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Introducing The Starhill – Home of The Tastemakers

6 min read
The future epicentre of Bukit Bintang will be the definitive lifestyle destination for discerning urbanites and travellers to enjoy best-of-class retail-hospitality experiences.

KUALA LUMPUR, 1 October 2019 – The iconic Starhill Gallery that is located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur’s famous shopping belt Bukit Bintang is undergoing a transformation and will be fully revealed as The Starhill come 2021. Repositioned as the Home of the Tastemakers, the mall will redefine Kuala Lumpur’s shopping scene in a new concept that infuses hospitality into the retail experience – where patrons will shop and stay in a refined home-like environment replete with tasteful, thoughtful touches of true tastemakers. It will offer experiential retail in a warm, intimate boutique environment that exudes timeless sophistication. Like a cosy living room, The Starhill will be an exclusive sanctuary where all touches are carefully curated and crafted for those with a discerning eye for style and taste.

The Starhill will be distinguished by four floors of experiential retail space and three more floors of hotel rooms creatively converted from former retail space in the upper levels of the mall. The JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur – The Happening Hotel which is a landmark in the city and the preferred choice for travellers will be adding an additional 162 rooms to its current inventory on the upper floors of The Starhill to cater to the increasing demand for hotel room in the capital. Offering new and stylish accommodation, the new extension will be seamlessly integrated with the lower retail space in one vertical seven-floor development – a first in Asia that truly breaks down the boundary between retail and hospitality. Combining JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur and The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur, there will be over 1,100 rooms seamlessly connected to The Starhill by 2021 contributing excellent footfall to the retail floors and making The Starhill a one-of-its-kind retail destination in Malaysia.

“With fast-changing values and consumption behaviour among savvy and socially-connected consumers, the transformation to become The Starhill is in line with the need for retail malls to constantly evolve and differentiate to stay at the forefront of the changing retail landscape. The concept of The Starhill reinforces our positioning as the place to be in Bukit Bintang – an exclusive urban oasis focused on experiences in a refined and polished retail environment. The Starhill bucks the city’s cookie-cutter mall trend – going boutique-size at 300,000 square feet of retail space to cultivate a more personalised retail ambience which is warm yet discreet, when others have gone mega with an anodyne take on the shopping experience. Today – more than ever, discerning shoppers spend on brands with experiences that reinforce their presence and identity. They seek special access and discoveries but most importantly, they want meaning, authenticity and connection – and this is what we set out to achieve in The Starhill,” said Mr Joseph Yeoh, Vice President of YTL Land & Development Bhd.

To redefine a brand new experience in modern living for shoppers, YTL has partnered with a stellar ensemble of top consultants from the region. The consortium comprising Cistri (Singapore), Husband Retail Consultant (Hong Kong), Kokai Studio (Shanghai) and Eight Partnership (Hong Kong) – expert retail, design and branding consultants who are at the top of their game — has meticulously studied the fluid landscape and identified transformative, game-changing strategies for The Starhill over the last two years.

In its new iteration, The Starhill is centred on three pillars of Home of the Tastemakers – The Living Room, The Tastemakers and The Social Circle. The Living Room reflects the warm welcome of a home that extends to a garden greenhouse. The botanical interiors and thoughtful touches throughout the retail environment will create a unique sensory escape from the hustle and bustle of city living, right in the very heart of Kuala Lumpur. Touches of a library cum reading room environment showcasing books, design galleries and wellness experiences will be complemented with stylish F&B outlets to attract KL residents and global travellers to gather, interact and connect over shared interests in a new collective living space. A row of greenhouse-inspired cafés, lounges and restaurants in glass conservatories will line the Bintang Steps along The Starhill’s revamped façade facing Jalan Gading. This will ignite an exciting new social café and dining street of KL to experience unique botanical cum culinary concepts.

The Starhill will host Tastemakers, a network of taste ambassadors from around the world who are at the forefront of trends in their industries, to shape the retail experiences and offerings in the mall. Boutiques of top design tastemakers of contemporary fashion and accessories, bespoke men’s tailoring, couture jewellery and timepieces will stand alongside bistros and restaurants featuring renowned chefs and baristas to give visitors a curated experience of shopping and dining indulgences. With the exciting relaunch of the new Shook! restaurant fuelling the imaginations of diners with outstanding Western, Japanese and Asian cuisines; the revamped Luk Yu Tea House serving all-day Chinese dining and the return of the much sought-after Jogoya Japanese restaurant in the lower ground floor scheduled for Q2 next year, epicureans will be spoilt for gastronomy choices from award-wining culinary Tastemakers. To enhance the holistic experience of the style and aesthetics of Tastemakers, The Starhill will host iconic events celebrating fashion, culinary excellence and street culture, and a line-up of more intimate events featuring musicians, artists, literary personalities, celebrities and even social influencers. This will augment well with the quest by discerning consumers for knowledge and contents in their retail experiences that are meaningful, thought-provoking and inspiring.

The Social Circle is central to The Starhill’s strategy to build an inclusive community of new affluent target segments – the who’s who of society, the millennials and Gen Z customers, the modern global travellers, the city dwellers and the urban professionals. The Starhill will offer social space and programmes that charm and enchant customers, and provide opportunities for them to come together and connect in the mall and on online social media platforms of The Starhill. Community is central to every offering crafted from regular dialogue sessions with Tastemakers on subjects across music, art, literature, design, culinary, gentlemen hobbies, wellness and start-up entrepreneurship to creative hands-on workshops with designers and innovators. Events and activities will be hosted across the retail and hospitality space including boutiques, F&B outlets, hotel rooms, new pop up spaces and the all-new Starhill Piazza fronting the Bukit Bintang façade of The Starhill; it will be the largest outdoor event space on the shopping street Jalan Bukit Bintang designed for a rotating slate of events, pop- ups, art installations, launches and seasonal decorations from international and local brands.

With Kuala Lumpur remaining among the top five most popular tourism destinations in the Asia Pacific region alongside Tokyo, Seoul, Bangkok and Singapore based on Mastercard Destination Index 2019, it is crucial for The Starhill to optimise the cross cultivation of experiences between the retail and hospitality floors to offer unique shopping offerings for hotel guests from the two luxury hotels. Seamless integrated services will enhance the holistic experience of stay, shop and dine all under one roof of the Home of the Tastemakers.

Key to the refurbishment is to improve spatial layout, circulation and overall shopping experience; all interior common areas will be fully refreshed. A new double-volume entrance atrium will feature a lush green wall with multiple LED screens projecting brand videos of The Starhill and tenants to welcome all visitors. The central atrium will also be overhauled to include a new connecting bridge plying
across the sun-lit atrium and cantilevered balconies designed as pop-up space. The Bukit Bintang facade will be given a facelift with new LED screens and a new café terrace on level one overlooking the new piazza.

From October 2019, the mall will be partially closed for renovation with some brands continuing to operate. The completion of phase one renovation is scheduled for Q2 2020 in tandem with the relaunch of Shook!, Lu Yu Tea House and Jogoya. The soft opening of new stores and other F&B outlets is scheduled for Q4 2020. As a whole, the official launch of The Starhill with the new hotel rooms is scheduled for 2021.

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