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“Full of character BUT NOT for comfort”
Review of Sekeping Kong Heng

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Sekeping Kong Heng
Ranked #11 of 81 Ipoh B&B and Inns
Reviewed March 2, 2014

I found it quite hard to write this review. I really wanted to love this hotel and at first sight, I did. The quirkiness of the location (behind an old-fashioned Ipoh kopi tiam of the same name) and the modern clean lines of the interior design which tried to preserve the original structure of the building while lending a modern feel to the place really gave it the wow factor.

With no lifts (except for the baggage) and multiple padlocks to lock and unlock to get in and out of the place - this place is not for the physically challenged or the aged. It is also, as one reviewer said, a firetrap so woe betide you if the structure catches fire because I don't think you will be able to open the padlock when panicked.

Still, on my first night, I found little not to like about the place as it was super conveniently located with most of the famous Ipoh food places located nearby. Many of Ipoh's new hip cafes were also dotted around the hotel so there is no lack of food once you walk out of the hotel.

The showers were spacious and powerful (though some may not have like the high step that one has to hop up and down on to get to it) and came with the obligatory bath towel and a brand-less 3 in 1 soap-shampoo-conditioner which was all fine.

The beds were not the most comfortable though. In fact, the pillows were the most uncomfortable I've ever had the displeasure of using and I got a neck ache using them.

Then, came the biggest problem with this hotel of all - NOISE. There is absolutely NO SOUND PROOFING in this hotel. If you are the only guest in the hotel, that's fine (which was the case when we stayed there on Friday night with a couple of friends). However, come Saturday, the hotel filled up and there were people living above and around us. The people who stayed on the second floor didn't go to sleep till almost 3 am and every time one of them walked across the floor, it sounded like a 50 ton gorilla was pounding above our heads. Not to mention we could hear every word they said! Then the guy next to our bedroom starting taking a piss and we could hear EVERY SINGLE thing. From the start of his piss to his flushing and then his washing hands. To top it off, the clown didn't switch off the light in his bathroom so the light filtered through to our room through those cardboard walls they have (and they literally feel and look like cardboard). I finally got to sleep at 4 am only to be woken up by the local mosque's call to prayer at 5 am which was then followed by the downstairs coffee shop dragging their shutters open, hauling their gas cylinders to and fro and god knows what else they were doing. Basically, I got about 1 hour of sleep in total.

Like I said, I really wanted to love this hotel but the discomfort created by the non-existent sound proofing really made my last night a nightmare. When you are on holiday, one of the things you want most is REST and PEACE. You aren't going to get it here so if please don't stay here if that's what you're looking for.

If you're looking for a place with full of character in a great location, by all means stay here but don't expect to get any sleep unless you plan to book the whole place to yourself or you wear super duper F1 style earplugs and have nightshades.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Aegyogirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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61 - 67 of 91 reviews

Reviewed December 1, 2013

Stayed over the weekend (16th - 17th November)with a group of friends after our cave exploration in Gua Tempurung. Sekeping Kong Heng is behind the popular "Kong Heng" coffee shop. We occupied 3 standard rooms and 1 family room on the first floor. The rooms I must say might look pretty antique but its very clean. The standard room is equipped with either 2 single beds or 1 queen bed with blankets, a wonderfully designed shower and bathroom, ceiling fan and aircon where as the family room has 4 single beds open air concept equipped with beds mosquito nettings and a ceiling fan and a queen bed right behind it with aircon.
The hotel has a communal space on the second floor for all guests to enjoy with a 40-inch television complete with a DVD home theatre system, board games and hammocks and charpoy daybeds acting as a form of relaxation and stress-free living while you are transported back to the days when life was at a much slower and relaxing pace. Should you feel the need to connect with your friends while you are away, you can do so with the wifi internet access made ready for all guests to enjoy.
There is a swimming pool on top of the hotel for those of you who wants to go for a swim.
Don't worry about not able to find food, as you know just infront of the hotel is the Famous Kong Heng Restaurant which serves good breakfast and next to it is a Plan B restaurant and opposite it is Harold's Cafe. A 5 mins drive out with take you to Onn Kee & Lou Wong Bean Sprout Chicken Rice and also Tuck Kee for its Hokkien Mee. Behind the hotel is Burps & Giggles Cafe, its a place you must dropby for good coffee!
As for parking, its pretty hard to find a spot infront of the hotel during the day as there are a lot of customers stopping by for breakfast & lunch at Kong Heng. Towards the end of the day you will have no issues finding parking infront. Do beware of those jaga kereta ppl infront, they will ask you for money. We paid anyway just to avoid anything bad from happening to our cars, after all its only RM2.

