Berjaya Times Square Hotel Review, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Kuala Lumpur berjaya times square shopping

The Berjaya Times Square Hotel is one of the most unique accommodation options in Kuala Lumpur, but how good is it really? Should you add it to your options of where to stay when travelling through Kuala Lumpur?

I always love visiting Kuala Lumpur. I think it is generally such an underrated city and have come here quite a few times over the years on both short layovers and longer trips. This trip was a little more special though as we were celebrating a pretty significant event, and as a result I decided to forego the usual hostels and cheap guesthouses in Chinatown and opt for a little bit of luxury instead. At least that was the plan.

Wanting a bit of luxury with a private room, a nice pool, and all the amenities we could ever need for just a few days of rest and self indulgence, we decided on the Berjaya Times Square Hotel. This is certainly a unique place to stay. Attached to one of the largest shopping malls in Asia, if not the world, the complex is so big it even boasts an entire theme park inside its walls! So taking leave from my normal backpacker modus operandi and heading directly into flashpacker territory, I booked one of their rooms well in advance and looked forward to some luxury and comfort to celebrate in.

kuala lumpur malaysia berjaya times square theme park

We arrived in Kuala Lumpur a little later than planned from Singapore thanks to Air Asia, so we were already tired and got a taxi straight to the hotel. Things appeared to get off to a great start as we arrived at the hotel. The lobby was huge, well appointed and the blast of air con was a welcome respite after a long and hot journey. Unfortunately after our immediate arrival, things went rapidly downhill.

“The room, the service or the overall experience of the stay didn’t do anything to really excel itself.”

No staff greeted us at the entrance nor even at the reception desk, no one offered to help us with our bags or even smiled or acknowledged us as we entered. It took me a moment to find the oddly placed reception desk, but once I did I put our backpacks down and joined the long queue preparing for what ended up being the endurance test that is the check in process.

I’m pretty tolerant most of the time, a couple of decades of travel has given me a lot of patience and it actually takes a lot for me to flip that switch in my head to make me put my foot down. Unfortunately I wasn’t really prepared for the sheer level of incompetence or unprofessionalism displayed by the staff at every level and opportunity, and it left a sour taste on what should have been a warm, first class welcome.

Staff were trying to serve more than one guest at once and ending up serving neither as a result, ignoring us for long periods as they answered phones and then promptly forgetting they were dealing with us at all. Meanwhile other staff were just stood round seemingly busying themselves with mundane tasks.

There was a huge mix up with my booked room and it appeared for a moment that they had no idea I had even booked with them. It was only after I showed them proof myself that a room was found, but I was informed that it was not yet ready, a full two hours after normal check in time. See, this is why I rarely pre book anything.

We were directed to have a seat while we waited and to be fair were given a free complimentary drink, which then took 45 minutes to arrive.

I have stayed in budget hostels, home stays and zero star guesthouses with a level of service that far surpasses what they offer here. The whole operation felt like a fast food chain run by untrained school leavers when the manager has stepped out, no leadership, no training, no discipline and no service. It was awful, and it did not improve throughout the length of our stay.

After a long wait at reception where nothing seemed to be happening, it took a strong but polite formal complaint to the highest level manager we could track down there and then to get us checked in and into our rooms. The whole process was even more exhausting than the flight and long car journey we had been on to get here, and we were looking forward to getting to our room.

Thankfully what greeted us when we got there immediately made us forget the tiring check in.

Berjaya Times Square Kuala Lumpur

Finally we were getting somewhere!

After finally getting in our room and dumping our bags, we started to relax. This was more like it. Much more like it. The room was huge, clean and was a huge surprise after the grueling check in we had just been through. Two whole bedrooms, a small kitchen area and large lounge was more suited to a family than a couple, but we loved the space and lived it up! The showers were fantastically hot and powerful which is always a nice little luxury for an aging backpacker more used to cold waterfalls and dodgy shared hostel showers like me! The views were pretty spectacular too, especially at night when the Petronas towers were lit up.

The room wasn’t perfect, the wifi was spotty at times and the satellite channels didn’t always get great signal, these weren’t a huge inconvenience of course and to be honest on their own merits I wouldn’t have even raised them as issues, but when you are staying in a hotel that boasts high standards and charges for them, you do expect them to at least meet basic requirements.

