A few years ago (10? 15? I don’t know exactly) I saw one commercial on TV showing futuristic hotel established somewhere in China I believe. It wasn’t a regular one. Nothing was regular. Actually, it was very irregular, that’s why I remember watching this until now as I was just a kid and it really struck me with the idea and the look itself.
It didn’t have regular rooms. It had capsules instead.
It’s been my dream to be able to come in to any hotel with such capsules since I saw that commercial. By the end of my visit to Malaysia I had a chance to finally witness this experience on my own. Let’s take a look inside iO Hotel itself.
iO Hotel has been established nearly 4 months ago. It’s still brand new on the market, but it has already been reviewed by South East Asia Backpacker, which is said to be number 1 website for travelling around this area.
Name of the hotel? For me it reminds of AI – Artificial Intelligence. Well, taking into consideration the fact of having those capsules, the design and the look, I’m not far from the truth. But basically, the first idea of the name was “10 Hotel”. Why ten? Because “10” is quite often considered to be the perfect number. Even when you play darts, your goal is to hit ten.
But then, the new idea came, and the name had been changed for “iO”, which in my opinion fits the place completely. It now feels like it really has something to do with AI.
Unlikely most visited hotels in Kuala Lumpur, iO Hotel is situated in Pudu district of the city. It is not a strict center, but for most travellers it’s not an issue as they like exploring the city on their own, so walking to all the main attractions is just a pleasure. This is actually a good thing. Either you are on your vacation or just passing by, you not always want to be surrounded by all the commotion capitals are filled with. Especially when you are in Asia you want to feel its vibration. You don’t want to see Europeans. That wasn’t part of the plan. You want to meet local people. You want to eat local food.
Well, if this appeals to you, than you are in good hands. Pudu district is what you are looking for. Here you can witness not only all I mentioned above, but also people living here for ages, and these are not only Malay, but also Chinese or Indian. Malaysia is known for being multi-cultural country. That is really impressive how high harmony they all have established throughout all these years of living together. Chinese don’t demand any lands, Indian don’t demand any territories. People live and let live others. That’s really beautiful thing which can be clearly seen in Pudu district, as it is not yet spoiled by the tourism.
Additionally, right next door from the hotel you can find all you need – local restaurants with local food + 24/7 supermarket. Sounds nice, huh?
According to my map, hotel is situated 5km from the main attraction – Petronas Twin Towers. All around Kuala Lumpur you can find free buses GoKL. I haven’t tried, but I’m sure one of them goes through Pudu and can take you right where you want it.
3. First impression
Malaysia can be really, really hot country, especially for Europeans. And so I, having now snow back in Poland, cannot help drinking water quite often. That day, when I made it to Kuala Lumpur (hitchhiking from Penang) was not a difference – sun was shining incredibly hard, there was not a single cloud on the sky. I just couldn’t wait until I get to the hotel.
Fortunately, at the very second I crossed the entrance I got what I was counting on – an air-conditioned lobby which was like a blessing. All my clothes were literally wet, I didn’t look any good, but once I entered the hotel on a ground floor, I just felt like I’m at the right place to be. I could finally catch my breath, take a moment to relax and be thankful to the owner for adjusting the air-con at the right level. Remember – like a blessing.
After I caught my breath and sorted things out I have realized there is a soft music playing at the background echoing throughout the whole lobby room. I’m really one of those music has a great impact on, so whenever I hear soft music I feel like my soul and mind can actually calm down. I felt seriously good having an opportunity to take my time enjoying the atmosphere.
When everything had been done I just took a look around the place. Before I was just focused on my inhaling and exhaling, then I moved my point of focus at the place. The first thing I saw was the big bench I knew from the Internet. I couldn’t wait to take a selfie on it.
Place was very neat and clean. Everybody likes to make sure the hotel is tidy. In most cases if the lobby is tidy, rooms will be the same. Keep reading.
Lobby itself was very cozy and pleasant and the teddy bear sitting on the bench and looking at you was only a proof that it cannot be any bad in here and you will like it.
Even though hotel offers regular rooms, I couldn’t resist choosing capsule. I don’t need much space. I want to get some good sleep. And before entering my own capsule I was super excited.
Now. Imagine yourself being a part of the Death Star battle. You know, Star Wars, rebellion, Galactic Empire, space ship, STOP. I was looking for this – space ship. After imagining yourself being a part of space battle, now imagine yourself entering a real spaceship, which you will be using to defend your own planet. To defend justice and peace. Can you do that? No? Let me help you. Especially for you I recorded this short video of me entering my own spaceship.
What do you say? Think you would like it? How about selfie inside your own spaceship?
Looks cool? How about watching a football match inside your own spaceship?
Or simply chilling…
As you can see on the video I took – everything is being done by the usage of special cards. Without it you cannot neither enter your capsule, nor open your special locker. Keep reading, locker photos below.
Capsules can look tight, but as a matter of fact, you can as well have a dinner or another meal in there, as on the left side it has well-hidden, travel-like little bed table, which allows you to put it right in front of you and hide again afterwards, so you don’t even think of it when you are done.
Plus, what can be crucial for some people – it has a safe place, a little locker you can establish your own pin code for. This may occur really important. I myself know people who cannot imagine themselves hiding their wallet under the pillow while sleeping or simply keeping it in a bag. Well, I could do that, but it is much more convenient to make sure your valuable belongings are safe.
