Malaysia’s historical city, Melaka, has an illustrious past of being one of the archipelago’s busiest entrepôts since the 15th century. It was so prized that it had been the conquest of Portuguese, Dutch and later British colonialists, thus giving it a mishmash of cultural legacies. Melaka is Malaysia’s first Unesco World Heritage Site, and the status conferred makes the city one of the must-visits. The city is best explored on foot, where its narrow alleyways provide glimpses to Melaka’s centuries’ old colonial and Peranakan style shops and houses.
As such, there’s no better stay than Casa del Rio, which is just a mere 5-minute walk from Jonker Street, the heritage pulse of the city.
Spanish-influenced, breezy exteriors
Upon arrival, we were greeted by a friendly receptionist and staff who invited us to sit inside one of the pergolas, and brought out cold towels and lemongrass sorbet. While the staff was helping us with the hotel check in, we were just simply relaxing on the lounge sofa overlooking an open courtyard, listening to the gentle sound of water rushing down a fountain, and feeling the gentle sea breeze brushing our cheeks. Its tranquility makes it such a perfect area to chill with a good book, or simply to rest for a while before going to our rooms after a day’s walk in Melaka.
Casa del Rio means “home by the river” in Spanish, and the hotel staff made sure we felt at home right away. After a brief tour of the ground floor (which includes a library!), we were taken to our room on the second level. Colorful bougainvilleas decorated the sunny balconies, a reminiscence of neighborhoods in southern Spain. Complementing the breezy exterior is the warm, rustic interior of Spanish influenced terracotta floors and wrought iron railings on its staircases, while the ornamental lighting is in classic Peranakan style.
Luxurious European Charm in Rooms
The rooms too, has a touch of luxurious European charm. Our room is made cozy with dark wood bed frame, chest drawers and table, while a vibrant, embroidered bed runner gave the room a pop of color.
That said, the bathroom is the epitome of luxury. From the extra large bathtub to the wood framed, large mirror and a bathroom basin spacious enough to place all your makeup and personal toiletries, everything is extra lovely here. We love the spacious shower that’s equipped with rain and hand-held shower, but the nifty part of the bathroom is that we could open the windows next to the bathtub that looks out to the bedroom!
Inside the rooms, attention to detail to guests’ 21st-century needs are impeccable with hotel-wide WiFi network, and a 42-inch flat screen TV in each room. The hotel also has a gymnasium, and an infinity swimming pool with panoramic views of Melaka river, and a rooftop bar. Check out the Taming Sari Tower and the Maritime Museum ship from a distance! The hotel also has a library, three food and beverage outlets, and prayer rooms on the ground floor.
If you want to escape the heat and take a break from sightseeing, head over to the library on the ground floor. Here, you can help yourself to a cup of coffee or tea, grab a book from the shelves and sit on one of the comfy armchairs. We won’t be surprised if you lose yourself here as the library is very cozy and inviting!
This Ramadan, one of the hotel’s restaurants The River Grill is having a buka puasa promotion that includes authentic traditional Malay dishes such as kambing golek (grilled lamb), nasi biryani buah gajus (cashew nut biryani), ikan keli berlado (chili paste catfish) and many more. Available from now until 4 June, the Ramadan buffet is priced at RM88 nett per adult, while children aged six to 11 years old gets 50% off. For reservations, call 06-289 6888 or email [email protected]
Our verdict: The Mediterranean inspired exterior of the hotel is charming, and made us feel like we’ve been transported to another era. The extra large bathtub scored major brownie points, we loved how the staff were friendly and helpful. It was also a nice surprise when we found out that one of the staff members cleaned our car’s windscreen before we left. Two thumbs up for going above and beyond! Casa del Rio is perfect for those who are looking for tranquility but at the same time, only a stone’s throw away to the pulse and nightlife of the historic city.
See and Do
Stroll along the Melaka Museum Complex along Jalan Kota to see the marks of European colonialism. You’d probably seen the Stadhuys, with its bright red exterior, on postcards of Melaka. Built by the Dutch in 1650, the building served as the Dutch Governor and Deputy Governor’s office, and is now home to the History and Ethnography Museum. The museum is also another must-visit, as you can learn about the beautiful details of the old buildings in the city, such as the colorful shutters of pre-war shophouses, the courtyards in old Baba Nyonya townhouses and the rare architectural combination of Chinese and Western elements displayed by the Terengkera Mosque.
Have you visited all the historical sites and now wondering what else can you do in Melaka? We’ve lined up some new and interesting places that you could drop by!
Stroll along Kampung Morten to see beautifully preserved Malay kampung (village) houses. In 1989, the state government gazetted Kampung Morten as a heritage village and turned it into a tourist attraction to retain the traditional features of a Malay village house. We’d recommend going there in the evening for a breezy stroll, and to see the houses lit up in colorful lights.
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The generations that reside in Melaka have helped grow its economical and cultural landscape to what is today. And it’s still evolving. Travel through time to see what Melaka was before, and what it could be at Encore Melaka. Buy tickets at www.encore-melaka.com/ticketing or call +606 270 7777 for enquiries.⠀ ⠀ #EncoreMelaka #ImpressionCity #YongTaiBerhad
Encore Melaka is a world-class, state-of-the-art cultural performance that tells the story of Melaka, its people, art and culture. Take a break from exploring and enjoy an immersive visual and auditory experience that combines projection mapping, intricate props and professional dancers in elaborate costumes that showcase the city’s locals and multicultural heritage. The theatre itself is a work of art and fast becoming an Insta-worthy spot in Melaka. We’d recommend to come early before the show to enjoy the sunset.
Pro tip: Why spend more when you can save? Get your Encore Melaka tickets on Traveloka now to enjoy special discounts!
While we believe you could never get tired of Nyonya cuisine and asam pedas while in Melaka, you could try one of the best Northern Indian cuisines in the city at Bonani Restaurant. This little hidden gem is nestled among shophouses along a busy road, and while the decor is simple, it is warm and welcoming. We’d highly recommend the Bombay chicken curry, which is best eaten with warm naan and palak paneer. Mmm… yummy!
Address: 48, Jalan Laksamana Cheng Ho, Melaka
Opening hours: 12.00pm – 2.00pm, 5.30pm – 9.30pm (daily)
With such a wide range of accommodation options across the country, it can be a challenge to pick the one that’s best for you. To be in the know when it comes to Malaysia’s stand-out stays, keep your eyes peeled for Traveloka’s ‘Super Stays’ posts, a bi-weekly hotel special featuring our top picks!