I have to admit that Kuala Lumpur is one of my favourite cities in Asia. I like Malaysia’s capital because it is a city of variety; a contemporary megalopolis where revolutionary architecture is welcomed, but a city in which traditions are also upheld and respect for the great religions of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity is keenly felt.
During my many visits to KL I have stayed in many hotels, and during my recent visit I stayed in the budget Tune Downtown Hotel. I have stayed in Tune before, which was the Tune Hotel at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
The Tune brand is aimed at those travellers who aren’t planning to spend a lot of time inside their rooms, so facilities are scarce, but not basic. By that I mean they guarantee a good, comfortable bed and a decent shower. They don’t provide pools, bar fridges, conference facilities, expensive restaurants, nor do they provide large rooms. Small rooms mean more rooms, more rooms mean lower prices, and on price alone it is hard to beat Tune.
Tune hotels are not for everyone, particularly those guests who require a bit of pampering, but their prices are on par with backpacker establishments and, for me, they offer much better value than a shared dorm and shared bathrooms.
At the time of my visit a single room was advertised at 48 Ringgit, or $15, and a double at 72 Ringgit, about $22, which is unbelievable good value even accounting for the scant facilities. For a good, comfortable bed and a great shower, I was delighted.
The Tune Downtown is in a brilliant location, right on the intersection of Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman. The former leads to the entertainment hub at Bukit Bintang, the latter to the administrative and ceremonial centre at Merdeka Square.
The hotel is located just a few minutes’ walk and equidistant from Sultan Ismail Light Rail Station and Medan Tunku Monorail Station, which puts you in easy access to all of KL. Although the intersection is very busy, an elevated walkway between the two stations will allow pedestrians to walk above KL’s congested traffic with ease.
The hotel is near the area called Chow Kit, which is not at all touristy, and that is part of its attraction for me. I am one of those people who prefers to eat at the local restaurants and hawker’s markets, which are evening street restaurants, and there was plenty of choice within just a few minute of the hotel. I enjoyed delicious local food for just 5 Ringgit, or less than $2. My favourite breakfast of Roti Canai (unleavened bread that is dipped into dhal – trust me, it is addictive) was just 1 Ringgit.
Tune is a user pays hotel, in other words if you want air-con in your room, you pay extra; towel and soap, it’s not supplied so you pay extra – not much but there is a charge that is reasonable. I also had Wi-Fi, because I do work when I travel, and this is where other hotels can learn from the Tune model. The Wi-Fi was fast and the signal strong and delivered at a very reasonable price.
The Tune Downtown is a basic hotel, you know that when you book it as all is revealed on their website. You do get what you pay for and, in terms of cost, they are generous.
For a short term visit when I know that I will be busy I would stay there again. For a longer visit when I may want more luxury I would go elsewhere in KL, but I also know that I would be paying considerably more. At least Tune gives you a good choice on which to base your accommodation decision.