There are a few reasons why one may find it challenging to go on overnight workcations at hotels.
Perhaps you may worry about leaving your pets at home. Separation anxiety can be a real struggle when it comes to furkids (I’m looking at those with 5,348 photos of your cats in your phone, many of which they’re in the exact same position).
Or you just find it troublesome to pack everything into an overnight bag. It’s only a night or two but who knows, you might need extra clothes, additional facial products, sports shoes and workout attire IF you feel like heading to the gym (news flash, you never do).
But what if you still want to enjoy the amenities and certain fancies of a hotel suite, and have a quiet and conducive environment for work and/or rest for a fixed amount of time?
There’s the gap that Flow app could fill. Flow is a “platform for space” that allows urban travellers, digital nomads, remote workers and the like, to book a hotel room to stay for a few hours.
Flow claims that by booking for a specific time range that suits your work or travel schedule, users can save up to 75% off the full-day prices.
The main features that particularly drew me to the app were:
- I can choose which time range I’d like to check in and stay at the hotel. And the time ranges are quite suitable for both work and rest.
- There are some four or five star hotels that I may not want to pay full price for an overnight stay, but I’m happy to pay a portion to experience and enjoy the room and amenities for a few good hours.
- Very last-minute booking is available, which suits my impromptu and sometimes spontaneous self.
This is also a good way to test certain hotels out and if I enjoy it enough, I may choose to return in the future for a longer stay/workcation.
Disclaimer: This article isn’t sponsored by Flow or by InterContinental Kuala Lumpur, and I paid for those few hours spent at the hotel.
As of this writing, the price range is about RM103 to RM180 for a room at a four or five star hotel, excluding tax.
To be fair, one might pay a lot less than RM100 a day for a coworking space but that’s with sharing a space with others, minus the hotel facilities and luxuries.
Sometimes good things do happen after 2AM
(How I Met Your Mother reference, anyone?)
I wasn’t kidding about the occasional spontaneity. I made my reservation for InterContinental Kuala Lumpur on the Flow app at 2.07AM, 10 hours and 53 minutes before the 1PM check-in time on the same day.
The app’s user interface makes it really easy to look for a hotel. The amenities are displayed in icons, the fixed time range options with respective prices are shown with some hotels offering free cancellations before check-in.
I chose 1PM to 8PM because I figured it’s the best time frame for work and a little bit of after-work rest time.
The total came up to RM190.01 after tax and I opted to make the payment at the hotel since there was no price difference. Upon making the reservation, I got a confirmation code and email to show the front desk when checking in.
11 hours and 53 minutes later
In true Malaysian fashion, I was late to check in. A whole hour late. The hotel front desk staff at InterContinental Kuala Lumpur however gave me a replacement hour for my stay so I could check out at 9PM instead of the original 8PM.
Even though I didn’t make any upfront payment, he also said that the reservation won’t be cancelled even if I was running extremely late.
Note: I didn’t request for the add-on time, it was kindly offered to me by the front desk. I checked with them if this is normal procedure for any late check-in with Flow, he clarified that it is offered upon the staff’s own discretion.
Based on the terms and conditions mentioned in the Flow app, a safety deposit of RM200 is required at check-in. But that wasn’t necessary or asked for by the hotel, I suppose this is also based on the hotel’s own standard operating procedures.
The check-in process was smooth and easy. It’s possible that I got lucky since there wasn’t any queue. It helped that there was no confusion from the hotel front desk with the reservation via Flow.
7-hour workcation begins
The hotel room matched my expectations from what was mentioned in the Flow app. I had chosen wisely, indeed.
Turns out working in a bathrobe can make me more productive. I’m sure that’s the reason.
It totally wasn’t because I was rushing to complete my work because I’ve paid for 7 hours in this room and I really want my last 2 hours to be for chilling.
After a solid 4-hour period of typing away and completing various tasks, I went up to Level 5 for a walk and stretch.
I didn’t plan on exercising here but I wanted to just check the facilities out for the purposes of this article.
Both the gym and swimming pool are open from 8AM to 8PM, which meant I actually did have the time to make use of the facilities, if I wanted to.
Stopping for a break at 7.30PM, it was time to put the bathtub to use and I came prepared with a bath bomb.
Being in the heart of KL city, ordering food via Grab for dinner was convenient and the hotel concierge brought the food right up to the room.
There is also an in-room dining menu available for guests who prefer to enjoy InterContinental Kuala Lumpur’s own Local Origin or World Kitchen dishes.
Time to check out
As I finish typing this article about 30 mins before check-out time, I have to say I’m pretty pleased with my work accomplished, my much-needed hot soak, my overall stay at InterContinental Kuala Lumpur, and my experience with Flow.
I do however wish that Flow would improve their filter function so that I can search for hotels based on the amenities, specific time slots, or promotion/offers (early bird, meals, etc.).
I also look forward to having more hotel options available on the app, and not just in KL but also in other Klang Valley areas.
Personally, I find the rates on Flow generally reasonable. Some people pay RM150++ for a single meal, so why not for 7 hours of a very comfortable and productive hotel experience?
It’s not an everyday or every week thing for me if I’m working solo, but as a once-in-a-while work treat.
If you choose a hotel room that can accommodate 2 people for working and share the cost together, it’s even more worth it for you.
Just… don’t choose a room with glass windows between the bedroom and bathroom if you plan to use the loo or bathtub.