Berjaya Times Square bathroom

Breakfast was mostly an average buffet fare, but was kicked up a notch by the choice of a chef who whipped up really good eggs or omelettes any way you liked them right in front of you and they were genuinely delicious.

The pretty large restaurant would have had a nice ambience if it was big enough to accommodate the amount of people at the hotel. It was an impressively designes space but was always absolutely packed out though throughout the small breakfast window, and there were people waiting in line on more than one occasion with waiters subtly trying to hurry breakfast goers up to clear the tables. When you are on a supposed romantic, relaxing break, you really don’t need to feel rushed at breakfast.

Berjaya Times Square

This was at least offset by a relaxing morning by the rooftop pool, nicely maintained to a decent standard, attractive and big enough that it didn’t feel crowded during the time we spent there. The facilities were clean and sufficient and were exactly what we needed for a little relaxation. They did have poolside security, presumably to stop anyone but hotel guests using the facilities. This was a good thing on the whole but far too often the guards would stand just a touch too close to the loungers, act just a touch too overbearing to make the experience completely comfortable. A little training in subtlety could go a long way.

Berjaya Times Square swimming pool

Unfortunately during our stay the level of service provided by the staff we had dealings with continued to completely let them down. They had no idea who we were when we rang down, or what they were doing when asked simple questions. Calls for assistance with our room (such as to fix the broken TV) were met with confusion and a conveyor belt of different staff who were no improvement on the last and a call for room service has never been so frustrating or comical and led to me simply wandering down to the conveniently located 7/11 in the mall instead. I can imagine the pleased shopkeeper gets a ton of business this way!

The absolute best thing about staying here is the location, that is perhaps the one thing the Berjaya Times Square hotel can never be faulted on. The unique fact that you can get a lift down from your floor straight into a huge mall, complete with Imax theatre and theme park is just pretty awesome, and I’m not even a big fan of shopping! The mall gives you plenty of options for eating if you don’t fancy the hotel breakfast with some decent food courts, and there is a lot to do here to stop you getting bore or keeping the family entertained, including a cinema, archery range, and – again – that theme park!  It is located close enough to any of the major sights you would want to see in KL and Petaling Street is just round the corner for a bit of tourist market fun.

In conclusion, as great as some aspects of the room were, they were no less than what I would expect at this price range and the room, the service or the overall experience of the stay didn’t do anything to really excel itself. It is a huge shame, as this otherwise unique hotel has the potential to be really memorable.

Berjaya Times Square is a hotel that has relied on its name and location to supply continued business and has let service and standards slip to such an extent that it will be increasingly difficult for them to compete with the boutique hotel market that are increasingly excelling in this area at a much cheaper price.

The room we got an upgrade to after complaining may stretch all but the most generous of budgets, but with good budgeting or a little splurge, basic rooms in this hotel are not out of the reach of most backpackers pockets. Unless you want the specific experience of staying on top of a shopping mall though, quite frankly there are much better options in this price range or even below throughout Kuala Lumpur and next time I will definitely stick to the better and just as unique boutique or budget options.

The Berjaya Times Square Hotel is located at Times Square, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

Ready to book? The Berjaya Times square’s website can be found here.

Disclaimer

Absolutely no incentives or payment were offered or given in return for this review or any links used.  The author paid his own way. Any views and opinions expressed are entirely the authors own based on personal experiences when travelling and are honest and factual without any bias.

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 Hotel Review: Berjaya Times Square Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.

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Three Days In Kuala Lumpur.

Michael Huxley is a published author, freelance travel writer and founder of Bemused Backpacker. He is also a charge nurse by vocation with an interest in emergency nursing and travel medicine, but his real passion is travel. Since finding his wanderlust a decade ago in South East Asia, he has bounced from one end of the planet to another and has no intention of slowing down.

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60 comments on “Berjaya Times Square Hotel Review, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  1. In Pursuit Of Adventure says:

    I hate when check in is a hassle. It is the last thing you want to do after a long exhausting flight! I think I would almost deal with it though because this hotel looks so much better than the hostel we stayed at in KL and it certainly did not have ac or a pool!

