Quirky budget waterfront property near Cenang Beach
Colorful tube rooms with air-conditioning, fans, and waterfront or garden views
Restaurant with free breakfast, waterfront terrace, and pool table
Free boat trips in exchange for island beach clean-ups
Bicycle, scooter, and car rentals plus laundry facilities
Hula hoops, inflatable tubes, and water-sports available
Luggage storage and safety deposit box
On-site mini market
Muslim prayer room and separate changing rooms
Free Wi-Fi, breakfast, and outdoor parking
Shared bathrooms, which could be cleaner
Rooms are essentially just beds mounted inside of tubes
No beach access
Limited lunch and dinner menu
Tubotel is a quirky, value hotel whose 17 rooms are repurposed, vibrantly painted concrete water pipes with air-conditioning and king beds. Situated at the end of a jetty, Tubotel offers great sea views but no beach. Cenang Beach is about a five-minute drive away, and the hotel operates free boat trips to nearby island beaches in exchange for clean-up work. Tubotel has a restaurant with a terrace on the bay, as well as a bar and everything from scooter rentals to water sports. A homemade breakfast, which can include frittatas and banana pancakes, is included in the room rate. Travelers seeking a more traditional beachfront hotel might want to check out the Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa.
Novel, minimalist budget hotel with funky style and beautiful bay views
Tubotel is a funky budget hotel geared toward backpackers and 20-somethings, who might be the ones to most appreciate the novelty of sleeping in large, concrete tubes. Founded by restaurateur Alex Mark, the Tubotel lives by the motto “Don’t Be Square,” and was designed after the Dasparkhotel in Austria. The atmosphere is low-key and cheery, and similar to that of a hostel. Guests spend most of their time outside their tubes, watching the sunset from front patios, lounging on daybeds overlooking the bay, and playing pool. The occasional band and DJ add to the free-spirited, laid-back young vibe. Rocky courtyards offer traditional Malaysian wooden sofas. A passageway under the hotel’s waterfront terrace leads to the bay, where guests can board boats.
Waterfront location, near the action along Pantai Cenang
The hotel sits directly on the waterfront, but there’s no beach and the town isn't really within walking distance. Cenang Beach, which is a five-minute drive from the hotel, can be seen from the hotel’s pier. The owner takes guests on boat trips to other islands for beach clean-up projects -- in exchange for the free trip, guests spend about 30 minutes removing beach debris, and then the beach is all theirs. Pantai Cenang -- the main artery with restaurants, cafes, shops, and nightlife -- is a five-minute drive from Tubotel, and Underwater World is another five-minute drive from Pantai Cenang. The Langkawi Cable Car, with its beautiful views, is about a 25-minute drive from the hotel, as is Kuah. The Sunday Night Market, which has loads of street-food vendors, is about a 15-minute drive. Langkawi International Airport is 10 minutes away by car.
Hip, colorful tube rooms with air-conditioning and waterfront or garden views
Tubotel has converted 17 vibrantly painted cement water pipes into hotel rooms set along the waterfront or in the garden with chairs in small patio areas. Tinted glass and modern double doors close off the tubes' circular openings. Inside are fun, colorful murals, king beds, fans, AC, and outlets. There’s no storage other than the space under the bed, and nowhere to sit inside of the tubes (think of them more as bunks with doors and patios, or similar to Japanese pod-style hotels, but with way bigger beds). Bathrooms, which have their own Keith Haring-inspired wall art, are shared, and guests report they could be cleaner. The coed shower stalls have locks, and there are separate changing rooms. A safe-deposit box is available at the front desk. Guests should know that when it rains, water may collect under the bed area and anything stored there might get wet.
Restaurant and bar, snack shop, water-sport activities, and bicycle and scooter rentals
Owner and restaurateur Alex Mark often makes cameos in the Tubotel restaurant to whip up the free breakfast of frittatas, banana pancakes, and eggs. After breakfast the menu is more cafe style, and includes tapas, pasta, and pizza, with bar service. Seating is indoors by a pool table or outside on the waterfront terrace. An on-site mini-market sells snacks and there is a Muslim prayer room on site. The front desk can arrange for Jet-Skiing, jungle treks, scooter and bike rentals. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout.