Malaysian Hospitality: Malaysia Airlines First Class Golden Lounge Satellite in Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia Airlines reopened its newly renovated Golden Lounge in the Satellite Terminal at Kuala Lumpur airport in March 2018. As I hadn't transited into Kuala Lumpur on a Oneworld carrier since the reopening, I was curious to see how the renovations went for myself. Here's my take.
There are two terminals in Kuala Lumpur (KUL), run essentially as separate airports with shared runways. All Malaysia Airlines flights and Oneworld partner flights operate from the Main Terminal, while budget carriers tend to operate from the secondary terminal.
Within the Main Terminal, the Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge served international departures from the Satellite Building. So you needed to take the train to the Satellite Building after clearing immigration to reach the lounge.
To get to the lounge, get off the train at the Satellite Building and turn right. Walk until you see the first signs for escalators. Turn right and take the escalator up one level. Once at the top of the escalators, turn left and you'll see signs for the Golden Lounge.
The first-class side of the Golden Lounge was open to passengers traveling in first class on any Oneworld carrier as well as Oneworld Emerald elites. Oneworld Sapphire elites and passengers traveling in business class on any Oneworld carrier could access the business-class side of the lounge.
From the check-in desk, the business-class lounge was to the left and the first-class lounge to the right. I was a Oneworld Emerald, so I went to the right and entered the first-class lounge via an entranceway with artwork. Off to the right near the end of the entrance way was the dining room.
Forward and up a few steps was a preliminary seating area. It was good for groups, since it had a few sets of chairs around coffee tables.
Past that was the main lounge area. On the left was a self-serve snack and drink counter.
There were various types of seats in the main lounge seating area. Most were set up for relaxing in groups of one or two, although there was a four-seat option on each end of the sitting area.
I sat in a few different chairs and found that although they were plush, they were also comfortable to sit in.
There wasn't an area in the lounge that was ideal for working. As I looked around the lounge, I saw some people working with their laptops on their laps. Other people were hunched over their laptops at coffee tables.
The lounge was dark — but not too dark — and quiet during my stay. Most passengers were visiting alone, but the plush materials in the lounge dampened the sound of conversations.
There was a sign for bathrooms at the end of the lounge, but the lounge attendants directed me to bathrooms right before the entrance instead. On the women's side, there were two toilet stalls and three shower rooms.
The shower rooms had four hooks, so there was plenty of space for hanging bags and clothing. One downside though: The doors of the shower rooms were made of slatted wood, so although the rooms were well-ventilated, they didn't feel very private.
The shower rooms were restocked after each use with a towel, lotion, comb and dental kit with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
Each shower was stocked with refillable containers of shampoo and body soap. Strangely, there weren't hair dryers in the shower rooms. Instead you had to trade your boarding pass for a hair dryer, which seemed tacky for a first-class lounge.
There was a room designated for napping that had a few daybed couches. People were sleeping in the room when I looked in, so I didn't take a picture. But the setup looked comfortable for a short nap.
There was an assortment of power outlets in the lounge: USB, Type G Malaysian-style and Type A US-style two-prong. If you needed a particular outlet type, you needed to try a few different seats. For example, the seats I tried along the windows only had Malaysian-style outlets. I asked a lounge attendant for an adapter, but she said the lounge didn't have any to borrow.
The Wi-Fi network was password-protected. I didn't see any signs with the password, so I simply asked one of the lounge attendants. The Wi-Fi speed wasn't fast at 3.18 Mbps download and 1.29 Mbps upload, but it was usable for emails and browsing.
Food and Beverage
Light snacks were available from a buffet in the main sitting area.
There was also a dessert display on the buffet.
But if you wanted a full meal, you needed to make your way to the first-class dining room — or to the buffet area on the business-class side. In the first-class dining room, there were nine two-top tables, three four-top tables and some lounge seating.
I started my meal off with a prawn cocktail. The appetizer was served in an elegant manner, although I found it difficult to shell the prawns in an equally elegant manner. The prawns were served in a citrus sauce that was very mildly spiced.
I ordered the grilled chicken for my main course. The chicken was moist, tender and well-seasoned, and the basil pesto topping was a great complement to the chicken, as it brought out great flavors in the seasoning and chicken. The potatoes and tomatoes served with the chicken didn't have much flavor, but weren't overcooked.
I ended my meal with a chocolate tart. The tart was tasty — the cream and raspberry sauce balanced the strong chocolate flavor — but the crust was surprisingly difficult to cut with a fork.
From the time I arrived at the check-in desk to when I left the lounge, service was on point. I was warmly greeted as I walked through the lounge when I arrived. As I settled into a seat, a lounge attendant came over to see if I wanted anything to drink. The attendants in the lounge were active, eager to be of assistance and quick to clear any used plates, cups and glasses. The sit-down dining experience was great, with polished and attentive service that was on par with a fine-dining restaurant.
The Malaysia Airlines first-class Golden Lounge in the Satellite Terminal at KUL reopened with a refreshed look in March 2018, so this was my first visit to the lounge post-renovation. The changes weren't huge on the first-class side, but the lounge still has a lot going for it. It's not up to par with Cathay Pacific's The Pier First Class, but the sit-down dining, friendly and helpful staff, nap room, cozy seating and atmosphere made me look forward to my next layover in Kuala Lumpur.