Pros: Privacy screens, lights, power and mirrors in dorms. Great beds. Amazing WiFi. Central location. Smoke free. Free water.
Cons: Lacks common area. Not greatly social. Construction work nearby.
Rating: 4/5 (recommended, would stay again)
Introducing the Reeds Boutique Hotel.
What makes a hotel “boutique”?
Marketing themselves at “corporate and leisure travellers,” The Reeds walks an interesting line between guesthouse and hostel. On one hand, it offers a great range of features that slow travellers come to value quite highly. On the other hand, the guest turnover seems high, meaning socialising options are quite limited. I think in this case, the “boutique-ness” comes from the fact that this place has the fanciest dorms I’ve seen for the price.
What’s it like?
The Reeds Boutique Hotel is a 30-room, well renovated older two-story hotel. Inside is air-conditioning, clean sheets, and WiFi for days. New carpet, new paint, new lights. New, new, new. It has all the safety features you forget that real hotels have. Smoke alarms, emergency exits, security cameras that work, fire extinguishers, and more. It features a number of room types, from dorms and singles through to doubles and family suites. Both floors have water stations dispensing hot and cold filtered water. Downstairs features a small-ish cafe. It specialises in local Malaysian dishes, as well as a few Western favourites (hint: it’s always pasta). They also supply breakfast, which is free for guests who stay more than four nights.
Breakfast is a mix of Malaysian favourites:
Nasi Lemak Biasa, Kaya Toast, and Mee Hoon Goreng
The dorms are comfortable and private, though a little cramped. Each bed is fitted with blackout curtains, so you can sleep any time of day. The headboard section also has private lights and power outlets. the last of which is a must for any slow traveller wanting to charge their devices. There are also a few shelves for toiletries. One large section of the headboard folds out to become a laptop table, behind which there is a small mirror. Overall, this is a great setup. It now sets the standard for any dorm accommodation I try.
Entry to the hotel is via the lobby, manned 24/7. Entry to the rooms is through electronic keycards – another touch you don’t often see in dorms. Hooray for security! These cards also power the rooms.
The outside is a distinctive teal with white trim. It has a palm-fringed balcony for hotel guests and cafe patrons. On the whole, it’s a very pretty looking place. Which makes it that much more frustrating when trying to find it for the first time.
Where is The Reeds Boutique Hotel?
Looking on the map, The Reeds is on Jalan Yap Ah Shak. This is a back street behind the Sheraton Hotel on Jalaun Tun Ismail in Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur. However, you can not see it from this road. Nor can you see it from Jalan Raja Abdullah, the other main road that passes nearby. I found it by happy accident, as I had read it was near a bar called Trilogy. You can see this bar from Jalan Raja Abdullah. If you’re struggling to find it, you can always ask at the Sheraton, and they will be happy to guide you.
For eats, the hotel is a five-minute walk from Medan Tuanku monorail station, giving you ready access to the rest of Kuala Lumpur. If you’re feeling up for some exercise, you can also walk into the town centers. Central Market, Bukit Bintang, and KLCC are about 25-30 minutes walk from the area. On the other hand, the hotel is located across from Quill City Mall. This modern mall has all the basics, so there’s not much need to go far, apart from variety.
Speaking of variety, make sure you check out The Row. It is series of about twenty retrofitted 1940s shophouses. These now host a range of cute independent venues. Everything from small offices and clothing boutiques through to cafes, wine bars, and skate shops. You can spend a lot of time going from venue to venue. And the plentiful WiFi makes these places ideal travel offices.
At night the area is well populated. The small bars at The Row bring in a small steady crowd of locals and ex-pats alike. For entertainment, there is a snooker hall across the road. The Trilogy bar is open most nights, and there appears to be some kind of Bollywood-themed nightclub in the Heritage building at the end of the road.
What are the people like?
Individually, the staff are polite, courteous and happy to help with any inquiries. However, this venue isn’t a family-run guesthouse, nor is it a five-star resort. They’re caught in this weird area where they’re too big to offer the individual attention you come to expect from a smaller venue, but they’re not large enough to offer the services that make up for the lack of personal service. Walking the line between both leaves small gaps. This is not a deal-breaker by any means. It was a noticeable difference for me, maybe because I’m used to one or the other. Big or small.
This also impacts the social elements of the hotel. Their focus on “corporate/leisure” patrons means that most guests are there for a purpose. Maybe it’s a team meeting, or a conference, or maybe they’re here with the family for a break. Either way, the result is that after breakfast, everyone goes their separate ways. There is little in the way of chit-chat between guests. And it feels like no one has the time or interest in each others business. This matters to me as a slow traveller because the interactions with staff members and guests help give a venue a sense of atmosphere and personality. They inspire loyalty through connection – a reason to come back. Something that even the best amenities would have trouble inspiring.
Would I stay again?
Yes. I spent a week here while working on some large projects. And that there is the draw for me. The amenities and convenient location make it easy to focus on getting things done. And the comfortable environment offers little distraction from the tasks at hand. It’s not really irony, but the reduced social element at The Reeds Boutique Hotel makes it much easier for me to bang out work at speed. I can also see that this would be a great starting point for a introvert couple or a group of people travelling together. It has what you need. It’s comfortable. And you can take your time making plans – without the distraction of excessive social interaction.