Colonial Cool

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 taken the Malaysian capital by storm with a combination of restored colonial architecture and hip nightlife. There's plenty of decadent local color 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 eclectic mix of styles is a...

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