A Tale of Three Tunes

Posted by - August 27, 2014 | Category: Hideouts

Tune Hotels Review

If I had known the pricing model for Tune Hotels before I showed up at their door, I probably would have never stepped inside.

Tune Hotels Downtown Kuala Lumpur Malaysia -- building exterior

My first run-in with a Tune Hotel was in Kuta Beach in Bali. I was on the tail end of my Indonesia trip, and wanted to spend a few mindless days on the beach. It rained for the entire 4 days I was there. So I ended up spending more time in my room than I had anticipated.

At least I caught up on some work.


I happened upon the Tune Hotel in Bali by chance. Well, more precisely, by taxi. I had tentatively booked another hotel in advance (gotta love places that don’t take the money up front!), but the directions on Agoda’s website were hopeless, and my taxi driver couldn’t find the place. After we circled for a bit, I asked him to drop me off at some place cheap, so he plopped me in front of the Tune Hotel.


I had never heard of them before, but the branding looked vaguely familiar with that cheerful red and white logo. Turns out, it’s owned by the same crowd that runs AirAsia. And, much like the no-frills airline, Tune Hotels is a no-frills hotel. It employs a pay-as-you-go model for amenities — if you want air conditioning, internet, or even a towel and soap you have to pay extra.

Well, at least they weren’t charging you for the sheets.


Something about it rubbed me the wrong way. The phrase “nickel and diming” popped into my mind.

When I opened the door to the room I was still no further to being won over. The room was miniscule. A bed frame built into the wall. A drop-down shelf at the end of the bed doubling as a desk. 

But then I sat on the bed. And boy was it a gooder.


And then I saw the shower. A rain shower. Yes the bathroom was tiny, but I can honestly say it was the first hotel I stayed in for less than 15 bucks a night that had a rain shower.


Slowly but surely, the place grew on me. With budget hotels normally you have to put up with some sort of discomfort or trade-off — springs sticking out of the mattress, lumpy pillow, dodgy neighbourhood, sketchy clientele — that sort of thing. 

Tune Hotels, Waterfront Kuching, Malaysia

The Tune Hotels concept is to provide a 5-star sleeping experience at a 1-star price. And it pretty much lives up to the motto. You just have to pay for any extras. 

Tune Hotel Kuching Malaysia reception desk

I’ve stayed in a few Tune Hotels now — Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Penang, and of course that primer on all things Tune in Bali, and I am sold. For comfort, security, cleanliness, and the standard of the accommodation, there’s nothing comparable. (I know, I should’ve called this post “A Tale of Four Tunes,” but where’s the alliteration in that?)

Tune Hotels Waterfront Kuala Lumpur Malaysia -- key card security

The only complaint I had was the noise of some of the other guests. But I sleep with ear plugs so it really wasn’t that much of a bother. 

I think what I like about Tune Hotels is you know what you’re getting yourself into — if you’ve stayed in one, you can pretty much expect the same standard with the next. And sometimes all you want is nice place to rest your head for the night.

Especially if your taxi driver doesn’t know where he’s going.

Tune Hotels Penang Malaysia seating area

Note: I was a guest of Tune Hotels during my time in Malaysia; Indonesia was on my own dime.

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16 comments - add one
  1. We gotta say we’re not big fans of Air Asia (except the prices of course) so a hotel run by them would scare us away, but…what we wouldn’t give for a soft bed after more than 2 years on nothing but rock hard beds and a rain shower – why yes, thank you. 🙂

  2. Interesting. Very interesting. I like that the beds are comfortable, as it is pretty hard to find that in SE Asia. Not sure how I feel about paying for soap, etc., but then again, if the prices are low, I guess a few extra for the amenities isn’t such a big thing. Definitely worth checking one of these out the next time I find myself in one of their locations!

  3. We were always really kind of keen to see just what these hotels were like inside considering we’d begun to spot them everywhere once we got to Malaysia. Looks fairly nice, but a rain shower? Okay, we’re won over!

  4. I stayed in one in KL. Did the job, cheap indeed, but small as you say. In reality it’s difficult to get more for what they charge in locations nearby… though for 15 USD I do think there are better options in Kuta. I’m sure I’ll use them again though!

  5. I absolutely loathe AirAsia, so it would take some arm-twisting to get me into one of these hotels, methinks, largely on principle (of not wanting to support a company that doesn’t even provide WATER on 5+ hour flights). Although a comfy bed has the potential to win me over… 😉

  6. Tune Hotels are pretty great for the reasons you mention. If you book on an American booking site like hotels.com, they include all the extras for you. I guess they figure no American tourist wants to go to Manila and pay extra for toilet paper. Doesn’t seem much more expensive than booking on Tune’s site.


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