Last Updated on June 20, 2012
Welcome to our Hotel Tip of The Week series. Being on the road every day of the year means we stay in countless hotels, and at over 700 days as nomads, we have stayed some of the best (and worst) hotels the world has to offer. We cover everything from budget to luxury accommodation, and believe that any hotel worth recommending must be comfortable, clean, offer good value for money and treat people as guests, not clients. We have personally stayed in every hotel we recommend to you here on Globetrottergirls.com.
For Dani, there is one aspect of travel that never gets old: watching the sunset each night. She takes loads of pictures each time, claiming that each is unique, and always gorgeous. On our recent visit to Malacca, we just so happened to stay at the Sterling, whose rooftop bar might be the best place in town to witness the sky light up in fierce pinks and oranges and cool off into deep purple ripples hanging over the colonial city.
Set back off Little India’s main street, The Sterling sits inside a gorgeous three-story colonial building with impressive columns at the entrance. As a major Asian port, the British, Chinese, Dutch, Indians, Japanese and Portuguese have all left their mark on Malacca and I was looking forward to seeing how this was translated inside of this grand colonial facade. Instead we are greeted with a simple, modern style and freshly renovated rooms. All 37 rooms have the same subdued colors: black, white and mauve. The first thing I notice in our own Riley room is how spacious it is, made to seem even more so with a few well-placed mirrors and grand floor to ceiling curtains. The bed is a comfortable king with plenty of fluffy pillows, and for the first time in months of traveling around South East Asia, we have carpet beneath our feet and it feels great.
The bathroom has a cool stone floor and very large Jacuzzi, but this doesn’t end up impressing us much. Surely meant to bring relaxation and romance to the rooms, our big bubbly tub faces the wrong way, making it difficult to get in and out of, and shoots burning hot water high to the ceiling. Even with the help of two technicians it won’t work right, though had someone filmed the scene, the clip possibly would have gone viral on YouTube. Those looking to splurge should go for the Churchill suite. At $300 a night it is pricey, but the swivel TV, massive bed, living room area and practically palatial bathroom (with our same Jacuzzi facing the right way) has us ooh-ing and ahh-ing for ages after we peek inside. The Brighton rooms have outdoor jacuzzis that are much more simple. We’d love to spend a night under the stars in one of these…
What impresses us more is the level of commitment to eco-friendly policies at the hotel, which uses over energy-saving LED lights through 90 per cent of the hotel, an eco-friendly air-con system, solar panels for hot water and a 320 liter tank for collecting rain water for use around the property.
There is an overall elegance here, along with just the right amount of originality. Each evening we find lovely Malaysian candies on the pillow and the next day’s weather report on the bedside table. Modern art by local artists lines the hallways, and light classical music played in the hallways sets the mood for a relaxing evening. Dani particularly enjoyed relaxing after sunset, listening to the music, reading the paper (delivered each morning) and sipping on coffee we made in the room after a long day out exploring Malacca’s sights.
On our last morning we had breakfast super early in order to catch our bus to the airport and, in all rushing around hurry, Dani left her wallet upstairs in the Loft Restaurant. Just seconds after she realized it was missing and went tearing back upstairs, our waiter had already come down to hand-deliver it back to us. This was just one example, but we found that staff was always willing to go above and beyond to help and advise us with anything we needed. With such a well-organized and enthusiastic team, any wrinkles at this four months’ young hotel will most likely by swiftly ironed out.
The proof of a true luxury boutique hotel is in the freshness of its breakfasts. It goes without saying that breakfast should be included, but I felt that there were some cost-cutting measures taken here rather than making guests feel extravagant first thing in the morning. The coffee was watery and weak, my ‘Fitness’ breakfast came with white bread slices and sweets (not the freshly baked brown breads promised), the hash browns were just frozen triangles, jams weren’t fresh and there was never fresh orange juice, only canned pineapple or apple. Having said that, Dani looked forward to her delicious Spanish omelets each morning and the fresh fruit was a nice touch.
The few bumps in the road were more than made up for by the great service and excellent value for money factor at the Sterling. After having had a good look around town, the Sterling is easily a top choice for accommodation in Malacca. The larger hotels are much pricier and less intimate, and there are few if any hotels in this price range that compare. There are whisperings of a swimming pool in phase two of the Sterling’s development, coming soon, and if the potential of the Rooftop bar and Loft restaurant can be maximized, the Sterling can become a beacon for those looking for luxurious dining and nightlife in Malacca.
Location: Lot 232, KB XXI, Jalan Temenggong (Little India), 75100 Melaka, Malaysia
Price: Starting at $110 per double room / $159 for a family room (4 people)
LGBT Friendly: Yes (as much as possible for Malaysia)
Digital Nomad Friendly: Yes
Amenities: Free wi-fi, complimentary breakfast, Air-con, Cable TV, tea and coffee-making facilities in the room, free parking, complimentary non-alcoholic welcome drink at the Balcony Bar, Rooftop Restaurant