Getaways in Malaysia: 8 exquisite hotels for a splendid international trip

Taking a getaway to Malaysia from the US is delightfully easier than you would think and these hotels are sure to make your stay even more memorable.

The rainforest-rich mainland is peppered with sparkling cities that are ideal for a spot of sightseeing or a satisfying shopping fix. You can head to picturesque Penang for gastronomic glory, peaceful Langkawi for pristine beaches or the seductive Borneo states for a sizzlingly sultry break in the jungle.

For accommodation, you’ll find oodles of options that are a joy to experience. Choose from tall and glittering towers offering luxury in the capital, a riverside retreat providing calm in the centre of a cat-themed city, or a nature-nestled retreat close to equatorial wildlife. Your trip to Malaysia is within reach!

Luxury in the Capital for your getaway in Malaysia

For five-star luxury and an unbeatable view of Malaysia’s iconic Petronas Towers, check out the Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur. This complex boasts 411 grand guest rooms and suites and is smack in the middle of the captivating capital.

Check into a Diplomat Suite and feel instantly relaxed with its warm, dark woods and cream-hued soft furnishings. You’ll have no fewer than three LED TVs and a separate dining area, so put in a call for room service from your very own butler while you throw on a film (unless you prefer to rustle up your own grub, in which case there’s a kitchenette). After your meal, settle in for a soak in your freestanding tub and admire the skyline through the floor-to-ceiling windows of your white marble bathroom.

To beat the crowds, head to the hotel’s sparkling outdoor pool early for a sunrise dip, then straight out for a morning meander around the city’s Golden Triangle district. Slip into a coffee-scented kopitiam for a sip of sweet kopi C (coffee with evaporated milk and sugar), then return to your hotel for a soothing session at ESSA Spa. A bergamot honey body wrap will have you glowing and ready for dinner at the on-site restaurant JP teres. Start with the fresh tastes of cucumber and carrot in a tauhu sambal kicap, then wash down wok-fried chicken dish mee mamak with something chilled from the bar.

Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur

Top rated
Kuala Lumpur
9.4 Excellent (2356 reviews)

A getaway in Kuala Lumpur that's fabulously affordable


A getaway in Malaysia’s capital doesn’t need to empty your pockets, what with charming hotel 1000 Miles. Just 10 minutes’ walk from bustling Merdeka Square, the blue and yellow exterior of this 6-story gem houses a range of peaceful rooms ideal for a weekend base. Snooze away the night in a superior double room, then prepare for the day in your en-suite made of cool grey tiles and white porcelain. Fill up on complimentary coffee and continental treats like hot buttered toast and cereal, then stroll just four minutes to the striking Jamek Mosque for a wander around this historic (and breathtaking) place of worship.

Call in at the Petaling Street market for sizzling snacks and bargain souvenirs. The smells of seafood and Chinese dishes will get your mouth watering, so it’s the ideal place for lunch before you head over to Kuala Lumpur City Gallery. After you’ve had your photo taken next to the ‘I heart KL’ sign, return to the hotel to soak up the last of the day’s sun on the rooftop terrace. Use the free Wi-Fi to plan your easy 12-minute walk to Manja Old Malaya for an evening meal of saffron snapper with scallop ravioli and summer truffle cocoa mousse.

1000 Miles Hotel

Top rated
Kuala Lumpur
9.0 Excellent (299 reviews)

A fairy-tale getaway in Pantai Tengah: a tropical garden on the beach


The evocatively named La Pari-Pari Langkawi takes its name from the Malay word for ‘fairy’. There’s definitely a touch of enchantment about this serene little hideaway, with all 12 rooms featuring fresh white décor and calming private courtyards. Welcome the dawn with a dip in the saltwater swimming pool, then visit on-site family-run restaurant fatCUPID where a complimentary continental breakfast awaits. After flaky croissants and hot tea, stroll an easy 600 metres to the white sands and crystalline waters of Pantai Tengah and continue your walk along the shore.

When the sun is high in the sky, retreat from the beach to The Grove, La Pari-Pari’s own gardens, where lush vegetation and shady trees provide respite from the heat. The air will be fragrant with the scent of herbs that are used in the restaurant kitchen, and you’ll probably spot goodies that will be on your dinner plate later. The young at heart can climb up to an upcycled treehouse made from sustainable local materials, while those keen for souvenirs can visit the on-site shop. Return to fatCUPID at sundown and finish off the day with fiery rendang tempe before falling blissfully into your king-size bed.

La Pari-Pari Langkawi

Top rated
9.3 Excellent (90 reviews)

A hotel in quirky Kuching for a getaway in Borneo

Dreamy hotel The Waterfront will have you sleeping soundly in the sultry state of Sarawak in exotic Borneo. Located in central Kuching, this riverside hotel festoons its rooms in simple creams and warm tones, with sleek furniture and abstract landscapes on the walls for a luxe feel even near the jungle. If you’re celebrating something special or travelling as a family, book the Brooke’s Loft Suite and spread out over two floors – kids can stake their claim on the queen-size bed in one room while parents take the king in the other. Start each day with a dip in the hotel’s infinity pool, then fill up on a buffet breakfast of sweet and savory bites like freshly made waffles or steaming noodles with bok choy.

