There’s just something about the historical quarters, old towns and heritage sites of a city that captures the imagination. As you stroll down narrow streets surrounded by centuries-old architecture or wander around age-old ruins, you can almost picture yourself being transported back in time.
Malaysia’s cities are rich with history and culture, but none more so than Penang, Melaka and Ipoh – their unique heritage has been carefully preserved, turning them into must-visit cultural treasures. If you’re stuck on which hotel to stay at for your upcoming trip to any of these UNESCO World Heritage Sites, here are our top picks:
Seven Terraces Hotel
Seven Terraces Hotel comprises seven run-down terrace houses transformed into a beautifully-restored boutique heritage hotel. You can tell that a lot of attention was paid to ensure that guests get a feel of Penang’s storied past, from furnishings gilded in gold to cast iron lacework. Located on Stewart Lane, it’s a short stroll away from the cafes and hawker stalls of Lebuh Chulia and a 6-minute walk from Pinang Peranakan Mansion.
Rates start from: RM610++
Nam Keng Hotel
Set within the Cintra Street enclave, the fascinating post-war shophouses surrounding Kapitan Keling Mosque is only six minutes away on foot. You can also drop by Chowrasta Market and buy some of its popular pickled fruits.
Rates start from: RM190++
Royale Chulan Penang
Guests at Royale Chulan Penang have a lovely unobstructed view of the sea separating Penang Island from the mainland. Set on Weld Quay, you can take a refreshing seaside walk at the esplanade near Fort Cornwallis and grab a bite to eat at the nearby food courts. The Clan Jetties are also less than 10 minutes away.
Rates start from: RM210++
Eastern & Oriental Hotel
Another hotel with a seaside view is Eastern & Oriental Penang, a luxury heritage hotel that has become a part of Penang’s history. Open since 1885, its top-notch service is just as well-known as its khaki-clad doormen and pith-helmeted bellhops. Thean Hou Temple, one of the oldest and largest temples in Southeast Asia, is a 7-minute walk away.
Rates start from: RM700++
Bayview Hotel Georgetown Penang
Standing across the road from the famed Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, better known as the Blue Mansion, is Bayview Hotel. The nearby Leith Street was once an enclave for rich Hakka tycoons, and today you can still admire the preserved structures. For a panoramic bird’s-eye view of George Town, reserve a table at Three Sixty Revolving Restaurant or sip on a cocktail at the Sky Bar.
Rates start from: RM230++
At Quayside Hotel, you’ve got incomparable riverside views of Melaka River, while Jonker Street and the Red Square are all just minutes away on foot. This modern 3-star boutique hotel also has Halia Inc., a restaurant and coffee bar where you can relax and watch the comings and goings by the river.
Rates start from: RM130++
Styles Hotel Melaka
Jonker Walk’s shops and cafes are right outside the doorstep of this 5-storey boutique hotel. The design of its clean and comfortable rooms incorporates Portuguese tiles in a nod to their 130-year reign over the port city, while the warm hospitality of its staff will have you planning a return visit.
Rates start from: RM170++
Timez Modern Heritage Hotel
This hidden gem of a boutique hotel is tucked along the more peaceful Jalan Hang Kasturi. Its rooms are artfully designed in themes that pay homage to Melaka’s varied cultural heritage, such as Peranakan, Portuguese and Dutch. The cute decor of its connecting SuperRabbit Cafe will also put a smile on your face.
Rates start from: RM150++
Aava Malacca Hotel
Seamlessly blending the old and the new, Aava Malacca Hotel embraces Peranakan motifs in its furnishings and design while incorporating modern touches. On weekends, you should check out the Jonker Street night market right down the road.
Rates start from: RM210++
Gingerflower Boutique Hotel
Set on Jalan Tun Cheng Lock, the Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum is just three minutes down the road, where you can learn more about a traditional Baba Nyonya family and how they lived their day-to-day lives.
The hotel’s wooden flooring and furniture, as well as the batik motif of its bed runners give off a rustic Malay kampung vibe.
Rates start from: RM200++
Brick Box Hotel
This quirky boutique hotel is located on Jalan Panglima in Ipoh Old Town, smack dab in the middle of the Ipoh Heritage Trail. The Birch Memorial Clock Tower is just across the street, while the iconic Ipoh Railway Station is six minutes away. Guests will also have easy access to the popular Concubine Lane.
Rates start from: RM100++
Z Hotel Ipoh
Z Hotel may look like a 1920’s Manhattan hotel on the outside (complete with large lit-up marquee letters), but on the inside, it’s got modern furnishings and a glitzy design. You won’t ever be short of choice when it comes to where to eat, as it’s surrounded by kopitiams and cafes galore.
Rates start from: RM110++
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!