Jun 012011
 

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.

Um…What?

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.” πŸ˜›

Note: These posts are behind realtime; the above narrative took place on Saturday, January 15th.

  16 Responses to “Avoid Love Lane Inn”

  1. These things happen dude. You’re in your full right to tell the world. You might even do more than one person a favor. Other travelers might avoid the bad place, LP might get updated (post on Thorntree), and he might even improve his service. Word of mouth can have a strong influence sometimes. It’s good for the world economy since overall service gets better and people have better experiences.

    If it makes you feel any better, think about my experience in Tokyo Hostel in Ueno. I had prearranged to pay the room in the evening, but in the evening the staff had changed from a cute little friendly Japanese girl to a grumpy Canadian troll-nerd that seemed to be angry at the entire world. I was in a strange city that I did not (at that time) know *at all* and he decided to throw me out at midnight, even threatening to call the police if I hesitated. And he had even ruined my white designer shirts with shoe polish and broken my authentic Ray Ban sunglasses.

    I guess you just can’t win every time and that bad experience 1% of the time is just “your number came up”. Glad you post stuff like this too πŸ™‚

  2. Yep – I already submitted a link to this post to the official Lonely Planet feedback guys πŸ™‚

    Ah yeah, I remember that story about Ueno. Pretty mindblowing.

  3. that sucks. I will avoid love lane inn πŸ™‚

  4. Hehe…I’m pretty sure you would never have stayed there anyway πŸ˜‰

  5. It is also a good warning to all travellers! πŸ™‚

  6. That was the plan πŸ™‚

    I wonder if I should actually send this to Jimmy himself. I forgot to mention that while we were arguing, I did specifically tell him that I write a travel blog on which I often relay my experiences, both positive and negative, and that his rude and inhospitable treatment of a first-time guest would definitely be something I’d share with other travelers. His response was (honestly) something like “I don’t give a shit, you write whatever you want, I’ve been running this place for 12 years and I know people like it here!”

  7. i think he is an old man maybe he doesn’t know what WIFI is and he only knows computer hours are 9-11 ,that’s all.

  8. Maybe…but that still doesn’t justify being a dick πŸ˜› He’s the owner, and could’ve just as easily said something like:

    “Sorry, I guess I misunderstood. Normally we only leave it on until 11, but perhaps we can keep it on for a few extra hours just tonight. And if you do need 24/7 access you should probably move somewhere else in the morning.”

    …rather than…

    “I’VE BEEN RUNNING THIS PLACE FOR 12 YEARS. IF YOU WANT IT ALL NIGHT YOU SHOULD ASK FIRST. FOLLOW MY RULES OR GET OUT.”

    πŸ˜›

  9. Maybe it is his own rules or first time to have such request as yours, then he is stubborn too! You should be a better owner than him ,haha .

  10. Ouch man, that sucks. As Peder said, you have every right to broadcast this message. You should post on the right forums to get Love Lane Inn’s LP status tarnished. No way to treat a customer, seriously. And it’s not obvious that computer off = router off because that’s completely wrong for modern modems and routers.

    That story reminds me of the Fujitsu hotel, where they’d turn off internet at 11PM as well, for no good reason. Eventually my American coworkers had enough and rioted. One guy snuck into the room with the router, connected an ethernet cable and threw it out a window, and then extended it up 6 stories up the roof and back down into their rooms. Give me WiFi or give me death.

    HAHA “Canadian troll-nerd”. Tell me the story P!

  11. >>You should post on the right forums to get Love Lane Inn’s LP status tarnished.

    Yeah, I was considering it. I actually think I did submit this to Lonely Planet themselves, though can’t remember for sure – it was awhile ago already. Anyway, I’ve said my piece and am more or less satisfied πŸ˜›

    >>That story reminds me of the Fujitsu hotel, where they’d turn off internet at 11PM as well, for no good reason.

    He actually did eventually tell me the reason: he didn’t want people talking on Skype all night, making noise and waking up other guests. Which I guess is understandable. Again, my issue wasn’t his choice of rules – it was the fact that he made no mention of it beforehand and then absolutely refused to compromise (even treating me rudely at the mere suggestion).

    >>One guy snuck into the room with the router, connected an ethernet cable and threw it out a window, and then extended it up 6 stories up the roof and back down into their rooms.

    Haha nice!! Too bad he didn’t have our little mini travel-router πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

  12. Ha ha, great story about the Fujitsu hotel! I’d be happy to tell you my own story next time we speak. It’s too long for a public forum πŸ˜›

    But definitely, word of mouth can be a powerful channel. Great that you are an idealist.

  13. When I stayed there in dec 2011 I used the WIFI from next door Civilianinn with no password. And yes Jimmy is a character:)

  14. You must’ve had a room on the other side of the building, or lower down – I tried but couldn’t see any opened networks πŸ™

    (Regardless though, my point was really about Jimmy’s rudeness/dishonesty. Not everywhere has to provide Internet, and indeed many places don’t – he just shouldn’t be an ass about it if he clearly made a mistake in his representation of the situation :P)

  15. Haha I’m so glad I found this as I thought it was just me! I stayed there in December and I have never felt so unwelcome in a place; due to his stupid rule of having to charge downstairs, I accidently knocked his pen cup over as I was connecting my laptop charger. He went ballistic on me as if I’d just shot his firstborn! Along with other demeaning bollockings, I’ve decided its the worst hostel/guesthouse I’ve ever stayed in – and I’m a veteran of 150+ of them. I tried to check out but he wouldn’t give my money back, thus my memories of Georgetown are very negative. Sad.

    • Lame! But somehow, not all that surprising πŸ˜› I’ve been to hundreds of guesthouses too, and (as you can probably guess from this post) this one really stood out…for all the wrong reasons. I guess you just can’t win ’em all πŸ˜‰

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