[Updated: Nov 24, 2020]
The RuMa's package is now available from 9am to 6pm at RM248. You can now enjoy RM50 dining credit instead of 25% discount on food items.
Many of us spent unprecedented hours at home this year attempting to juggle household obligations without compromising on professional performance, now carried out in home offices, on dining tables or in makeshift workspaces. Several months into the Covid-19 pandemic, the allure of work-from-home (WFH) might have dulled, but the demands march on relentlessly.
With much of the workforce avoiding clustering in offices and home not always the most conducive environment to dig deep and deliver, the search is on for new places to which to lug laptops. Cafés often impose time limits on seating these days and, while co-working spaces might eat into traditional office use in the near future, the idea of sharing communal facilities right now might cause unease.
Enter hotels. It is an ingenious solution to the dearth of bookings caused by the pandemic that is pulling smaller hospitality brands under. To fill thousands of ready rooms standing empty and invite a desperately needed injection of revenue, hotels are flipping day-use rooms into workspace propositions. And the acronym already fits: behold the WFH(otel) experience.
We picked The RuMa Hotel and Residences for our experiment, and not just because its name is Malay for home, especially fitting in this case. Interiors reference Malaysia’s tin mining heritage, from the discreet wall lamps to the burnished copper ceiling in the lobby. In a city rife with competition for vacations, staycations and business accommodation, The RuMa gleams bright with its unique brand of hospitality — hostmanship, personalised and intuitive service befitting its entry (Kuala Lumpur’s first) into The Leading Hotels of the World coterie.
Subject to availability, any of the 253 rooms and suites can be booked for the four-hour “Work from Home, Away from Home” package. Check in at the reception and make your way up to a serene sanctuary, where you can work undisturbed with all the luxuries of home — or more.
Good design is design you do not notice, goes the saying, but can you really fail to feel the suppleness of woven rattan in the chair seat, the crispness of linen when leaning against plumped pillows, and the cosiness of the daybed pushed against the full-height windows? A soothing palette of authentic materials and natural hues hushes the mind in the race against deadlines and provides a neutral background for virtual meetings. Keep the curtains open if the surrounding skyscrapers exhilarate you; or pull down the black-out blinds so all else falls away except the tasks at hand.
Lighting is ample and adjustable via the bedside dimmers, with reading lights conveniently placed for going over fine print. And forget the trippy WiFi of most hotels. The connection is unwavering from any corner and allows for unlimited device links while well-placed plug points all around the room enable you to move around freely with a laptop. HDMI connectivity and mirroring of both iOS and Android devices onto the TV allow for large-screen displays of downloads or video conferencing (or Netflix — guilty).
Tired? Pop a coffee capsule into the Nespresso machine or forage through the sodas and snacks in the complimentary minibar. Work through meals by ordering breakfast or a club sandwich from the in-room menu — service is remarkably swift and you enjoy a 25% discount on food items under the work package. If you find yourself backed into a corner, consider clearing the mind’s cobwebs with the punishing pummel of a rain shower or an indulgent soak in the bathtub. Keep that clarity going long after and work in one of the plush white robes if you find that liberating.
That, perhaps, sums up the pleasure — no, the privilege — of being able to retreat to a hotel to clock in some solid work. At RM248 upwards for four hours, it is too high a price for most people to pay; literally RM1 per minute, if you take four minutes each way to travel between reception and your room. You would honestly enjoy greater value in staying the night. But if you are not part of the hoi polloi and a triple-digit figure is chump change to you, working from a suite at The RuMa would serve you well.
And if the going is good — if you are getting into your groove or have had one beer too many at the Santai Pool Bar and Lounge after that deadline — little effort is required to turn a work retreat into a stay.
As at press time, The RuMa Hotel and Residences’ ‘Work from Home, Away from Home’ package is set to run throughout the Conditional Movement Control Order period. Prices start at RM248 for four hours, inclusive of complimentary WiFi, minibar, secretarial services and parking. Reservations are encouraged but walk-ins are welcome depending on availability. Find out more about this package or other offers here.
THREE MORE TO TRY...
SHANGRI-LA HOTEL KUALA LUMPUR
If you are in downtown KL, check into the Executive Room, Horizon Club Room or Executive Suite — the last two inclusive of lounge access — for nine hours of use between 8am and 8pm. Rates start at RM190, with RM20 per additional hour, and includes complimentary parking and access to the Health Club & Spa. Enjoy a 20% discount on F&B orders, as well as meeting room use.
THE CHOW KIT, KL
Weekdays are a whole lot sweeter here with the work package at The Chow Kit Kitchen & Bar, which runs from 9am to 7pm. Enjoy a free flow of barista-made coffee for just RM30, parking capped at RM15, and 30% off dine-in rates (excluding alcohol) as well as for overnight room stays on the same day. Talk about big rewards for low prices.
NEW WORLD HOTEL, PETALING JAYA
Reluctant to travel outside the district’s borders? PJ folk could consider taking up the RM160 package here that covers day-use of a room from 8am to 6pm, a lunch set meal, in-room coffee and tea, and complimentary parking and access to the fitness centre. Additional fees would get you breakfast or an additional guest, while converting your visit to an overnight stay is a mere RM90.
This article first appeared on Nov 9, 2020 in The Edge Malaysia.