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The former Lee Rubber Building on busy Jalan Tun H S Lee in Kuala Lumpur’s city centre has been transformed into a boutique hotel, which is set to open in July.

Once the holiday residence site to Yap Kwan Seng, it is now home to Else, giving new life to the pre-war structure.

The Lee Rubber Building was constructed in 1930 in an art deco style with a grey facade. It was created by Arthur Oakley Coltman of Booty Edwards & Partners.

Upon completion, it was the tallest building in Kuala Lumpur at that time standing at just four levels.

Between 1942 and 1945, the building was used by the Japanese government as the headquarter of the Japanese secret police during World War II.

In the 1950s, an additional floor was added to the structure, making it a five-story building.

The property has a land area of 10,637 sq ft, a total built-up area of 46,607 sq ft, and a net lettable area of 38,126 sq ft.

The historic building was put up for sale in 2015 by its owner, Lee Rubber Group.

The then-85-year-old structure was sold for RM29 million to Singapore-based GF Land Sdn Bhd in January 2016.

Hillington Pte Ltd is the sole owner of the Johor-registered company. Tony Con-Ling Chen, Robert Conway Chen, and Justin Kenny Chen are the directors.

Else was co-founded by Justin Kenny Chen, the deputy chief executive offcer of Arcc Holdings, and Javier Perez, the owner of Series of Intentions. They founded Else to serve as a cultural hub and retreat for travellers looking to connect with the local scene and recharge.

According to Justin Kenny Chen, aspects of the historical architecture of the Lee Rubber Building have been carefully preserved in order to retain many of its original features.

He explained that the hotel’s creative design core was created in collaboration with a design firm, Studio Bikin, who reimagined the space into an urban hideaway that embraces a modern, refreshing offering for today’s traveller while celebrating elements of the past.

There are 49 rooms and suites, a 25-metre plunge pool, floating meditation pods, a drawing room and library, a state-of-the-art gym and workout studio, a board room, two restaurants, and in-room dining at the hotel.

Else, according to Perez, is founded on a strong sense of purpose, authenticity, and intention.

“Keeping true to these values, we created calming and comfortable rooms, living, and a communal co-work space so guests can both unplug and plugin. From floating meditation pods and a gratitude space to a business den and healthful, creative restaurants. Everyone will have the opportunity to live well, at their own pace,” he said in a statement.

The rooms and suites, which range from the Mantra standard rooms to the sweeping Else Suite, are designed with soft palettes and natural tropical textures to create a laid-back yet modern escape.

The podium level.
The podium level.

Wellness amenities are available throughout the hotel, including cabanas and board games on the terrace and pool house. A state-of-the-art gym, a gratitude space, and floating meditation pods were also designed to renew and refresh.

A Business Den with a private meeting room, a communal co-working space, a sunken living room, a drawing room, and a library is also available at the hotel.

There are two food and beverage concepts that are expressly intended to make guests feel at ease.

The Raw Kitchen Hall, a sister brand in Singapore, is a casual-chic gathering place that stays true to the luxury of well-executed comfort food. Dishes range in flavour from Asian to Mediterranean.

The Yellow Fin Horse, a destination wood-fire restaurant on the fourth floor, combines international and Malaysian flavours with contemporary authenticity.

Source: NewStraitsTimes, Sharen Kaur / February 17, 2022

 

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