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Paper Plane Hostel KL – INTERVIEW

How cool would it be to build an entire hostel project from the ground-up with your friends in Quiet Backpacker Hostel Kuala Lumpur?

 

That’s exactly what Samuel, Kennie, and Lawrence did! The Paper Plane Hostel started out as a brainchild of three close friends and is now an awesome Quiet Backpacker Hostel Kuala Lumpur for travelers from all over the world to stay and find new friends.

Paper Plane Hostel at Jalan Sin Chew Kee

If you like wall art and murals, we have a feeling that you’re going to love the aesthetics of Paper Plane Hostel. The trio has paid so much attention to creating the perfect aesthetics in the building that you’re bound to have taken countless photos of Paper Plane Hostel by the time you check out.

Below, Samuel answers our interview to introduce the Quiet Backpacker Hostel Kuala Lumpur concept and history to our readers.

1) Please introduce your partners/team and yourself. What are your roles?

We are partners of three (myself as Samuel, Kennie & Lawrence) and we are childhood friends. We’ve known each other for more than 20 years. Each of us has a different role for our hostel operational. We are divided into the role of:

1) Branding, Marketing & Account

2) Manpower and Property Maintenance

3) Booking Channels, Process System and Room Rating.

Samuel

We support each other well in the business as we know each other’s strengths well enough. Quiet Backpacker Hostel Kuala Lumpur is our side investment project as each of us has our individual main businesses. Samuel & Kennie is from the creative industry. Lawrence is from building materials supplies.

 

2) What is the meaning behind the name of “Paper Plane”, and what does your hostel’s theme represent?

When we came together for this project, we knew that the location for it is very important. We remember the location first (Jalan Galloway & Jalan Sin Chew Kee) as it’s one of our hang-out (lepak) areas when we were kids.

We love that area. It brings back a lot of old memories! We were actually lucky because we found the current property while searching around when we were ready to start the hostel business.

As we brainstorm for the hostel name, we created plenty of mindmaps with travel-related phrases. We did not want a name that was all hype or cool, but rather something that we could relate to.

That’s how we decided on Paper Plane – it’s almost certainly a part of everyone’s childhood, and we used to play with them when we were kids ourselves. It meant something for all three of us, and so we settled on this name.

 

3) Can you tell us more about the history of the building and how you ended up choosing this property for your hostel?

The building was left empty for almost a year before we took over. Previously, it was used as an accommodation for some worker!

We ended up choosing this property because we were familiar with Petaling Street, Bukit Bintang, and Pudu since young. We wanted our project to be located somewhere accessible, but also not within the main or busy street where there is plenty of noise pollution.

 

Our guests should be able to catch a good sleep or rest when they’re back in Paper Plane, especially if they have been travelling for a long time or are backpacking around town!

 

4) The interior of the hostel is tastefully designed! Did you design the place personally?

By profession, I (Samuel) am a graphic designer. Personally, I have also been travelling over 25 years for both work and leisure.

I was able to put both my sense of design and travel experience together to design every single inch at our hostel property. Of course, that was all done with assistance from Kennie and Lawrence too!

 

5) Is there any challenges during the process from getting the property, renovation to its launch? Were there any obstacles that you had to overcome along the way?

I am sure every start-up/business will face obstacles during the beginning. The building was over 100 years old, so there was plenty of recreating and restructuring work to be done.

 

We had to spend more time and budget to prepare a solid building foundation. In the end, we took 10 months to renovate the building! On a side note, dealing with the local authorities wasn’t the most fun activity either.

6) Which part of the hostel is your favourite and why?

We don’t have a favourite part! We put so much effort into the entire hostel that we love the entire thing.

 

However, if I really have to choose, it would probably be the Glass House concept in our common area, the Triple Bunk Bed design, and all the wall art done by a very good friend of ours from Thailand.

Triple Bunk Bed

We don’t have a specific reason as to why we love these parts more in particular, but it could be that the decoration provides a cozy feel to it. Sometimes, it feels cozier than my own house!

 

7) Can you tell us more about the artist who painted the wall around the hostel? Are those artworks on the wall done by them as well?

The artist who designed and painted all the wall art is named Jeww (nickname). He is a Thai artist and is a very good friend of mine. We’ve known each other for almost 10 years!

