Arriving in cities you don’t know in the dark can be a tricky process. Fortunately I am relieved to find my hotel is closer to the monorail station than the map portrays. It’s been a tumultuous time in Bangkok with the threat of floods so I’ve escaped for a few days for my first visit to Malaysia’s capital city Kuala Lumpur. The hotel is called Apple and well it’s more a boutique place really. Firstly, it’s not in the prettiest street, there are many street food vendors outside and the night is alive with the stench of Durian; the infamous fruit banned from most Asian subway systems (and the hotel) for its putrid aroma.
If anything KL is a cousin to the northerly metropolis I’ve left behind – another city for which the film Bladerunner could have easily been based. You get the picture: neon, heat, futuristic transport systems that rely on concrete. But I digress, the Apple (Beatles fans and Chris Martin will be pleased to know its logo looks very similar to the label of the same name) is a nice granny smith green colour and the rooms have more than a fair splash of white to balance things out. A pleasant and apt touch sees ‘apple’ shaped sinks (see picture) though there seems to be no trace of the rain shower mentioned on the key card unless the shower is the rain shower. Also nice is that they hand me towels in brown paper bags. The place is non smoking so there’s no odour to speak of. It has big quirky numbers on the doors and very contemporary laminate wood flooring plus IKEA style desks on which sit two bottles of complimentary water. There’s air con and a state of the art TV hung on the wall; although I wouldn’t recommend staring for too long as its acute angle will give you a stiff neck after a while.
Despite these flourishes, Apple is a hotel in transition with a lot of work still to do. Granted they are in the middle of refurbishment; there’s no right time to do that and it will take time. Worth noting is the room is en-suite but its one of those (common in Asia) where the shower is the bathroom so everything is due a soaking and a wipe down after – I don’t have a problem with that, this is no 5-star so no worries there. I would however prefer said sink was connected to the piping so the water doesn’t add to the deluge on the floor and that the windows open so I can look at the gleaming Petronas Towers which are partially visible from my room before the tropical fog envelopes them. I then get it – they are screw-secured as a security measure. It’s probably fair to say that Apple’s closest parable are the Easy chain of Hotels in London and Europe. Clean rooms for the budget traveller that offer a simple affordable place to sleep and shower. Nice with no frills. Nicer still one would hope when they finish!