I was struck by the blatant ableism, racism, ageism, and xenophobia displayed by the proprietors who run Reggae Mansion, Malaysia’s “newest and funkiest” chain of hostels and guesthouses. No doubt bigotry occurs at a systemic level in Malaysia, the kind of bigotry against Malaysians on Malaysian soil recalls the days of European invasion and systematic racism of untold horror where local people were excluded from entering certain public establishments. With branches in Kuala Lumpur and Penang, the company proudly demonstrates its credentials as an exclusive and highly sophisticated place for tourists to stay and call one’s home away from home. Reggae Mansion Hostel also stresses that it caters to an “international” clientele of backpackers, a subtle code suggested by its promotional photos to mean white backpackers.

Taken from Reggae Mansion Hostel's website. Click for a larger image.

Unfortunately, exclusivity also means the gates are tightly shut to “riffraff” otherwise known as Malaysians, Indian and Middle Eastern nationals. The proprietors will declare bookings from people of these national backgrounds “null and void.” Reggae Mansion Hostel is also not wheelchair accessible which means wheelchair users due to disabilities, age, and / or injury cannot easily enter the premises of the “funky” hostel. Just to further demonstrate how unwelcoming they are, Reggae Mansion is closed to prospective guests over the age of 60.

How did a public establishment arrive to such an extreme policy of exclusion? It has been a long and unproblematic issue in Malaysia that many public spaces are just not wheelchair-friendly. The fault lies in our generally ableist society where social welfare is hard to come by and people ignore the under-privileged for the sake of “minding one’s own business.” For a “mansion” hostel that has a cinema room equipped with a THX sound system and intercom on every floor, it is surprising why its management team did not bother to invest in a wheelchair-accessible environment. Rejecting guests over the age of 60 meanwhile suggests that older people will be a nuisance to younger guests and unappreciative of the young backpacker lifestyle, if there was such a lifestyle to begin with. Hence, it will be far easier to ban an undesirable group of guests than to go into the trouble of making a space inclusive and welcoming for everybody.

The far more disturbing form of exclusion demonstrated by Reggae Mansion is its policy against Malaysian, Indian, and Middle Eastern guests. Whether it is an indication of the proprietor’s racism against Indian and Middle Eastern people, and the classism against groups of Malaysian tourists who can only afford to stay in backpacker hostels is anyone’s guess. It could also be a policy that accommodates xenophobia and Eurocentrism. In other words, it may be based on the assumption that white backpackers would not like to share rooms with brown-skinned people because of their stereotypically uncouth and criminal behaviour.

The anti-local policy is reminiscent of the many plush hotels and resorts that dot the beautiful beaches of Thailand, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Maldives where locals are barred from walking on its sands and swimming in its waters. Instead of ethnicity, locals are excluded as guests based on class; locals are certainly more than welcome as service providers so long as they remain in the background of a tourist’s paradise. Reggae Mansion is not much different in perpetuating this unequal racial and class dynamic, by simply barring the custom of Malaysians, Indian and Middle Eastern altogether while rolling out the red carpet for white tourists.

The unfounded “logic” it seems is that white tourists who travel on a shoe-string budget, who may even come from working-class backgrounds are good for business, but Malaysians, Indians, and Middle Eastern people of similar background are for some reason bad for business. Many legitimate guests will leave the country with the disconcerting message that “Malaysian businesses are not only allowed to be shamelessly xenophobic, ageist, and deliberately ableist, but appear to be hostile to their own citizens”. How tragic.

In capitalist Malaysia, profit-driven policies trump social equality and efforts to end discrimination. In the weeks approaching the Bersih 2.0 rally on 9th July this year, marchers were warned not to take to the streets lest they will disrupt businesses. It is only in a culture where we put profit ahead of people where such a protest against demanding greater democracy is common sense. Reggae Mansion Hostel and Guest Houses in Kuala Lumpur and Penang have no reason to turn away great swaths of people from its door unless its owner(s) truly believe that racism, ableism, xenophobia, and ageism are good for business. Reggae Mansion Hostel also makes the offensive assumption that its target clientele are also racist and xenophobic, incapable of sharing their space with so-called “uncivilised” brown people.

