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Langkawi: Hotel D’Lima

Posted by Heliocentrism on August 5, 2017

Monday, May 29th – Jun 5th, 2017

When Mark picks accommodations there is a process he goes through. If he knows exactly where he wants to stay, he will first check google maps. There he can see all the hotels in an area along with the price of accommodations and some websites like agoda or bookings where you can make reservations.

If he doesn’t know where he wants to stay or he doesn’t care, he will go straight to agoda. Agoda usually has the lowest prices or the best deals, but not always. Overall agoda is a good starting point. After that there is a quick check at hostelworld, airbnb, and whatever website google recommends for that area.

He looks for things like nice views, central location, breakfast, and free laundry service. Though, for a good price some of these can be left out. Photos of the accommodations are nice, but not much weight is put on good pictures. If the photos are bad, that means the hotel will definitely be bad. If mold and dirt show up in photos it means that the hotel manager has no idea what he or she is doing. But good photos do not mean the opposite of what a bad photo means.

Many hotels will have great pics, but when you get to the hotel you realize that the photos were taken 20 years ago when the hotel was new and in its prime. Since then cracks have appeared and the hotel doesn’t look anything like it used to. The grand pool is now just a big storage area.

That’s why you must read all the reviews you can find. Check the reviews on all the websites and google maps too. Be highly wary of places that have 3 or fewer reviews, especially when they are all too glowing with nothing but positive ratings. Also, look out for copied and pasted reviews. A guest might use the same review for 2 websites, but it’s very unlikely that anyone would paste it on more than that. Who has that kind of time? Hotel owners, that’s who.

Sometimes a hotel will have no reviews yet, because its new. If that’s the case, it might be okay. If the hotel is new, how bad can it be? But, another reason for having no reviews could be a change in name and ownership. If that’s the reason for no reviews, then it’s probably a crappy hotel. Good hotels will never change names.

The plan for Langkawi was for us to get a hotel near the beach, but not so near that it broke our budget. Then we would spend a week swimming and doing very little else. It was going to be a very relaxing week.

The first sign that things were going wrong was when our Uber driver couldn’t find the hotel. He was from another part of the island, so we didn’t worry too much about it at the time. We asked to be dropped off near where google said the hotel was and asked around.

No one had ever heard of the hotel. “Where is D’Lima Inn?” we asked. We weren’t sure how to pronounce the name, but if it was pronounced the way we thought it might be pronounced… “This could be a problem.”

Mark walked into hotel after hotel to asked receptionists for directions. He asked taxi drivers, security guards, shop keepers, and other tourists. No one had ever heard of the “Dilemma Inn”.  Watching Mark try to find this place, I stood on the sidewalk and pulled at my hair. A huge part of me thought we had given a fake hotel our money for one weeks accommodations and now we would have no place to sleep.

Mark seemed a bit more hopeful. “It might be new. That’s why no one knows where it is,” he told me. “It didn’t have very many reviews and the ones it did have weren’t from too long ago.”

“Did the hotel look new in its photos?” I asked.

“Yes, but all hotels look new in the photos,” he responded.

We had an address for the place, but it could not possibly be right. We had a pin on google, but when we went there it was just a field of grass. We had a map from the hotel’s Facebook page. That could not be it either; it was a building that was torn down. I looked online and found a few phone numbers for the hotel.

We took the numbers to a tourist information booth. We didn’t have a sim card on our phone so, we couldn’t make calls ourselves. But the lady at the booth was kind enough to call for us. She called the first number, but no one picked up. Then she tried the second number; it was disconnected. So she kept calling the first number until, after 5 calls, someone picked up the phone.

She asked the guy on the phone to send someone over to pick us up and show us the way to the hotel. It was over 2 hours after getting out of the Uber driver’s car, that we got to the hotel. I was so mad and irritated. The hotel was not pinned properly on google maps. On all the maps the hotel provided online, not one of them had the correct location. And, the address the hotel gave was of a place that could not possibly exist. Once on the island and on the correct road, the hotel had no signs posted until you got almost to the hotel itself on some shady back road. Then the idiot receptionist wouldn’t answer the damn phone.

“Don’t mind us. We’re just building this hotel.”

At the hotel, I could see that there was a possibility that the place was new. Hell they were still building the thing. There was construction going on right by the pool. And the work on the third floor had yet to commence. We were handed a key and walked over to a room next to the pool.

“No,” we said. There was one window in the ground-floor room and it was in plain view of the construction crew. It was also very noisy from the work being done and the screaming kids in the water. “This will not do. Show us another room.”

