Sunday, 1 December 2013

A (M)esmerisingly Chic Weekend at M Boutique Ipoh

Mention Ipoh and the notion of a sleepy town tucked in between two bustling cities of Kuala Lumpur and Penang would conjure in mind. 

Unbelievable but true, I spent two years of my twenty-something life in Ipoh, basking in its quaint charm, its lifeless nights (all establishments close by eight at night, even on weekends) and most importantly, a gastronomic galore that can put you into a serious food coma!

While getting a place to stay is not a problem within the city centre and its fringes, it can be said that most Ipoh hotels, either cheap or expensive, are rather shaped using the same cookie cutter. 

The rooms are lacked of soul or personality, while the interior decorations are very stiff and uninviting. However, there is one “new kid on the block” that begs to differ and it is called the M Boutique Hotel.

Located at the fringe of the city and about 15 minutes walk from the Ipoh Railway Station, M Boutique Hotel offers you or any curious guest more than just a lease of fresh air. 

At a glance, anyone could easily mistake it as one of those expensive foreign hotel chain franchises. 

However, I am happy to tell you that despite its ‘foreign-esque’ appearance that’s akin to those chic concept hotels that liberally dot European cities like Amsterdam and Antwerp, M Boutique Hotel is genuinely home-grown.   

What’s more, I am not surprised if it may probably be the only hotel in Ipoh that is richly imbued in true chicness and eccentricity.

Stepping into the hotel lobby, my breath was taken away by the interior of the hotel lobby. So many things drew my curiosity within the lobby area, such as two large cabinets mounted to the wall with a set of small drawers – similar to the ones you would see at either traditional Chinese physician shops or quaint specialty tea shops. 

Even the counter itself looked like a tea bar with wooden stools and large vases filled with creamy white silken orchids. 

Near the lifts is a stack of salvaged vintage trunks in faded colours leaning against the raw, cemented walls, imparting a sense of rusticity and edginess to the lobby area. It even matches the overall colour scheme of the area as well.

But being a fashionista, I could not help myself from being drawn to the hotel’s retail store called the M Shop. Honestly, this is the first time I have encountered such a boutique hotel that lives up to its name – in a tongue in cheek way. 

The shop is stocked with a neat array of merchandises ranging from graphic print t-shirts to terry bathrobes, wooden Pinocchio puppets for the kids to home decoration items bearing the hotel’s logo. In fact, if you fancy the decorative items used to decorate your room, you can always take one home at the M Shop.

Upon receiving a warm welcome from the hotel manager, Mr Lloyd Gan and his friendly personnel, I settled down on one of the plush customised seats at the lobby area for a chat with Mr Gan. 

According to him, there are three distinctively themed floors in the hotel and they are Adventure, Majestic and Excelsior. 

However, only Adventure floor, which is on the first level of the hotel, was opened for the guests while Majestic and Excelsior – both on second and third respectively – will be opened by December. 

Feeling giddy to experience the real M Boutique experience rightaway, I was led me to my room on the first floor by one of the staffers.

Beds and ambiance aside, security plays an integral part in ensuring total comfort at M Boutique Hotel. All guests are required to tap their card on the lift sensor before heading to their respective floors. 

We arrived at the Adventure Floor, where my “M adventure” was about to begin for the night. With just a tap on the door lock sensor — a novel technology indeed compared to those conventional hotel doors that require you to slot the key card in and wait for the light to turn green — I breathed in and exhale with delight at the marvellous sight of my room.

Although it is not spacious, the room definitely fits my personal description of contemporary abode — metal four-poster bed with duck-feather-stuffed pillows, a long zebra-print pillow, a large mirror, a leopard-print chair, rustic leather sofa in burgundy leather and a feature wall scribbled in Portuguese using bold sans-serif font. 

In a way, this is my personal safari meets Porto Alegre gaucho ranch abode for the night.

Just like the lobby, everything in the room is custom-made from the hotel. According to the packaging description (everything is packaged in non-woven bags, from slippers to the hairdryers), all items are handcrafted in small batches for superior quality and workmanship. 

Next, I waltzed into the toilet. Though the toilet was rather small and open, the fittings such as the water faucets and large shower head are parallel to those of five- and six-star hotels. Even the simple black-white colour scheme brings out its utmost lavishness.

Post check-in, I decided to stroll around Ipoh – with my feet. Yes, though it may sound crazy, Ipoh is actually best enjoyed by feet or by hopping on one of the buses that have stood time. 

First stop was Burps & Giggles where I washed down their infamous Greeko burger (handmade lamb patty with cheese and vegetables) with iced mint tea and ended with a rich blueberry cheese cake. 

Knowing that my appetite has grown to be as voracious as a monster’s one of these days, I made my way to Taman Kanak-Kanak food court where I had Nasi Goreng Kampung with mixed Tomyam, omelette and Ipoh’s specialty drink Lime Assam juice just minutes after the burger.     

But if you are too lazy to explore the variety of gastronomic temptations Ipoh has to offer, then there's always Oldtown White Coffee Signature adjacent to the lobby, offering fresh hot Malaysian meals and wash them all down with their signature drink. 

If you fancy something western/fusion or perhaps, having a nightcap before calling it a night, head to Myth, which also on the ground floor and to be opened soon.   

Post dinner, I walked back to the hotel and took a refreshing hot shower. The invigorating scent of Verbena — an aromatic, semi-woody herb with lemony freshness used to concoct the handmade toiletries trio of shower gel, shampoo and conditioner — instantaneously uplifted my spirit, hence helping me to attain a good sleep. 

Add in the plush pillows stuffed with duck feathers, rest assured you will refuse to part from the bed on the next day. But in the end, I have no choice but to part with the bed in the morning.

Though it was just a short stay, I must say that I didn’t leave as just a guest but rather, as a recharged friend – just in line with its tagline, “Come as strangers, and leave as friends.” 

Should someone be asking me if I am coming back to stay at the hotel again, my definite answer is yes. I shall be back to savour what every floor has to offer.

Million thanks to Mr Lloyd Gan and his dedicated team for my exquisite weekend stay at the M Boutique Hotel, Ipoh. 

For more information on the hotel or to reserve and experience the M boutique experience, visit http://www.stayariva.com/en/our-properties/malaysia/m-boutique-ipoh.html or call 05-255 5566.

*Photos by me and M Boutique Hotel  

M Boutique Hotel - 2 Hala Datuk 5, 31650 Ipoh, Perak Darul Ridzwan, Malaysia

2 comments:

  1. Great, especially when u can walk frm the train station to here, and walk frm here to Burps & Giggles. I don't even have to drive there for my weekend getaway! :)
    Unlike u, i can walk to dim sum! :P

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    Replies
    1. Hahahahahaha ... I've tried Dim Sum around Ipoh, especially at the Syuen Hotel. But for now, Burps & Giggles will be my fave hangout :D

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