Review: Sama-Sama Express Hotel Kuala Lumpur Airport

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My overnight stopover in Kuala Lumpur was fairly short. I was arriving before 8PM, and departing the following morning at 9:40AM to Tokyo.

Kuala Lumpur has a lot of great luxury hotels that are reasonably priced (for example, I love the St. Regis), and some are easily accessible by the KLIA Express. However, I knew I wanted to get back to the airport really early to be able to review the lounges, so I decided to try something different.

KLIA has one airside transit hotel, which is Sama-Sama Express. Being able to stay within the secure area seemed really convenient, so I booked that. I booked a room for a 10 hour block, from 8PM until 6AM, at the cost of ~112USD. That’s not much cheaper than some good hotels in Kuala Lumpur, though obviously you’re paying for the convenience.

Sama-Sama Express Hotel is located in the satellite building of KLIA, near gate C5. So when I landed I followed the signage towards the train and C gates. Based on where my flight arrived I had to walk around the satellite building train “station.”

Kuala Lumpur International Airport

Kuala Lumpur International Airport

I had to walk around to the other side, in the direction of gates C1, C3, and C5.

Kuala Lumpur International Airport

That’s where there was signage for the hotel.

Kuala Lumpur International Airport

Kuala Lumpur Airport transit hotel signage

Kuala Lumpur International Airport

Sure enough, the entrance was just a short walk away on the left.

Sama-Sama Express Transit Hotel KUL

All of the facilities are on the second floor, so on the first floor there’s just a staircase and elevator.

Sama-Sama Express Transit Hotel KUL entrance

Sama-Sama Express Transit Hotel KUL entrance

Upon exiting the elevator, the reception desk was straight ahead. The check-in process was straightforward, and within a minute I was given a key to my room.

Sama-Sama Express Transit Hotel reception

Sama-Sama Express Transit Hotel reception

Sama-Same Express also has an airport lounge, which is contracted out to certain airlines. When I arrived this place was crowded.

Sama-Sama Express lounge

I was assigned room 126, just down the hall from reception and on the right.

Sama-Sama Express Transit Hotel hallway

Sama-Sama Express Transit Hotel room exterior

The room was quite large. Inside the entryway the bathroom was to the right and the rest of the room was straight ahead.

Sama-Sama Express Transit Hotel room entryway

The room had a king size bed, a chair by the window, and a TV and desk across from it.

KLIA transit hotel room

KLIA transit hotel room

KLIA transit hotel room

KLIA transit hotel room

There was a kettle with instant coffee and tea, as well as two bottles of water.

KLIA transit hotel in-room kettle

The room did have a cool view of the apron, and in particular of an ANA 787 parked just outside my room.

KLIA transit hotel view

The bathroom was back towards the entrance, with the sink being in the main part of the room.

KLIA transit hotel bathroom

Across from it was a safe.

KLIA transit hotel safe

Then the toilet and shower were in another room, with no real separation between them. Toiletries were in wall-mounted containers.

KLIA transit hotel bathroom

KLIA transit hotel shower

From a distance the room looked nice enough, but I just didn’t feel like it was very clean. The carpet was quite stained, the sheets had tons of stains (not like they weren’t washed, just like they had been used often), the bathroom floor was really sticky (like they used cleaning materials but then didn’t mop with water or dry afterwards), and the room had an odd odor.

It wasn’t terrible, but it just didn’t feel very clean to me.

While I didn’t order anything, the room did have a room service menu, which read as follows (1USD=4RM):

The hotel did have wifi, which was fast and free.

I ended up sleeping for several hours, but woke up at 3AM. At that point I figured I might as well get up and just head to the Malaysia Airlines lounge and work, given that it’s open 24/7.

KLIA transit hotel bottom line

If you’re looking for a real bed during a long connection in Kuala Lumpur, Sama-Sama Express is your only option. The hotel is conveniently located, and the rooms are large. Personally I felt like the room wasn’t especially clean, so I don’t think I’d return, as I’d much rather just head into the city and pay a little more for a five star hotel.

But it’s a good option to have nonetheless.

  1. I’ve stayed at the landside Sama Sama a few times and it’s actually a decent product. Rooms have been recently refurbished and the hotel has a good restaurant and pool. Opened originally as a Pan Pacific so it has good bones. Certainly would recommend that over the airside option. Sticky floors, no thanks.

  2. I always get this kinky idea everytime I see an airport hotel with the view of parked planes. I bet I can get the flight crews turned on before their 10 hour flight.

    Oh your camera white balance is way off. Get a Samsung or Pixel, it is much better.

  3. Thanks for reviewing this. As you said, it’s a good option and often MAS does have long layovers. Love the view of the airfield! Puts an extra “star” on it for me 🙂

  4. @Expathotelier, I totally agree that the landside SamaSama at KUL is way better, especially with the in-airport buggy/cart ride!

  5. The landside SamaSama is good but expensive. The best option is the Tune hotel at Terminal 2. Short ride on the transit and a day rate if you just want 10 hours or so. Very inexpensive about 40 USD and the best bit is you get a voucher for a free lunch in their restaurant. You won’t find better food in Malaysia. The only problem is finding it, it’s not very well signed.

  6. Isn’t KL sentral fairly far? The landside Sama Sama is popular among the posters, but aren’t there some good hotels around the airport?

  7. I’ve spent a few nights here before the 630am NRT flight…the pool is actually fantastic, especially after a day in a suit in the humid temps. The bar/ restaurant is surprisingly decent, I’ve always just had the satay and vino but I think they had live entertainment (maybe at least on wknds). Would totally stay here again to avoid the 90min commute early morning into KLIA.

  8. @Lucky, Why would you book the room for so many hours? Why not just book the 6 hour block for your actual sleep and then get up and head over to a business/first class lounge for your shower where you are not ‘on the clock’ for the time used?

  9. @ SullyofDoha — Because I had been doing a LOT of flying and wanted to be sure I booked it so that I could get as much sleep as possible. I figured I might not be able to sleep right away, and didn’t want to then have to wake up after a few hours. Go figure I couldn’t actually sleep for that long. The incremental price difference for a longer block wasn’t high at all.

  10. The KLIA2 Sama Sama is better than this (newer though, but definitely cleaner)

    Worth mentioning that there are showers there you can use for a few MYR as well – handy as the Plaza Premium showers always have a very long wait in the evening & they are cleaner than the Malaysian lounge ones.

    KLIA has a surprisingly lack of very nearby hotels but the train drops right in KL Central with plenty, so you can go there if you have a reasonable length layover

    The Tune hotel at KLIA2 isn’t bad either for a layover – tricky to find though!

  11. I think the KLIA Express train stops service around midnight so not great for people arriving into KUL anytime after 11pm.

    Also, thanks for the response @lucky 🙂

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