as well dig yourself a cave than stay at the Radius. To your right is a good sprawl of the Aroma Restaurant, but you'd have to order something to sit there. There are no couches to sit here. This leads you to an escalator going towards the mezzanine where the Front Desk (Reception) is. There's a gift shop at the right side of the counter; and hidden at the left is a business desk (hall) with a couple of chairs. The elevator is to the left of the counter. Where do you sit down? International hotels don't offer chairs? How bohemian, di ba?

This is the Eye in the Sky!

The scene along Changkat Bukit Bintang. 


Escalator takes you to the very chirpy Front Desk

Front Stiff Upper Lip. Oops, I meant front desk. :)

Aroma Restaurant

My room

A nice corner

Paintings in my room (above and below)

Itsy-bitsy-bulky TV

This was considered among the hotels I researched, but didn't make the grade for this trip. Next time, I will be there.

Clean but underlit.

Terrace Swimming Pool

Radius International Hotel is located at 51A Changkat Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Call them at +603-27153888.

For more information and updates, visit their website -

A conference room at the same level where the pool is.
He made a speech then started singing... and everyone emotionally joined in.
If you want a cheaper, albeit acceptable local fare, the area has several eateries and restaurants to offer, like this one - Restoran Hanifa - where for RM 7 ($2.30 or PhP94), you have 2  viands of your choice. Mine were chicken and curried vegetables on rice.

Take your pick.

Restoran Hanifa is hidden in the vicinity amid upscale restaurants. It prides itself as a Makanan Restaurant

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