LaLaport Mall is a work in progress, but it has the potential to be up there with top KL malls.
Bukit Bintang has no shortage of malls, but LaLaport Mall at least tries to be a little bit different. The original LaLaport in Tokyo is one of the largest shopping malls in the city, and this one in Kuala Lumpur’s Bukit Bintang City Centre is the first LaLaport in Southeast Asia. Branding themselves as “Japan’s Favourite Shopping Mall,” LaLaport Mall will be the place to get all of the Japanese essentials.
LaLaport is an easy mall to navigate with hardly any backtracking needed if you want to explore all the lanes. The interior design doesn’t look very Japanese. It looks very KL and reminded me of Sunway Velocity.
The shape of LaLaport Mall is an oval with a wing on top. All six of the levels have this identical layout. There is an east and west atrium at either end, but only the main atrium in the middle will have seasonal pop-ups on the ground floor. There are escalators in all three atriums, with an additional set in the centre of the oval.
The Japanese-oriented anchor tenants at LaLaport Mall include Nojima, Don Don Donki and Nitori (the Japanese IKEA, as I like to call it). There are a few huge Japanese brands that are missing from this mall. For example, there’s no Uniqlo or Asics here at LaLaport Mall… yet.
LaLaport brands itself as a Japanese mall, but many of the other tenants are the usual Malaysian and International owned chains. It looks like LaLaport is trying to be a “catch-all” kind of mall, offering something for everyone. The most dominant category is clothing outlets, but just barely. The fashion options are a majority of unisex streetwear shops, but there are a handful of menswear and Muslimah specialists.
LaLaport Mall is currently in its “soft opening” phase. There are a lot of empty lots at this mall. Unlike other malls with lots of unrented space, the vacant lots are spread evenly across all six levels. The upper floors are similarly populated as the levels below and not too sad to walk around in.
Depachika Marche & More – Lower Ground Level 1
The basement of LaLaport Mall is almost entirely food and beverage options. The sit-down restaurants here are more on the casual side. There is a range of cuisines with options like Nyonya Famous, Pop Meals and Sukiya. The Depachika Marche has a variety of snack food that’s easy to take away or eat on the go.
Gourmet Street – Ground Floor
Gourmet Street is a long, open-air lane with restaurants on both sides. If it starts to rain heavily and you need to get to a restaurant on the other side, there are a couple of roofs and bridges that offer protection. Many of the eateries here will have tables outside protected by a glass awning so diners can see and be seen.
The restaurants on Gourmet Street are on the upscale side, like Yakiniku, Gastropubs and bars. There is also an inordinate amount of coffee shops such as What’s On Tap and Dome. Don’t miss the handful of food trucks on the west end of Gourmet Street.
Garden Dining Food Court – 4th Floor
The food court on the fourth floor was a surprise. The food courts at other malls have generic food stations labelled “Korean Food” or “Western Food.” At LaLaport Mall, all the options at the Garden Dining Food Court are established branded restaurants like Nam Heong and Harley’s Burgers. This food court is pork-free.
Inside, there is a lot of seating space. There are a few quirky tables that look like patio furniture and chairs set up around large pillars that will have outlets to charge electronics. “Garden Dining” is a stretch since only a few tables along one wall have a view of the rooftop garden.
There are a lot of toilets at LaLaport Mall, and you will always find one when the urge arises. On each level, there are two washrooms in the oval portion between shops. These toilets are accessible from either side, and this hallway makes for a handy shortcut too. There are more toilets on the east corner of the mall and on the way to the main entrance and Grand Steps.
The washrooms are surprisingly small for such a large mall, but they’re pretty fancy though. The biggest one I used had only six stalls in the women’s. It’s sitting toilets, but there will always be one squatter. Every toilet had the standard bidet plus a Japanese-style washlet. If you’ve never been to Japan, washlets are fucking awesome and can do everything you could possibly want on the toilet except for reversing your bad decision of beer and curry. I used a toilet where someone had left the seat warmer on, and it was a welcome surprise. There is toilet paper provided in every stall. In every washroom I went to, only one of the soap dispensers had soap, but I hope this will be different once the mall is fully opened.
Next to the wingtip of LaLaport Mall are The Steps. These stairs are lit by colourful LED lights and have music playing from hidden speakers. During the day, it’s hard to see the lights, so it’s prettier to take pictures of it at nighttime. I think this is meant to be an Instagram spot, but even if you’re not into that, these can be used as functional steps to get to the other levels of the mall or the Central Rooftop Garden.
Central Rooftop Garden
All of the doors leading to the rooftop garden were locked during our visit. Don’t expect anything lavish like 1Utama’s Secret Garden. LaLaport Mall’s rooftop garden is mostly open space with a lawn, trees and plants. There is a nice view of the city up here, but not many places to sit. It looks like you’re supposed to just stroll around up here.
Even though only half the stores were open, we were able to spend an afternoon wandering around at LaLaport Mall. If they can attract more tenants and fill up all the empty space, this could be one of our favourite malls. Gourmet Street is an enjoyable place for a drink with lots of people-watching opportunities. However, the average person doesn’t need to come to LaLaport at this stage unless you’re curious or want to shop at Nojima or Nitori. There are just not enough shops, and the ones that exist are also at one of the other nearby malls in Bukit Bintang.
LaLaport Mall Info
Address: No. 2, Jalan Hang Tuah, Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur,
Opening Hours: Daily, 10am – 10pm
Nearest MRT Station: Hang Tuah
Stores and Floors: About 200 over 6 floors (more to come)
Shop Types: International fashion, Japanese lifestyle
Anchors: Nitori, Jaya Grocer, Golden Screen Cinemas (coming soon)