Colony is a serviced office space located in the heart of KL. It’s Timothy Tiah’s current project after handing over the reins of Nuffnang, and first caught our attention by how lavish everything looks.
After our previous coverage of Colony, the team over invited us to spend one month working in the space. And while we’ve covered quite a few co-working spaces, we’ve never actually spent extended periods of time working at any particular space that wasn’t our own office, so we took up their offer.
Of course, the luxurious surroundings, and the promise of massage and nap rooms, combined with an amazing pool, might have had something to do with it.
Before going in, we did have quite a few questions, which we’ve managed to get answered over the course of our month there.
1. Can you actually work there?
With all of the distractions around, some bosses considering a move to Colony might wonder, can you actually get work done there?
Well, we’re here to tell you that sure, you can. The nap rooms and pool aren’t quite the in-your-face temptations you’d think.
However, one noticeable downside for work focus happened during the events. When we were at the hotdesk area, because of how the space was designed, we could actually hear quite a bit of the noise from the event area, which was nearby.
As a result, it could get a little noisy there. But on some days when it isn’t, you’d almost feel guilty about dropping a pen in there because the clattering can easily be heard across the space.
In general though, as we did spend a lot of time working in our allocated private office space, we had no issues with the noise being a distraction.
2. What is the culture there like?
Most co-working spaces serve more or less the same function, but sometimes what makes or breaks the area is the culture that’s formed in it.
While Colony doesn’t cater to networking specifically, it’s no secret that this is part of the appeal of co-working spaces. Be it as a possibility to explore a business venture together, or just to find outside voices that might help you set some ideas into context, to even just to forging a friendship, you’d hope a co-working space would have some of that.
In this, Colony does hold potential for businesses to forge connections. Just last week, Colony held their inaugural community event, where tenants had breakfast together to mingle and get to know each other. We’ve had some pleasant chats with faces in the startup and tech industry as well while we’re there.
We had very minimal problems in terms of cleanliness of the area, and everyone seemed happy to pitch in by washing their dishes, keeping the general area clean, and putting things back where they belonged. So we lived very well with our neighbors, and felt compelled to do the same and keep the area clean while we used it.
It didn’t hurt that the cleaning services were very active—let’s just put it this way, the dustbins in our private office got emptied twice a day. You can also request for the cleaners to not enter your room at all, or leave your dustbin outside the room for collection, if privacy is a concern.
Most of all though, everyone is usually up to a quick chat every now and again, and once you do approach them during lunch, or while you’re waiting for your coffee, you’ll find company there.
3. Is there any hanky panky in the nap room?
As a private space that could be booked for specific periods of time, we had to wonder a little about the nap room.
As far as we could tell, the rooms were pretty hanky-panky free. The reps at Colony informed us that behaviour of this sort is discouraged, as Colony was meant as a co-working space open for all. They will issue reprimands if any are caught, so there’s that.
4. What are the food options around?
If you choose to eat inside Colony, the fares are admittedly not cheap.
There’s Espressolab that is ready and available to pump caffeine into your bloodstream for normal café prices, but if you pop up with a Colony tag around your neck, the staff will give you a 20% discount. We’re also big fans of the salted egg croissant there.
The other food option is Bold Grains, a healthy food kiosk right next to Espressolab. When we got there in August, the immediately striking menu item for us was their Poke bowls, which could be split between two small eaters for a RM20++ total.
Bold Grains also sold healthy fares such as chia seed puddings, Earl Grey cakes, readily available in their glass display case.
But as Timothy informed us later, to prevent resident eaters from dying of boredom, the food options at Bowl Grains change regularly. So by the time we left, the options available included meatloaf, rosemary chicken and a tortilla wrap, among others.
As far as going out for lunch goes, Pavilion Mall is the closest with a food court on the lower floor, or you could head out behind Vipod for the cheaper fares at Menara Cosway. Here, we found fresh fruits, bread, fried rice, and a plethora of options you’d prefer on your lunch trip for when the wallet pinches.
5. What are the amenities available, and how much do they cost?
Once you book your stay in Colony, what is readily available includes:
- Communal water coolers
- Access to the open co-working area
- Access to the events area
- Access to rooftop pool and gym (only for fixed desk and private room subscribers)
- Use of the pantry area, and any of the communally available foodstuffs there, like drinks
- Access to the nap rooms, fully-equipped meeting rooms and etc. upon request
Others that you have to add on include:
- Possibility for parking: RM300
- Massages in the massage room: currently no finalised costs
- Rewiring or renovations (for private office tenants, if needed): separate cost
6. How do I choose between a private room, a set desk or the hotdesk area?
This is a problem not just with Colony, but co-working spaces in general so lets break it down:
Hotdesk/ Set desks
I personally had a comfortable time in the hotdesk, area, as someone who generally thrived working in cafés and libraries during my student days.
But one of our colleagues had a difficult time there. She disliked the idea of working around strangers, even if she was there with someone familiar to her. So if you can’t handle working around others, this is not for you.