Short of boycotting Reggae Mansion, which may not make much of a direct impact on its business since Malaysian guests need not apply, we must condemn its heavily exclusionist policies. There is still hope in the many hostels in Malaysia that are welcoming spaces which do not question your ethnic, national, and class background, sexuality, age, and religious beliefs. Some hostels make it a point to build ramps, automated doors, and lifts so that wheelchair users can move independently and inhabit public spaces as freely as able-bodied people. Businesses which are premised on bigotry have no place in the tourism industry and certainly not in Malaysia.

Alicia spends far too much time in front of the computer writing her next 1000-word masterpiece. When she's not writing she is seen slaving away over a steaming pot of tasty gruel.

102 replies on “Reggae Mansion: Blatant discrimination and exclusivity in the worst possible taste”

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  2. Unfortunately, I just stayed at Racist Mansion, before I was aware of their policies. When I first arrived I thought I had found Hostel Heaven but it became hell very quickly. Incompetent staff, having to use the internet to rebook rooms, and extremely overpriced tours. This was nothing, however, until tThe final nail in the coffin was when I tried to bring a friend with "dark skin" to the hostel for a drink at the Rooftop Bar. He had just arrived from London and was staying at a 5 star Marriott. I'm not sure what his ethnicity was because it never occurred to me to ask such a question.

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  4. Not really sure where your problem is we found several non white people staying in the reggae mansion and everyone seemed to be treated equal. It's simple advertising to say it caters to an international market as that is where a large portion of hotel stayers come from. As for the disabled access there are several rooms on the ground floor which would work just fine, I can't see many wheelchair bound people pulling themselves up the huge ladders to the beds in the dorms anyway. We think the place is great and found many nationalities and races all mixed in together.

  5. Reggae Mansion you're awesome. thanks for showing the world how backwards your moving. God willing, when there is a new more democratic Malaysia, we'll have a huge sign that says " No Wankers" allowed and ship you off to Christmas Island.

  6. Actually, they are afraid that their drug parties will be busted if they allow locals in.
    We all know what goes on behind those walls, its an open secret. If they allow locals in, the word might spread and they might get into hot soup.
    This place is filled with drugs and alcohol and sometimes random sex orgies.
    And now the truth unfolds

    1. Maybe they have lady boys too. Perhaps they are shagging pigs too. That's why they dont welcome Muslims

      1. HAHAHAHA……u guys are really hilarious!!
        leave the mansion alone lahhh… it's just business – tak suka pegi main jauh jauh lahhh….
        and why wud locals wanna go stay at a backpackers joint??!!! banyak rumah tumpangan ada marrrr :)))
        ladee boi got, ladeee pig got, macam macam pun ada LOL…..

  7. This hostel is not the only premise with such policy. Fernloft KL is another (check out their booking page online), and so is Backpackers Travelers Hostel on Jalan Sultan. I was told by them that their dorms are for international backpackers only.

    1. If it is true… we should campaign against this establishment through media… then through legal means.

  8. Everybody here should write a letter or email to the relevant authorities to take action against this hotel. Urge the government to shut it down or remove its racist policies completely. We do not need an establishment that breeds racism, Nazism and white supremacy here. Fuck Reggae Mansion.

    Write to all NGOs and make a protest. Maybe pour red paint over their "white" facade.

    Teach these white foreigners' boot lickers a hard lesson.

    Our Prime Minister and Agong should go there and book a room. Let's see if they dare say "no vacancy".

  9. With grammatical errors equivalent to that of a primary school kid, I seriously wonder if it would appeal at all to the caucasians. I am not surprised if they serve Indo Mee Goreng and calling it Spaghetti Aglio Olio considering the shocking performance!! They also seem to have forgotten that Malaysia is a multiethnic country and denying Malaysians simply suggests a universal discrimination of three major races! Whilst it is really none of our concern if the Reggae boys decides to bury themselves in a shallow grave. It is nonetheless revolting to experience blatant discrimination by a fellow Malaysian business operator right in our homeland. I support the motion of having tourism authorities regulate such distasteful policies.