    • I know exactly what you mean. To be honest I would have completely forgotten about the awful check in if the bad service hadn’t have been repeatedly dismal throughout our stay. When you pay out for a bit of luxury instead of the usual guesthouses you expect a lot more. It is a shame because the room and everything else was pretty good, the location was perfect and it did have a lot of things going for it, but the service and staff training absolutely let them down.

  2. Karen Warren says:

    It’s a pity the service was so poor, because the pictures make it look a great place, and it’s always good to have a nice central location.

    • Exactly Karen, apart from the service it actually was quite a nice place, as you say it is just such a shame the service let it down consistently. (It was more than just a one off). Hopefully they can learn from it and improve in the future.

  3. Elena says:

    So straight to the mall from your room! Not bad, not bad…:)

  4. Carrina says:

    I’m really surprised by your review. I have stayed ta Berjaya Times Square 4 times in 2014 and have always had exceptional service. Check in, is sometime laborious in foreign countries but I have always had a pleasant time at Berjaya. In fact the concierge (Mohan) came up to me on my departure last trip to see if he could assist with anything. I know what you mean about the pool area (although the day I slipped I was grateful for the “lurking” staff), and as a female traveller do find it a little unwelcome at times by the pool. My favourite is however the views of the city & towers and the amazing Jojoba Spa. I hope you try them again another time and have a better result.

    Best, Carrina

    • It wasn’t as if the bad service was a one time only thing, it was sustained and constant for my entire stay. Hopefully since then they have taken criticism on board and improved Carrina. All I know is I reported on the hotel exactly how I saw and experienced it at the time I was there, both good and bad, and I think I was fair in my review. I’m always open to returning and seeing if things have changed.

  5. Mike says:

    How much in u.s. Dollars was this hotel?

  6. Lisa says:

    A theme park in a mall?? Shut the front door! It might be worth risking the bad service to stay somewhere like that, just for the experience!

  7. Mark Harrison says:

    This place looks epic! I love finding unique places when I travel and staying in a shopping mall certainly would count. Shame about the service though, I’m like you I tend to stay in more budget places but if I do splurge then I expect the standards to go up too. Funnilly enough I have often found the best and most friendly service in cheap budget guesthouses and homestays.

  8. Wayne says:

    I stayed here myself a couple of years ago and I had almost the exact same experience. I think they use it as some sort of hospitality training and it definitely showed. The hotel itself, the rooms, the building, the location, was absolutely amazing, but it just felt like it was being run by a crew of kids on work experience with no real management or leadership. I was hoping it was a one off until I read this.

  9. Andy says:

    Not what you need after a long flight. There are so many other opions in KL, thanks for the heads up I think I’ll give it a miss.

  10. Deanna says:

    With so many budget places really upping their service levels bigger hotels like this really can’t keep getting away with being so lax any more. I stayed at a different hotel chain in KL last year to spoil ourselves as a treat for a special occassion, I won’t say which one, and the service was just as bad, if not worse. I’ve been to KL a lot and its always the smaller boutique places that I’ve had the best service from.

    • I have to say I have had the same experience Deanna. The budget to midrange accommodation options are just getting better and better, leaving the extreme budget and the expensive chains hardly worth looking at.

  11. Mel says:

    That really does look like an amazing place! Shame to hear about the service but you can’t have everything eh?

  12. Amanda says:

    Going to Malaysia ourselves in the summer for a few months and we were looking for somewhere nice in Kuala Lumpur to relax for a few days before we went budget again for the rest of the country, I’m glad we saw this honest take on the place, just goes to show you can’t trust Tripadvisor!

  13. Brian Dobson says:

    Thanks for the honest review on this, too many others always gush about somewhere and don’t give an honest opinion.

  14. Hannah says:

    Such a shame as this looks like such a nice place otherwise. That room looks well fancy!

  15. Lee says:

    Kuala Lumpur isn’t really somewhere I’d want to spend more than a couple of days in anyway so I guess I could put up with useless service for that long. Saying that I’d definitely look somewhere else.