As far as chatting up your neighbour at a hotdesk, while we were there, very few ever came up to chat with us, and we never felt the inclination to pipe up or butt into the quiet conversations around us. So neighbour interruptions were very minimal.
The walls of the private rooms to us felt a little thin, and we—being a noisy bunch—took care to keep our noise levels down. We could occasionally hear our neighbours particularly if they were in the hallway or the surrounding areas, talking a little louder.
To be honest, these are all normal noises you’d hear in an office anyway, so we weren’t particularly bothered, but some might take issue if they insist on having total silence in their rooms.
Within the private room, another one of our colleagues felt that the space was too small for her, and preferred to head out to work in the beanbag area where she felt like she could “breathe” in the wider space.
So if you’re opting for the private rooms, be sure that you’re able to sit in a relatively small space for long hours, and perhaps opt for a bigger room if you want more space.
7. How do you get there?
Colony is easily accessible either through MRT or Monorail.
But as someone who was coming in from Subang, the LRT proved to be the easiest route for me to get myself to Colony, and common sense had me swapping over to the Monorail to get off at Pavilion.
But personally, I found it was easier (and costs about the same) to step off the LRT at KLCC, then Grab or Uber my way to the space if I was in a hurry. But if you want, you can also take the approximately 30 minute walk from KLCC to Colony through pedestrian flyovers that lead directly to Pavilion. They’re shaded and it could serve as your morning exercise.
If you still prefer to drive in, you’ll of course be subject to the normal jams and traffic lights known to those used to KL.
8. For Muslims, am I able to pray comfortably there?
There is a surau about 3 minutes away from the space that tenants can pray in, but the reception informed us that they’re happy to let tenants pray in the nap room upon booking and request.
If you own a private room, it is also possible to pray on the carpeted floor. For this though, you’ll probably have to shell out for a slightly bigger room so that you’d have the space.
9. Will there be kids there?
More often than not, we noted that the kids playroom tended to go unused, so it’s not like parents are bringing their kids to Colony all the time. But every once in a while, we did bump into children there who were presumably with their parents at the area.
But as for parents who do want to bring their kids into the space, Colony is perfectly able to house these children, even coming equipped with a playroom for them. However, do note that parental supervision is still necessary in the playroom as there is no one assigned to watch over the kids.
10. What happens for client meetings?
While guests aren’t allowed into the hot desk area, client meetings can either be held in the pantry area (where we observed most of the client meetings being held), sit in the café or book one of the meeting rooms.
If you’d like some air, you could bring them up to the rooftop to the seats by the pool area for a great breeze, good view, and relative privacy.
11. Is the pool really that great?
As a frequent user of the pool, let me just say that it is indeed a sight to behold, and the view at night was even better.
It was even wonderful to bring your food up to the rooftop to enjoy lunch at, or even, as previously mentioned, to bring a client up to for a more relaxing, chilled meeting.
Do bear in mind that this is still a pool shared with Vipod Residences, so there will be residents or children coming up there doing their own thing.
The gym too is pretty decently equipped. It had everything from bicycles, various weights and machines available, and even a large empty space to either do more elaborate workouts in, or hold classes. It certainly won’t defeat any larger gym chains out there, but for the most part, it sufficed for a simple, no-frills workout.
12. Does it actually feel that luxurious?
All in all, it still felt like an office to us.
We were suitably impressed in the beginning, but once you start making use of the space and settling down to work, the glitz and glamour wasn’t distracting (or you know, perhaps familiarity breeds contempt).
We did like that the space was well-maintained, and the cleaners kept the it spick and span. It wasn’t too overstimulating and we found it easy to buckle down and get to work, even though it was a highly aesthetic.
If you like a well-decorated surrounding to lift your mood, then Colony is right up your alley.
But the future seems to spell more servicing for the tenants of Colony.
A lunch with Timothy revealed that he takes the serviced bit of serviced space very seriously, and wants to take care of everything from dishwashing (yes, you’re actually encouraged to leave your plates in the sink), to dropping care packages, to even wheeling around a cart door-to-door to deliver treats and goodies.
13. After a month, what’s the verdict?
Overall, we do find that the location very convenient. What troubled some of us the most was actually the transportation in and out of KL, as people who are used to just driving to the office.
I personally found it tiring to have to sit in an LRT for an hour. In contrast, my editor enjoyed getting to ride the MRT for 20 minutes to go in to work, instead of having to drive for her usual 40 minutes.
Now that we’ve departed from Colony, we’ll miss enjoying the view of the KL skyline from the rooftop of Vipod Residences and for some of us, the easy accessibility to a nearby mall after work. We’re also sad we won’t be receiving goodies wheeled to us from a trolley anymore.
We did enjoy our time there, and the serviced aspect might have made some of us a little lazier when it comes to cleaning up after ourselves back in our office.
But no place feels like home (read: office), in the end and we’re glad to be back in a space that we feel like we truly belong in.
So if you choose to make Colony your home, you’ll probably find a welcoming, convenient space for your working needs that you can belong in.
Feature Image Credit: Colony