Hot spots: Villa Samadhi, Kuala Lumpur
What's in a name? "Samadhi" is Sanskrit for "state of mind" and this is certainly a place to nurture it, with stillness and relaxation key to the guest experience. The Samadhi Retreats (of which the Villa Samadhi is the flagship) are intended to be "not just places, but gateways to dream states".
Doesn't sound like a city centre type of place … No, really! That's what is so wonderful about Villa Samadhi. The high walls that keep the resort secluded and a guarded gate with a discreet sign do justice to the term "luxury hideaway". This is one of few places in Kuala Lumpur where it is possible to escape the traffic and humidity, to chill out on sun-loungers shaded by thatched roofs and balconies set around a pool - and all just a 20-minute walk from the Petronas Towers, which dominate the city's skyline, and the massive shopping mall beneath them. However, don't rely on taxi drivers getting you back to the villa by name alone.
It's intimate then? It's perfect for a romantic city break. All but one of the rooms contains a Jacuzzi, but a word of warning: the bathrooms are exposed to the main room, so you may want to adapt your morning "triple S" routine accordingly. Inside the property, you forget you are in KL - except when you catch a glimpse of the towers from Bumbung Bar, which is in the rafters and serves tempting cocktail concoctions and delicious canapes.
Is there anything special about the design? Malay tradition and charm meet elegance and style in the décor, with all elements (polished concrete, bamboo and bright bursts of colour) blending seamlessly. The property has a rustic beauty about it, due in part to the old, salvaged wood integrated into the design, and the hand-wrought carpentry and craftwork. Magical touches have been bestowed on guest rooms, all of which resemble miniature villas. Each also has a water feature - be it a plunge pool, a rain shower or a Jacuzzi in a jungly, open-air extension of the bathroom.
What's with all the water? Water, and its soothing qualities, is intended to permeate the soul during your stay, so say the owners. The swimming pool, or "lagoon", meanders through the grounds providing a focal point. Ground-floor rooms have access, with steps leading down from the balconies into the water. There's also a waterfall feature and a lounging stone, in the centre of the pool. The water is intended to provide a sense of calm, which can be shattered, unfortunately, by the noisy bubbling of an in-room Jacuzzi set on automatic timer for the early birds previously in residence.
What else is special? Guests are addressed on a first-name basis, creating a friendly feel, and there are no telephones in the rooms - if you want something, you have to go and ask for it. The Asian/Western food in the restaurant, Mandi-Mandi, is excellent although the service can be a little slow - but perhaps that's the point; Samadhi is supposed to be a place for utter relaxation, after all.
If your state of mind is set to "solitary confinement", you can ask to stay in a room with a kitchen, and a hotel chef on hand to cook for you.
What's the bottom line? Rooms start at 500 ringgit (HK$1,225) per night while the most expensive accommodation, The Loft, is available for 1,300 ringgit. Breakfast is included. Ask for a description of the room before you book, as no two are the same. Villa Samadhi is at 8 Jalan Madge, Kuala Lumpur, tel: 603 2143 2300: www.villasamadhi.com.my