Great building, so so rooms
Set in an apparently 90+ year old classic building, the mustard yellow Grocer’s Inn wows from the outside but the rooms don’t really follow through. Stay here for the open balcony space and classic building—not the rooms.
The day we walked in reception was staffed by a gruff but not rude guy and a very friendly chatty woman and they effectively mirrored the property. The rooms here won’t kill you, but the certainly won’t charm you either. There are four walls and a roof (always good!), a semi firm bed with cheap motel bedding and, for the rooms with private bathroom a small, pokey and sometimes fumey bathroom. That is really about it for the rooms—they come in both shared-bathroom and private bathroom flavours (there are also dorms).
But step outside the room and you’re standing in a classic, early 20th century building, with a spectacular atrium which the primary staircase wraps up (do check out the chandelier). Walls are adorned with weathered photos, news stories (including some which feature the property) and each upper floor has a great people-watching balcony which looks out over Jalan Sultan. There is also on the top floor, a rooftop terrace which, while not offering the same views as the lower verandas, is still a great spot to relax on—though management have unimaginatively turned it into a spot to watch films—when really it is screaming out to be a spacious rooftop garden bar.
Grocer’s Inn is one of those places where we imagine they could flick a switch, do a reno, and fill it with some truly gorgeous rooms, but, at least for now, that doesn’t appear to be on the cards. Though we expect it will happen eventually—a little further down the street Tian Jing sets the tone for what is coming. In the meantime, take advantage of the cheapish rates to enjoy a great building and just don’t have high expectations about the rooms.
The ground floor is given over to a popular and quite stylish cafe, which again, to our mind, signals where this property will end up going.
The location is excellent. You’re a five minute walk from Petaling Street, 10 minutes from Pasar Seni LRT and 15 minutes from the monorail. There is plenty of good eating nearby, including, one of our Chinatown favourites, Seng Kee. If you’d like a room with a touch more size and of a slightly better standard, right next door is the very friendly Etika Inn, but while the rooms are better, the building itself has none of the charm of the Grocer’s Inn.
Address: 78 First Floor, Jalan Sultan
T: (03) 2078 7906;
Coordinates (for GPS): 101º41'54.51" E, 3º8'39.44" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: Under 60 ringgit
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Dorm fan cooled||20 ringgit||20 ringgit|
|Sgl fan share bathroom||38 ringgit||38 ringgit|
|Sgl air-con share bathroom||48 ringgit||48 ringgit|
|Dbl fan share bathroom||53 ringgit||53 ringgit|
|Sgl fan private bathroom||55 ringgit||55 ringgit|
|Dbl air-con share bathroom||58 ringgit||58 ringgit|
|Sgl air-con private bathroom||60 ringgit||60 ringgit|
|Dbl fan private bathroom||63 ringgit||63 ringgit|
|Dbl air-con private bathroom||68 ringgit||68 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.
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