On a recent trip to Kuala Lumpur and Sarawak, I had the opportunity to stay at Tune Hotels, a Malaysian chain that’s taking the hotel industry by storm. Since its launch in 2007, Tune Hotels has since opened up 12 properties all over Malaysia, Indonesia and even London, UK. I’d been wanting to check out Tune Hotels for myself, curious to know what the hype was all about.
New Hotel Concept
Staying at their flagship branch in downtown Kuala Lumpur, I scouted out the property and was intrigued by the entire concept of Tune Hotels. Here’s out it works:
You pay the basic room rate, which starts at an alarming rate of 9.99RM (US$3) per night. The prices work in the same way as airfares, in a tiered system. The earlier you book, the cheaper the price. I spoke to a few guests at the hotel – some paid 80RM (US$25) for a double room while another paid 50RM (US$15) for a single room.
Then, you pay for extra items that you want – such as air-conditioning, towels and toiletries. You can always choose to bring your own to avoid these additional costs.
Of course, there are mixed reactions to such pricing systems. Some might not like the idea of add-on costs – a middle-aged Singaporean woman staying at the KL branch shared with me, “I’d rather pay one price and enjoy all the facilities that are included in the price.”
While some find that the ‘pay-for-what-you-want’ system works for them, “We are just looking for somewhere clean, private and well-located. The rates at Tune Hotels suit us just fine and we’ll definitely stay here again,” said a young Australian couple.
Hostel vs Hotel
It’s not just the innovative pricing system that makes Tune Hotels stand out. Tune Hotels provide facilities that border between a modern, well-equipped hostel and a contemporary hotel. Here, the technology and comforts we seek is combined with the budget that travelers look for.
Biresh, Tune Hotels’ marketing manager, shared, “Our hotels are best suited to flashpackers: travelers who are looking for budget accommodation yet seeking comfort and privacy.”
While they don’t offer pools, spas, room service or the like, you do get high quality spring mattress beds, heated Power Showers, central locations, WiFi in every room and 24-hour security. All these with an affordable price tag.
The thing I like most about Tune Hotels is its straight-forward marketing approach: just like a low-cost airline, it hones on value for money. It doesn’t pretend to be a 5-star hotel – instead, it screams out affordability and surprises people with high-standard facilities.
Besides speaking to Biresh and staying at Tune Hotels KL, I also attended the opening of the new Tune Hotels Bintulu in Sarawak, Borneo.
Bintulu is a destination better known for oil and gas than cultural attractions. Few tourists make it out here but it is all about to change thanks to tourism development efforts.
So what’s the verdict after my experience at Tune Hotels?
I personally believe that Tune Hotels is setting a new trend in the hotel industry, not just in Malaysia but world-wide. I can already see many new properties popping up in the hotel industry, in a bid to follow the footsteps of Tune Hotels. Many of them claim to offer low rates with high standard accommodation, but few are making it as big as Tune Hotels.
And that’s not just it – Tune Hotels are working hard to open up more branches and improve their facilities. In 2011, they will be opening up new properties in the Philippines, London and India. Tune Hotels franchise will even spread to the Maldives and possibly other locations in Europe.
Since 5th Jan 2011, Tune Hotels have removed the admin fee from their rates – which only means cheaper rooms for guests. They’ve also packaged up the add-on fees, introducing deals such as the comfort package that ties up various add-ons.
If yo’re still not convinced, here are 5 reasons to choose Tune Hotels.
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