Ipoh 2012 - Sekeping Kong Heng
Malaysian Landscape Architect Ng Sek San has been quietly building his empire of small urban retreats throughout Malaysia, and one of his latest ventures is Sekeping Kong Heng in Ipoh. After staying 2 nights at the nondescript but comfortable Kinta Waterfront Hotel, I moved to Sekeping Kong Heng for a night.
Sekeping Kong Heng is located right above the famous Kong Heng Kopitiam in Ipoh Old Town, a 3-storey stand-alone shophouse from the Colonial era. The access is from a small side lane. Most taxi drivers don't even know this place existed - even though it is right under their nose. Luckily the kopitiam is such a landmark, just ask to be dropped off there and you should be fine.
Reception is a small hole in the wall. In typical Sekeping style, there is only one person looking after the place - who is the receptionist, porter, cleaner, etc. The rooms are on the 1st and 2nd floor. There is no passenger lift, but they have thoughtfully installed a luggage lift to help with heavier luggage.
The rooms are surprisingly spacious. The shower and toilet are right next to the bed, so this more a place for couples. There is no wardrobe or even a place to hang your clothing - which is grave oversight if you are staying a few days. Instead, there are some hooks hung from the ceiling for towels and such next to the wash hand basin and shower.
At the top floor, there are 2 special attic rooms built into the large empty space left almost as-is from the original building.
Also on the top floor is a common area with some sofas and hammocks for guests to chill and relax.
The concept for Sekeping is that of a high-end B&B. Don't expect hotel-level service, and amenities are minimal. What you do get is a minimalist yet stylish design in a beautiful but slightly dilapidated heritage building. Certainly not for everyone, but I loved it.