Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, is brimming with hotels that offer excellent value for money. In contrast to the pricier Singapore, the hotel market here is competitive, making it possible to find high-quality accommodations at very reasonable rates.
When we were there, we were spoilt for choice between two prime hotel locations: KL Sentral and Bukit Bintang. Both areas are popular with tourists due to their strategic locations within the city and the plethora of hotel options they offer.
Finally, we decided on KL Sentral. We thought of the close proximity of Kuala Lumpur's central transportation hub. Also, we were not particularly enticed by the bustling crowds of Bukit Bintang, so a somewhat quieter location was our preference.
We chose NU Hotel, primarily because of its strategic location - mere steps away from the KL Sentral Monorail station. Another perk is the presence of numerous restaurants and convenience stores in the vicinity of the hotel, making it easy to grab a quick bite or pick up any necessities.
We opted for an Executive Deluxe room, booked for three nights through the Agoda app. The total expenditure came to IDR 1,603,899 (107 USD).
Nestled at No. 37 Thambipillay Street, the NU Hotel is easy to find. From KL Sentral, one only needs to descend the stairs near the monorail station and take a short stroll along the road beneath the station until reaching Thambipillay Street.
The hotel's entrance is situated next to the ABC One Bistro restaurant, with 7-Eleven convenience store on the opposite side. The entrance is equipped with automatic doors, but there's a button to press should the doors fail to open on approach.
The reception area of the NU Hotel is unpretentious yet welcoming, featuring a reception desk and a few comfortable sofas for waiting guests. We arrived at the hotel around 4pm and, coincidentally, found the reception unmanned.
The waiting area was already occupied by other guests anticipating their turn to check-in. After approximately 15 minutes, the reception staff came back and greeted us.
During the check-in process, we had to fill in a personal data form and hand over our passports for a copy. Additionally, a deposit of 50 RM was requested, which is refundable upon checkout given there's no damage to the room.
After that, the receptionist took the time to explain some hotel rules before handing over our access card. Overall, despite the initial wait, the check-in process was smooth and relatively quick. The reception staff showed us friendliness and professionalism, setting a positive tone for our stay at the NU Hotel.
Once we had the access card, we headed for the elevator. The hotel is equipped with two elevators, one of which is a service elevator - referred to as a 'bomba elevator' in Malay. This proved to be a significant benefit as it minimized waiting times, even during busy periods with numerous guests requiring elevator access.
Upon reaching the fourth floor, we made a beeline for room number 408. As we stood at the doorstep, we swiped the access card and nudged the door open. To our surprise, we were met with an untidy room that appeared to have not yet been serviced by the cleaning staff.
Entering the room, we found somebody asleep in the bed. At this point, we took another look at our access card and realized our mistake. As it turned out, our actual room number was 418, not 408.
After quickly exiting the incorrect room, we made our way to room 418, chuckling along the way and musing about how our access card had unlocked a room that wasn't ours.
Next to the room door, an indicator light serves to inform hotel staff if the room requires cleaning or if the guests prefer not to be disturbed. This is a useful, modern alternative to the traditional "Do Not Disturb" signs hung on door handles.
As we tried to enter the room, we faced a minor hiccup; the door lock didn't respond immediately to the access card. After two attempts, we managed to unlock the door - a scenario that would play out every time we tried to access the room.
Upon finally gaining entry, we were pleasantly surprised by the generous room size. After enduring several days in more cramped quarters in Singapore, the ample space of this hotel room felt like a breath of fresh air.
Beside the room's entrance, there's a control panel to manage the lights, air conditioning, and the above-mentioned room status indicator. The panel also features a slot for the access card. However, we found that the room's electricity supply could be activated without needing to insert the access card, which was rather surprising.
A little further into the room, a 32-inch TV was mounted on the wall. However, the considerable distance between the bed and the TV meant that we couldn't comfortably watch TV from the bed. To solve this, future guests might consider arranging a chair in front of the TV for a more enjoyable viewing experience.
Adjacent to the TV, we found a desk, a chair, a refrigerator, and a trash bin. The desk featured multiple drawers, perfect for storing smaller items. The refrigerator was standard, comparable to what you'd typically find in most hotels.
Also placed on the table was an electric kettle for heating water, two glasses, two bottles of mineral water, a pair of coffee packets, creamer, and sugar packets. Tea, however, wasn't provided. The hotel replenished the mineral water bottles daily, ensuring we always had access to fresh drinking water.
One aspect of the room we loved the most was two comfortable sofas in front of a window, although only one of them came with a cushion. There was also a small table nestled between these sofas, serving as a handy spot to place drinks or snacks. After a full day of sightseeing, these sofas became our go-to relaxation spots.
Behind the sofas, a large and seemingly opulent curtain was hung. At first glance, one might imagine a grand, floor-to-ceiling window behind the curtain, possibly offering a stunning cityscape view.
Unfortunately, upon drawing back the curtain, our expectations were crushed lol. The window was of a standard size, much smaller than the curtain implied, and there was only a single pane. But, as the saying goes - you get what you pay for. And in the case of budget accommodations, such things are not entirely surprising.
Next, we come to the sleeping area, which featured a king-sized mattress, equipped with two pillows and a blanket of standard thickness. The linens and blankets were notably clean, with no visible stains.
Flanking the bed, a pair of nightstands housed bedside lamps. Unfortunately, only one of the lamps functioned. A telephone set was also placed on one of the nightstands, usable for outgoing calls or to reach the reception desk.
A significant advantage for us was the availability of electrical outlets on both nightstands. This proved immensely convenient for charging our smartphones right by the bed, eliminating the need to take turns charging or move our devices far from the bed.
The air conditioning unit, showing signs of age with a slightly yellowed exterior, was positioned near the bed. We noticed the AC wasn't as cool as expected and generated a fair bit of noise, which somewhat affected our sleep quality.
Close to the bathroom, a sizeable wardrobe was installed. The storage space was partitioned into three sections, with the middle one designed for hanging clothes. The middle section also housed a safe, ideal for storing valuable items.
Moving on to the bathroom - it was of standard size but thoughtfully designed to separate the sink area from the shower zone. This helps to prevent the entire bathroom floor from becoming wet and slippery after a shower.
The bathroom amenities included two towels, a bath mat, a hairdryer, bar soap, shampoo, and shower gel. However, some typical hotel amenities were missing, such as toothpaste, a toothbrush, shower cap, and cotton buds.
Another slight drawback was the modest size of the shower gel and shampoo bottles, which seemed adequate for just a single shower. Also, these were not replenished daily, which is something potential guests might want to consider.
So there you have it, the review of NU Hotel, our accommodation when in Kuala Lumpur. We spent a total of three comfortable nights at the property, and the check-out process was as smooth as silk, with our full deposit promptly returned.
The standout feature of this hotel is unquestionably its strategic location. A stone's throw away from KL Sentral, it makes commuting a breeze. Additionally, the hotel is surrounded by a number of dining options offering a variety of foods and snacks - an undeniable boon for foodies.
However, our stay wasn't without a few hitches. The most noticeable shortfall was the insufficient bathroom amenities, some of which weren't replenished daily. Another downside was the somewhat noisy air conditioner, which became particularly irksome during the tranquil silence of the night.
I think this hotel serves as an ideal choice for budget travelers seeking affordable accommodations near KL Sentral. It's particularly suitable for those who primarily consider hotels as a place to rest their heads after a day of exploration, rather than a luxury getaway.
Bear in mind, though, that this is a 2-star hotel, so it's wise to keep expectations in check. If you have also experienced a stay at the NU Hotel, we would love to hear about it. Feel free to share your stories in the comment section below.