Thinking of taking off somewhere for the weekend? We round up five spots for a quick staycation.
M Boutique, Ipoh
Behind the swanky-looking façade, this boutique hotel is furnished in a tasteful fusion of British colonial architecural features and modern urban decor. The 93 rooms – split amongst Adventure, Majestic and Excelsior theme floors – are compact in size but small touches such as throw cushions, woven slippers and eccentric vintage ornaments help make each space cosy. Facilities like a gym, a laundry service, meeting rooms and internet stations are all extra perks of staying at M Boutique.
Dining options include MYTH Eatery & Bar for Western cuisine and the Old Town White Coffee Grand next door, though what’s a trip to Ipoh without a taste of shredded chicken with kuey teow soup, dim sum, curry noodles and chee cheong fun?
2 Hala Datuk 5, Ipoh, Perak (05 255 5566/www.mboutiquehotels.com). From RM180-500 nett per night.
Nam Keng Hotel, Penang
Incorporating the oriental charm of its location on Cintra Street within the Chinatown area of George Town, this boutique hotel is a living heritage – its three combined units of shophouses were built more than a century ago and today, it maintains the façade of an early 1900s building. Inside, antique Peranakan furnishings with intricate carvings and elaborate embellishments done in gold, crimson and dark green are hand-picked by the owner to adorn the place. The eight rooms, which bear symbolic names like ‘Longevity’, ‘Prosperity’, ‘Abundance’ and ‘Fortune’, are a similar blend of vintage and modern designs.
Within walking distance of the hotel, decades-old Chinese restaurants and stalls sell Penang favourites, but if you’re feeling lazy, Nam Keng offers food delivery service from the café bar at their sister establishment, Yeng Keng Hotel.
17 Cintra Street, George Town, Penang (04 2635 177/www.namkenghotel.com). From RM291.50 per room.
How better to soak in the rich culture of the historic city of George Town than by staying at a re-imagined 19th-century Straits Chinese house? Downstairs, wall blemishes and faded paintwork add to the quintessential charm of the lobby that leads out to a traditional open courtyard. Upstairs, there’s a patio, a reading room and a common area for fellow visitors to mingle. All nine rooms are sparsely furnished and have modern fixtures such as solar-heated showers and air conditioning, while the patio has all the necessary amenities for an alfresco breakfast.
Accommodation aside, Sinkeh houses a studio to support the local arts scene by staging performances and hosting lectures, workshops, and discussions on a regular basis.
105 Lebuh Melayu, George Town, Penang (04 2613 966/www.sinkeh.com). Single, RM210; double, RM280.
The Privé Malacca, Melaka
A holiday home situated at the beginning of the ‘Millionaires’ Row’ that is Heeren Street, The Prive retains only a touch of its predecessor’s 19th-century Straits Chinese architectural features. From the overall interior down to the decorative pieces, modern simplicity is the rule here. The house is comprised of three bedrooms, a living hall, dining area and kitchen, and is rented out as a whole unit.
Running parallel to the hectic Jonker Street, Heeren Street gives off a faded, old-world charm, making this holiday home an ideal stay for families needing a quiet getaway without forgoing the sightseeing opportunities around Melaka’s Chinatown.
4 Heeren Street (Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock), Melaka (012 2518 266/www.theprive.com.my). Weekday (Sun–Thu), RM1,388; weekend (Fri–Sat & public holidays), RM1,688.
Xcape Resort at Sungai Lembing, Kuantan
Nestled within a reserved forest and only accessible via a 30-minute journey on a four-wheel drive from the old mining town of Sungai Lembing, Xcape Resort is the getaway to experience if you’re the adventurous sort. Think water rafting, flying fox, waterfall trail trekking, all-terrain vehicle (ATV) exploration and paintball challenges. The list of outdoor activities offers a non-stop agenda of fun. For something different, try stand-up paddling (SUP), where you paddle your way down a river while standing on a board.
Not feeling athletic? You can go for a relaxing day out fishing or laze by the riverside reading. In the evening, unwind on the porch of your dormitory-style chalet.
Sungai Lembing, Kuantan, Pahang (03 3324 8880/xcape.com.my). X-pax (per person), RM238 for 2D/1N, RM338 for 3D/2N.