  10. Guys..

    The management here is extremely RUDE to locals who frequent their restaurant during lunch hours

    The waiter in charge literally barked at us – to hurry up and order

    And proceeded to slam a glass of water down on the table when politely asked.

    When we were done with our meal – and paid the bill – we were shooed off while my friend still had his beer half remaining., The restaurant was NOT FULL, and there was NOONE WAITING

    This is anti local behavior at its worst! Please boycott0

    1. LOL makes me feel like were back in the colonial days when locals were shunned @ the restaurants & establishments that catered to the whites! I really cannot believe such establishments still exist??? I wonder if Perkasa will organise a protest there? LOL!!!

        1. This TaiChower must be the owner or someone who benefits from Reggae Mansion….

          I suggest we bankrupt or cause trouble at this mansion (by asking authorities to revoke the license).

  11. the should put a sign, NO JEWS as well. Since I would assume that the food is non-kosher. Out of respect of course.

  12. Why bother tweeting or leaving comments, do it the tried and tested guerilla style
    CALL THEM ! ! !
    T : +603 20726877; +603 20726878

  13. Malaysia is a very well- balanced, race-conscious country which actively practises discrimination. It discriminates equally against all – even its own citizens. I have stayed in a number of back packer hostels in Malaysia and enjoy mixing with travellers from Malaysia, Hong Kong and other Asian countries. You can learn more from locals than you can from Western tourists. Reggae Mansions should be taken to task for disrespecting the good name of reggae – Bob Marley would be turning in his grave. Reggae Mansions – include me OUT!!!

  14. Ironically reggae is all about love and acceptance. In this case, its just another piece of cultural debris being co-opted as branding fodder.

    I cant be certain of this establishment's reasons for their policies but having stayed in more cheap hostels than I would have liked to, I have noticed that the "no locals" and "no people above <insert age>" terms are not unique to this establishment. Furthermore, quite a number of hostels practice the "unofficial" policy of rejecting certain ethnicities – gypsies, africans, and yes, middle easterners being popular choices.

    Are these policies discriminatory? yes. Racist? maybe. I say maybe because businesses, by their definition, are unlikely to implement discriminatory policies for purely racist reasons. More often than not, the discrimination is motivated not by unreasonable disdain against a specific ethnicity but by a much more boring reason – money.

    Perhaps foreigners (read "caucasians") prefer to live amongst themselves and this is something hostels have learned from experience as an industry "truth". Perhaps the management has had bad experiences with guests of the ethnicities specified (rude, dirty, greedy, choose your cliche) and have reached a conclusion, however ill-advised, of banning said those ethnicities. Perhaps locals dont spend as much but use as much (if not more) of the facilities than the caucasians.

    If their intent not racist, does it make the discrimination right? No. I think it is unethical, illogical, and just plain rude. Unfortunately, many businesses do lots of things that are not "right" but are perfectly within their right to do. Something like this is probably way down that ladder if we are talking about Malaysian businesses.

    It's their hotel and they can decide who they want to let in. As long as no laws are broken. I can disagree with their practices. Hell, I can even hate them. But i can always choose a different hostel.

  15. Was there a couple of weeks back (before I knew of their discriminatory policies). Thought it a nice place – that is until we were treated like crap after an hour of being there. And unfortunately, after ordering a couple of bottles of wine. The manager Jepp is especially rude & offensive. This filters down to some of his staff. After being rude to us, he just sat down for a drink – can't believe they hired him unless of course he's the owner or is connected to the owner.

    By the way, thanks for doing a screen capture of their discriminatory Terms and Conditions. I highlighted this a couple of weeks back as well, but they must have altered their Terms & Conditions sometime since then, possibly to "explain" themselves due to complaints. Not much better & looks like a rushed job since the grammar is particularly bad. I've cut and paste this from their website Terms & Conditions:

    "Please read our notice before you make bookings:

    Wheel chair not accessable is because of the building itself does not have any lift and it won't be convenient for the disable traveler to use the facility. Reggae Mansion Kuala Lumpur is just a backpacker hostel, not a hotel, it has its limit on facilities and all the rooms are with shared bathrooms on each floor.

