The Malaysian neighborhood of Chow Kit stands as a defiant holdout against the tide of gentrification and modernization sweeping across Kuala Lumpur. Host to the nation’s largest wet market, endless corridors of crowded stalls invite shoppers in this labyrinth neighborhood to peruse local produce and wares with an energy and authentic provinciality evaporating everywhere else across the Malaysian capital. MoMo’s Kuala Lumpur, a new boutique property leans into the “anything and everything goes” ethos of the neighborhood, operating as hotel, dive bar, gallery, and restaurant with a colorful personality befitting the city’s unofficial Red Light District.
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Advertised as a “social hotel with micro rooms” with “major personality”, one can safely assume MoMo’s is envisioned to serve travelers who run toward, rather than away, from the action. The 99 micro rooms here are minimalist by design, featuring laminated wood platform and bunk beds for sleep, and mostly the bare minimum for everything else.
Space and storage is scant, but rooms offer spaces for shoes underneath each bed, a smart detail we wish we’d see in more hotels of even grander stature.
A palette of gentle pastels across combed plaster and concrete conceived by Sydney-based interior and architecture studio Akin Atelier soften an austere stay into a cozy nook, brightened by dimmable mood lighting that works for both mood and decoration. One luxury: 43” televisions are available in each room for rare instances when a guest might want to catch their breath before diving back out into a city perpetually tempting a late night out.
Guests won’t have to go far to find themselves in the thick of the action, with DJ-helmed parties, stand-up comedy, exhibitions, poetry slam, food pop-ups, and guest talks all hosted at The Playground, the venue for MoMo’s own regular roster of events.
MoMosita is the hotel’s self-service taco and dive bar, a public space emphasizing the laid back nature of the property inviting intermingling between guests and locals.
The Ormond Group’s hospitality concept is distinctly aimed at a millennial generation traveler drawn to a “live, play and stay” mentality, emphasizing affordably and manifesting a social network IRL+hotel form. Such a place may not be for everyone, but for those looking for a design-forward destination offered without pretense and at an incredibly reasonable price (starting at $23 a night; as low as $19 during special offers, MoMo’s seems to be the epitome of design travel on a dime.
What: MoMo’s Kuala Lumpur
Where: J316 Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
How much? Rooms starting at $23
Design draw: A short car ride or extended walk over takes visitors to the contemporary architecture of the Bamboo Playhouse, a public pavilion located in Kuala Lumpur’s lush Perdana Botanical Gardens.
Book it: MoMo’s Kuala Lumpur
All photos courtesy of Ormond Group.