I will definitely be back again to this hotel.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with friends
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7  Thank Eugene S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 5, 2013

I needed to go to Ipoh for business. This hotel seemed like a cool place to stay. Right downtown, even though there really is not a big downtown. Upon arrival at the hotel, there was not a clear place to check in. The gate was also locked. Finally someone came out to check me in and unlocked the door. He let me into the room. The condition of the outside of the hotel was old, and inside the rooms it was old, but not dirty. It was like staying the night at Pottery Barn. Very clean rooms, and a really cool vibe. The shower and toilet are really nice and clean with good construction. I would stay there every time I visit Ipoh if it were not for one thing. The rooms have windows on the top of the wall to the hallway, and someone has the light on in the hall ALL NIGHT. therefore.. it's light in your room all night. And, someone with a chair in the hall can see into your room.. not that anyone would do that, but it is possible. That bothered me a lot about this hotel. The area is ok. Good Indian and Malaysian food one block away. It was ok to stay there once to try it, but I would not stay there again because of the uncovered windows to the hallway.

Room Tip: Ask for a room that does not have open windows to the hallway and does not have light all night.
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  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled on business
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2  Thank Merchant M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 20, 2013

Now that I have read other reviews and seen an outline sent to other prospective guests re: staying at this hotel I under stand a little better, what I didn't understand when I arrived at this stunning property. It is a beautiful design, there is no denying this, however I wonder how much money the owners of this place actually have as they dont really seem to have the comfort of the guests in mind. There are very steep steps all over the building. The rooms have no numbers and the floors and walls are designed to be lightweight as the building is a 90 year old warehouse. This means that the walls are more like cardboard than actual walls, and the floors are made of wooden board that echo each footfall in the corridor almost like staying in a tent. The rooms are appointed with recycled wood a stone sink and big open windows and a very large glass shower case that is sitting on a wooden platform and partitioned only by a curtain . Once you have climbed the enormous step onto the platform and drawn the curtain, you still feel quite exposed, there is one small stool and no where to put toiletries not very practical or comfortable and there is only so much I want to do to fit in with architecture. it has to be comfortable and functional not just good looking. I guess this is Ok if you are travelling with a partner but if you are singles or even a family this can be a little too close for comfort as the toilet is also barely hidden by this curtain. The bathroom sink is in the middle of the room. The beds are comforatble and good quality but also made out of fencing steel and the single beds are so close together I almost broke my toes kicking them a number of times on the steel frames. Upstairs on the top floor is a chill out area with WiFi and open on all sides but with fans and beanbags and hammocks and even a TV, tea and coffee making facilities. A great idea but until it is dark and late it is not cool enough to sit out side. I would rather have a jug in my room where I can rest in my own company and not have to get dressed to make a cup of tea. There are some fantastic cafes in this area. an incredible looking and most unusual place with no practical home comforts. no water, no leisure centre or pool, the gates are locked and its hard to get in. the restaurants downstairs are open late and start very early

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with friends
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5  Thank MyKitchenStories
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 16, 2013

Whether or not you'll like this place, comes down to two factors:

1) The design. Practicality is not a priority, the place has numerous fences and doors they give you a set of keys to manage while you whisk in and out. The bathroom and bedroom merge into one space. Steep stairs, creaky floors. That said, there is a huge amount of detail put into things and I personally found the kooky design wonderful. There's a communal rooftop area with tea/coffee and bikes to rent downstairs, the latter being a great option for Ipoh's generally flat roads (you've just got to muscle your way into roads a bit, anyone acclimatized to KL/crazy city driving should have no problem).

2) The noise, or rather how well you prepare for it. Other reviewers have mentioned it before, the restaurant downstairs preps early and they literally bang pans and pots so the noise is not something you can drown out. Another group staying in the dorm area (which is less insulated) told us that noise for them started at 4AM with loud motorcycles. Bring good ear plugs, mentally prepare for the noise and choose a good room.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Al Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 16, 2013

There is not a whole lot of choice in Ipoh, but this Sekeping retreat is genuinely fantastic!

It's tasteful, has character, and wonderful design. Set in an old warehouse building, it's been turned into a modern hotel.

This is not the place for you if you are looking for a more conventional hotel - the reception is basically a hole in the wall, there is no minibar/room service, gym, pool etc. But the place is charm central and if you are looking for something with character and quirks this where to come.

It's located in the tiny and only trend block of Ipoh, with the Hong Keng kopitiam, Burps & Giggles Cafe and Plan B restaurant all nearby. It's also in the middle of town and only a short walk from the train station.

All up I had a great time and at RM200 for a standard double room it's a steal. Great for solo travellers.

