Wassup Youth Hostel
Wassup Youth Hostel is a conveniently-located hotel in Penang located just around the corner from KOMTAR. I had booked myself a Single Room for this trip but I received a Superior Twin Room at check-in. This was a pleasant surprise, until another rude surprise at 5am on my first night.
Wassup Youth Hostel is located at No. 495E, Jalan Penang, Penang, Malaysia which is about a 3-minute walk from KOMTAR Bus Terminal, giving me easy access around Penang during my trip.
Heading in to Wassup Youth Hostel for check-in.
Check-in was fuss-free with my booking already on standby.
A Penang Heritage Tax is payable per room at RM2 per room per night. For a 2-night stay, this was RM4 for me.
Rooms and facilities are through this main glass door from the lobby.
Do note that the rooms at Wassup Youth Hostel are accessed by staircases.
As my room is on Level 2, there are 2 flights of stairs to take.
My room 215 is the second-last along the corridor.
Heading into my room.
Wassup Youth Hostel Superior Twin Room
I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the door as this was a Superior Twin Room which is a lot more spacious than the Single Room that I had originally booked.
The facilities around the Superior Twin Room available.
A universal power socket and reading lamp is available beside the bed, along with remote controls for the television and aircon.
A tag is required for electricity in the room.
Coffee and tea making facilities are provided.
For the 3-pin power socket by the kettle, a universal converter is provided for the kettle.
A rack for clothes is available, with more facilities laid on it.
A safe is available along with an iron and hairdryer.
A minibar is also available which is great for keeping drinks chilled.
The toilet was very spacious, though the water drainage location means the toilet gets fully wet whenever I shower.
The toilet bowl comes with a bidet spray and toilet paper.
A towel rack is available above the toilet bowl.
The shower is located in the far corner of the toilet.
The shower is wall mounted along with an instant water heater.
Soap is provided above the sink.
The wall-mounted soap dispenser is empty now that individual tubes of soap are provided.
The view of Jalan Penang from my room.
No to check out the facilities around Wassup Youth Hostel.
There is an internet and reading area on the 1st Floor, along with an ironing board.
Very surprisingly, a swimming pool is available in Wassup Youth Hostel.
The swimming pool is small but may be functional for Instagram pictures. The water does not look clean though, so I did not use the swimming pool.
A cooking area with a big fridge and water dispenser is also available by the swimming pool.
Sofas are available on the Ground Floor.
A vending machine for drinks, snacks, and toiltries is available, but this was not working throughout my visit.
Blackout, Lack of Water, Mosquitoes
Now for the bad part of Wassup Youth Hostel.
There were insects in my room which I could tolerate, although I really should not, as I brought along insect repellent. Some of the insects included mosquitoes which I smacked some dead before going to sleep.
There was a blackout at around 5am during my first night’s stay. This quickly warmed up my room as the aircon was tripped off.
I made a call to the hotel which was not answered on the first try, but someone did pick up on my second try about half an hour into the blackout to confirm that it wasn’t just my room but the whole 1st and 2nd floors.
The blackout was not resolved any time soon.
As the layout of Wassup Youth Hostel was inward, the corridors were pitch black even with the morning sun shining in my room. I refrained from opening my curtains fully, however, as I would like to keep whatever room temperature I had in my room as compared to having the sun warm my room up.
I headed for a shower as I thought the water supply was not affected, but lo and behold, water was also not readily available. This same trickle of water was also the same amount of water coming out of the wall-mounted shower.
Nevertheless, I decided to unfortunately not shower and headed for my Penang Hill trip first.
The middle part of was not in darkness as it is an air well.
I asked the front desk staff how long it would take to fix the issue and she only mentioned that “the TNB is coming”. Only Wassup Youth Hostel’s 1st and 2nd floors were affected by the blackout, not the whole row of units along Jalan Penang. Also, the ground floor where the front desk is was not affected.
I returned from Penang Hill at about 1.30pm and the blackout was still ongoing. The front desk staff and TNB said it will get fixed at 2pm.
Walking back to my room at 1.30pm, the corridor was pitch black due to the design of the building.
At 2pm, the electricity and water wasn’t fixed, so I decided to take my shower with the bidet by squatting by the toilet bowl which surprisingly was working, though without water heater. Nevertheless, with the outside heat, a cold shower was fine for me, and with the outside heat anyway, the water that spouted out from the bidet was warm.
I was not going to continue waiting in the warm room after my squatting bidet shower along with my dying phone and camera batteries since I could not get a charge since 5am, so I decided to head out again, but not before stopping once more at the front desk to ask what was going on.
