In Kuala Lumpur – Vintage Bank draws the wine and cigar set

If ever the Vintage Bank at the Hilton Kuala Lumpur were personified, James Bond would be perfect for the role. Oozing with high levels of testosterone, style and intelligence, this watering hole is indeed a wine and cigar lover’s haven.  

Its chequered black and white flooring, set off by dark wood furniture, high back leather armchairs and glass detailing, coupled with its extensive list of mature wines, gives the place a patriarchal, manly feel – although that doesn’t mean the opposite sex is not welcome. In fact, there were many women holding their own when Business Traveller recently visited.

The bar stores more than 8,000 bottles of wine in its classy glass cellar from both old and new worlds. Wines are sourced from Argentina, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, South Africa and the US, with their oldest bottle dating back to the seventies – a 1970 Chateau Palmer Margaux.

It also boasts a long list of champagnes, whiskies and cocktails, from Glenfarclas whiskies to Bollinger Grande Annee Brut 1990 champagne.

Aware improvement is a must, the establishment will be shutting down for a period of time to undergo a thorough facelift early next year. Details of the project have yet to be announced.

Meanwhile, there is still time to enjoy the unique charm of this little gem before it ceases operations temporarily. Rest assured, ther are better pleasures to come.

The Vintage Bank is open between 1100 and 0100 from Sunday to Thursday, and between 1100 and 0200 from Friday and Saturday.


Alisha Haridasani

Subscriber exclusive: Gatwick airport guide

Subscribers to the print edition of Business Traveller can download our comprehensive online guide to Gatwick airport before anyone else.

The PDF guide can be printed from this site as a useful reference to the UK’s second-busiest airport, and includes details on:

  • Getting there and parking
  • Who flies from which terminal
  • Hotels in and around the airport
  • Shopping and dining
  • Airport lounges
  • Terminal maps
  • Area maps
  • Future developments

If you are already a subscriber, simply log in and click on the archive link to access the latest July/August issue. If you are not a subscriber and would like to access the latest content online, click here for the latest subscription rates.

Jet Airways rolls out “Epicurean Series” in premier cabins

Jet Airways is treating first and business class passengers to a new inflight dining concept, “Epicurean Series”, featuring specialties of well-known restaurants from cities it serves.

The initiative kicks off on the Hong Kong-Mumbai route with an “Oriental Flavours” menu from the signature outlet of Hong Kong Sky City Marriott Hotel, Man Ho. It offers a choice of Cantonese, Sichuan or vegetarian. Indian cuisine, which the airline is famous for, will continue to be served.

Of the dishes Business Traveller sampled during a recent presentation, the Tricholma Matsutaka mushroom soup with black tofu and the dessert, chilled rice flour rolls with fresh mangoes proved noteworthy. 

The soup boasted a clean flavour, and according to the hotel’s executive chef, Marco Cheng, was designed with high-nutritional content. The combination of rice flour, mango and kiwi was refreshing.

Two of the eight main courses, the Sichuan style sautéed king prawns served with fried pumpkin rice, and the braised duck with bean sauce and sweet soy mushrooms, served with fragrant steamed rice, were quite heavily seasoned. But perhaps that is a good thing, considering how our taste faculties change drastically 42,000 feet in the air.

A fine selection of wines accompany the meal service, which uses a new line of bespoke crockery by William Edwards, one of the UK’s most celebrated ceramists.

Customers are encouraged to go for the buy-1-get-1-free for first class by booking before August 15, 2011 for travel by September 20, 2011. Furthermore, members of JetPrivilege can enjoy a complimentary upgrade to an executive deluxe suite at Hong Kong SkyCity Marriott Hotel when booking a deluxe ocean view room at the best available rate. Also, passengers can enjoy a 25 percent discount at any of the hotel’s four restaurants upon presenting their boarding pass.

Jet Airways is the only carrier providing first class on the Hong Kong-Mumbai, using a Boeing 777-300ER. Flight 9W75 departs from Hong Kong at 1915 and arrives in Mumbai at 2300 local time. The return flight 9W76 depart from Mumbai at 0105 and arrives in Hong Kong at 0925 local time.

For more details, visit

Hazel Ho

Grace Hotels debuts in Beijing

Luxury boutique hotel group, Grace Hotels will open its first Asian hotel later this summer following the acquisition of the Yi House Hotel in Beijing.

Renamed the Grace Beijing, the hotel is located in Beijing’s famous cultural hub, the 798 Art District.

The Grace Beijing will boast 30 uniquely decorated luxury bedrooms and a restaurant to be called the Yi House, in honour of the hotel’s former name. The restaurant will serve modern Asian and Mediterranean cuisine, with a strong emphasis on seafood. The hotel will also boast a cocktail bar, business centre, gym and library.

Part of the privately-owned Libra Group, Grace Hotels are located in the Greek islands, the USA and now China.

The brand is developing additional properties in Argentina, Greece, Panama, and the USA, set for completion in 2012. It also plans to develop more hotels in Asia in the coming years, the Grace Beijing marking the Group’s entrance into the region.

For more information visit and

Report by Rebecca Lloyd

United launches iPhone and iPad app

United Airlines has launched a free app that allows United and Continental customers to check in online and access mobile boarding passes.

The app, available to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users, also allows travellers to make reservations, get live flight updates and manage their Mileage Plus and One Pass frequent flyer accounts.

In addition, it features interactive airport maps and access to United’s Twitter feed. Some 101 airports worldwide are participating in United’s mobile boarding offering.

The app can be downloaded free of charge on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch or by logging on to United has plans to bring the app to the Android platform as well as other smartphone devices.

Airline partner Continental already has an app for iPhone, iPad and Android users allowing mobile boarding.  

Learn more about mobile travel apps by reading our “101 travel apps” feature in the March 2011 edition of Business Traveller.

Visit for more information.

Report by Rebecca Lloyd

Club Carlson launches double points offer

Members of the Club Carlson loyalty programme can currently earn double points at participating Radisson, Country Inns & Suites By Carlson, Park Inn by Radisson and Park Plaza, equating to 40 points for every dollar spent.

The promotion is valid for stays completed between now and September 15, with pre-registration required at Double points are available on both room rates and food and beverage spend,

Radisson Blu, Park Inn by Radisson and Country Inns & Suites By Carlson recently joined the Club Carlson scheme, having previously participated in the Goldpoints Plus programme.

As part of the move, points earning at the above hotel brands were recalculated using dollar spend rather than euros, meaning the number of points earned by members per stay were effectively increased – for more information see online news April 5.

For more information visit

Report by Mark Caswell