A poorly maintained website, lack of a concierge, and continuously closing shops – the Hartamas Shopping Centre has become a mall that embodies cutting corners.
Wedging its way in like a third wheel between Plaza Damas and its residences, the Hartamas Shopping Centre supplies residents with the rest of the bare necessities that the takeaways and 7-Elevens next door can’t provide.
Hartamas Shopping Centre has an idiot-proof floor plan that one can’t possibly get lost in. It’s a straight corridor with a circular central atrium in the centre. There are three floors of shops with no basement levels. Elevators are at the ends and the middle, naturally.
The main entrance to the mall is lined up with the centre court on the ground floor. Here, you’ll find an electronic directory board and the concierge desk. Hopefully, you’ll be able to find whatever it is you’re looking for on your own because there’s never anyone tending the fucking concierge desk. Instead, the empty surface area has now just become a dumping ground for the mall’s shops and restaurants to stack their promotional flyers on. Either the mall’s management intends to save a few cents by not paying for a concierge, or whoever is supposed to be sitting there thought that no one would notice his absence.
There’s no point of me even posting a complete shop directory because, honestly, the turnover at this mall is so high. Shops, especially the smaller local brands, are constantly closing up or relocating somewhere else. The official website has their tenants listed by category, but the site itself is irregularly maintained and fickle. There was a period of time about a month ago where the website simply did not exist for a few days. Slightly more stable is the Hartamas Shopping Centre Facebook page. In the “about” section, you’ll find a shop directory list typed out and sorted by category. Be suspicious of its accuracy. Just like its website, I’m not sure how often this is updated.
I have a personal vendetta against Hartamas Shopping Centre because of their lazy attitude toward keeping the information current. A while back, I had shopped at a great swimwear store, and a few months later I needed a replacement. The website told me that the store still existed, but upon visiting the mall, the shop had been long closed and taken over by a completely new tenant. When I tried to ask the concierge about it, there was (of course) no one there! Aside from the supermarket, I don’t count on any store still being there the next time I visit no matter what the information says.
At the western edge of the mall on the ground floor is Hartamas Shopping Centre’s anchor tenant, the Mercato Supermarket. If you’re looking for the Guardian, it will be housed in here. Mercato is a “European-inspired” grocer… so, expensive. Hopefully, you won’t need to pick up anything if you’re just passing through, but it still may be fun to go inside and gawk at all the fancy peanut butter.
With the Damas residences across the street, a lot of retail space is taken up by hair salons, gyms, and dry cleaners. There are more service-based tenants than food & beverage tenants! While these services are things that everyone needs, they’re not things that you would need to come specifically here for.
There were a good number of housewares stores for a mall of this size, about a dozen. The variety is decent, so if you need a lot of stuff for a new home or condo, this is a worthwhile place to start if you live relatively nearby. Big items (furniture) to small items (potted plants) can be found in a mix of all-in-one stores or more specialised shops. Your home decor woes, from “I’m looking for a specific finishing touch” (Carpet World) to “I need some towels and I’m not picky” (Home’s Harmony) or “I just need batteries for a clock I already have, and some plastic food containers would also be nice” (Mr. DIY) can likely be answered in one of the stores here.
You will not find any of the usual clothing outlets that you would in KLCC malls. The only international brands that you may recognise here are Pierre Cardin and Clarks. The clothing shops are all local and independent brands with names that I had never heard before like EvaZan and Lieblings Closet. Many of these stores are so under the radar that they had no online presence whatsoever. Not all of them were selling Muslimah garments – there were some Korean inspired fashion shops – but they, too, seemed to feature similarly conservative clothes that were not my style. None of the fashion boutiques caught my eye as I was wandering around.
There’s no food court where you can get economy rice, or even a food court section in this mall. Everything is spread out and you’ll be walking back and forth if you don’t know what you want. The good news is that all of the food & beverage chains are on the first two floors.
The options are mostly chain restaurants. Sit-down eateries include Secret Recipe, Rakuzen and TGI Fridays, For more casual food, there’s the Hachi Bakery Cafe, Subway, and several coffee and drink chains. For once, the food is the least exciting thing in this mall. It would be a better idea to hop over to Plaza Damas for a more intriguing variety of independent cafes and restaurants.
The washrooms are pretty dingy and have the no-frills look of school bathrooms… all that’s missing is the graffiti. Everything is white, grey or black in here. There is a small collection of white stalls and the spread is about half toilets and half squatters, with paper provided in the toilet stalls (not sure about the squatters). The flush button for the toilets is, annoyingly, behind the seat lid so you have to touch the nasty thing to finish your business.
Washing up is done at a push-style faucet. Soap dispensers are shoddily lopsided on the wall, but they work and soap exists nonetheless. There is an old school hand dryer next to a paper towel dispenser in varying states of actually working.
Walkway to Damas Suites & Residences
At the western end of the shopping centre on the top floor is a pedestrian tunnel. The entire length of it is surrounded by windows, which makes for a scenic walk. This enclosed walkway spans across Jalan Sri Hartamas 1 for easy access to the Damas Suites & Residences. There’s not much reason for the average person to cross over to this side – there’s only a couple of cafes and more services that you don’t need. However, there is this nice spot at the back of Damas Residences where you can get a good view of the Istana Negara.
In terms of a lifestyle mall, Hartamas Shopping Centre is not bad. It’s just, visually, an ugly mall with no natural light or design elements. Whilst the retail tenants are mostly useful, even for non-residents, there’s not a single restaurant or shop here that stands out and is worth coming back for. All the stores that I’ve ever found interesting have all packed up and moved on. I’m certain that the endless stream of tenants vacating is a reflection of the mall itself struggling to turn a profit. Hartamas Shopping Centre has a good mix of practical stores, but the low number of visitors has many shops saying “here today, gone tomorrow.”
Address: #60 Jalan Sri Hartamas 1, Taman Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur
Daily: 10am – 10pm
Not accessible by MRT
Stores and Floors: Approximately 130 on 3 floors
Shop Types: Local clothing brands, housewares, health & beauty services
Anchors: Mercato Supermarket