In the morning, when I spoke to the front desk lady, when I asked if I could get a refund for my second night stay if I were to decide to cancel my stay, she said to wait for the management to arrive, but if the blackout persisted, it should be no problem. However, I had no intention of cancelling as I would then have a second problem which is to immediately find a new place to stay at.
My fears were founded at 2pm when there was still no electricity and lack of water, and hotels in the vicinity of KOMTAR were sold out. Even if I cancelled by second night, there was no nearby place to move to.
I then asked what was Wassup Youth Hostel’s plan for all the remaining guests and the front desk staff took no responsibility whatsoever, only continuously emphasising that this is a TNB problem and not the hotel’s responsibility. I had to slowly explain to her that the room rate I paid for was for Wassup Youth Hostel and not to TNB, and TNB does not own Wassup Youth Hostel.
I asked her if Wassup Youth Hostel was going to provide any alternatives, since rooms are sold out elsewhere, and she mentioned that her management is at another hotel and not here (at Wassup Youth Hostel). I said how about moving guests over to the other 2 hotels (the owner apparently has 3 hotels in Penang but I do not know the names), and she said they were all full.
I then asked if we could be moved to another hotel then, and she replied, “You mean you expect us to find another place for you?” to which I really couldn’t be nice any more and informed her that it is Wassup Youth Hostel’s responsibility to provide a room and facilities to paying customers, that I just took a squatting shower by the toilet bowl, I paid for my Wassup Youth Hostel room to Wassup Youth Hostel, and that I am actually helping her think of solutions now at 2pm, because in 1 hour, a bunch of new guests are coming in at 3pm to a blacked-out hotel.
It had been 7 hours with no electricity and very little water, and if the delays go on for just a bit more, it would be 5pm which I think TNB would possibly be going home whether or not the job was done. I also had to plan to go to another area in Penang or even another city on the mainland if necessary, since hotels around KOMTAR were slowly getting sold out, and I need time to travel.
It wasn’t about getting another hotel to stay at, I would be happiest not to move anywhere but to just get electricity and water back. It was the sheer shirking of responsibility of Wassup Youth Hostel to their guests. Moving hotels will take up my time in Penang in travelling and packing. Granted, the room rate at Wassup Youth Hostel was cheap, but if a cheap room rate is convincing to you for not providing any responsibility to your guests, then I don’t think you will go far in the hospitality trade.
To be fair to Wassup Youth Hostel, I was offered a refund at 2pm for the second night, but I did not proceed there and then as there was already nowhere affordable around KOMTAR to move to at that point. And to be even more fair to the front desk staff, the management (ie. the main decision maker) or any other of her colleagues did not show up to help her in the afternoon. She was left alone to face all the guests.
As I couldn’t stand the conflict any more since Wassup Youth Hostel was adamant that it was not their responsibility of a blackout in their own property and the conversation was going nowhere, I decided to leave the hotel first and give them a call at 4pm to check on the electricity status, as that was my cut off time to catch a peak hour Penang Ferry to the mainland and connecting Komuter Utara or ETS if really necessary.
Thankfully, the electricity was fixed by 4pm, and I continued my stay for the second and last night. This brings the total blackout time at Wassup Youth Hostel to around 8 hours.
Looking back at how Wassup Youth Hostel managed the blackout and lack of water situation, I would be hard-pressed to return any time soon unless absolutely necessary. If things go wrong, I have now learnt first-hand that Wassup Youth Hostel will not take responsibility but only offer the easy way of refunding which I also had to wait half a day anyway for it to be properly offered to me.
There could have been many possible ways to fix the comfort issues for guests throughout the blackout time to show at least some effort:
- Inform guests to share the ground floor rooms and showers to freshen up once ground floor guests have checked out
- Provide torchlights for guests to walk to and from rooms, and to use the in-room toilet
- Update the situation on social media to warn incoming guests checking in at 3pm
- Keep existing checked-in guests updated of the situation
- Put a standing fan by the main door to blow the front desk aircon temperature into the sofa area for guests to sit there
None of which were applied, but Wassup Youth Hostel allow the blackout situation to persist naturally with no urgency of fixing the issue by pointing everything to TNB and keeping the hotel stuffy and dark.
If some effort was shown by Wassup Youth Hostel to provide some remedy to the situation, at least Wassup Youth Hostel could have earned some brownie points, and I believe guests could have been even more understanding, perhaps even agreeing with Wassup Youth Hostel that TNB is slow.
This is really unfortunate and sad for me, as Wassup Youth Hostel was one of my first choices to stay in Penang even before I started RailTravel Station, and I have been sorely disappointed by this one but impactful experience.
Thanks for the memories, Wassup Youth Hostel.