    As Reggae Mansion is a backpacker and party hostel, we have an age limit to 60 years old above as we would ensure our elder travelers to find a comfort place to sleep and rest.

    Reggae Mansion is a hostel for Western International Travellers. We respect others ethnicity, culture, religion and their valued practices. We no longer accept bookings from Malaysia, India and the Middle Eastern Countries. It is because we provide western meals, drinks which are not suitable for local muslin travelers, other mentioned regions due to respect on their religious."

    1. Good that you have highlighted this

      The management of this place is extremely rude during lunch hour

      I still had my coffee and was asked to bug off to make way for other guests, after paying my bill

      Guess what? The place was empty – and there were at least 5 other tables there empty

      Also – there were no other guests to speak off waiting!

      FUCK OFF REGGAE MANSION – your apartheid anti asian ruling has no place here.

    2. "It is because we provide western meals, drinks which are not suitable for local muslin travelers, other mentioned regions due to respect on their religious."



      "Muslin"? Why Reggae Mansion, I had no idea cloths are able to travel and consume meals.

      Just come out and admit you're racist and Islamophobic, why don't you? No need to beat around the bushes.

      Really sorry to hear you had to endure such appalling treatment, Alex. I'm disgusted.

  16. Oh even more clever. Now that they’ve removed the disclaimer, they’ve emphasised the fact that they serve ALCOHOL and NON-HALAL food. Bolded. Can’t risk to offend those uptight Middle Eastern people now, can we?

    They’re pretty fucking ignorant as there are so many Middle East people who are non-Muslim and are active consumers of non-Halal food and alcoholic beverages. I should know as one of my bosses is both Iraqi and Catholic.

    Fuck off, Reggae Mansion.

  17. this has happened at many hostels in many different countries for many many years – when it is westerners who put their disclaimers they are protecting their legal a**es – wise up people! go out there n experience other cultures+way-of-living n open your eyes, dont just sit in your chair all day n talk only. well at least some poeple learnt something today…

    1. Every country can do the same, but if it's wrong it's wrong. Just because some western people think it's right, doesn't mean we need to adapt to their perspectives. Your whole argument is basically "oh, a lot of people do it. So nothing new. Wise up la you all. I'm so superior for having experienced all those new cultures."

      I suppose our "way of life" is to not accept this in our own country.

      While I can find reasons why the hotel owner would not accept Malaysians to stay ("you can still go into the restaurant, no problem"), I don't think they should just reject Indian and Middle Eastern nationals right at the doorstep. The disclaimer amounts to open humiliation in my opinion, and (verb) the ghost of colonialism.

      I called the hotel last night, asking for the reason they do not accept Indian and Middle Eastern nationals. The reason they gave was:

      1. There are a lot of westerners and somehow they "don't want the middle easterners to feel offended by the westerners' 'way'" (and summore they serve alcohol)

      2. There have been "cases"/"incidents" with nationals from the said countries.

      3. It is unfair that I accused them to be racist because they would accept people from South East Asia, Africa etc.

      (Personally I still feel very disgusted by the statement.)

      Since this is loyarburok, anybody to offer an opinion in the light of Malaysian jurisprudence?

      1. It's still racism if they have decided they have the power to choose which people get to book a stay and which don't.

    2. "go out there n experience other cultures way-of-living n open your eyes, dont just sit in your chair all day n talk only. well at least some poeple learnt something today… "

      Hello ignorant idjit. Nice to meet you. I was born in Malaysia, spent my childhood in America and Australia, used to live in Eastern Europe and now currently living and working in the UK. I get plenty of exercises when I'm not working or getting an education or trolling the shit out of ignorant assholes like you who's afraid of a little thing called diversity.

      Keep 'em coming.

    3. I think that you should take your own advice and open your own eyes, good sir/madam. You should please be informed that just because something happened in many different countries, it does not make it right. Murder happens in Malaysia and in other parts of the world as well, so we should just shrug it off and say 'well, other people do it too'? We're not sheep, we're capable of independent thought and when something is wrong, it is wrong. If you think that barring a person from staying in your establishment based on his/her ethnicity/nationality, than I think perhaps you need to step aside and 'experience other cultures/way of living'. Please and thank you.

