Monday, August 18, 2008

Cosy accommodation

The Avillion Legacy Melaka is being positioned as a boutique hotel where service is everything.

It is 8pm, and having negotiated the streets of Malacca town using my trusty map, I have no problems making out the imposing hotel that stands on the corner of Jalan Hang Tuah in Malacca.

It’s visually arresting, to say the least, what with lights illuminating its columns from the ground up.

High up on one side of this gleaming orange-gold building, an inscription of the year 1998 can be seen.

The bathroom inside the Premium Studio where you can look down on Malacca

The Avillion Legacy Melaka is turning 10 this year, but you would never have guessed it from looking at the building — I thought it was one of the newer hotels to have sprung up in busy Malacca.

The current management — the third in the hotel’s 10-year history — is the Avillion Hotels International. They took over the 15-storey hotel in October 2005 and has since worked on re-branding it as a boutique hotel with an emphasis on service.

The facade and design have mostly been left intact. From up-close or afar, the hotel manages to radiate a colonial-era charm. I like how the hotel is grand but not over-the-top or too contemporary that it stands out like a sore thumb. In the courtyard leading to its entrance is a fountain.

The lobby is modest and understated, furnished with Straits-era d├ęcor. Its more distinct feature perhaps is the glass dome centrepiece on the ceiling in a swirl of floral motifs and gold-plated sculptures.

The hotel has 228 rooms, made up of superior rooms, studios, premium studios and suites — all of them done up in earthy tones.

The promotional price for a Superior Room now is RM175+.

“Boutique” usually means a limited number of rooms, but director of sales Michael Chiew tells me Avillion prefers to celebrate the meaning of boutique in the sense of it being a service-oriented hotel.

“Boutique hotel, in our context, is about creating personalised service. We want to provide personalised attention to each client by ensuring quicker response and always trying to address guests by their name.

“Also, we don’t rate our hotels with stars. In the case of Avillion Legacy, we prefer to be called a first-class business hotel, since our core guests are business travellers,” he says.

Chiew says refurbishment is still being carried out in stages. Tired carpets at designated floors have been changed and the woods varnished.

“Avillion Hotels are traditionally categorised into the four elements of wind, water, earth and fire. Avillion Legacy falls into the earth category, which is why we use earth tones.”

A breathtaking glass dome in the lobby area.

I love swimming pools, and I could not wait to check out the one at Avillion.

The outdoor pool, protruding out from the sixth floor, is smallish but agreeable with sun-lit terraced surroundings and Roman pillars. It feels like being on cloud nine to be swimming above the city and having the pool virtually to myself — until the excited screams and footsteps of children break the silence, as a group of them hop their way to the children’s wading pool at the other end.

The hotel has just two F&B outlets: the Coffeehouse for all-day dining from 6am to midnight, and the Lobby Lounge, which operates from 5pm to 1am. After that, their 24-hour room service takes over. The lounge will soon be converted into a sports bar where guests can watch live telecasts on the sports channels.

“Malacca is renowned for its food, so guests usually flock to roadside stalls or Peranakan restaurants to have their meals. Our two in-house outlets should suffice for the moment,’’ Chiew reasons.

The swimming pool on the sixth floor.

Those who would like to explore Malacca town should check out Jonker Street, a vibrant thoroughfare filled with antique shops, fun and hip pubs, interesting food and snack stalls, and gift shops and boutiques.

There are also live performances to be enjoyed here, what with the old folk singing and dancing away unabashedly inside the shop-lots of the different clan associations, in full public view!

You could catch the Panorama Bus at the bus stop just outside the hotel.

This bus service is a project initiated by the Malacca state government and entails a 45-minute tour around the major shopping areas and historical sites.

Dubbed the Hop-on, Hop-off Malacca Day Tour, the bus service costs RM5 for adults and RM2.50 for children.

The tickets can be purchased at the hotel reception desk.

“If you are lucky, you might just catch one of the two double-decker buses with open-air rooftops,” says Chiew.

o Avillion Legacy Melaka is located at 146, Jalan Hang Tuah, Malacca. For enquiries, call (06) 281 6868 or visit www.avillion.com





Source : STAR
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