A bright light on a busy street
It is hard to get much more smack-bang central in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown than by staying at the surprisingly smart, flashpacker focussed Lantern Hotel.
Located right at the junction of Jalan Petaling and Jalan Hang Lekir the hotel’s unusually styled facade overlooks the epicentre of the Pelating Street
Madhouse Market. We say the hotel’s facade overlooks it rather than the rooms because few of the rooms here are street facing, rather they are mostly inward looking, facing onto a central brightly lit atrium.
It is a bit of a curious set up—you pull open the curtains and look straight across the atrium into another room. The “verandah rooms” are even stranger—each has a small glass enclosed balcony which juts straight into the atrium—exhibitionists will love it, others will probably not get much use of the balcony. So we’d say yes for a room with a window, but skip the verandah add-on.
Rooms are white with bright orange or pale green feature walls and a curtain. Bedding is comfortable but simple and of a good condition. Our room had no desk nor a chair, but there was a wall alcove which was sufficient for piling all our stuff on. There is WiFi throughout the property and ours worked well. The tiled bathroom was clean and very compact but not uncomfortably small.
On the lobby level there is a large cafe area, used for breakfast and waiting for the strict 2pm check-in, but, behind the reception there is a large wooden deck area, the one place where you can really enjoy a Petaling outlook, but it is sadly underused by the hotel. We got takeaway breakfast to eat here (far better than the simple offerings from the hotel), and also enjoyed a cold beer on the deck in the late afternoon.
We found the staff to be friendly and helpful, but we found the 2pm strict check-in a little frustrating when our room was clearly ready for hours. Others report the staff being quite difficult, but we didn't have any issues.
The hotel has no ground floor reception, rather you enter by buzzing a door and your room key will let you in and out as you please. The location, as already mentioned, is excellent—there is a tonne of great food within spitting distance of here—don’t miss the Air Mata Kucing stall which sets up streetside close to the hotel entrance—so refreshing, so yummy! Also, a little down Jalan Hang Lekir to the east, get some great wonton noodles at Koon Kee and wash then down with an iced Tiger Beer from one of the restaurants that serve beer throughout the day just about straight across the road.
One last thing. We expected, with the hotel’s location, for noise to be an issue, but we found the room to be very quiet and we slept without interruption.
Lantern is a comfortable and very central option which will satisfy those who want something a step up from Chinatown’s more grungy options. Recommended, but shop around online for a competitive rate. The closest public transport to here is Pasar Seni, about a ten minute walk away. If you’d like something spendier, consider Tian Jing Hotel over on Jalan Sultan.
Address: 38 Jalan Petaling, Chinatown
T: (03) 2020 1648;
Coordinates (for GPS): 101º41'51.58" E, 3º8'40.27" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: 60 to 120 ringgit
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Standard double room|
|95 ringgit||95 ringgit|
|Superior double room|
|105 ringgit||105 ringgit|
|Deluxe double room|
|115 ringgit||115 ringgit|
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
Our top 10 places to stay in and around Kuala Lumpur