When informed about our Paper Plane Quiet Backpacker Hostel Kuala Lumpur project, he offered to provide his best design concepts and came all the way from Bangkok to be a part of this.

You can see more of his works at studio-jew.com or Instagram @jeww144

 

8) Have you met any unforgettable guests that make a great story to Paper Plane Hostel?

Yes, we do meet a lot of wonderful guests at our hostel. Specifically, we had Mr. Sergio from Malaga, Spain. He has stayed with us a few times when he’s in town during his 12-month travel around the APAC. He is an employee from Melia Hotel Group back in his country.

Mr.Sergio and partner

When he was here, he shared a lot of knowledge in the hospitality business as well as traveling experience with me. We met him during the first few months of our operation and it became a truly unforgettable experience because he went beyond just a guest and we’re now friends!

 

9) Can you tell us more about the neighbourhood surrounding your place? Any hidden gems to share?

There are a few good cafes, restaurants and bars in this area. You can also find quite a number of hotels and homestay too!

One of the pioneer retailers was VCR Cafe – They were here since many years back and we love their coffee.

 

We’re not going to mention the rest. You should just come by and explore the rest for yourself. You might be surprised by what you get in this little neighbourhood!

 

10) As far as we know, Paper Plane Hostel doesn’t have a kitchen. Do you regularly bring your guests out for a meal?

Yes, we do not have a kitchen, and we also do not serve any food. That’s because Paper Plane Hostel is already surrounded by great street food and restaurants! Sure, we aren’t featured on Netflix for their Asia Street Food Programme, but trust us – it’s quality food.

We know what we have, and what’s good on the streets. We also have a rich variety when it comes to food selections for different races in Malaysia.

 

We’re always telling how Malaysia is multi-racial and how different taste and cooking styles can be achieved with the same ingredients – so why eat regular hostel food when you have the chance to try all sorts of food in KL City?

 

Plus, we have to admit that we’re not good cooks. Our hostel manager loves food and she created a hand-drawn map for our guests to find amazing local food, so you should definitely check with her when you’re here.

On some days when she’s feeling hungry or craving for some food herself, she’ll also offer to bring our guests out to eat together.

 

11) Please recommend some of the best food around your hostel – everything from breakfast to supper goes!

This is hard. There are so many foods to introduce! If we were to get serious, we would probably need a few pages just to answer this question.

 

But for now, we’ll limit it to these few choices.

Breakfast : ICC Pudu, Nasi Lemak Alor Corner, Tg’s Nasi Kandar

Lunch : Fong Wah Teochew Porridge, Kedai Kopi Lai Fong, Koon Kei Wanton Noodle, Lot 10 Hutong Food Court

Dinner : Jalan Alor, Wong Ah Wah, Huen Kee Claypot Rice, Pudu Wai Sek Kai

Supper : Tong Shin Wanton Mee, Tong Lian Kee Hokkien Noodle, Ngau Kee Beef Noodle

12) Any plans you’re working on for the near future?

Yes, we do have plans for our near future. Just saving up and waiting for the right timing. We’ll not be sharing for the time being!

 

13) Anything else you’d like to share with the audience that I didn’t ask?

We are not a backpacker hostel or party hostel. We just focus on a good and pleasant stay for a good night’s sleep. Yet, we still are a tiny little hostel in this big city, tiny enough that almost all the guests hardly miss the chance to meet new friends here in our hostel.

If you walk away without a new friend, the only reason is that you are too shy or too quiet. In Paper Plane Hostel, everyone is friendly and you will easily start calling everyone in the hostel a “friend” or “family”.

Wow, way to leave the readers wondering about the upcoming plans from the developers of Paper Plane Hostel!

It’s also pretty rare to find hand-drawn maps designed for visitors and tourists in lodgings nowadays, so kudos for that too! Finding a place to eat near Paper Plane Hostel will not be an issue with all the suggestions mentioned in this interview along with that map – that’s for sure!

If you’re interested to find out more about what Paper Plane Hostel, the place has several room types for different occupancy needs, and you can find out more about them on their website.

Try visiting Paper Plane Hostel the next time you visit KL to see all the amazing artwork you can find there!

Already an Airbnb user? You can also book on their Airbnb now.

New to Airbnb? Sign up with the link here and you will get RM138 off!

 

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