Sama-Sama is the English equivalent of “You are welcome” in Malaysian and Indonesian. But it doesn’t directly translate into its Western counterpart. Rather, the meaning is “Same to You”, or a way to reflect back someone’s gratitude. It is also the name of a wonderful set of in-airport hotels that seem to dot the Asia-Pacific international airports. Oh and how thankful I am to have them there!
Come for the comfort
Imagine you’re coming out of your flight. Perhaps you’ve just come from the other side of the world to enjoy some of Asia’s best in vacation and travel. Maybe you’re on your next leg of your tour between the Pacific. You’re travelling alone or perhaps with your whole family in tow! This is where the relaxing part of Sama Sama Express comes in. Located in the International Departure Level 3, you can stay here without the hassle of clearing through Malaysian Customs and Immigration in between layovers, and waking up in time for your connection is easy. These hotels capitalises on the long transit time in between flights. For many international flights, long layovers are inevitable. Especially when it comes to less frequented destinations like Laos or the smaller airports that are not country capitals that cannot command direct or every day flights. Kuala Lumpur is a major airport that serves a variety of airlines and is a huge connection destination since it serves as the hub for one of Asia’s major airlines, Air Asia.
Rooms come with their own private shower and bathroom facilities, satellite television, and tons of room to hang up or store your luggage. I was also impressed by the quality of the complimentary tea, coffee, and bottled water. Nothing says cheap, despite the incredible price. The establishment certainly rates high on the value scale. The bedding alone is worth noting for its super soft pillows, and a daring white bedding style that was impeccably clean. Some rooms have windows while others do not. But the lack of outside lighting didn’t bother me on this particular stay, since the lighting was varied, from bedside lamps to bright ceiling lights that flooded the whole room. Wake up! It’s time to fly! Well, this isn’t the exact recording one will get from the automated wake up service. But the idea is the same. The hotel knows what they are there for, and filling out a wake-up call comes with the paperwork of getting a room itself. They know you’ll need one! I really appreciated this attention to detail. While I am used to using my phone these days as my alarm, it was nice to have a backup plan that I couldn’t simply sleep through.
If you’re not tired, consider stopping by to use their lounge. Clean, with plenty of comfy chairs to make use of their large televisions, tables that can double as desk space, and more removed furniture to make a bit of an intimate feel. The televisions are large. But they’re not visible from seating closest to the buffet. Internet connection was fast and simple to connect to, as I was given the wifi-password when I checked in. It is a rather open floor plan and the entrance is almost always visible. While a little distracting, it also serves as a great reminder for what is waiting ahead of you: your next flight. Lounge access is for 3 hours. The buffet style food is a nice blend of Asian and Western style dishes. Fresh nasi, orange juice, fish, toast, beef rendang… I found a mix of breakfast and lunch foods when I walked into the buffet around 7:30am in the morning. There are also small bottles of wine and other alcohol which you’re given 3 servings of with lounge access. This area is a great way to round off your sleep since it saves you from having to hunt for an appropriate food source and table in the food court. If you haven’t been to Kuala Lampur’s international airport yet, know it is currently the 13th busiest airport in the world by international passenger traffic and serves over 34 million passengers annually.
Don't get stuck, get comfy
This place is recommended for any kind of traveller, except for the thrifty one. I realised on hindsight that I had chosen a cheap flight with a long connection to save money, but had probably spent just as much if not more by choosing flights with a long layover. That being said, it really heightened my layover experience as I was able to pull out my laptop and get some work done, as well as fill my belly in time for my next 6-hour flight. They really cater to a wide range of clients, from the lone business traveller, couples, families, or even groups. The level of turnover they must experience compared with the attention to detail and cleanliness makes flying and transfers less of a stressful experience. I would gladly fly through Kuala Lumpur knowing that these hotels are available to ease my travel pains. So don’t worry about trying to slum it with the airport seating, waking up to a crick in your neck! Whether you’re looking for a quick shower, a bit to eat, or a restful sleep, be sure to head to Sama Sama Express for a reasonably priced service.
• There is a joint room + lounge discount if you buy both as a package (this generally includes 6 hours for the room, and 3 hours for the lounge)
• You will need to present a boarding pass for your next flight. This means customers are limited to layovers. You cannot check into this hotel after touching down in KL as your final destination. There is a different Sama Sama hotel, however, that is available in a different section of the airport.
• There are no connections to the Main Terminal, KLIA. This is strictly for KLIA2
• You will not be able to retrieve luggage from the carousel area. Make sure you book this strictly for a layover.
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