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A Night in Malaysia’s Top Dark-Tourism Destination, Amber Court

Amber Court is a hotel located just above the town’s main settlement. It was built in the 1990s and has a reputation of being haunted.

Amber Court in Genting Highlands, Malaysia.

Marielle Descalsota / Insider

Amber Court was developed to be the go-to hotel for a nearby theme park. The theme park, however, was never completed, and has since been abandoned.

The hotel’s developer, Villa Genting Development, was liquidated in 2000. The hotel fell into disrepair, with red algae coating its exterior and a parking lot full of rusting cars.

Over time, people started saying the hotel was haunted because of its eerie exterior. Vloggers would post videos of their trips to the hotel on YouTube, making it one of Malaysia’s most visible dark tourism sites. A local horror film was even shot in the hotel, solidifying its reputation.

Mohd Hafiz has conducted extensive research on dark tourism in Malaysia. He said Amber Court’s haunted reputation likely helped amplify its appeal to the growing segment of travelers interested in dark tourism – but he also said the management company likely did not embrace the reputation themselves.

“As a corporate entity, management would want to avoid relating Amber Court to dark tourism,” he said.

In recent years, the hotel has scrubbed down the compound’s algae-covered exterior and removed the abandoned cars from its parking lot. Even so, its reputation persists. Rumors of paranormal sightings at the hotel still circulate online – some claim to have seen an “evil woman” on the premises, while others said they heard someone howling in an empty hallway.

I have long been curious if there’s any truth to the hotel’s ghostly reputation. Earlier this week, I booked a flight to Kuala Lumpur from Singapore and drove up Mount Kali for a night’s stay at Amber Court.

Insider paid for my stay, as is standard with our reporting trips. Amber Court did not respond to my requests for comment for this story.

The lobby was quiet. There was nobody to greet me except the security guard.

Lobby at Amber Court.

Lobby at Amber Court.

Marielle Descalsota / Insider

A staff member checked me in after a five-minute wait and asked for a deposit of 100 Malaysia ringgit (around $ 23). He handed me two keys to a studio room on the 23rd floor, the highest floor in the hotel. The room cost $ 30 a night.

I tried to strike up a conversation with multiple staff members throughout my stay, but each time I got the same noncommittal response. No one, it appeared, was interested in talking to me about what it’s like to work at the hotel.

Other rooms on the 23rd floor were in even worse condition. One door was riddled with holes and dents.

What the other room's door looked like.

What the other room’s door looked like.

Marielle Descalsota / Insider

After the hotel’s developer was liquidated, many of the rooms went unmaintained. Some rooms, like the one pictured above, are not used for hotel stays.

And while some of the units in the hotel are apartments that belong to private owners, others appear to be in a state of perpetual limbo. According to a government notice dated April 2022, dozens of the hotel’s apartments are currently unclaimed.

The kitchen was basically a disaster.

The hotel room’s kitchen.

Marielle Descalsota / Insider

It had a small stove, sink, microwave, and refrigerator. All the appliances worked, but that’s the extent of positive things that can be said about them.

I decided not to cook anything as the kitchen creeped me out. Instead, I headed to the convenience store for some instant noodles.

The balcony opened up to an otherworldly view of foggy grasslands and abandoned apartments.

Foggy views from the hotel room.

Foggy views from the hotel room.

Marielle Descalsota / Insider

The balcony was my favorite part of the room – it was surreal to see fog forming a blanket over the landscape. It was a chilly evening, especially for Southeast Asian standards, as temperatures dipped below 16 degrees Celsius (60 degrees Fahrenheit).

At night, it was pitch black outside.

I only saw one or two hotel guests during my stay.

Despite its haunted reputation, I found no ghosts during my stay at Amber Court. Instead, I found respite from the bustle of the city and the heat of the tropics.

The gorgeous views were well worth the spooky, run-down interior and low price tag.

Marielle Descalsota / Insider

The trip up the mountain was well-worth it. Amber Court offered some of the best views in metropolitan Malaysia. I felt it was priced fairly, especially considering that it’s in a town made specifically for tourists. And the foggy evening and cool weather were just perfect.

That said, it’s definitely not a trip for everyone. If you’re squeamish, superstitious, or easily spooked, Amber Court is probably one expedition for you to skip.

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