The hotel properties of Sama-Sama were previously managed by the Pan Pacific Hotels Group. Having been taken over by Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad, the property has been renamed as Sama-Sama Hotel on 1st January, 2013.
After the takeover deal, there are more beneficial collaboration between the hotel and the airport service. The result is a win-win situation.
With the solidly built foundation, Sama-Sama Hotel is continuing and extending the hospitality to all the guests in the Malaysian way. We had previously stayed in Pan Pacific Airport Hotel and this time, we are going to find out how good Sama-Sama fare against the predecessor.
Majority of the staff will greet you with a smile. Many of them are attentive enough to sense if you need help and approach you before you ask for it. And some of them even help you out with something that you can do it yourself. We feel that the high standard of hospitality is maintained, if not surpassed compare to a few years ago.
Most of the check-in guests arrive at the hotel right after they touch down the airport. For those having a long flight and getting jet lag, an undisturbed sleep is essential to get recharged. This is when the turndown service comes in.
You ask for the service by contacting the operator but don’t expect someone to read you a story. Basically, the room keeper will do a simple setup such as dim the light, put the slippers beside the bed and check the room necessity to ensure nothing is missing. This may sound trivial but the heartwarming feeling create the calmness to put you into sleep.
Undoubtedly, you’ll leave a great impression on Sama-Sama’s way of hospitality.
This hotel property has been in operation for more than 15 years. Therefore, you can start seeing wear and tear in the hotel premises. As soon as the hotel was taken over, 50 millions ringgit was spent to give the rooms the complete facelift. Currently, most of the furniture are brand new. It is also good to know from the management that more upgrading work will be carried out soon.
Being an airport hotel, the check-in/out process is done extremely fast (within 2 mins if there is no queue). Here, you can also find two monitors displaying the latest flight info. The buggy service is located at the left side of the hotel main entrance. The departure interval is usually 5 mins. Since each buggy can take a maximum of 7 people, the waiting time will be longer during busy hours. In case if you are rushing for your flight, walking to the airport departure hall takes only about 10 mins.
New control interface is introduced. The switch buttons have been changed to touch pad control. Switch panel can be seen on the walls and a central control panel is located right beside the bed. This can be quite challenging for a non-tech savvy especially the elderly to maneuver though.
Deluxe, the smallest room of the hotel is not small at all. There are still plenty of walking space after placing a king sized bed, sofa, working table and wardrobe in the 35sqm room.
Sama-Sama is a green hotel. Make sure you roll up the drapes and sheers (with a touch of a button) to enjoy the greenery outside.
The swimming pool, though small in size, is surrounded by bushes and trees, giving it the resort feel. Even if you are not going for a swim, it is highly recommended that you go for a walk to experience the breathtaking landscape.
There are three dining places at the hotel’s lobby. The decoration is modern and the ambience is classic. The food is good but not great. This is something that the hotel management really needs to improve on.
Richard: More than 50% of our clients are here on leisure travel. About 15-20% of them are staying here on business. And yes, we are the 5-star luxury hotel too. You mentioned about the transit hotel. We operate a transit hotel called Sama-Sama Express. What it does is it facilitates the guests who are only want to stay for short hours. They need to have some rest, eat and take shower. We call it refresh, relax and renew. It doesn’t have a 5-star facilities like swimming pool, spa and gym etc.
Richard: The number one is location. For every 10 guests who come to our hotel, we send them an email survey. When we look at those scores, more than 70% of our guests say they are here because of location. When you are traveling the time and distances our guests are traveling, they’ve been in the whole series of queue. After they have gone through all that, they want to get to a place where they can relax and take shower as fast as possible and that is one of the things they like about us and we have all the facilities they need.
Then we go on to talk about our service level. The profile of the guests are international travelers. They come to us because they understand value for money. They get a lot of value here base on the level of services they get. A lot of our staff here has worked for a long time and it helps us in terms of everybody here knowing about their job, knowing the guest and knowing what they are going to do and the guests feel that. Our service level is very high and that’s why we get those big awards and we deserve it.
As for the third one, the overall comfort level you get here is good. Our bedroom is state of the art. I spoke to a person who works in CNN and I said to him,”How is your stay?”. He said,”Richard, I’ve been traveling for 35 years and I slept in many beds and your bed is the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in.”
Richard: We understand that some facilities are old but we have a big plan. We have a plan to redesign the spa significantly this year and get it done in 2015. Our guests love to have a spa where they can enjoy various types of massage or facial treatments. I operated a lot of hotels before and I know spa is a big deal.
In terms of the other facilities, we are just in the process of having the detail drawing for all of the ground floor. Reception and all of the restaurants will get revamped that may costs up to 20 millions ringgit. This will take us to a different level and match our facilities to our bedroom. The process takes time and we give ourselves 12 months to complete the whole process. While we are doing the upgrading work, we’ll do it in phases and do it smartly so that it won’t disrupt our guests.
The owners are very accommodating with regards to knowing that this property is selling the Sama-Sama brand and in order to do that, we have to have a very good software, which is our people and we have to have a very good hardware.
Richard: I don’t agree with you and I would say the opposite. When I was working with the Four Seasons Hotel, or the Peninsula Groups or Hilton, they hand me a manual and say,”Hey Richard, follow this and do this and do that.” Sama-Sama, no manual. We are brand new.
The company wants to build a hotel brand that is modern Malaysian. In order to do that, we need to develop a lot of things. We are not at the point where we can have the manual yet. So we have to take time to explore and try things and see if they can work. I find it much more challenging at Sama-Same than the other hotels I worked for previously.
When you take all the top hotel brands in the world you’ll know that service is the key. All of these companies focus on guest satisfaction. And that’s what I need to do. I need to make my guests happy if they don’t, they don’t come back.
Richard: For repeated customers, I would say, just over 30%. We target the occupancy rate at 78% this year and we will achieve that. For us, the major driver for business going forward is KLIA2. KLIA2 will be opening May 2nd. When that opens, it will bring the clients closer to us and we’ll see more people. They are forecasting about 10-12 million people new traffic in the first 6 months. And we’ll have this extra people coming to drive the occupancy rate.