  18. Well, well, well. This is certainly to be expected. A person trolling on this thread using vulgar language and abusing the commenters. My message to this person: if you disagree with this post and the comments, and wish to defend Reggae Mansion's policy for some reason, please be advised that vulgarities and abuse do not work. In fact, such language backfires and makes you sound quite stupid. Sekian, terima kasih.

    1. i'm reading really…thanks cws…but then again …dun really think it's such a big deal…went on the papers today…great!!! for the star really…provided fodder for page 3…hell..i'm sure they were thinking how the hell to fill the space now that the thai thing's beginning to settle own…really i think our energy should be focused on more important things …like living with this goverment?

  19. it's their place after all…why do u cocksuckers bother at all …*mystery*…could be competitors…:-P

    1. I think you are one of thier cronies or This Robert's Khoo henchman, thats the reason you are so worked up and called everyone who have a strong view cock suckers…really??

  20. The Disclaimer is still there. You just have to proceed to book a room and when you get to the last page before you hit the "Book Now" button, its there, at the last para of the "Property Description".

    ?Wheelchair is not accessible
    ?Age limits: We only accept guests below 60 years of age.
    ? Reggae Mansion is a hostel for Western International Travellers. We respect others ethnicity, culture, religion and their valued practices (Refer to *). We no longer accept bookings from Malaysia, India and the Middle Eastern Countries."

  21. Racist/ableist/ageist fuckers at Reggae Mansion have removed their disclaimer completely. As if that would change anything.

  22. Imagine being discriminated in your own country. The owner should be ashamed of himself for having this policy in the 1st place!!!

    1. This contry does not need a racist Chinese businessman, I say the people should show what they think by confronting This so call Robert Khoo and wait for him at the Reggae Mansion for an satisfactory explaination, Even Dato Khairy find it a bad taste and overboard with their business ethics. I think we should just shut them down as a message to the community that we will not tolerate such childish business partice in a multi National society period, who agree with me??

  23. I am sure it is not hard to hunt for the identity of the Robert Khoo who owns this place. Took me 1 minute on the legendary altavista and yahoo to get his name out. Only problem is that there are so many Robert Khoo around.

    1. Robert Khoo Keat Hoe bp Reggae Bar sun bhd


      Reggae Tours & Adventure Holidays Sdn. Bhd.
      Member No
      Member Status
      Company Reg No
      Company Address
      53, Jalan Tun H.S.Lee,

      Kuala Lumpur
      Company Postcode
      Kuala Lumpur
      KKKP No
      Bumi Status
      Company Tel
      (+603) 2072 6887
      Company Fax
      (+603) 2072 6885

      Company Email
      [email protected]
      Person to Contact
      Robert Khoo Keat Hoe
      Job Title
      Company Director
      Contact Email
      [email protected]
      Contact Handphone

      Official Delegate
      Robert Khoo Keat Hoe
      Alternate Delegate

      « BACK

  24. whoever this Robert Khoo is, I am sure he is gutless enough to hide all his domain registration from public view.

  25. I run a backpacker's inn in Singapore, and we have a policy to reject any local guests. The reasoning is that we are trying to curb folks who are in search of a cheap place to engage in hanky-panky. While I can't speak for all the establishments which practice a similar policy, the general consensus is that people will seek out cheap alternatives to engage in some hanky-panky and in order for us to provide a clean and safe environment to our visitors, this is an unfortunate policy which we have to enforce.

    1. Oh? So what you're actually trying to say is that white tourists will not engage in "hanky-panky" but the local people of colour would? Keep out the local riffs raffs and keep them at bay, why don't we. Can't upset the international Western travelers now, can we.

      Would love to hear more of your explanation on this. Go on. Explain away.

    2. Jace, there are three things you're saying here:

      1) Local guests are only interested in "hanky-panky"
      2) Local guests who cannot afford a room in a hotel, regardless of their intentions, are still undesirable
      3) Only foreign backpackers, usually white, are clean and safe, and therefore deserve clean and safe environments.

      Admit it, this a pretty racist and classist policy, don't you think?

