A tribute to Ipoh’s straits eclectic architecture.
It’s the latest trend, whereby tourists and travellers alike do not check-in at fancy-glitzy 7-star hotels any longer. Some may say it’s because of the economic conditions but mostly nod to the different experience they are looking for.
Boutique hotels have been catching the eyes of many in recent years, especially in Malaysia. The concept, however, isn’t something new – in fact, it has been around for almost four decades now, since the 1980s. Typically on the smaller side, most boutique hotels are often situated in the heart of a city – making them a hot spot for tourists and travellers.
Most boutique hotels in Malaysia revolve around their historic charm with colonial pre-war architecture while some others may not come with a long history, but still have their own unique identity and amusing personality – like this hotel which I recently stayed in.
Gaining the attention of both local and foreign tourists since it began operating in 2013, M Boutique Ipoh is among the first boutique hotels in Ipoh, Perak. By now, the group has grown its operations by having three new branches – M Boutique Station 18, M Roof Hotels & Residences, and M Boutique Kampar.
Located on the outskirts of the town, the neighbourhood is quaint and peaceful which make the hotel a perfect spot to rest after a long, tiring day. Paying homage to the Straits Eclectic style of architecture from a bygone era, the hotel gives you a throwback to the time when the straits settlements were in their prime, but with a modern – and wicked – twist.
Upon walking into the lobby, you’ll immediately be awed by the interior’s urban-vintage style with dangling metal sphere chandeliers and earthy-toned sofas. The wooden plank flooring is just splendid, complemented by flowers and green plants that bring out the best of the hotel’s refined but modern touch. The quirky design with a play of dark and light contrast of wood is impressive, along with the classic, vintage decor pieces.
The exquisite infusion of both Malaysia’s colonial past and modern urban décor in the effort to reflect the yesteryear’s chic yet urban Straits Eclectic ambience allows for a lively vibe in the morning as plenty of natural light shines through; whilst turning romantic and cosy in the evening when surrounded by warm hue yellow light, making the lobby experience at M Boutique Ipoh like none other.
But what makes it even more special is its 3 thematic floors; each with its own unique and distinctive motifs.
Level 1: The Adventure Floor
Inspired by tales of expeditions of Malaysian Safari circa 1800s, a time when the British were fond of hunting in Malaya’s tropical rain forests. Relive the danger and excitement of a violent time.
Level 2: The Majestic Floor
Being one of the most favoured floors, it can be best described in three words as – Raw, Industrial, Concrete. The Majestic themed floor is interpreted with the coupling of the Asian affinity for numerology.
Level 3: The Excelsior Floor
Inspired by the daily fight for supremacy that is evident in the animal kingdom, the design on this floor showcases a vast colourful spectrum of nature blended with a typical English cottage setting in keeping true to the overall urban vintage setting.
These 3 thematic floors boast a total of 93 rooms which are further divided into 5 types of room – The Urban Cabin, The Two Twins & The Queen Deluxe, The Two Twins & The Queen Premier, The Club, and The Family Suite. These types of room are distinguished mainly based on the size of the rooms (sqm) and the type of bedding. The names can be confusing, to be honest, but worry not as the friendly staff are always there to assist you whenever you need it.
From left: The Urban Cabin, The Two Twins & The Queen Deluxe, The Club.
The Family Suite
I had the privilege to spend one night in The Two Twins & The Queen Premier room on The Excelsior Floor (Level 3). The room is approximately 17 sqm in size, furnished with a 12-inch thick queen bed, duck down plush top, dual density pillows, LCD TV, minibar, in-room safety, WiFi, universal power socket with USB port, and basic toiletries.
The room is decently sized and slightly bigger than some of the other rooms. The brick wall echoes a rustic-industrial look with hanging framed contemporary art and metal chandelier, a blend that emphasises more on the spectrum of colours and patterns.
Now, let’s switch our attention to the first floor where the excitement becomes more heightened! M Boutique Hotel provides a common space which consists of a well-equipped gymnasium, 24-hour self-service laundry area, 2 iMac desktops with WiFi connection, and a cosy common room.
All in all, M Boutique Ipoh definitely takes the boutique hotel experience to the next level. From its rustic-industrial design with unique thematic floors, M Boutique Ipoh tries to replicate, as much as possible, the atmosphere of Malaya’s pre-war shop houses that were inspired by the Straits Settlements. Designs aside, M Boutique Ipoh also strives its best to make us feel at home while staying at a hotel – living up to its motto ‘Comes As Strangers, Leaves As Friends’.
M Boutique Ipoh
2, Hala Datuk,
31650 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
Tel: +605 – 255 5566
*All images by UPPRE.