Malacca has centuries of history layered with a beautiful intermarriage of culture and heritage. It doesn’t take much to fall in love with the city as it charms you with its unique architecture, friendly community and generational recipes. Even the oldest church, mosque and temple in Malaysia are located in Malacca, making each of them a cultural landmark worth visiting.
Located right in front of the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple built in 1673 — the oldest in the country — is the newly opened Liu Men Melaka Hotel. A simple translation explains the name Liu Men (六门) which simply means six doors. Repurposed from six connected shophouses from the 1930s previously tenanted by families, the new complex is now integrated as a swanky boutique hotel worthy of the pages in glossy travel magazines.
Just a few steps away from Liu Men is the bustling Jonker Street that comes to life every Friday, Saturday and Sunday with a myriad of things to see and food to eat. Recently, the rise of cafes and even hidden bars have made the enclave an exciting place to visit, especially if you’ve not been back to Malacca for a while. Beyond the usual touristy offerings, take a short walk from the hotel to check out hidden gems that are well-kept secrets of local Malaccans. This includes the popiah laden with pork lard, the wan tan mee stall that operates at midnight (both along Jalan Bunga Raya) and the famous chicken rice ball inside the Mamee Museum on Jonker Street — didn’t see that coming, did you?
Design & Ambiance
Stepping into the hotel, guests will be greeted by an open space anchored by a red cast-iron spiral staircase. The lobby is dotted with antiques and exaggerated lounge chairs that come in pairs. Head down the walkway and find the internal courtyard that’s flooded with daylight from the sky roof.
The courtyard is where dining takes place. Its design language is heavily informed by local cultural references — taking cues from the traditional way of life of Peranakans and Straits Chinese in typical longitudinal pre-war houses. Tiles are elaborate and decorations are intricate — excessive sometimes — but the owners are able to keep the space altogether classy and elegant.
Couples or families would appreciate the spacious rooms and suites. As the building relives its vibrant past, the spirit of the place gives such an overwhelming sense of warmth and homeliness unlike being in a newly built space. We checked into the suite on the highest floor that comes with a balcony and a daybed perfect for stargazing. The room is demarcated into two zones; a dining-cum-living area and the bedroom.
Comfort is never compromised here, and we attest to that. But have your attention directed towards the bathroom that is designed with a quasi-colonial and a touch of orientalism in mind.
Interior design is taken seriously with strong attention to detail in every corner of the space, which deserves extra brownie points as a thematically-driven hotel. Ultimately, Liu Men strives to bring back the very essence of the old to the present for guests to truly immerse in what old Malacca is all about.
All About Educating
“There are not many places in Malacca for you to experience the charming ways of living our forefathers used to have. In fact, there are so little left to continue the story and legacy of what Malacca is all about. The rise of new attractions that tells a story like the upcoming Royal Press Museum would perhaps reposition Malacca city as a true heritage destination, and we hope to be part of that,” explains Jason Pang, owner of Liu Men.
The hotel also makes sure that cultural references are well informed to visiting guests. One way is through food. Classic snacks like pineapple tarts and dodol are served complimentary during turndown service with a little note to explain its significance and importance in respective cultures. Guests are able to immerse not only in a beautifully curated hotel but also in local food within the property itself.
Hotel staff are also extremely friendly and knowledgeable; they’re able to recommend the many places to go and to visit on foot or within short driving distance if you are one with no itinerary planned. Otherwise, expect Pang himself to greet you personally as he makes his rounds around with his wonderful hospitality.
Just like the saying make yourself feel at home, Liu Men does exactly that and more.
All images by Liu Men Hotel Melaka