Room Tip: Room no 1 is one of the more spacious standard double rooms
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled solo
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Thank exploradoraLK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 9, 2013

As a travelling family, we always research the hell out of places before jetting off, and were thrilled to find the Sekeping properties online. Sekeping Kong Heng is quite simply beautifully beautifully designed. We booked for two nights, one night in the regular rooms (we took two putting our older two children in one and taking the other with our infant son). Second night we thought we would splurge and try out the top floor loft with suspended glass boxes to sleep in. We didn't get the chance to stay in the smaller rooms as when we checked in they upgraded us on the first night to the loft room. The guesthouse is designed within an old Chinese shophouse. The Chinese cafe still remains on the ground floor and access to the guesthouse is at the back down a delightful alleyway (Plan B a new cafe/restaurant is on the right and Burps and Giggles another cafe is right behind). There is no lift to get upstairs, so anyone elderly or unfit may struggle a little with the caged industrial designed staircase. There is a cage lift for luggage however and we also used it daily to get our buggy up and down. There is also street parking if you're lucky to nab a space, but make sure to put a parking ticket inside (4MYR per day, ticket provided by hotel).
Once settled in the room we all marvelled at the pure brilliance of the design. Original features have all been masterfully retained whilst also adding the sleeping element, the two glass boxes suspended from the ceiling beams). Ameneties are sparse so don't expect any luxuries other than bed and shower. However if you are design geeks like us you will be in heaven. It is stunning. I was a bit scared of the boxes to start and panicked about the kids getting up and down. But in 3 days we didn't have one accident and the children obviously loved it. The glass boxes are like a modernist treehouse within a house. There are two both with double beds, and a further two beds below with a long black work counter for storage. At the entrance on either side of the main door are two shower rooms, with gorgeous features, concrete sinks, showers with copper bases, huge steel shower heads, polished concrete, original peeling paintwork....its hard to put into words just how clever and minimal, yet antique and considered the whole Sekeping design is. The room is also gigantic! A shame then that more has not been added. A simple seating area would suffice and give an additional reading/relaxing space.
Sleeping in the glass boxes is definitely an experience. We all slept well, but yes there is a degree of noise that starts early. Even on the top floor we could hear the Kong Heng cafe shutters going up at 6am and Plan B next door starts playing music VERY early and VERY loud for the 9am opening. But we have a baby so for us its no biggie to be up early. There are no curtains anywhere except for the showers. And a lot of windows. This means early light AND no privacy. You're high up so we weren't too bothered, but the communal area outside has a direct view into our room which we weren't particularly happy about. If you want full privacy and darkness then Sekeping isn't for you!
The communal area outside our room was wonderful and we spent a lot of time here lazing. A very Japanese feeling area with hammocks, daybeds and beanbags made this area very welcoming (this needs to be added to our loft room!). There is also a fridge, washing facilities and tea and coffee making. The fridge is a bit on the small side. We had to apologise to some other guests for monopolising it with baby things. Our advice would be to install a much bigger one.
No breakfast is included in the room rate, which for 800+ for the glass box loft room, is a bit steep. But really you pay for the experience, location and design. Right next door you have two fab cafes, aforementioned. And if you want the traditional fare Kong Heng has all the usual Malay/Chinese food from very early in the morning.
Overall our experience of Sekeping Kong Heng was really exceptional. Its definitely the most unique place we've ever stayed. And in terms of our Malaysian holiday, so far its in our top 3 places stayed so far during our month long adventure. If you are adventurous, design loving, low maintenance people like us, you will love it.
Our main points to management for future reference are: 1. put more furniture in the glass box loft, you can still be minimal but adding some lounge seating would be enough. 2. Provide a baby cot! In this day and age for hotels of any kind not to offer an infant cot is insane (thankfully we managed to pull another bed up into the glass box and wedge it behind ours). 3. Lower the price or do a deal with Plan B next door to offer breakfast included. 4. Put some blinds on the windows so the communal area cannot see inside and cover the floor grate that looks down onto the hotel corridor.
Other than these points we are in love with this place and will definitely come back and have already booked Sekeping Tenggiri in KL for our last night in Malaysia. Bravo!
Top tip for other travellers, about 5 mins short walk from Sekeping is an amazing Chinese restaurant, called Kafe Yoon Wah...no menus but the staff help you choose. We ate there for 3 nights in a row and food was amazing and very cheap!

Room Tip: We stayed in the top floor loft style room with suspended glass boxes. Don't choose if you would...
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank MrsBParky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sekeping Kong Heng

Address: 75 Jalan Panglima, Ipoh 30000, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Perak > Kinta District > Ipoh
Amenities:
Kitchenette Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #11 of 81 B&Bs / Inns in Ipoh
Number of rooms: 10

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