Unlike Bangkok, Hong Kong and to a lesser extent, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur doesn’t have many choices when it comes to the slickly designed LUXE Guide-listed boutique hotels. Some might say that in this respect, KL is still a teenager when compared to her older, more cosmopolitan and glamorous Asian sisters. But, small changes are happening in the Malaysian capital’s hospitality scene.
At the city centre, a quick walk from China town, is the aptly named BackHome, a recently opened boutique hostel that is plusher, more design-savvy, cleaner and more importantly safer (there is 24-hour CCTV surveillance), than many of the other establishments in town. Rooms and dormitories (four and six and eight-bedded respectively) are priced from RM38 per person to RM96 for a double room. In comparison, the rates for other hostels in KL are around a third lower. As a bonus, there is wi-fi access, all-day free tea and coffee as well as use of ironing facilities, locks and hair dryers.
Quirky touches abound at the property. The blackboard surfaced room doors allow guests the chance to exercise their own creativity in chalk. By most accounts, the beds are super comfortable, while the landscaping and furnishings might give the impression of there being a swimming pool at the back of the building. Don’t get your hopes up. There isn’t one. In spite of the building’s convincing make-over, it is, after all, still a hostel.
BackHome’s location on Jalan Tun H.S. Lee is traffic jam central, so the noise levels might be a tad on the high side. Conveniently, ear plugs are available (RM4- RM8 per set).The building’s design makes full use of natural light; a mesh-wire wall is the only thing that divides the individual cubicle bathrooms and showers with the street. Note: any passing motorcyclist might see you flossing your teeth.
Owner Ng Ping Ho, a local television producer and director, came up with the idea for Back Home on one of his backpacking trips. So when the opportunity to redevelop his family owned properties arose, setting up a city hostel with boutique aspirations was the logical next step.
BackHome Kuala Lumpur
30, Jalan Tun H.S. Lee,
50000 Kuala Lumpur,