Prefer a city break over a beach escape for your next holiday? While Kuala Lumpur might seem like a larger, grungier older sibling to Singapore, the city is less than an hour (on the plane) from here, the favourable exchange rate, a budding bar scene, and hotels like Villa Samadhi Kuala Lumpur makes it as good as Bangkok or Tokyo (in summer).

Located in the upscale residential neighbourhood and embassy district of Jalan Ampang 10 minutes from the city centre, it’s easy to miss the discrete entrance of Villa Samadhi on Persiaran Madge amidst the modern condominiums and guarded consulates. The discrete bamboo gate opened to let our car through – parking is free, just let them know beforehand – and so started our experience of this rustic-luxe boutique hotel.

Having stayed at Villa Samadhi Singapore, we had an idea of what to expect. With just 21 keys spread over 5 types of rooms and suites, and a higher than average staff to guest ratio, the rustic-luxe, homespun hospitality is what makes travellers return to the Samadhi Group. The estate has a zen-like quality that’s especially great for people who have travel anxiety; for the others, it makes it that much easier to settle in. Once we checked in and paid the tourist tax (RM10 per room per night), we were escorted to one of their ground-floor Luxe Sarangs.

We’re no stranger to ample space in luxury resorts but the Luxe Sarang bowled us over with its generosity in that aspect. A garden with a private whirlpool greets one upon entering the one-bedroom villa. Moving past the patio furniture on the front porch, the doorway opens into the spacious living room, and then the bedroom. The bathroom is similarly expansive, with double vanities and double rainfall shower. Since we arrived in the evening, the staff has already set out their turndown munchies of chocolate, local crackers (muruku) and brandy (port was served in the Singapore property).

After the first walkthrough, it’s clear that the hotel has tried its best to incorporate traditional Malay architecture into the design while preserving the sanctity of the property’s natural surroundings. Amidst the soothing greenery and water features, the use of raw materials like wood, stone, bamboo and black cement sets a slightly edgy but minimalist, rustic backdrop for this urban retreat.

The most defining feature of our ground-floor Luxe Sarang over the other rooms is direct access to their blue-tiled, lagoon-shaped pool that is the heart of the hotel. The outdoor terrace and ladder that allowed us to swim out from the room was situated next to the bedroom; if you’re a light sleeper, be sure to request for a room with a different layout if the sound of running water tends to wake you or keep you up.

After the first walkthrough, it’s clear that the hotel has tried its best to incorporate traditional Malay architecture into the design while preserving the sanctity of the property’s natural surroundings. Amidst the soothing greenery and water features, the use of raw materials like wood, stone, bamboo and black cement sets a slightly edgy but minimalist, rustic backdrop for this urban retreat.

Every stay at Villa Samadhi includes daily breakfast, of which my favourite part is the long list of smoothies, yoghurt drinks, and fresh juices available, such as the Apple Lassi (apple, yoghurt, fresh milk, and honey) and the Smooth Ginger (banana, steamed ginger juice, honey, and yoghurt). There’s a small buffet spread of cheeses, cold cuts, fruit, porridge, and nasi lemak to complement the menu of mains served a la minute. If you’re feeling Asian, the beef soba soup was delicious though the noodles were a tad overcooked. The bar also serves complimentary pre-dinner tipples from 6.30pm-7.30pm.

One last thing worth noting; kids below the age of 12 are not allowed to stay at Villa Samadhi, as some of the design features might be safety hazards. So if you’re in the mood for a vacation that’s the opposite of family-friendly, you know where to go!

Villa Samadhi Kuala Lumpur is located at 8 Persiaran Madge, 55000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, p. +60 32143 2300.