Samui Pier Resort, Koh Samui, Thailand


A resort on a miniature scale, Samui Pier Resort hotel is located right next to the pier where travellers leave for Koh Phangan. The views out to sea and across to Koh Phangan are wonderful at sunset, and I was lucky to get a free upgrade to an upstairs beachfront room with a balcony. I spent plenty of time gazing out to sea and watching people arriving in Samui from the ferry or leaving for other islands. Sunset from my room

My room was very clean and pleasantly decorated, with air-con, a TV with some English language channels, free wifi, and tea and coffee making facilities. The bathroom was fairly spacious with a good hot shower. Thanks to the large tinted glass balcony doors I could actually see the sea while I was in bed, and drifting off to sleep to the sound of the waves outside was magical. Bedroom

The staff were helpful and the owner was friendly. My room rate did not include breakfast, and the restaurant was rather expensive compared to other nearby options. The hotel is on a main road, though all the rooms face the sea, and so it was easy to find places to eat. The minimarket across the road was well stocked. Samui Pier Resort beach

The hotel grounds are nicely landscaped grassy gardens, with a variety of sun loungers, sala shelters and other seats. The swimming pool is at least as small as it looks in the photos, however, and with more than a couple of people swimming it does feel overcrowded. Hotel ground and pool

Overall I was pleased with Samui Pier Resort. The beach is nice for walking along and I did see other people swimming, but being so close to the ferries, it’s certainly not the best. If you want a convenient location, with great views and a relaxing space, Samui Pier Resort is great.

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The Travel Hub Kuala Lumpur Guesthouse


I wanted somewhere cheap, clean, and central in Kuala Lumpur. There are many hostels and guesthouses to choose from in Malaysia’s capital city, and I chose The Travel Hub because I could get a very cheap single room, rather than a dormitory bed. Travel Hub front door

I arrived in the evening and the location was somewhat confusing, being at the end of the street in the address, such that the front door was around the corner. The guesthouse is not on the ground floor, so I lugged my suitcase up lots of stairs. When I found out my room was on the third floor I was worried, but fortunately there is a lift serving floors one to three (two to four if you’re counting US style with the ground floor as level one).

 

My single room with a window and air-conditioning was certainly small, but it was clean. The blind on the window would not shut fully so it was never totally dark, and at times it was noisy outside. The single bed was super-creaky. I thought I was going to break it each time I rolled over in bed! There was wifi in my room but with a very poor connection that only worked sometimes, in some parts of the room. Single Bedroom with Window and a/c

The shared bathrooms were fine, not the cleanest but perfectly useable. I never had to wait for a shower. The communal living room area was nicely decorated, with comfy sofas to lounge around, and a shoes-off policy.

 

The guesthouse staff were friendly and helpful. When one of them had forgotten to book me a taxi, the staff member on duty went out and found me one in the street.

 

Breakfast was advertised as 7-10am, included in the price, but in practice it was self-service toast and jam with tea or coffee. I wondered why they only offered it during those hours instead of having bread available throughout the day like in some other hostels (like this one in Malacca for example). Communal space at Travel Hub

Overall, I have yet to find an ideal affordable place to stay in KL (suggestions welcome!). The Travel Hub is perfectly okay, but I would be equally keen to try a different hostel next time.

Roof Top Guest House and Hostel, Malacca, Malaysia


We had been recommended Roof Top Guest House and Hostel by a friend, and we were not disappointed. Set in a quiet street right in the centre of Chinatown, Malacca, suitably far back not to smell like the river, and with a selection of rooms available, Mani and Raymond who run Roof Top have got things just right.

Roof Top Guest House and Hostel

Originally we tried to book by telephone but we were told we had to book online at Hostelworld; the guesthouse does not take bookings directly. So we booked a double room with ensuite bathroom and air-conditioning for RM 40 per person per night.

A Room on the Roof

Our room (number 9) was on the top floor, next to the roof terrace, where I guess the name of the guesthouse comes from. It was spacious enough with a wardrobe and drawers, as well as a small desk and chair. The air conditioning was possibly the noisiest I have ever experienced, but fortunately the weather was cool enough to sleep without it. We had a nice bathroom with a hot shower and sit-down toilet, and a window that looked out directly on to the roof terrace. This meant that at times we could hear other guests talking and smoking outside our window, and on one night we were kept awake until 3am by some loud, drunk backpackers. This was a one-off, however, and it did not spoil our overall experience at Roof Top Guest House.

 

The roof terrace

The roof terrace

That At-Home Feeling

What sets Roof Top Guest House and Hostel apart from other homestays, however, are the general facilities and atmosphere. It is set in a real house, with a large kitchen and dining area, a spacious living room with comfy sofas, DVD player and a bookswap. Guests are allowed to use the kitchen, and we really liked that there was free drinking water, tea, coffee and even fruit and cakes. Mani, who runs Roof Top, bakes cakes every day, but instead of running a timetabled breakfast system, the cakes and fruit are simply left out on the large dining table for guests to eat at their pleasure. We really enjoyed being able to get up whenever we wanted and know we could eat and drink.

Dining table

The large living room was a great space for sitting around, and with free wifi throughout the guesthouse we were online all the time. Now, personally I would sometimes like to go on holiday and have no internet connection, to avoid the constant temptation to check email, but for most people, free wifi is a great bonus.

Living Room

Up on the roof terrace, as well as being a smoking area with tables and chairs shrouded in greenery, there are clothes washing facilities, another plus-point.

 

The guesthouse felt very safe; there was a contactless card system for opening the front door, which meant that non-guests could not simply enter without ringing the doorbell and being let in. We found the atmosphere very friendly, with guests chatting to each other.

Kitchen

Overall I would totally recommend Roof Top Guest House and Hostel for anyone looking for relaxing budget accommodation in Malacca. We even extended our stay by a night because we liked it so much!