My apologies for this “negative” post, but I must issue a warning to any fellow travelers out there:
Stay away from Love Lane Inn in Georgetown, Malaysia.
I typically put a great deal of credence in any endorsement by the Lonely Planet guidebooks, but this place was definitely not worthy of its mention. From the moment I walked in I felt there was something a tad strange about Jimmy, the elderly Chinese man and owner working at the front desk. He wasn’t so much rude as a bit…odd and short-tempered. For example, he quickly became irritated when I dared ask to see the room before checking in (pointing out that he’s been running the place for 12 years, that everyone likes it, and that it got good reviews in LP). “I’m not bullshitting you” he said, “the room is dirty now but if you don’t like it later I’ll give you your money back and you can leave.”
Ordinarily I would’ve gone elsewhere, but since I’d already spent nearly an hour looking at dark and crummy rooms – and his photos did show a big bright window – I decided just to take it, after one important confirmation:
“My work is online, so reliable high-speed WiFi is my absolute top priority. Does your internet work well in the room?”
“It’s lightning-fast” he assured me, “and the signal is strong throughout the building.”
He was right – it was a good signal. Until about 11pm when it shut off completely. I went downstairs hoping to reboot the router, but his staff informed me that the outage was planned and intentional. WiFi is only provided between 9am and 11pm.
I explained my earlier conversation with Jimmy and told them he assured me Internet would be available. But they were adamant, indicating a sign above their computer which noted the usage hours of 9-11. I pointed out that I wasn’t using their computer, I was using WiFi. They didn’t care. I told them I was right in the middle of a call when they cut me off, and I now had coworkers waiting for me on Skype. Still they didn’t care. I continued to push until eventually Jimmy came downstairs to see what was going on.
If Jimmy had been brash earlier, now that he’d been awoken at 11:30pm he was an outright asshole. I started by trying to politely explain the situation, that I really did need to work, and that if he’d simply told me the net would be shut off at 11 I would’ve looked for a room elsewhere. I reminded him that I’d made a special point of verifying connectivity – could he please just reconnect the router, and I’d relocate in the morning? Yet just like his staff, he couldn’t care less. Pointing and yelling and accusing he insisted that all I’d asked was whether or not it works in the room – not whether it always works in the room. If I wanted to use it at night, I should’ve asked him if it’s on 24/7. I told him I’ve stayed in hundreds of guesthouses and have never heard of an “evening shutoff,” so while he’s perfectly entitled to do as he pleases, I really would have no reason to ask. If he has an uncommon rule he should tell his guests beforehand. “This is Malaysia not other country; I don’t care where you’ve stayed because all guesthouses here do this.” It was an outright lie. I stayed at four other guesthouses during my time in Malaysia and not one of them did.
It eventually escalated to an all-out yelling argument before I eventually threw up my arms and gave up. It was getting near midnight and he simply would not budge, no matter how irrational his arguments:
“LOOK AT SIGN! SIGN SAYS 9-11!”
“The sign says computer hours are 9-11, not that you unplug your WiFi router at 11.”
“Internet connected through computer, when computer turns off Internet turns off.”
“And how could I know that if you don’t tell me up front?”
“It’s obvious. Computer goes off, Internet goes off. Those are the rules, you can leave if you don’t like them.”
“So you don’t care that I made a special point to mention, ‘I need a good Internet connection, it’s the most important thing to me?'”
“WE HAVE GOOD INTERNET. Wait until morning, then it’s good.”
“My coworkers in America can’t wait until morning; I told them I’d be available based on what you told me earlier. All I’m asking is for you to flip on the signal for a few hours and everyone will be happy. Then in the morning I’ll find another spot and get out of your hair.”
“You don’t like my rules? Go somewhere else!”
There was just no compromise with this guy. I told him that accusing his guests of being stupid for not asking questions that aren’t obvious (he actually did call me stupid) is completely uncalled for. He barely even let me say my part, shouting over me that I should shut up and follow his rules. A senile old 75-year-old absolutely unwilling to consider that perhaps he shouldn’t sell his services as “all rooms with WiFi” when the reality is “all rooms with WiFi, but only during the daytime when you likely aren’t going to be in your room.” When all else failed, his end-all argument was, once again, that he’d been running the guesthouse for 12 years. As if the age of his guesthouse had something to do with what he neglected to tell me earlier that day.
Anyway, my tip to you is (obviously) to avoid Love Lane Inn. Even aside from Jimmy’s rudeness, it really is a bit of a dump. They don’t provide towels or T.P. in the bathroom, and although he claims the showers are hot water, they aren’t – they’re a fixed temperature that is most certainly not hot. The windows don’t have screens so unless you pay extra for AC your choices are to suffocate in the heat or get bitten by bugs all night. They even have electricity kill-switches out in the hallway, so they (or anyone) can cut off your power at will. When I came home after my day’s errands I found that he’d killed the power, and my laptop – left to run a long remote backup – was now off and completely dead.
I know it’s unfair to project this one experience on the whole of Malaysia…but after experiencing such incomprehensible rudeness, I can’t help but think “I should be back in Thailand…where everything is awesome.” 😛
Note: These posts are behind realtime; the above narrative took place on Saturday, January 15th.