It’s a novel enough concept – having designer rooms carved out from containers to accommodate the quirky traveler. The Container Hotel in Kuala Lumpur pitches “sustainable architecture”. Freight containers and concrete pipes are compartmentalised into living quarters for the weary traveler. A small weary traveler preferably.
An unexpectedly early bus arrival (4.30am) led me to stonily trudge up to an equally stoic receptionist at the Container Hotel. After requesting for permission to wait for my friend (presumably at 11am) at the hobby premises, I was buzzed in through the secured main door.
I surveyed the grounds, a perfect unison of industrial and flora. There were two containers stacked on top of each other, with a mini version right at the back – the lounge. It was there, with laptop and a friendly visiting cleaning macik, that I passed the remaining hours before my meet-up.
I checked into my Container Deluxe Room later at 3pm. It’s the 2nd-tier room, with en-suite bathroom facilities. The larger room was the Container Suite, and the smaller rooms with shared bathroom facilities, were the Concrete Room and Cabana Room.
First up about the room – it’s SMALL. For people who don’t like to get their style cramped, this isn’t the hotel for you. And I’m an Asian guy standing at 1.68m. The hotel has a “Kyosho Jutaku” concept, which in Japanese means living in style on a tiny footprint. I’m definitely feeling the tiny – just ask my elbows. But the adventurous and graceful will enjoy this value-for-money option. It’s designer sustainability done right.
Other than orchestrating comfortable finishes against its industrial canvas, it’s also really comfortable. The beds are great. The pillows are soft. Everything is clean and perky. The bathroom is really clean, featuring flattering toiletries that say “Sexy Body” and “Good Hair Day”. But that space too, is really cramp. Drying myself involved a few flailing knocks against the sides of the cubicle. I’m just grateful I didn’t break the glass door.
It’s impressive what they managed to squeeze within this 11sqm. A TV, some shelf space, a sink and a nice ledge by the window for you to peer…right into another room across of you. I had my curtains down the entire time, which is a pity as it would have been a great place to chill out with your partner.
If you’re thinking of doing the Concrete Room, be warned – it’s really just a bed and some space for your belongings. The door, is your window, is your entrance, is your display. Capsule hotels and a certain district in Amsterdam comes to mind.
The lobby area provided much relief from the rooms. Tall sail curtains against the black and bumble-bee yellow containers were faced with climbing flora. Several seats were laid out, with fans and the natural breeze streaming through. Out front in the public area, guests can have some beverage from Chatime.
I had two staff that were really warm – a cleaning lady, and the guy during my check-out on 29th September. The rest seemed a little blase, to put it lightly. For some reason they really liked to chat on their phone… outside my room. (Reception?) And soundproofing wasn’t the hotel’s strong suit.
Worse still was the constant crunching through the gravel (a grounds feature to match the industrial theme) that made noise a bit of a problem. I was on my laptop and I had someone walking outside my window every two to five minutes from 11 pm – 1 am. Light sleepers be warned.
Aside from the size and service, the Container Hotel in KL is a centrally-located affordable venue. The premise and rooms are beautifully done up and the experience worth trying. Just spend that little extra if you need a little more breathing room, and stay away from room 103.
P.S. Say hello to the dynamic kitten duo at the front when you’re there. They’re super friendly!