As most people are aware, there is no shortage of hotel accommodations in Melaka. Majority are clustered around the city’s touristy area, that is, Jonker Walk where the streets are lined with handicraft and antique shops, cafes and restaurants. On weekend nights, Jonker Walk is turned into a lively and vibrant night market, heaving with tourist crowds.
If you are planning a trip to Melaka, would you prefer to stay at a hotel which is right in the touristy area, or a place that is close to the main sights but still away from the crowd to chill and relax? If you prefer the latter, then The Settlement Hotel is perfect for you.
Located at the fringe of the *Portuguese Settlement on Jalan Ujong Pasir, The Settlement Hotel was once a 4-storey government building but now fully restored and refurbished as a stylish 4-star boutique hotel. The hotel is easily mistaken for a budget hotel from its simple whitewashed façade and the immediate surroundings of residential life. However, I had stayed at The Settlement Hotel a month ago, and it’s safe to say that the experience was unlike other hotels that are springing up by the dozen in the city.
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As soon as I arrived at the entrance, I immediately noticed a pergola of pink bougainvilleas, the garden water feature and the white wicker swing chair on the front porch. But what struck my attention was the 350-year old Sultan Bed from Palembang, Sumatra. When I learnt the story behind the acquisition of this Sultan Bed, I couldn’t help but be amused by the coincidental fact that Melaka was founded by a Palembang prince, Parameswara who fled to Melaka in the early 1400s, sat under a Melaka tree, and so the city was named 🙂
As I was treated to local Malay cakes for afternoon tea in the Cool Room, I observed that the ambience in the hotel was unusually quiet, unlike typical city hotels where guests arriving by busloads and milling around the lobby while hotel staff organising check-ins and transportation of bags. The Cool Room opens out to the gardens inviting the breezy wind which instantly put me into relaxed mode. Check-in process was smooth and I couldn’t wait to get settled into my room.
The hotel has 45 rooms and 4 villas. My room was the Deluxe Room Queen and it came with the standard hotel facilities and amenities such as tea/coffee facilities, a bar fridge and two complimentary mineral water bottles, a writing desk and flat screen TV and an ensuite bathroom. The 4 villas – Junior Villa and Luxury Villa – are styled like traditional Malay houses and are situated at the rear end of the property.
There is a swimming pool in the hotel as well albeit a small one – not large enough to have a proper swim but just a dip in the water to chill and relax. Situated next to the swimming pool is the Settlement Spa Village which offers a range of spa treatments.
The hotel feature that I loved most is the Long Table Bar which is a 27-foot wooden table that was carved from a single tree trunk – I don’t think I have seen anything like it in other hotels! The Long Table Bar serves as a dining table during meal times but guests can also use the table any time – a place to do work or to have a drink and chat.
Aside from the accommodation, the Settlement Hotel provides a lovely setting for private functions and parties such as weddings, birthdays or any kind of gathering. There is the Ballroom which easily accommodates 60-70 diners and the Rooftop Garden that is ideal for karaoke or party bands.
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Born and bred in Ujong Pasir, Melaka, I had thought I was very familiar with my own neighbourhood. My parents’ house is a mere 5-minute walk from the Settlement Hotel. I had seen the hotel building, in fact, had driven past it countless times. Suffice to say, I’m a little embarrassed that I had never taken notice of it because I had assumed that it was just “another budget hotel” in my neighbourhood.
After my experience at the Settlement, I was informed by family members that their friends from Kuching and Singapore had also stayed at the hotel and spoke highly of it. And that reminded me of a story which the General Manager of Settlement had mentioned to me: an Australian guest stayed at the hotel for 3 nights, loved it so much that she extended her stay for another 2 nights. As she checked out on her last day, she cried and wished she didn’t have to leave Melaka because she loved the hotel so much!
Now isn’t that a hotel experience, unlike no other? 🙂
*[Melaka or Malacca was ruled by the Portuguese from 1511 to 1641. During the 130-year colonial rule, the Portuguese inter-married with the local Malay population and their descendants are now referred to as Portuguese-Eurasians or “Kristang” in Malaysia. In the 1930s, the Portuguese Settlement was established for the Kristang group – originally a small fishing village – it still remains a thriving community.]
Location & Contact:
The Settlement Hotel Melaka
No. 63, Jalan Ujong Pasir,
Tel: +60 6 292 1133
Daily shuttle bus service is available for guests from the hotel to the heritage area of Melaka. Bicycles are available for rent as well.
The Settlement Hotel also has special offers for Tempting Set Lunches and BBQ Nite. For more info, please check their website.
**My 3D/2N experience at The Settlement Hotel was a complimentary stay, thanks to Gaya Travel Magazine. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.
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