As part of my ASEAN Explorer trip, I booked 11 flights with AirAsia, courtesy of their ASEAN Pass +. I figured that if I’m going on a budget trip with AirAsia, I should also check out their budget hotel, Tune hotel (read an overview here). I had planned lots of activities for Kuching and with a Tune hotel conveniently located near the waterfront (and across the very nice Hilton Kuching I booked for the first night there), so it seemed like as good a place as any to check it out. I walked over to the Tune Hotel Kuching Waterfront from the Hilton – and the two are separated by much more than the width of the street!
Location: The Tune hotel is a behind the Hilton hotel and only a few hundred meters from the riverfront promenade. While it doesn’t have the riverfront views, it’s conveniently located for all the things a visitor might want to do in Kuching, with easy access to buses and taxis to take you further. The streets in front and back of the hotel are pretty quiet and there were no noise issues.
Service: The front desk staff was professional. They did what they had to with a (little bit of a) smile and had me on my way quickly. The odd add-on service model of Tune hotel took some extra time and effort: I got two bags with towel, soap and shampoo (reservation for two adults), the TV remote and a coupon for the WiFi (24h only, you have to go back every day for a new one!). When the safe in my room was locked, an engineer came quickly, opened it and replaced batteries in minutes – faster and better resolved than in some self-proclaimed 4-star hotels! Housekeeping tended to come late and was done quickly.
Room: The room was tiny – it will make even notoriously tiny rooms in Paris or New York look big! It has a queen-size bed and less than a meter of space around it. You also get two night stands, one with the safe deposit box, a TV on the wall, a bar attached to the wall with 3 (!) hangers and a curious desk/shelf contraption on the wall – and that’s all the furniture there is. If you are traveling with two people and large suitcases – you are out of luck. There is literally no room other than on the bed or in front of the door to actually lay it down and open it! Unfortunately, Tune didn’t study the king of budget hotels – Accor – and copy their ingenious space savers, like the moving shelf under the bed to store luggage! The bed is comfortable and has nice, clean sheets – all though I wouldn’t use the term 5-star as in their advertising, this is no Westin Heavenly Bed, not even close.
The bathroom is equally small and spartan. A (glass enclosed shower, toilet and small sink is all you get. There is very little space for toiletries – two quart-size, carry on bags barely fit! The shower is hot and very strong (no water-saver sprinkle here!). The (free!) bath mat was the most threadbare, raggedy excuse of a towel I have ever seen – and I have stayed at guest houses charging only 20% of the Tune rate (if you can believe that!).
The WiFi in the room was so slow, it was unusable – my 3G mobile internet was much faster. So, if you need internet access, I suggest to get a local SIM card instead!
Amenities/Restaurant: This is a budget hotel – there are none, what did you expect? Well, there used to be a restaurant, now closed. And there is a tour desk in the hotel, similar to many down the street. There is a 7/11 convenience store up the street and a mall around the corner. Unfortunately, none of the food places or coffee shops are open early in the morning, so you better shop the night before, get used to rice/noodles/laksa in the morning or go on a diet!
Overall, you get a room, a comfortable bed, a hot shower and a safe deposit box for a bargain price. If that’s all you need, the Tune Kuching is for you. I paid only $20 per night, including the “cozy package” of towel, TV, a/c and WiFi, so I kinda got what I paid for. If you have spend a few weeks in long houses and are dying to have a/c or your own shower, this might be a great pick. If you consider that a local 4* hotel is as little as $50, you can score a multiple-class upgrade for very little money and skip the Tune hotel!