    3. Yes, I can imagine someone living in Changi wanting to book a cheap room in say, Jurong to be suspicious. Using the same analogy, me a Malaysian living in KL should thus be barred from getting a cheap room in say, Penang because obviously I'd only do that for naughty reasons.

    4. This is one of the most stupid reasoning I've heard but coming from a SIngaporean, its not a surprise, eh ?

    5. Hi Jace, what is the name of your backpakers's inn in Singapore? I want to stay over with my girl and cum all over your room, but u can't stop me, coz im qualified, i am a tourist. cheers..!

  26. I just got back from Jakarta last 2 days. The discrimination is really obvious and openly unofficial accepted by public and government. The hotel, cinema, restaurant who is belongs to Indonesian Chinnese will give their 'clan' to entitle for 20% discount, or at least VIP services, compared to Indonesian Bumi. So, count your blessing in Tanah Tumpah Darahku.

    1. ARE YOU SERIOUS? More than 10% discount on properties for the Bumi in Malaysia (which they are obviously NOT) and you said we should appreciate of what we have?

    2. where did you learn that while you were in jakarta for 2 days ? I am chinese and grow up here in Indonesia for most of my life and never get any discount for hotel,cinema,restaurant. When I came to Malaysia, I'm totally surprised when the bumiputra get discount even for house,college,etc. In Malaysia, Most of the time when i bought a meal, they knew im a foreigner and they charged me so expensive and cheaper price for local. can you call this discrimination too in your country? so count your blessing in Malaysia boleh.

  27. Most guesthouses or international backpackers generally don't allow own citizens to stay. It's a common practice, not just in Malaysia, premium citizens or not.

    1. It's generalising to say "most". Yes, some hostels do have a strict "foreigners-only" policy but not all do. I've been in backpacker's overseas in Europe and seen locals staying there. Some do have age restrictions though if they're youth hostels. But blatantly saying Arabs etc aren't allowed is pretty racist.

    2. Just because 'most' guesthouses or international backpackers generally don't allow own citizens to stay makes it ok la? aparah.. Herd mentality

    3. Says who? I've been travelling backpackers style in Malaysia and have been allowed to stay in backpackers/hostel kinda inns. Why make any restriction when we are moving towards accepting others as human not by their nationality/ ethnicity/belief etc???

    4. Non-White customers are not allowed to enter the premise at all, not even the rooftop bar which apparently opens to non-hotel guests too, just not to Chinese, Indians, Africans, Middle-Easterns etc. Please tell me this is not Racism.

    1. Im posting my reply there coz Im a senior reviewer but let's see if they accept my review! I really hate their "blatant ableism, racism, ageism, and xenophobia displayed by the proprietors who run Reggae Mansion" coz it makes me wonder are they truly Malaysians in the 1st place?

  28. I wonder how the authorities feel about it since they are dominated by Malays and their race is also discriminated by this establishment. Which nincompoop allowed such a business to operate in the first place. Imagine your own citizens being excluded. In any developed countries, this establishment would have been closed down and heavily fined for human rights violation. Malaysia Boleh!!

    1. I would suggest writing a damning review on Trip Advisor. That would be effective in putting off many "international" guests.

    2. way to go…u have an issue against their policy but have no trouble getting an establishment to go bankrupt…nice…u cocksucking hypocrite…

      1. I'm a cocksucker. I like cocks. But I'm not a hypocrite. Well, not hypocritical enough to qualify being called as one.

        1. That's easy, Few of use Malaysian and Muslim menbers just hang around the front of the mansion and show the fringer to the "white" guest and let the spread the word…hahaha

  29. funny that they named the establishments "reggae mansion" and yet seem to only prefer a certain 'ethnic' clientelle. Will they turn away tourists from Jamaica ?

    1. Haha! By the way they seem anti people of non-white backgrounds, I will not be surprised that they will reject bookings from Jamaicans.

      1. I don't think there are targetting Jamaicans, If you read some of the reviews, they also operated Reggae Pub which is doing good business, Some people are spiked and drugs, than robbed it a famous place for that, drugs are also use inside the establisment, but I suppose they may have paid off someboby, party goers knows but they have never been raided before

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