We were given another room. It had brown globby fluids leaking from the ceiling in the bathroom. “No,” we said. “Show us another room.”

We were given another room. It had mold covering the bathroom from floor to ceiling. “No,” we said. “Show us another room.”

We were given another room. It had random holes in the wall and wires sticking out in odd places. We could tell that it had recently been remodeled because it had new furniture and the room smelt slightly of paint. There was no mold in the bathroom, though there were wires sticking out there too. “I guess this will do…” we sighed.

One night a cat got in our room. We had to chase it, catch it, and throw it out.

The room we got in the end was not too terrible. It was big and newly refurbished. But it wasn’t good either. There was no wifi or any kind of internet. The paint job was not done well. They clearly ran out of whatever paint they were using and finished the job with another paint that was a few shades off. Some of the electrical appliances were oddly mounted or installed, like the TV placed in a corner or the water heater plugged into the wall in the shower where water ran over the socket.

The staff didn’t know the first thing about running a hotel. They never cleaned the room. We begged them to several times, but were always given excuses why it wasn’t done. Once they claimed to have done house keeping, but the only noticeable change was that the floors were swept. They didn’t even take out the trash, give us new towels, or replace the shampoo, soap, or toilet paper.

Are they ever going to start on that 3rd floor?

To prevent myself from losing my mind, I had to get passively aggressive. Since they didn’t change my towels, I started just taking towels. Of course when there was someone at the reception, I asked, but 80% of the time no one was there. They left the laundry area open with all the clean towels folded on a table. I would take a clean one for me and one for Mark and leave our dirty towels on a pile on the other side of the table. I did this twice a day, in the morning for showers and the afternoon for beach towels. The dirty towel pile in their own laundry room went untouched the whole time I was there. They probably wondered who this towel fairy was that kept delivering damp towels.

That bottle of water and that chair was there when we checked in and it sat there for the whole week. It might still be there now.

The trash annoyed me. Since they never cleaned the room, it never got emptied. Eventually it started to attract ants. There were always ants crawling around this hotel, but with the trash full, even more were stamping around our room. I took the trash can and put it in the hall one morning. By evening there were 4 more trash cans placed in the hall by 4 other guests. The next day, all the trash had been emptied and the bags replaced. I, and most other guests, kept our trash in the hall after that.

“One day, there will be a 3rd floor…”

The hotel itself wasn’t bad. I don’t think it was a new hotel. It might have been in the process of being remodeled. I can appreciate that. But the staff had no idea how to run a hotel. There was a cleaning staff that never cleaned and a receptionist who almost never answered the phone and was out of the office most of the time. The only people who were consistently on the job were the construction workers by the pool and I have no idea what they were building.

I spent one afternoon by the pool looking at them work. I couldn’t tell what they were building. It might have been a BBQ pit or a shed… maybe a garden?

The staff themselves had no interpersonal skills. The few times they were there for me to request (beg for) house keeping and toiletries they would just sit there staring at me. They would have vacant looks in their eyes like they were stunned by what they saw. I would repeat my request several times because they couldn’t hear me on account of their focused gawking.

One of them had a 12-year-old daughter who seemed quite normal. She would go in the office or laundry room and come back with soap, shampoo, and towels. “Here,” she would say and smile at me.” “Thanks kid!” I would tell her and she would giggle.

The adults would then stare at her thinking that she was so brave to interact with a creature who had been replacing their clean towels with damp ones.

Getting my 5-a-day

Other than the hotel, Mark and I had a good time on Langkawi when it wasn’t raining. Actually even when it was raining, we had a pretty good time.


Malaysia

How to get there:

You can enter by plane, train, bus, boat, and even on foot (from Thailand only).

Most people can get their visas when they arrive for no charge or paperwork. The length of stay differs by the visitor’s nationality. Please check the IDM website.

Phone:

  • Emergency Numbers:
    • Police and Ambulance 999
    •  Fire 994

Website:

Downloads:

  • Travel Guides
  • Uber
    • If you don’t have an account already, get one before you go to Malaysia.

Videos:

Books:

Notes:


Langkawi

How to get there:

  • From Penang:
    • Ferry: RM 60/ 2hours
    • Plane: 16-30USD (RM64-120)/ 35 minutes
    • Bus: RM18 / feels like all afternoon
  • There are plenty of taxis around town.
    • They charge a flat rate that’s a bit high.
    • Your alternative is Uber.

Websites:

Downloads:

Notes:

  • This island can probably be fully enjoyed after renting a scooter.

Map:

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