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