24-Hour Room Service: The Majestic Malacca, Melaka, Malaysia

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

As the centre of the 15th-century sultanate founded by Parameswara, a Sumatran prince, the city of Melaka is considered to be a wellspring of Malay culture and customs. Malacca (to use the old British spelling) was awarded Unesco World Heritage status earlier this year – a point that the Malaysian hotel chain YTL has made the most of in the latest addition to its upmarket group.

As a port, Melaka was superseded first by Penang and then by Singapore. But it remained emblematic enough of Malay history for it to be the place chosen to announce Merdeka (independence) from Britain in 1956.

Prints from colonial times line the walls of the Majestic's main building, a white and pastel-green villa from the 1920s, in which the ground floor is given over to an elegant bar and reading rooms, while a stately dark wooden staircase curves its way up to the airy, shuttered dining rooms on the first floor.

Impeccable and attentive service is the order of the day, from an a la carte breakfast to extensive lunch and dinner menus. Don't miss the local special of kuih pie tee, or "top hats", crisp batter casings filled with a julienne of fried vegetables and prawns, or the delicious seabass and aubergine coconut curry.

The key attraction, however, is the spa. YTL has made its name with these – most famously at its award-winning Pangkor Laut resort further up the coast. In Melaka it has drawn on the "Peranakan" culture of the Straits Chinese, who intermingled with the Malays over the centuries. Treatments include an egg-rolling body therapy, and birds nest facial with head massage. During the latter you are invited to view video screens set in the ceilings above while you lean back; at first I took the song-and-dance routines to be by Nat King Cole; but the suave, moustachioed performer turned out to be Malaysia's legendary film star of the 50s and 60s, P Ramlee.



LOCATION

The Majestic Malacca is across the road from the Melaka River at 188 Jalan Bunga Raya, Melaka, Malaysia (00 606 289 8000; majesticmalacca.com). The Majestic offers complimentary walking tours past many of the city's historical landmarks. These include the Dutch Stadhuys (governor's residence) and the ruins of the Portuguese A' Famosa fort as well as the antiques markets of Jonkers Street. In addition, you see the mosques, Buddhist and Hindu temples and churches of the many religions to make Melaka their home.

Time from international airport: Kuala Lumpur International Airport is 120 km north west – around 90 minutes' drive away. A taxi costs RM 180 (£30) one-way.



COMFORTABLE?

Large, dark wooden four posters stand near floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Melaka River. The mustard walls continue into the black-marble floored bathrooms, featuring huge, over-sized tubs and rain showers, which can be enclosed or fully opened up to the room via screen partitions. The 52 rooms and two suites are all in the new building, but the decor is sympathetic to the style of the older mansion.

Freebies: Own-brand toiletries, bottles of mineral water, fruit basket and tea and coffee-making facilities.

Keeping in touch: Cards can be bought to connect to the internet in the room.



THE BOTTOM LINE

A "Unesco World Heritage package" is available until June 2009 and costs US$219 (£146). It includes one night in a Deluxe room, breakfast, lunch and dinner (but not drinks) and a guided tour around the city. Standard doubles start at $288 (£192), room only.

I'm not paying that: The centrally-located Kancil Guest House (00 60 6 281 4044; machinta.com.sg/kancil) offers clean, basic doubles from RM38 (£7), room only.



The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
News
A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
news
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
News
i100
News
In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Jim Carrey and Kate Winslett medically erase each other from their memories
scienceTechnique successfully used to ‘reverse’ bad memories in rodents could be used on trauma victims
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Pixie Lott will take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2014, the BBC has confirmed
tv
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Business Development Manager / Sales Pro

    £30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...

    Graduate Sales Executive / Junior Sales Exec

    £18k + Uncapped Commission (£60k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Sales Exe...

    Web Developer / Software Developer

    £25 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Web Developer / Software Developer is needed ...

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Day In a Page

    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
    Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

    What is the appeal of Twitch?

    Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
    Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

    How bosses are making us work harder

    As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
    Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

    Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

    As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
    Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

    A tale of two writers

    Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
    Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

    Should pupils get a lie in?

    Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
    Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

    Prepare for Jewish jokes...

    ... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
    SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

    A dream come true for SJ Watson

    Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
    10 best cycling bags for commuters

    10 best cycling bags for commuters

    Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
    Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

    Paul Scholes column

    Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
    Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

    Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

    A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
    Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

    The science of herding is cracked

    Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
    Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

    This tyrant doesn’t rule

    It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?