Categories: Life & ArtsNews

New hotel comes ‘a-lyf’ in KL

Lyf Raja Chulan is a co-living space and a hybrid property that combines elements of both a hotel and a serviced residence 

by AKMAR ANNUAR / pic HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN

GREETED at the door of Lyf Raja Chulan by a cheerful Lyf champion aka hotel manager, Bob Yusof and Lyf’s super crew, The Malay-Sian Reserve (TMR) immediately felt at home. 

Lyf, pronounced as life, has another meaning to its name, we were informed during the launch of “Kuala Lumpur (KL) Comes A-lyf” campaign on Sept 9. 

L.Y.F. is also an acronym for Live Your Freedom, Ascott Ltd country GM Mondi Mecja told the media during his welcome remarks at the launch. 

Adding that it is a new Gen Y and Gen Z kind of property or known as co-living, where Lyf’s guests can enjoy the safety and the facilities available, he shared it is a hybrid property in between the hotel and service residence. 

According to Lyf’s own “kampung boy” (in reference to cartoonist Datuk Mohammad Nor Mohammad Khalid aka Lat’s famous character as he has the same curly hair) Boy Yusof, Lyf’s co-living concept creates opportunities for guests to connect with like-minded individuals in its social spaces, as well as through its curated experiential programmes. 

As such, staying true to its name, Lyf Raja Chulan’s co-living concept is perfect for digital nomads, technopreneurs, creatives and self-starters to live their freedom in a dynamic environment. 

On early challenges after opening the hotel, Bob said the local market was very sceptical and doubtful of Lyf, thinking it was just another addition to the numerous budget hotels in the area, which is at the edge of Chinatown, Petaling Street. 

“It was challenging at first, mainly because the co-living concept was very foreign to the locals. Plus, it’s a new property; it is a new brand; everything is new,” Bob explained to TMR. 

Then, slowly when people started to come in and Lyf set up its showroom at the hotel, they started to sing a different tune as they could see the hotel’s concept is very different from the usual ones they have been to. 

“Also, Lyf focuses a lot on sustainability. You pay what you only need. We do not install phones in our rooms. We want the guests to handle their own needs themselves. 

“You need fresh towels? The guest can go to the lobby or the reception and ask for some assistance from our crew, then they will get the towels they requested immediately. It cuts down the waiting time and avoids any miscommunication with a ‘housekeeper’.” 

Lyf Raja Chulan’s co-living concept is perfect for digital nomads, technopreneurs, creatives and self-starters (pic: booking.com)

Also, Bob shared that the hotel provides water dispensers on each floor, emphasising that it got rid of one-time plastic water bottles or single-use plastic bottles. 

On value-for-money services and amenities, he noted that guests pay a lot for a night stay in hotels and end up not using most of the facilities and amenities. 

“This incurs costs for both parties, the service provider and the guests, as the guests pay for something that they don’t need. At Lyf, we see this as a way to save money on energy waste and material assets,” he opined. 

Subsequently, Lyf can sell this kind of comfort at an affordable rate. 

Another plus point for the hotel is that the guests and the crew can create a family-like bond. 

“Here, Lyf’s crew and myself are always around to mingle with the guests. For instance, one family stayed here for the weekend. As they came down to our kitchen area to prepare their dinner, I was cooking pasta. When I saw the family, I offered to share my food with them and they were beyond grateful for it, thus the simple gesture created a long-life friendship,” he recalled. 

Another fond memory he had of his guests was of a family of four who spent quality time with each other throughout their stay, playing Jenga until one in the morning. 

Reflecting on the beginning of the hotel’s development, Bob shared that the contract with Ascott was signed sometime between 2015 and 2016 and the construction started in 2018, an expected completion date of Oct 28, 2020. 

Then the pandemic hit globally, forcing the project to be delayed for two years. It was finally completed in 2022. 

“However, due to a lot of uncertainties at the time, despite the ban being lifted in April 2022, we figured out that it wasn’t not a good time to open yet,” he told TMR. 

Fast forward to 2023, Lyf was finally ready and open to the public. 

On May 19, the hotel did a soft opening and it officially opened its door to its first guest, a lady from Penang, on June 26. 

When asked on the cost of the entire development, Bob smiled and responded “most definitely not a million ringgit project”. 

Keeping the Spirit Alive with Lyf 

All of the 104 rooms at the hotel were designed to look like stylish apartments featuring artwork by local artists. Guests have the option to book various room types for their stay, including “Good for One”, “One of a Kind (Studio)”, “One of a Kind Plus (Studio)”, “Lyf Style (Thematic studio)”, “All Together (Two-Bedroom)”, and “All Together Four-bedroom Duplex”. 

“We have curated the best amenities and facilities to create the perfect apartment for the guests. For example, this ‘One of a Kind’ studio comes with the softest queen-sized bed, an electronic safe for all your valuables, hair dryers, reading lights and a writing desk.” 

Also committed towards sustainably, the hotel stocked the bathroom with eco-friendly bath products and plush towels, so that you feel right at home after a long day. 

The hotel also has communal social spaces and curated programmes to help guests forge new connections and nurture communities. 

