(THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Juxtaposed among the modern skyscrapers, colourful Peranakan homes, and Dutch colonial buildings in Melaka, The Nest House, with its contemporary, industrial-art style in black and white, stands out against the city’s skyline.
But that is what is unique about this 10-room boutique hotel run by Mr Tong Chye Kiam and his family.
During a recent media preview of the boutique hotel that was opened just this year, we were welcomed with traditional Nonya hospitality with Melaka-style kuih muih and bird’s nest drinks.
That is how the concept of The Nest House was birthed – Mr Tong also runs a bird’s nest business.
The first thing you will notice as you approach the hotel, which is located along an “unnamed backlane” behind Jalan Melaka Raya, is a huge painting of a bird on the front of the building. This is the handiwork of Australian artist Melanie Bayoud, Mr Tong’s long-time friend.
As you wander through the property, you will discover many custom-designed and custom-selected icons consistent with the theme of nature, birds and their nests. There is the giant feather door handle at the entrance, cushions sporting designs of birds and bird’s nests at the lobby lounge and rooms, metal sculptures of birds, drawings of birds like hornbills, owls and more.
There may be other Instagram-able hotels out there, but this one looks like it was intentionally created for social media, with its special selfie-and-photo-corners. For example, there is the unique artworks behind the open-concept wardrobe in all the rooms where you can take selfies, and the graffiti wings at the rooftop garden wall for individual and group pictures.
There are many tastefully taken photographs hanging around the boutique hotel. They were taken by Australian photographer Kerry McConnachie of the house that used to be there before.
It appears that each nook and cranny of the hotel was specially thought out, not just with aesthetics (beauty) in mind, but also guests’ comfort.
There are several types of rooms: premium king, deluxe king, deluxe twin, deluxe queen, and standard queen.
Each room is named after a street in Melaka like Jonker Walk, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Jalan Bunga Raya, Jalan Parameswara, Jalan Hang Jebat, The Stadthuys and Jalan Portugis.
I stayed at Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lok, which is a deluxe king room and is luxuriously comfortable.
It is easy to see the care and love that went into the planning of this hotel. Everything was custom-designed, custom-made and custom-selected.
According to Bayoud, they went the extra mile - to the extent of personally testing out all the pillows and making the necessary adjustments to ensure everything was what they would want in their own home. Even the towels were extra plush and the toiletries in the semi-open-concept bathrooms were full-sized.
“The labels on the toiletries are in large lettering so that people can read them … since a lot of people (like herself) don’t wear their glasses in the shower,” she explained.
If you are a tad shy, you might be worried the neighbours would notice you when you are in the semi-open shower, but the intelligent-design enables you to observe what is on the outside, while those on the outside, are not able to see you.
The hotel property is designed to be eco-friendly with ventilation block feature walls at the side of the building to keep the cool in and the heat out. They also prevent curious neighbours or passers-by from looking into the rooms.
On the rooftop deck, there are solar panels, which generate part of power supply of the hotel.
High expansive windows provide good lighting, minimising the need for electric lights during the day. These heat-reflective glass windows also keep the interior cool. For those still concerned about the heat, there are high-ceilings with fans as well as air-conditioners.
Besides the chill-out area on the rooftop deck, there is also the courtyard garden in front of the hotel. There is a 24-hour pantry where guests can help themselves to complimentary drinks and snacks.
The Nest House is in a convenient and fairly central location behind many restaurants, cafes, spa centres and other amenities. It is a five-minute walk to Dataran Pahlawan Melaka Megamall, 10-minute walk to A Famosa Fortress and 15-minute walk to Jonker Street. If you prefer, you can also hire a trishaw to take you sightseeing.
The Nest House
Where: 129, Jalan Melaka Raya (hidden in the street behind this address), Taman Melaka Raya, 75000 Melaka; tel: 06-283 1118