What's cooking at Hilton Kuala Lumpur?

What's cooking at Hilton Kuala Lumpur?

Ever entered a space where all your senses are engaged simultaneously? It is the sort of place that stops you in your tracks and forces you, with a gentle caress, to take in all that it has to offer.

For a moment, for a very brief moment, you will forget where you are. But then the bustling activity around hits you, and you realise that you have stepped into the newly refurbished F&B space of Hilton Kuala Lumpur.

Redesigned with the future in mind, the space in what has been called the hotel's "dining wing" has been utilised to the utmost. Wherever space is available, even if it's a negative space underneath a staircase, something new has been added and, immediately, akin to an oasis, the space comes to life and a new sort of energy emanates.

It's a little like being in a park or a forest, just that instead of gargantuan trees, you have pillars shooting to the heavens and instead of Sang Kancil galloping about merrily, you have royalty, business executives and families bustling about.

Talking about the redesign exercise recently, Markus Schueller, the vice president of Hilton Asia Pacific's F&B Operations, says the concept brief was done nearly two years ago, so it was crucial to envision conditions in the future.

"We had to think ahead and see what would be relevant in the market not just today but what will be relevant in the market when you actually open and operate five or 10 years down the road. You must be able to understand where the market is today but take that vision into the future to see what will happen," Schueller explains in an interview at the hotel.

With Hilton KL, as with Hilton hotels worldwide, the concept was to create destinations that will attract the local market. "This required a total rethink of the local market and what is relevant to consumers here. And we no longer wanted to have the typical hotel bar or hotel restaurant. It's not just a new lick of paint or new chairs and tables. Those days are over for us. We wanted to create destinations," Schueller says.

Helming the redesign venture was Shafee Sajari of Acid (Avalon Collective Interior Design), a Singapore based design firm that won the pitch back in 2011. Of course, as with all works of art, a spark of inspiration or a visit from a Muse is paramount. And this came, surprisingly, from the traffic madness just outside the Hilton juxtaposed with the trees and tranquil homes further across from the hotel, says Shafee.

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