  16. Kathi says:

    Surely this level of service can’t be the norm over a long term? Hopefully they’ve improved since your stay?

  17. Ciara Carmody says:

    Looks like an amazing place despite the service. I normally stay on a budget too but do upgrade from time to time if the place has something special about it. I love finding unique and quirky places when I travel, and even big chain hotel type places can have that sometimes. Definitely worth the upgrade I’d say!

  18. Emma Murray says:

    I have actually just left Kuala Lumpur (I am now in the Perhentians) and did consider staying here for a few nights. I ended up opting for a much cheaper place in Chinatown instead, nothing fancy but a fraction of the price. It sounds like I made the right decision!

  19. Will Stuart says:

    I thought you were a backpacker? What happened to staying in hostels?

    • I am a backpacker Will but that doesn’t mean I limit myself to hostels. I stay on a budget a lot of the time so that means hostels or cheap guesthouses but other times I upgrade to flashpacker status and stay in unique or fancy places, especially where you can get amazing value

  20. John says:

    I have just been to Kuala Lumpur myself and stayed in another (for now nameless) chain hotel and had a similar level of service. Is this something that is city wide or something? Are our expectations to high?

  21. Sophie says:

    Would you say you had a good time in KL overall though and in here? We aren’t really backpackers anymore and haven’t travelled since we had our daughter 3 years ago but would love to go to Malaysia. Would you say it is good for families here? Thanks in advance.

    • I really did, I love KL!! And I think it is a great place for a toddler and young family (congratulations by the way!) And Berjaya is amazing, you have everything you need or would want to do right at your fingertips, and KL has a ton of family friendly things to do

  22. Tina says:

    I have just returned from Kuala Lumpur, I actually stayed there twice in the last two months, once here and once at Swiss Gardens Residences and totally agree with you. The Swiss garden was heaven but the service really really lacked at Berjaya. It sounds like they haven’t improved at all, and it really is a shame because everything else as you say is so amazing.

  23. Lucy says:

    I know you had a bit of a rubbish experience here but the rest of it (and the location) look amazing! I can’t get over the fact there is a theme park in there!

  24. Charlie says:

    Where would you say is the best part of kuala lumpur for staying in? Looking to go at September time

  25. Anne says:

    I have actually just stayed here at Berjaya and I agree it was such a unique place, we loved it! But have to say we had no problems with the service at all really.

  26. Emiline says:

    Staying on top of a shopping mall sounds pretty good to me!

  27. Ali says:

    We have just spent a week here, booked off a certaon booking site, and didn’t have the best experience either. Our check in was actually fine, but the room itself was a little run down. Paint flaking off, not cleaned properly on arrival, TV not working properly (it was like being back in the 80s with a bad aerial) and all calls and requests to clean the room again to the front desk were just roundly ignored. As you said you expect better when you pay more. We’ll stick to cheaper boutique places next time.

  28. Terry says:

    Sounds like one to swerve!

  29. Joley says:

    Sorry you had a bit of a bad time here but loving the honesty in the post. Really appreciate that about your site, absolute no BS.

  30. Lisa Lee Abbot says:

    Wish I had read this before my trip to KL. Most of the stay was fine but check in was horrendous so you are definitely not alone. Had almost the same experience as you. Came just before 3pm which was check in time (to me that is still a late check in time by international standards, should be 2 at the latest), but my room wasn’t ready and was asked to come back in an hour. Went to grab something to eat in the mall (with my luggage) and came back at just after 4pm. STILL wasn’t ready and was asked to come back in an hour. No apology beyond the bland we are sorry but … so again I waited, loads of staff just milling about behind the huge front desk but not actually doing anything going by the queues. 5 O Clock hit and I went back. STILL not ready!! I freely admit I lost my temper a bit at this point (I was super tired) and demanded to see the manager. Manager came out 20 minutes later and managed to get me a room like magic! The rest of my stay and my room was fine but that initial experience did put a dampener on the whole thing. They need to learn first impressions stick.

    • Yeah my check in process really soured my experience too Lisa, I honestly don’t know why they thought it was acceptable. And you are absolutely right, 1400 should be the absolute latest check in time. I hate hotels that keep pushing the check in time later and later.

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