What else, TV set is visible on my photos, but it is worth mentioning, that every guest who chooses capsule to sleep in, is given a special set consisting of towel, tooth brushing set, cotton buds set, remote control and headphones that are really handy. You know, capsules are small. Everybody has an opportunity to choose their own TV programme, not yours. Let’s respect each other. Thankfully, iO Hotel took care of it for us.
Apart from that, every capsule has a well-equipped control panel situated under the mirror. From its level you can not only turn on/off the light, but also adjust the air-condition as to your personal preferences, set the alarm and even charge your devices as it has one built-in socket plus two USB ports. You can even turn on/off additional light, devoted especially for book readers.
When it comes to bathroom, “capsule users” are to use shared bathroom, but don’t worry. I’ve seen a lot of those shared bathrooms and I know what you think. Don’t be misled – the one here looks like in a quite expensive hotel. It’s obviously because it’s still brand new, but I do believe it’s going to be like that all the time. People who are responsible for maintaining the place clean and clear know what they do and know how to do that properly. That’s for sure.
And what about lockers I mentioned before? Just take a look…
Having an opportunity to sleep there was a fantastic experience. I had this fiber memory foam healthy pillow. I actually have never tried to sleep on one as I guess I didn’t believe it makes any difference, but after one night in the capsule on this pillow I know that I’m going to buy one when I will have a chance. In the morning you feel completely relaxed. You just don’t want to leave your spaceship. Well, I must confess something. I set my alarm at 8:00 am. When I heard it in the morning I couldn’t help prolonging it till 9:00. Then till 10:00 and after all I woke up at 12:00. That’s really big, as I don’t have a tendency of delaying my alarm. I usually wake up with the first ring.
Anyway, I’m not a great fan of Star Wars, but to be able to feel like on the set is really worth the price. Speaking of which – for this futuristic capsule, yet very spacious and cozy, you will pay between 39RM and 59RM, depending on the season.
The other night I decided to spend in a room. Just to have a comparison and to be able to fully review the hotel.
Hotel offers variety of rooms: Bachelor Room, Couple Room, Family Room and Premier Room. Each of them has a separate price which again depends on the season. I stayed in couple room. I like the expression “queen-size bed” as the hotel uses on their website. It’s really huge. And extremely comfortable. I guess I slept even better than in my personal spaceship on my super comfortable healthy pillow. The other day I again woke up at 12:00…
Coming back to the topic. Most of the room-space was taken by the bed and to be honest… I loved it. Bed was huge, I could possibly breakdance on it. In one of the corners there was a chair, a mirror, a shelve for shoes with some hangs hanging up above it and a desk with all the set on it – stationary phone so you can contact the staff, tooth brushing set again, cotton buds again + two small bottles of water, razor set and Nescafe set. Yes – there was an electric kettle as well. And a small shelf on the other side of the bed. Very well organized. Just like the lobby and capsule – room was nothing but tidy. First impression exam passed here as well.
All the rooms come with a private bathroom, which is just great. You don’t have to run around the corridor with all your towels, shower gels and other bath stuff. You can enjoy yourself while being on vacation, or like in my case – on an around the world trip. Bathroom was again extremely tidy, equipped with shower gel and all necessary towels.
This day I walked a lot around the city and I really, really needed that bed. I was thankful I have it as it literally saved my life. The “queen-size bed” was just extremely comfortable. I could almost feel like it fits my body. Another truly amazing experience, which cannot be properly described by words. It has to be felt.
Money for Couple Room? Between 110RM and 159RM. Depends on the season.
During my stay I met Kristine and Sally, sisters. Two unbelievably nice girls who were always there to help me. They were acting in a way, so I could talk with them, share my experiences, ask questions and it didn’t feel like I was just a customer in their place. They were really polite and it felt like we were actually friends. It’s not like that everywhere, trust me. Those girls know how to treat people so they can feel comfortable at the place.
7. Overall feeling
I happened to get there one day after my birthday, which girls knew about as we spoke before on Facebook. From that occasion I was given a cake which was crazy delicious. This is what you expect from a backpacker hotel – work with people, who act like people.
Each floor corridor was decorated with some nice posters, guests photos and inspiring/motivating slogans, which are always helpful, when you are on the road. You need to be constantly heated up, even when you rest, so you can prepare yourself for the next step. I really liked this feature, as every time I was taking an elevator I took a second to read one or two. That was keeping me up for my mission.
Location is another plus as it helps you experience the beauty of the hotel even more.
Actually when it comes to “experience” something came to my mind just now at the moment of writing it.
Once I had a chance to be in a hostel situated in the middle of the desert that had no electricity. That was really cool, as after some time I have realized, that people do not pay for the convenience, but for the experience. During the night you could see all the stars and before going to sleep you had a chance to talk with other travellers, as there was no wifi, we had to talk then. All this was really rewarding during and afterwards.
The same situation is with iO Hotel. You don’t pay for the conditions of the hotel itself. You pay for the experience as well. You can feel like you’re on the other planet. There is this extraordinary feeling surrounding you while “dreaming” in a capsule. There is this unusual sense of being somewhere else and somebody else while enjoying your leisure time inside of your own spaceship. And yet there is this super cozy bed you can melt it while taking the “queen-size bed”.
All this sums up to give you nothing, but the right place to be.
Did I mention they have hot water in a shower?
8. Practical info
Hotel is brand new on the market, but it has already made its place on social media, which I highly recommend to take a look at before booking a place, so you can be even more convinced:
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