For first-time travellers to Malaysia, choosing where to stay in Kuala Lumpur can be a challenge. The Malaysian capital is spread far and wide. The best hotels in Kuala Lumpur sprawl across a diverse range of areas, neighbourhoods, and districts.
Each of the best areas to stay in Kuala Lumpur offer its own distinct atmosphere. While visiting Kuala Lumpur, you’ll discover a modern downtown area with busy streets. You can also revel in its quieter suburbs. No matter where you stay in Kuala Lumpur, you’ll discover accommodations for any budget and every preference.
Searching for the perfect Kuala Lumpur accommodations? Start with our complete guide to the best places to stay in Kuala Lumpur. In our guide, we include our top recommendations for the best areas, neighbourhoods & hotels for travellers.
Looking for more ideas for your trip? Check out our other hotel & accommodations guides and our Malaysia Travel Guide for recommendations on when to visit, where to go & what to do!
Best places to stay in Kuala Lumpur
Planning a visit to Kuala Lumpur? One of your first lines of business will be sorting through the best places to stay in Kuala Lumpur.
Most travellers start their Kuala Lumpur accommodation search in the centre of the city. Also known as KLCC, it’s the main hub of activity in Kuala Lumpur. Don’t stop there, though. Other areas in Kuala Lumpur are also worthy of a second look. Each neighbourhood has its own attractions and interesting elements worth exploring.
Kuala Lumpur is a large city, covering over 240 square kilometres. It’s also one of the fastest-growing regions in Asia, with an urban population of over seven million people.
A lot of the recent growth comes from the tourism industry. This also brings a large selection of hotels, restaurants, and shopping locations. Kuala Lumpur has 66 shopping malls, with upscale retail spaces inside the Twin Towers and street markets in Chinatown. It’s an eclectic destination with something for everyone.
The best areas to stay in Kuala Lumpur include:
Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC)
✔ Best area to stay in Kuala Lumpur for first-time visitors and families
The Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) is the business, commercial, and cultural hub of the city. It’s a busy area and home to many of the top things to do in Kuala Lumpur. You can see most of the top attractions from the observation decks inside the Petronas Twin Towers.
Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) is where to stay in Kuala Lumpur for first-time visitors and families. You have easy access to the top sites. Families will enjoy Aquaria KLCC. This large aquarium has a 90-metre underwater tunnel. It surrounds you with marine life, including impressive sharks and sizeable schools of fish.
In KLCC, you can also browse high-end retail stores & malls. You’ll find plenty of opportunities to dine at luxury restaurants & lounges.
While people often stay in KLCC for the shopping and dining options, the area also has several public parks.
The area’s largest park is KLCC Park. The sprawling green area provides a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. In the evening, visit the park for the nightly water show. Each evening, the fountains spring to life with bursts of water timed to music. Along with water fountains, the display includes a choreographed dance show.
Recommended hotels in Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC)
The city centre has the largest selection of hotels, including several five-star locations. Some of these spots offer panoramic views of the downtown area. KLCC also has a few affordable options, but without the impressive views of the city.
- Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur offers sweeping views of the surrounding area. This five-star hotel in Kuala Lumpur stands above the competition. The Mandarin Oriental is also packed with amenities. Unwind at the fitness centre or play a few rounds at the indoor golf course. The hotel also has 10 onsite restaurants. You’ll never go hungry staying here.
- Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur is another 5-star hotel in KLCC. The hotel offers sleek views of KLCC from some of the rooms. It’s close to Petronas Towers and other attractions, making it a convenient place to stay. You’ll enjoy celebrity treatment here. The hotel offers 24-hour concierge services, a fitness centre, and a sauna. There’s also a wide range of dining options at the Four Seasons Hotel.
- Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur is a brilliant luxury hotel connected to Suria KLCC. Traders Hotel delivers fantastic city views at its famous swimming pool & bar area. You’ll also enjoy the cityscapes through the floor-to-ceiling windows in the guest rooms. For your relaxation, there’s a great on-site spa.
- Impiana KLCC Hotel is located between the centre of KLCC and Bukit Bintang. This mid-range luxury hotel has the perfect location for your stay in Kuala Lumpur. The outdoor infinity pool is a huge plus. You’ll also love the hotel’s connection to the air-conditioned skybridge between KLCC and the Pavilion shopping mall.
- Element Kuala Lumpur by Westin is a great option if staying in the top luxury hotels in Kuala Lumpur exceeds your budget. This four-star hotel is a comfortable place to stay in KLCC. It’s a short distance from the Petronas Twin Towers. The city views from the indoor swimming pool are surprisingly epic.
✔ Top district to stay in Kuala Lumpur for nightlife lovers & foodies
For those wanting to party or experience local cuisine, a stay in the Bukit Bintang area is in order. This lively Kuala Lumpur neighbourhood borders Chinatown and the west side of the city centre.
Bukit Bintang is one of the most popular destinations in the city. It offers a variety of attractions and amenities. You’ll also enjoy excellent public transport connections to the rest of Kuala Lumpur.
The crowded urban area has a large selection of shopping malls and cinemas. The Pavilion Mall is a major shopping mall complex. Berjaya Times Square and Sungei Wang Plaza are also popular Bukit Bintang shopping destinations. If you need a new phone case, visit Plaza Low Yat IT Mall. It’s the largest IT mall in the country, with many tech shops and gadget stores.
Bukit Bintang is also known for its food. You can find everything from upscale restaurants to inexpensive street food. In fact, this neighbourhood is home to Jalan Alor, the busiest food hawker street in the city. Jalan Alor becomes packed each night as slightly intoxicated travellers seek out greasy street food.
