Colonial Cool

COURTESY of LA BODEGA

RESTORED: A terrace at Changkat Bukit Bintang

Bangsar, at one time Kuala Lumpur's beer-and java-fueled social epicenter, is not quite the buzzing burb it used to be. Blame that on two upstart areas — Changkat Bukit Bintang and Jalan Doraisamy (a.k.a. Asian Heritage Row) — that have become the Malaysian capital's hottest new districts, thanks to a combination of restored colonial architecture and hip nightlife. There's plenty of decadence to boot — Changkat Bukit Bintang doubles up as love-hotel central.

These days, however, signs advertising rooms by the hour are fighting for space with those touting stylish bars, clubs and cosmopolitan restaurants. And the...

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