Just My Hotel Review: Courtyard @ Heeren, Malacca
The historic streets of Malacca have been calling travellers for centuries. It is a collection of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and European influences. Walking the streets of the old Chinatown area you can be whisked away to another time. The old shop houses on the street front remind you of times long past in most Asian cities.
Malacca (Melaka) is located a short distance from the capital Kuala Lumpur, only about 150km away by road. As a result it is a popular day-tip and weekend destination for many Malaysians. It is located next to the Straits of Malacca and the city centre has been listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site.
The Courtyard @ Heeren boutique hotel is located on Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock and is only a short walk from Jonker Street (site of the weekend night markets on Friday, Saturday and Sunday). Getting to the hotel from the airport was easy; the hotel can arrange a driver to meet you and drive you down – takes about 90 minutes and saves a lot of hassle with sourcing your own transport.
From the street you could be excused for driving right past the Courtyard. It is a subtle unassuming place from the street that hides a boutique interpretation of traditional Melaka style. Just as we arrived it had started to rain so the driver called ahead to the hotel and the staff had cleared a parking place at the front door – as well as met us with umbrellas to keep us dry.
The hotel consists of fourteen different rooms, all unique in style and decor. The hotel is set in a row of tradition shop houses and is a long rectangular shape. Due to the fact it is built between existing buildings light comes in from the lovely internal courtyards and skylights. The main rooms do not have outward facing windows instead they have windows opening out into the courtyard and internal hallways.
The two suites are located at the back of the hotel and have private balconies that look out to the street behind the hotel and views across Malacca.
We booked the Executive Suite for 5 nights staying from Monday to Friday. The executive suite is located at the rear of the hotel on the first floor. It has ample room with a large King Size bed, comfortable lounge chair as well as a writing desk. The high ceilings combine to create a calm, relaxing space away.
The bathroom is huge, bigger than some hotels I have stayed in previously. It has a lovely open plan setting with a large open shower (and rainfall shower head), as well as a large spa/Jacuzzi tub. There is also a folding partition wall between the bathroom and the suite providing privacy when required, as well the large vertical louver windows can allow natural light to flood into the space – whilst still maintaining privacy.
The private balcony provides a relaxing space to sit and relax. The room features large bifold doors which open to bring the outdoors inside – effectively creating one large room. The design of the executive suite is such that it creates your own private sanctuary away from the streets of Malacca. You will find yourself just sitting and relaxing outdoors while enjoying the sights and sounds of the surrounding streets.
Another distinguishing feature of this hotel is the internal courtyard structures which combine to create a lovely atmosphere. Tastefully decorated with various classic and antique furniture pieces the hotel has an open and relaxing feeling about it. Open to the elements on humid days it can get a bit warm but the ceiling fans help to keep air flowing through the structure. These places are perfect to sit with a novel or a notebook and just relax. If you don’t feel like exploring Malacca you can just sit and relax.
Most visitors to Malacca come and stay Friday to Sunday as a result mid-week occupancy rates are usually lower than the weekend. For breakfast most days you will have a wonderful buffet to select from, combining traditional western breakfast options and also local Malaysian breakfast choices.
Due to low occupancy rates the week we stayed the hotel decided instead to offer a set breakfast menu – your choice between American Breakfast, or Malaysian Breakfast. Rather than wasting food on preparing the buffet they offered the set menu. Still there was ample food to fill you up for a day of exploring.
THINGS TO DO
Malacca offers a wide array of things to see and do so definitely step out of the hotel and explore the surrounding area. If you stay mid-week you feel like you have the whole city to yourself, which most tourists only coming for the weekend during the week the streets are almost empty and you can explore at your own pace often not seeing any other travellers. Spend a day wandering the streets of the old city getting completely lost. The old shop houses are slowly being restored and returned to their former glory. There are plenty of little cafes and restaurants that you can stop in and check out. As well artists and designers adorn the tight streets selling their creations.
Apart from the small traditional shops – across the river are a number of large shopping centres filled with specialty stores. Including the huge Dataran Pahlawan Melaka Megamall. It is a huge mall spread over 5 levels containing a wide range of brand name and specialty retailers.
If you are looking for more cultural experiences in Malacca then be sure to check out the fabulous Dutch Square featuring the amazing Christ Church, St. Pauls Hill, and A Famosa Fort. Malacca has historically significant places everywhere you look, just wander around the streets and explore.
Many people will say Malacca is only worth a day or two exploration, if you are just looking to see the tourist markets and have a meal then sure. But if you want to immerse yourself in a place and really experience some traditional hospitality then I would suggest at least 3-4 days. The Courtyard @ Heeren was ideally located for our needs and provided a lovely retreat at the end of the day.
If you want to explore Malacca for yourself be sure to check out:
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