Discovering the hidden gems of sleepy, small town Ipoh is a joy to newcomers and regular visitors alike, as the town continues to adjust to its newfound identity as a must-visit destination in Malaysia.
From luxury to B&B properties, hoteliers are dishing up one-of-kind hotel stays in Ipoh, all with a touch of Ipoh-centric charm and hospitality. Boutique hotel Sarang Paloh is our top pick, if you want to experience a heritage stay reminiscent of affluent families of Ipoh’s glorious past as a late 19th century, Southeast Asian tin mining hub.
The hotel’s name is a throwback tribute to the town’s history, when Ipoh was known by another name — “Baluo” or “Pa Lo”. In Cantonese, pa lo referred to the man-made fishing dams built along Kinta River by Chinese settlers, and eventually adopted as the name of the settlement. Combined with the word “sarang”, which means nest in Malay, Sarang Paloh evokes a cosy place to nest when visiting Ipoh.
Situated in a row of restored pre-colonial shophouses, this unassuming 3-star property has plenty of upscale features. Cosy, impeccably clean rooms with high ceilings, lots of natural light and furnishings designed to create an authentic experience are the highlights to expect from staying at Sarang Paloh.
Sarang Paloh: What to Expect
One immediate wow factor of the hotel is its carefully refurbished, pre-colonial Art Deco exterior, but what might be even more impressive is the pristine, “days of an affluent past” themed interior. Fixtures and decor alike, everything appears well-fitted, clean and in proper working condition.
According to the website, the owners placed “careful consideration into the materials and methods” for the restoration process, recycling wood and tiles from other shophouses designated for demolition. Furniture, in common areas as well as in each room, are either antiques purchased from other locals or custom-made to look era-specific.
The buildings that are now Sarang Paloh have undergone several utility changes, housing one bank and then another before surviving a fire, as well as the Japanese occupation during World War II. On the first floor where guests will stay, rooms are accessible by a landscaped, open air walkway that connects the hotel’s three buildings, while allowing plenty of beautiful natural light to brighten up rooms.
Rooms and Interior
You’ll find delight in the modern details too, like the enamel mugs and packets of instant Ipoh white coffee found in the tea/coffee service trays in every room. Abstract paintings on the wall depict Chinese settlers in traditional outfits, as if to welcome guests in spirit. For the young at heart, a little girl skips happily after a white rabbit in a mural on the first floor, in front of the black and white spiral staircase.
Each of the eleven rooms are named after local birds and have distinctive layouts, accommodating solo travellers, couples, and up to 6 family members. Because the hotel is along the busy Jalan Sultan Iskandar (formerly Hugh Low Street), rooms closer to the street tend to have greater noise level, so book well ahead of your travel dates if you want to snag a serene room overlooking the picturesque vertical garden in the back. Free wi-fi, tv and air-conditioning are available in all rooms.
Sarang Paloh is surrounded by some of Ipoh’s top places to visit, including Han Chin Pet Soo, the Birch Memorial Clock Tower, the Yasmin Ahmad Museum, Concubine Lane as well as several cafes and coffeeshops serving must-try Ipoh dishes.
From the Ipoh Railway Station, it is a 5-minute drive, or a 7-minute walk. From the Sultan Azlan Shah Airport, it is a 10-minute drive.
Sarang Paloh Heritage Stay & Event Hall
16 Jalan Sultan Iskandar
+605 2413 926