My family and I headed up to Malacca (Melaka) on the 20th of October 2012 till 21st October 2012, for a short family trip, to celebrate my Mother's birthday. We went up by Luxury Coach (Luxury Travel and Tours Singapore) via Exclusive Coach, which departed from Singapore at 0830hrs via the 2nd link checkpoint. There was a tour guide who boarded the coach at the Malaysian Checkpoint and she gave us a short introduction of Malacca, with history, things-to-do there as well as the night-life and many other interesting facts. She even talked about the new attractions in Malaysia such as the Legoland and also other places around the world, to spark our interest in travel.
The journey took a little over 3.5 hours, with a short stop at Yong Peng for snacks and the very important "toilet break". When we were approaching the Town Centre of Malacca, the tour guide showed us several tourist attractions along the way, recommended several food stalls which we could patronise since we had booked a "free & easy" tour package, so we were free to roam around the state as we please. We were dropped off at the Hotel Lobby of Equatorial Hotel (Malacca / Melaka), where we stayed. I had not stayed there before but my aunt had stayed there before and had good feedback about it and so we decided to stay there too.
Check-in was fast, with English speaking Guest Relations Officers. We had booked 2 Deluxe rooms via our travel agent and on check-in, only one room was ready for checking-in while the other room was being cleaned. We left our belongings in the room which we had received first and went out for lunch, followed by shopping and only returned to the hotel at around 8pm, and took our second room card-keys.
The hotel room was a Deluxe room (all rooms are deluxe and above). We had requested for a high floor room and rooms that were connecting rooms with a view of the Straits of Malacca, a beautiful sight indeed. Our hotel room was on the 8th floor, directly in front of the lift lobby, where the noise can sometimes be a little loud with holiday-goers returning to their hotel rooms. Otherwise, we were given a room facing the Straits of Malacca as requested. The rooms were comfortable, with twin sharing beds (King size beds were available in the Deluxe rooms too). Nice neat and inviting room decorations.
There was also a small coffee table and an armchair if you would fancy reading a book just before bedtime. The hotel room came with the usual, ironing board, electric iron, 2 extra pillows, a safe deposit box, a television set, the dressing table and the usual toilet amenities. The rooms that were facing the Straits of Malacca had balconies attached to the rooms while the rooms facing the other side of the hotel had no balconies but the room was bigger, so it was a "give and take" issue. So if you want a bigger room, ask for the rooms facing away from the Straits of Malacca.
The beds were comfortable with soft fluffy pillows, which made me fall asleep almost instantly, although the long and rushing day of shopping contributed too. The air-conditioner thermostat is in the middle of the central console, in-between our twin-sharing beds, which made things easy when we wanted to increase the temperature of our room. There was also an alarm clock setting on the central console, which allowed us to control the lights in the room too.
I am sort of a "clean-freak" for hotel toilets. The toilet has to be very clean, if not, I would not even consider staying at that hotel and I must say, I was reasonably impressed with it. It was generally clean, with the usual toiletries provided, a water hose beside the toilet seat and a bathtub and standing shower together.They did not provide us with toothbrush and toothpaste, but I had brought my own. But my parents had forgotten to pack theirs, I made a call down to housekeeping and they gladly provided my parents with two sets of toothbrush and toothpaste and within 10 minutes of me calling them. I am very impressed with their efficient hospitality service.
Every tourist who stays in Malacca should head down to Jonker Street which is unfortunately only open of Friday and Saturday nights. There is an excellent Malacca mamak chendol near the Clock Tower just outside of Jonker street, which closes at 6pm everyday. Their chendol comes in regular or large size, with many different flavours, including ones with ice-cream in the chendol. I ate the original chendol, which made me go for 2 helpings and I must tell you that seats are hard to get, so you have to be quick to rush for seats.
The entire stretch of Jonker Street was filled with hawker food, snacks served piping hot and knick-knacks sold at every corner, which were not only cheap but a rarity back in your home country. You can find many souvenirs from the many different shops, although some stalls sell identical stuff. Do not forget to check out the prices at other stalls as there are some which sells the same things at a lower price and the most important tip is to bargain for the price. Almost everything can be bargained.
Jonker street is actually 20 minutes away from our hotel room by slow walk, to soak up the night atmosphere. As my aunt was familiar with Malacca, we found our way to the hotel easily. It was a breezy walk back to our hotel room. Finding a taxi there may be difficult because of the road closures at Jonker Street. Alternatively, if you are willing to spend a bit of money, you can hire a rickshaw and have them take you back to your hotel room. You can also soak up the atmosphere while on the rickshaw, decorated with flowers and with music too.
Now, the excellent thing about staying at Equatorial Hotel Malacca is because of its excellent location. Just 5 minutes walk from the hotel is the Dataran Pahlawan shopping centre, and the basement level is simply huge, with many lanes and connections, so if you are unfamiliar with the level, take your time to get your bearing before venturing on your own.
A 10 minute walk through Dataran Pahlawan shopping centre would bring you to Mahkota Parade shopping centre, also a big shopping centre with many shops, ranging from clothes, bookstores and electronics.
I'm not a very picky and fussy person when it comes to food but I have my standards and I must say that the hotel breakfast buffet met my standards. There was a wide variety to choose from, seats were aplenty, and the restaurant staff were helpful and quick to clear our empty plates, making room for more food. The buffet spread was great, with a variety of hot foods, salads, cereals, eggs and omelette counter and also a pancake and waffles counter with several condiments you could add on your pancakes like chocolate, strawberry and maple syrup.
My stay at the Equatorial Hotel was a happy stay and I would recommend that hotel to any of my friends who wanted to travel up to Malacca because I had a great time there. The hotel staff were friendly and efficient and the buffet breakfast was great. I would definitely head back to that hotel if I were to head back to Malacca again for a store trip, just to unwind from the stresses of life. Prior to checking out, there was a charge of two Malaysian RInggit as part of the World Heritage Site fee, per room.
If you want rooms with a balcony, ask for the rooms on a high floor and facing the Straits of Malacc...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.