11 Nov 2007
Syuen Hotel, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
A$57/£24 night
101° 5'18.08"E
1 Room


We didn't know what time we were going to arrive and didn't fancy trailing around hotels with the bags so booked the Syuen through an on-line agent for our first 2 nights in Ipoh. It is officially a 4 star hotel, but I'm not sure I'd rate it quite that high - maybe 3 or at most 3½. In any case, it's the first 4 star we've been to where we've had to carry our own bags up the stairs and through the lobby then up to the room. Not that we want someone to carry our bags, but it's those little things that make a hotel 4 star.

The Syuen is a huge 300 room hotel in the centre of Ipoh. We were booked into the cheapest (superior) room, which was very big compared to most hotel rooms. The superior rooms have a drawback however - the window doesn't face the street, it faces onto a courtyard and directly onto the room opposite. The courtyard has a glass or clear plastic roof, so while you get some natural light, there is no breeze. But there is noise - two rooms on the opposite side us had their window open and were having quite a party - the covered courtyard and concrete and glass seemed to bounce the noise off each other making it worse.

There was a rooftop pool, but no attendant we saw on duty with towels (we were told by another guest that he was there "sometimes") and only 2 sun beds and a few tables and chairs. There was also a tennis court and squash court on the same floor.

Hotel room

Peter gave the gym a big thumbs down - no air conditioning and the two wall mounted fans had their controls too high to operate. With no-one around to ask or help he sweated. Just as well - the steam room had a sign saying temporarily out of order until further notice, dated August.

The TV had a couple of cable channels and in house movies. Cable internet was available in the room for A$6.50/£2.80 per day with WiFi access in the lobby, although I had to ask for this - call me unreasonable, but I expect to be told all options when asking a question, not just the options you have to pay for. Later, I went to the lobby and thought I'd ask if a password was required for WiFi - the receptionist told me that I had to purchase a pre-paid card to access the internet for A$9/£4, although she couldn't tell me how much access I would get for it. Because I'm now an old hand at sniffing out free connections I tried anyway and found that indeed there was a network which required a log in (Telecom Malaysia) that could be on a pre-paid basis, but the hotel connection was there, password-less and free as I had expected. Frontline staff really should know basics such as this.

Breakfast was pretty poor - both quality and choice - and we would have stuck to the fruit if there had been a bit more choice. Don't worry - I'm not going to start my rant on melons, but that's all there was. The smell was everywhere. Maybe we just timed it wrong. The restaurant on the second floor seemed very popular with non-guests, but we didn't go in so no idea on the prices.

On the up side, the bed and pillows were very comfortable, as were the two chairs. There was also a writing desk and chair and mini bar fridge, and something we haven't seen for a while, more than just the basic bathroom amenities, including a comb and shaving kit. The air conditioning was very strong, but leaving it off seemed to make things damp - maybe we were just imagining this though.

The location of the hotel is good - opposite Ipoh Parade shopping mall, with department store, supermarket and all the usual mall outlets including the ubiquitous chain fast food and coffee shops. Ipoh is small enough to walk most places, but it's on a bus route if you don't want to.

All in all we were disappointed with the Syuen. We wouldn't come back as there are much better value hotels in Ipoh.