Former KL Hilton an iconic landmark in the city


Olden days: A picture of Hilton Kuala Lumpur taken in 1972.

THE former KL Hiton, which was initially located in Jalan Sultan Ismail, was undoubtedly the first five-star hotel to be opened in Kuala Lumpur. It was officially launched on July 6, 1973.

The building was launched by the then Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak in a glittering ceremony.

Many famous people had stayed at the hotel, including boxing legend Muhammad Ali, who was in Malaysia for the much anticipated boxing match with Joe Bugner in 1975. Interestingly, Bugner was staying at the Equatorial Hotel next door.

Since then, prominent figures such as Nelson Mendela, Queen Elizabeth, Margaret Thatcher, Shah Rukh Khan, and many others had stayed at the hotel.

Back then the popular hangout was the Tin Mine Discotheque, located in the hotel and which was the most happening spot in the city.

In 2002, there was a change in management and the hotel was renamed Mutiara Kuala Lumpur.

It underwent another change in management and branding a few years later and became Crowne Plaza Mutiara KL.

“It has been a great 40 years of hospitality and wonderful friendships and that is what I will miss most,” said director of sales and marketing Susan Yap, who has been with the hotel under all three managements.

“It is the perfect place to work and I am going to miss this place,’’ said Yap.

Crowne Plaza Mutiara also won the Best Human Resources Team at the Glittering Stars of Kuala Lumpur Hotels Awards 2010 organised by the Malaysian Association of Hotels KL Chapter.

Apart from Yap, many more staff members have been with the hotel since its opening in 1973.

One such person is A. Pirabakaran, who had worked as a personal butler, and was stationed at the hotel’s prestigious hotel’s Royal Suite.

Pirabakaran was the Grand Super Star Winner at the Glittering Stars of Kuala Lumpur Hotels Awards 2010 for outstanding service.

Pirabakaran began his career in 1972 when Hiton KL was not yet opened.

It was reported that Crowne Plaza Mutiara KL and Kompleks Antara-bangsa will be demolished next year to accommodate a RM6bil mixed development project called Trade-winds Centre which is expected to be completed by 2020.

The hotel‘s last day of business is Jan 2.

Related story: Modern superstructures to replace old buildings in Jalan Sultan Ismail


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