The Sterling is a place you want to be if you like being close to the cultural & heritage district of Malacca and dislike characterless chain hotels in tall concrete buildings. This one's got charm, character, ambience and service. What I like most about The Sterling:
1. Style - I like the white colonial facade with a modern twist. The rooms have trendy interiors with pebble wash bathroom walls and floor, elaborate shower fixtures and a stylish and a nice, comfortable relax chair.
2. The Balcony - It's an open bar on the 2nd floor. Armed with our complimentary welcome drink vouchers, we were glad it made us realise how pleasant it was to sit outdoors on a January night overlooking the red roofscape of the shophouses, listening to easy jazz underneath the stars and the moon. Very special indeed!
3. Service - We had a chat with Tony, the Resident Manager one night. He's super-friendly, very obliging and very genuine about wanting to make guests happy. Nothing was too much trouble, not even allowing us to use The Balcony long after its opening hours ended, for as long as we want. Who would offer to boil hot water and take out a tea set for us just so we could enjoy the teabags and cheesecake we bought from outside the hotel? He would! He then delighted my family with engaging conversation way past midnight about the best food to try in Malacca, even offering to take us there the next day! That's what I call service!
4. Breakfast - Choose from 4 breakfast sets which are pretty decent and prepared upon order. While the quality was decent but not like top hotels, the ala carte ensures minimal wastage and no cold, mass-prepared food with hovering flies waiting for your arrival.
5. Location - It's an easy walk to the Jonker area with plenty of curios shophouses and old churches nearby. Great fun to just take a stroll at dawn or dusk around Malacca's most interesting area.
6. Value - For the quality of the rooms we got and the easy accessibility to main historical attractions, I'll say the Sterling rooms are great value-for-money (especially with the RM 200 per night promotional rates for their 1st Anniversary)
However, I do see room for improvement. Here's what I would recommend the hotel:
1. Better staff training - Other than Tony, the other staff that I came into contact with (front desk, housekeeping, restaurant staff) could be friendlier and more service-oriented. They weren't rude, but were just doing their job - nothing more, nothing less. The lack of warm and intiative in making personal connections with the guests is somewhat contrasting/jarring to the grandeur and white splendour of the place. Such a pity because it's the missing piece to make the hotel wonderful!
2. Better maintenance - The building is showing signs of aging even though it's barely a year old. Looking down from the roof restaurant, the white facade is showing yellow streaks which would get more unsightly with time. Some beams of building (seen on the 2nd floor corridor) show an accumulation of dead insects because they are hard to reach for cleaning. Bathrooms are starting to get grimy with mouldy corners.
Still, the building looks and feels much better and newer than 90% of the hotels in Malacca which is why I chose to stay here. But if they are not careful about upholding high standards of cleaning and maintenance, this grand white dame would soon suffer the same fate as many Malaysian buildings - neglect.
3. Better shield between bathroom and bedroom. The frosted glass divide between the bathroom and bedroom seems to be the trend with new hotels. The frosting looks fine, until someone jumps in for a hot shower. With the condensation on the outside and the water splashing on the inside, the room mate gets a nice view of the bather's rear, boobs, etc. Fine if you are a couple. Awkward if you are not.
4. Concierge - Where are they? Didn't see anyone during our 2 night stay. Fortunately, we didn't have big bags but if we did, it wouldn't be nice for us to lug our luggage to the room by ourselves. It's a service I expect from all decent hotels, even from hotels half the price.
Overall, I found The Sterling to be a wonderful, comfortable boutique hotel set in a great location offering a great value for money. Would I be back? Definitely yes!
(Thanks Tony, for a wonderful personal touch to our fantastic stay!)
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Its not always that we get guests such as yourself that care to spend more time detailing your experience which we are most grateful for.
From the past year, we have had numerous comments and suggestions which we most certainly care a lot for. However, planning improvement is a different thing altogether, from the frosted glass shower walls to the little soap dish, the task at hand takes careful thought and implementation.
These works are in the pipeline and looks to be put in place after the Chinese New year period.
Being a small hotel, it is not difficult to encounter our staff. Perhaps our concierge staff (our tour desk at the lobby may appear to be a concierge desk too) were not visible as they also double up as doormen. Rest assured that we do have this service available.
We thank you for your compliments and will certainly look to improve on areas where you have highlighted. We do sincerely hope that you will give us the opportunity to serve you again should you drop by again.
The Management and Staff of the Sterling,Malacca
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.