When you’re ready to experience the local nightlife, walk to Changkat Bukit Bintang Street. It’s lined on both sides with pre-war colonial buildings that now house restaurants and bars. Nearby Jalan Mesui Street is more of a laid back vibe with its own selection of watering holes.
Recommended hotels in Bukit Bintang
Along with a wide variety of food options, Bukit Bintang has a large selection of hotels. The inventory includes some of the best hotels in Kuala Lumpur. You’ll find options for any budget, with many three-star and four-star accommodations. Most of the hotels are also within walking distance of several cafes, restaurants, bars, and the monorail station.
- JW Marriott Hotel, Kuala Lumpur is one of the best Kuala Lumpur hotels. Enjoy drinks, food, and swimming without setting foot outside of this five-star hotel. The JW Marriott Hotel offers luxurious lodgings with elegant furnishings and spacious rooms. When you’re ready to shop, you can quickly reach the popular Golden Triangle commercial area. It’s just a few blocks away.
- The Kuala Lumpur Journal Hotel is a lovely four-star hotel that’s as vibrant & lively as the Bukit Bintang neighbourhood itself. The retro-inspired accommodations are quirky but comfortable. The Kuala Lumpur Journal Hotel has several great features. Amenities include an outdoor pool and an on-site bar.
- Hotel Twenty 8B sits among the best budget hotels in Kuala Lumpur. If you want a more affordable option in Bukit Bintang, stay at this three-star hotel. The rooms are small and only include basic amenities. The location is great, though. You can quickly reach the aquarium, Central Market, and KLCC Park.
✔ Top-rated neighbourhood in Kuala Lumpur for budget travellers & sightseeing
If you’re planning one day in Kuala Lumpur, consider staying in Chinatown. It’s located in the centre of the city, west of Bukit Bintang and the downtown area. The area that’s now Chinatown includes some of the oldest parts of the city. Chinese immigrants built their homes where the two main rivers connect.
Due to the history of the area, you’ll find several historic sites, including Merdeka Square. The large square contains many colonial-style structures. They were built by British settlers when they first arrived in Malaysia. The restored buildings now contain shops, restaurants, and cafes.
The square stands out against the crowded alleyways expected in Chinatowns across the world. As with other Chinatowns, it’s also one of the city’s best spots for street food and street markets. You can find both on Jalan Petaling. The street is lined with stalls selling food, inexpensive goods, and almost anything else you can think of.
If you’re looking for more upscale shopping, try Central Market. It’s a step above the street vendors on Petaling Street. The market offers a wide range of handicrafts and souvenirs.
When you finish shopping, get your cultural fix with trips to Chinatown’s temples. The area has several old temples full of colourful statues and décor.
Recommended hotels in Chinatown
Chinatown is one of the least expensive places to stay in Kuala Lumpur. And since KL is known for its inexpensive accommodations, that means very cheap! Unfortunately, the area also has a limited selection of hotels. Book your Chinatown lodgings as early as you can.
- Tian Jing Hotel is a traditional hotel with ground-floor rooms that open to a shared garden. They’ll help you connect with nature in the middle of the city. The hotel is around the corner from Petaling Street and the main attractions in Chinatown, including Central Market.
- Rain Forest Hotel is located right on Petaling Street. This tiny boutique-style hotel offers guests unique décor. Everything is designed to resemble a rainforest, from the guest rooms to the lobby. You don’t get many amenities, but you can walk out the front door and find endless stalls on the busy shopping street.
- The 5 Elements Hotel Chinatown Kuala Lumpur is one of the larger hotels in Chinatown. This boutique hotel is located around the corner from Petaling Street. Some of the rooms have views of downtown; others overlook the busy shopping street. The rooms are a little small, but they’re comfortable and well-furnished.
✔ Recommended place to stay in Kuala Lumpur for luxury travellers & relaxation junkies
Want to avoid the crowded streets of KLCC or Bukit Bintang? The Bangsar South neighbourhood is a top recommendation. Bangsar South is further from the downtown area than other recommended neighbourhoods. It’s a quieter part of KL and perfect if you need some peace.
People frequently refer to Bangsar South as the coolest neighbourhood in Kuala Lumpur. It’s full of trendy boutiques, cafes, and bars. However, it’s not as rowdy compared to Bukit Bintang in the evening.
During the day, explore the diverse parts of the neighbourhood. Some streets are lined with small shops and art galleries; others feature old buildings and colourful places of worship.
If you’re looking to learn more about the history of the city, visit the National Museum of Malaysia. Other cultural sites include the Islamic Arts Museum and several Chinese temples.
If you want to unwind in nature, take a trip through Perdana Botanical Gardens. The paved paths take you past a wide variety of flowers and scenic landscapes.
Staying in Bangsar still allows you to cross everything off your Kuala Lumpur itinerary. It’s further from some of the top attractions, but you can easily hop on a bus and reach any part of the city.
Recommended hotels in Bangsar South
The upscale neighbourhood of Bangsar South doesn’t have a lot of hotels. You’ll find one or two options available, depending on the time of the year. However, there are also a few condos in the area. It’s a good option if you’re planning to stay for a week or longer.
- VE Hotel & Residence is an affordable four-star hotel in the heart of the neighbourhood. This accommodation places you near the botanical gardens and several malls. The rooms are surprisingly spacious. They’ll help you relax after a long day of sightseeing.
- KL Gateway Residence is a condo hotel with apartment units featuring multiple bedrooms. If you’re travelling with a large group, this is an affordable, luxurious way to travel. It’s also a short walk from several restaurants and markets, offering many food options.
- KL Gateway Pool Suites near Mid Valley is another condo with a convenient location. It’s connected to the University LRT Station via a link bridge. From here, you can quickly reach any other part of KL. The rooms are spacious and feature modern décor and furnishings, combining bold and neutral colours.