Warm lights glimmer across the Melaka River. We’ve just had our mee goreng and kopi ais fix a few minutes ago and decided to walk along the river to get back to The Pines, our hotel for a couple of nights in Melaka. The air was sultry with humidity and my shirt was plastered with sweat. Crossing one of the many bridges traversing the waterways, we took in the view of the lighted traditional Malay houses of Villa Sentosa, snaking just right across where we were staying. We couldn’t have asked for a better location in the city.
|THE PINES’ GRAND LOBBY|
We arrived at Melaka just before midnight; a four-hour flight from Manila to Kuala Lumpur, a two-hour bus ride from KLIA2 to Melaka, then a quick two-kilometer ride from the Melaka Central Bus station to The Pines Melaka. We were exhausted but once we opened the door to our room, we felt that it was all worth it.
|OUR ROOM’S DINING AND KITCHEN AREA|
The Pines Melaka opened just a few months before our stay. The original plan for the building was for a condominium, and that explains why our room was so huge; and it isn’t even a suite!
|LIVING AREA AND BEDROOM BEYOND|
|THE BED IS SCREENED BY WOODEN SLATS|
We were billeted at their Deluxe Room [CHECK RATES AND AVAILABILITY] set at the 16th floor, and indeed it was one of the largest hotel rooms I’ve stayed at. Sprawling on a 46-square meter space, it has its own kitchen, dining table (or work station, in our case), a mini living room area with a sofa set, an ensuite toilet and bath, and finally the bed area separated from the rest by vertical wooden slats. The only thing I wish it has was a balcony. Design-wise, the interiors is very contemporary modern, minimalist yet not sparse.
|THE GREA8 CAFE, OVERLOOKING THE INFINITY POOL|
|CLOUDY DAY AT THE PINES’ INFINITY POOL|
In terms of amenities, the hotel is certainly not lacking. It has multi-function halls, a restaurant, a bar, roof-top infinity pools overlooking the city, and playground for kids.
|THE OAK RESTAURANT AT THE GROUND FLOOR|
|BUFFET BREAKFAST EVERY MORNING|
The Oak, their in-house restaurant is located at the ground floor, right beside the lobby. We usually have our complimentary breakfast here before going out and exploring Melaka on foot. Surprisingly, their food was quite good. I usually find hotel breakfast in Malaysia to be a far shadow of the food being hawked on the streets outside, but The Pines were at par with the best of what Melaka’s street has to offer, plus more.
|DELICIOUS LAKSA OVER MEE ~ MYR 27.00|
|MEE MAMAK, VERY SIMILAR TO MEE GORENG ~ MYR 27.00|
|HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE ~ MYR 29.00|
We also tried dining here, sampling their best-sellers; and again, it is as good as those you can find at the city’s famous Jonker Walk. The flavour isn’t watered and toned down for a milder tourist taste; when it is spicy, it is spicy; when it is strongly flavored, it is strongly flavored. No ifs and buts about it.
One afternoon, after lazily swimming around the pool, we were invited to try out their afternoon tea set (MYR 56.00) at their Grea8 Cafe which overlooks the pool and the whole of Melaka. I’m not really into tea, but my partner-in-crime, dragged me into it. And I’m glad she did. Instead of tea, I asked for coffee and happily munched away on tarts, croissants and fruits. It was actually pretty good.
|COOL SIGNS AT THE PINES|
Everything else aside, the best thing about The Pines is their location. Granted, they’re not even at the center of the Melaka Dutch Square area. A quick look at the map showed it to be quite far from the happening area in Melaka, but it surprisingly took us only about 15 minutes to reach it. If you’re not into walking, the hotel offers free shuttles to the Jonker Walk area, but where’s the fun in that?
|BIKING AROUND MELAKA RIVER USING THE PINES’ RENTABLE BIKES|
And yes, the hotel sits right beside the Melaka River. It is a sin not to walk around the beautiful waterway, and we did too, all the way to the Dutch Square, watching the Melaka River boat cruises go by as we went along. And upon finding that The Pines has bikes available for rent, we cycled all around the river one morning. It was quite fun and very relaxing.
|THE HOTEL IS JUST 10 MINUTES AWAY BY FOOT FROM THE HISTORIC CORE OF MELAKA|
I was asked by my buddy what I didn’t like about our hotel, the first one for our Beach Hop Asia 2016 two-month tour. The only thing I can think of was the lack of balcony (which they probably have no control of), but other than that, our stay at The Pines was very, very fine.
* OUR GRATITUDE TO THE PINES MELAKA HOTEL FOR HOSTING OUR STAY
GPS Coordinates Map: 2.204686, 102.252297