The social spaces are split into several rooms such as “Bond (social kitchen)”, “Burn (the gym)”, “Connect (coworking space and lounge)”, “Collab (meeting room)”, “Hang Out (outdoor area for drinks and where you can see the KL Tower and city views)”, “Cookout (a BBQ area on the rooftop)” and yes, “Bar (self-explanatory!)”. 

Aside from these social spaces, the hotel has a café downstairs and a laundromat service, “Wash and Hang”. 

Currently, the promotional price for the single unit starts from RM188/night and the duplex units are as low as RM360/night. 

As for a full package (which includes most of the facilities and amenities), guests can pay up to RM3000/month. 

Mecja (second from right) and Mohamed Amin (third from right) during the launch of ‘KL Comes A-lyf’

Upcoming Co-living Properties 

Ascott, a lodging business unit wholly owned by CapitaLand Investment, told TMR that it expects to open seven new co-living properties this year (2023) under its Lyf brand. 

Apart from the competed project in Malaysia, the Lyf co-living schemes in the pipeline are in Austria, China, Japan, the Philippines and Thailand. 

The schemes include Lyf Schonbrunn Vienna, Lyf Dayanta Xi’an, Lyf Ginza Tokyo and Lyf Riverside Bangkok. 

According to Ascott, the opening of Lyf Raja Chulan KL, lyf Malate Manila, and lyf Cebu City marks the brand’s foray into Malaysia and the Philippines. 

The launch of these properties comes at an opportune time as Ascott recognises the need to address emerging trends in today’s post-pandemic travel landscape, marked by evolving traveller demands and renewed appetites for fresh experiences. 

Lyf co-living schemes are thoughtfully designed to serve the needs of next-generation travellers. They include shared social spaces and experiential programmes that enable guests to forge connections and nurture a strong sense of community. 

Ascott also plans to open 63 properties this year across its other brands, in key travel destinations across Asia Pacific and Europe. 

As the pandemic has changed the way we live and work, flexibility has become a paramount consideration. Digital nomads and self-starters prefer to work remotely, demanding novel experiences and opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals in co-living spaces. 

With the next generation of travellers seeking more meaningful spaces that allow for interaction, Ascott will grow its co-living brand, Lyf, across the region and beyond. 

A Collaboration with Ascott and Tourism Malaysia

More than a marketing effort, “KL Comes A-lyf” is a year-long collaboration between Tourism Malaysia and Ascott that brings the city’s rich heritage and vibrant culture to life. 

Mecja explained that the new Lyf in Malaysia will connect guests with local entrepreneurs, businesses, art, music and fashion through its #lyfgoeslocal initiative. 

“The campaign aims to bring themed events and to make the city more vibrant. Also, through this campaign, we are going to showcase this charming hotel and introduce the guests to local vendors and activities,” he said. 

Most importantly, this initiative will benefit not only the tourism industry but also boost small local businesses such as street hawkers, restaurants, surrounding museums, travel agencies and many more, as well as provide a chance for local and international tourists to experience the city by exploring hidden gems throughout KL. 

The campaign also aims to promote many local gems located in non-commercial areas that are filled with more culture, traditions and heritage. 

Flea markets, food bazaars, comedy shows and live music festivals are just some of the events that can be expected to bring the campaign to life. 

“These events will not only showcase Lyf Raja Chulan as a wonderful place to stay, but also bring to the fore local vendors, especially small businesses, that we will engage to participate in our events,” Mecja affirmed. 

The campaign launch, officiated by Tourism Malaysia senior director of domestic and events Mohamed Amin Yahya, coincided with the 66th Merdeka Day and 60th Malaysia Day celebrations. 

Tourism Malaysia said the campaign aims to further enliven the KL heritage enclave by organising various themed and cultural events to draw the attention of local and international tourists within Klang Valley. 

“‘KL Comes A-lyf’ is a creative way to promote tourism through cultural events and I am confident that this year-long campaign will help us in boosting our tourism numbers for this year and also gives us a good head start for 2024,” said Mohamed Amin. 

He also pointed out that as the country revives its tourism, it will offer a deep wide range of culinary experiences. 

From vivacious food stalls to lively festivals, it makes the country, particularly the city, a truly captivating destination, he said. 

Plus, he is highly confident that the “KL Comes A-lyf ” campaign can inspire other organisations that are eager to contribute towards the objective of enhancing tourism through innovative events and festivals in the year to come. 

“It will become one of the many attractions our multi-diverse country has to offer. We serve as another stopping point for tourists and locals to drop by as they visit our capital city. 

“This campaign will become an avenue for Malaysian cultures, traditions and heritage, which will be further exposed to a large scale of a variety of tourists hailing from multiple backgrounds, as we embark on the Visit Malaysia journey,” he added. 

On top of that, “KL Comes A-lyf” promotes local attractions in KL, enabling tourists to indulge and educate themselves on Malaysian traditions and culture through activities, performances, food and talks. 

Meanwhile, Lyf Raja Chulan disclosed it has plans for the local arts scene. Its #lyfxart initiative allows guests to be surrounded and inspired by the works of art by local artists, specially curated to reflect the property’s location, culture and heritage. 

For the record, Lyf also offers a digital experience through its “Discover ASR” mobile app which allows guests to access their apartments via a mobile key. 

All these initiatives and features aim to help the hotel stand out among its competitors in Malaysia, which include Utopia, The Hatchery Place and Komune Living. 


  • This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition

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