If budget is not issue and ultimate comfort is the main criteria for an accommodation choice in Melaka, my recommendation is swift and sure – Casa del Rio, a new boutique hotel sitting majestically on the riverbank, steeped in culture, built of symphonized influences of the many international cultures that have influenced Melaka – principally those of the Chinese (with the early arrival of China’s Admiral Cheng Ho), early Arabic traders, the Portuguese and Dutch is exactly where you should be.
This boutique property is juxtapose of old world atmosphere and rich cultural heritage yet it provides the modern amenities essential for a delightful stay.
A striking infinity pool, a handsome library stocked with magazines, titles and newspapers absolutely complimentary with inclusion of fresh tea leaves complete with a traditional samnovar and a coffee pod machine plus a prime location that makes life so convenient (trust me, you do not want to drive or walk too much in the Melaka heat and traffic) does justifies your choice of being here in Casa del Rio.
In addition to the expected hospitality of a hotel of its standard (you get what you pay for), I was charmed with the unexpected extras and surprises during my stay (the same is accorded to every guest and not just media) and that has left an impression on my mind stronger than any other boutique hotel stay I have experienced before.
The ubiquitous welcome drink and cold towel may be a cliche, but a housemade refreshing sorbet is not. A warm welcome, a chilled towel and a cold sorbet; my gracious welcome to Casa del Rio was executed in all the right degrees. 🙂
Below: A super relieved me with a cool towel on my face.
Arriving after a few hours on the road and post food hunt in the broiling heat of Melaka town, I was ready to be cosseted in the private enclave of my room.
Check in was quick and pleasant and I find myself and luggage escorted to my Deluxe Lago Room; named such as it overlooks the courtyard Lago and at its horizons the Melaka River and beyond that even a glimpse of the sea.
I had thought I would have been left to my own then, but no, the nice staff who had escorted me to my room proceeded to give me an orientation, showing me around and explaining some of the items available that are hidden in drawers and books.
Yes a book, like the remote controls.
On the right side of the work desk is a volume of Kebaya Tales; a delightful collection of short stories, teeming with fascinating and interesting characters, unexpected twists and turns, cultural rituals, beliefs and superstitions and poignant events in the life stories of the Peranakans.
Having complimentary TIMES and National Geographic magazines as reading material in the room is pretty standard for a hotel, but the gesture of including a local publication of the local culture does reflect the commitment from Casa del Rio in assisting its guests to have a better insight of Melaka.
This post will bring you on a virtual tour of the room, but first, I would like to highlight the little touches that left an impression on me during my stay:
1. The Kebaya Tales book
2. The choice of welcome snack – instead of fruits and chocolates, it was our local kuih onde-onde
3. The rubber duck at the bath tub. Too cute! 🙂
4. Discrete wooden box to store sanitary bags
5. Little handbook at the work desk for guests to sign off and input a little story of his/her stay experience
6. French press and ground coffee instead of just plain 3-in-1, though that is provided as well
7. Loose tea bags
8. 555 notebook!
9. Toiletries in terracotta jars with stoppers instead of the usual plastic bottles!
10. Additional pillows at the dressing room readily available. I would have loved it more if they have a pillow menu as my neck is pretty sensitive and I need to sleep on a firmer pillow.
A nice medium sized tube of toothpaste, toothbrush that comes with a cover (that’s a first for me!), bath salts ready for your soak, handmade cinnamon soap for your bath, Molton Brown ultra pure milk soap and those cutesy jars of bath essentials in the shower room just adds a spring to my step as I explored the bathroom.
The 66 rooms at Case del Rio are beautifully decorated and designed, blending Mediterranean style with Peranakan touches (Baba Nyonya/Straits-Chinese). The result strikes a pleasant balance between modernity and olden Peranakan culture without deviating away too much from the charms of Peranakan of which Melaka is known for.
Casa del Rio certainly strives hard to meld nostalgia with novelty within its walls.
All rooms have balconies which overlook the courtyard ‘lago’ or the Melaka River, while the luxurious bathrooms feature sliding screens that open up to the magnificent views from inside the room to beyond the balcony.
I have no complaints about my bed. As mentioned earlier, I wished that they have a pillow menu as I prefer to sleep on firmer pillows. On my first night I called the reception but was informed there weren’t such a service. But it wasn’t a big deal as that was just personal preference.
And the marvelous long and thick towels! These were obviously of superb quality. I could wrap myself up like a spring roll 2 or 3 times over! 🙂
There were plenty of powerpoints; at the work desk, near the TV, behind each beside table. This is something that I appreciate very much considering the amount of battery dependent gadgets I carry around with me.
Mini bar, laundry service, 24 hours room service, bedroom slippers, dressing room with direct access into the bathroom and dedicated luggage space, large wardrobe space, safe for valuables, mosquito repellent – all the amenities to make your stay a satisfying and fulfilling one.
I liked that the luggage area and dressing room are kept separated from the sleeping area. It gives a feeling of separation and the additional access from the bathroom to the closet area does make the access between both spaces more convenient.
A large TV and a CD, DVD player with iPod docking. I can’t say I wasn’t pampered. 🙂
It was a fabulous weekend at Casa del Rio, Melaka. For an experience like mine, do check out the rates below.
Name and description of all the other rooms/suites available:
* This Melaka trip was made possible by Casa del Rio, Melaka. Many thanks to the management for the splendid stay and providing me the opportunity to explore the rich cultural state of Melaka! 🙂
Casa del Rio Boutique Hotel
88, Jalan Kota Laksamana 75200 Malacca, Malaysia
GPS: N02° 11′ 20″ E101° 23′ 4″