When you want to stretch your legs a bit, make the four-minute walk to Batu Jetty and take a ride along the river in a sampan. Afterwards, sip watermelon and lemon crushed soda at coffee shop Commons before hunting for the infamous cat statue and obligatory photo opportunity. If you’ve still got the energy to spare, burn it off back at the hotel’s gym or take it easy with a stroll around the art exhibition on Level 4. Either way, you’ll want to slip into on-site Café Via Mare afterwards for a steaming bowl of laksa. End the day in the hotel’s own Kilig Bar Lounge with a warming nightcap, then bring the brood back to their welcoming beds.

The Waterfront

8.8 Excellent (978 reviews)

A getaway in Georgetown steeped in rich heritage

If you’re looking for affordable accommodation in a central spot, Hotel Chulia Mansion Penang is the place. Nestled in the heart of UNESCO-acclaimed Georgetown, this five-storey hotel has 53 colourfully bedecked rooms to suit parties of many sizes. Couples seeking an intimate week away together should check out a deluxe king room with long, golden drapes and a feather-soft bed for a hint of royal romance, while groups of friends on a jaunt will find their own space in a deluxe quadruple room.

When morning breaks, pile your plate with fresh fruit and steamed buns at the breakfast buffet, then set out on foot to explore this heritage-rich area. Wander less than 20 minutes to Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower before learning about Penang’s colonial history at Fort Cornwallis. All of this walking and education will leave you hungry, so dip into Penang’s Little India and sample spicy nasi kandar for lunch. After you’ve browsed the stalls and haggled for a bargain or two – and maybe bought some gold – head back to the hotel for an afternoon recline in the lush rooftop garden. The open-air bar is on hand, too, for icy beverages as the sun sets.

Sweet dreams on a getaway in Johor Bahru


Why not blend a shopping-focused week away with some indulgence at the four-star Doubletree by Hilton Johor Bahru? Opt for a king executive room decorated in calming cream tones and recline in a complimentary bathrobe on your Sweet Dreams bed. The breakfast inclusive package allows you to start each day with a feast in on-site restaurant Makan Kitchen, so load up with yogurt and granola, as well as eggs, waffles and fresh fruit. Suitably fuelled for a morning’s spending spree, take the 17-minute walk to the labyrinthine aisles of Danga City Mall.

When you’re shopped out, leave the mall for a pit stop at Hiap Joo Bakery and sample the renowned banana cake. With an extra slice of cake to go, meander to Zaharah Botanic Gardens for a sun-drenched afternoon amid manicured greenery (ideal for Instagram). Head back to the hotel for a dip in the outdoor pool before the sun sets, or perhaps a quick session in the fitness centre if ab crunches are more your thing. Adjacent to the lobby is the Axis Lounge where you can sip cocktails as the evening draws near, then settle yourself in Tosca Italian Trattoria for a tasty plate of linguine allo scoglio and a glass of crisp white wine.

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Johor Bahru

Top rated
Johor Bahru
9.0 Excellent (2285 reviews)

A getaway in Borneo ... with orangutans!


Nature-lovers will delight at the lush setting of Sepilok Nature Resort. This awe-inspiring Borneo island hotel is surrounded by exotic flora and overlooks the steamy depths of an abundant rainforest. Set your bags down in one of 23 light and airy wooden chalets and wake each morning to the sound of stirring wildlife. You’re within walking distance of the renowned Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre here, so after a satisfying breakfast of roti prata, head off to catch a glimpse of the furry ‘Men of the Forest’ swinging through their own verdant habitat.

After an exhilarating day in the wilds, return to the hotel and seek out the laidback deck area to bask on a sunbed with a book or simply snooze away an hour or two. If you prefer to be out of the afternoon sun, slip into the shady space of the covered terrace. Evenings are easy with the on-site restaurant offering a range of tasty local and international cuisine, with fuss-free food that focuses on great ingredients. Feast on chilli coconut fish, then retire to the peace of your room for a refreshing rain shower before bed.

Sepilok Nature Resort

9.4 Excellent (444 reviews)

Shopping heaven on a getaway in Johor Bahru

If you’re wondering where to go in Malaysia for a trip centered on shopping, Holiday Villa Johor Bahru City Centre is the ideal base for a spree in spending haven Johor Bahru. Feel refreshed amid light wood furniture and modern prints in your superior room, or check into a premium suite if you prefer to have your own cozy seating area. Provided silk-soft slippers and a complimentary, well-stocked minibar will help you relax after a long day hitting the shops – as will a night swim in the calming infinity pool overlooking the glittering city or a cool cocktail at the hotel’s own Sky Lounge.

In the morning, on-site Fern Pine Cafe offers a stellar breakfast buffet, where you can linger over as many pots of tea as you like. Or for full-on days when a to-go brekkie is in order, you can catch a quick round of sweet and coconutty kaya toast at Cawanmas Cafetiam on your way to Plaza Sentosa. After a heavy morning of credit card swiping, ease into the afternoon with a muscle-mending foot massage at nearby Bangkok Spa before hauling your purchases back to the hotel. A well-earned rest in your nap-inducing bed and a wander back to Fern Pine Cafe will get you ready for a laidback evening feast of salmon sashimi and oysters at the seafood buffet. Or if moving from your room seems like too much effort after the day you’ve had, just pick up the phone and order room service – sorted.

Holiday Villa Johor Bahru City Centre

Johor Bahru
8.2 Very good (2024 reviews)