As we contend with the daily hustle and bustle of our metropolitan lifestyles, it’s only too common for Singaporeans to be on the lookout for our next getaway – to escape the stress and grind of our busy habits, to revitalise ourselves away from the urban landscape, and to feed our souls with the vibrance and colours of cultural legacies untainted by modernisation.
One of our favourite destinations and amongst most accessible, the Malaysian city of Melaka has always captivated us with their heritage-rich offerings, active arts and culture communities, authentic street food experiences, and foreigner-friendly surrounds.
Planning to head over soon on your next short escape? Then you’ll want to know this: the UNESCO Heritage City has recently added a brand new experience to its array of unique accommodation options with the opening of Baba House. A newly refurbished hotel overflowing with authentic Peranakan elements underlined by a distinct modern twist, the 18th century heritage building occupies what was once five rows of houses.
Following the style of a typical Peranakan house during the Dutch era, Baba House features a narrow and long look that pays homage to its cultural significance. Having gone through a massive facelift, the hotel currently boasts 100 oasis-inspired rooms fitted out with Peranakan décor alongside modern amenities. At the lobby, guests will find long communal tables and comfortable sofas that bring to mind the importance our forefathers placed on receiving guests and engaging in pleasant conversations.
Conveniently situated along Jalan Tun Tan Cheng, the hotel is a stone’s throw away from most of Melaka’s must-visit destinations. From Jonker Walk Street and the 17th-century Stadthuys buildings, to the Melaka River Park and Cruise, Baba and Nyonya Heritage Museums, and Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, guests can easily plan their trips out, drop back in for a quick mid-day rest, and seek shelter from bad weather anytime throughout the entirety of their stay.
Adding to that immersive Peranakan experience, Baba House also showcases a line-up of Peranakan bites at their Mari Chiak Restaurant. Led by Chef Baba Allan of Peranakan descent himself, he brings his culinary talent, family recipes tested over generations, and years of finesse to present specialty dishes that’ll satisfy your palate all day, featuring highlights such as his Ayam Pongteh, a slow-braised chicken dish with potato and mushroom in fermented bean paste, Itik Tim, a comforting duck soup with salted vegetables and sour plum, and Ikan Cili Garam, a punchy fried fish dish with the restaurant’s signature Nyonya chilli paste.
While at the restaurant, don’t forget to pause and take a moment to marvel at the beauty of its design. The massive space of the entire restaurant was once a singular kitchen where the Nyonya ladies and Amahs would typically spend most of their days in preparing food for the household.
Navigating through the rest of the property, the authentic experience never ceases, with picturesque courtyards flushed with natural light, an indoor well, garden, and even a pond.
As part of Baba House’s vision to preserve the community’s architectural heritage, historical elements, and the soul of Peranakan culture, they shed light on the century-old community with details that include a hotel-wide service culture that applies and promotes the traditional Peranakan language.
The comprehensive range of room types to choose from include the deluxe Bilek Hibiscus rooms, deluxe plus Bilek Ruellia rooms, Bilek Azalea junior suites, and Bilek Peony family suites. To top it all off, check out their Kaki Minom rooftop bar and rooftop tanning pools, where you’ll have an unobstructed view of the neighbourhood, or head over to their Bilek Bacha Library reading room for some quiet time to yourself surrounded by interesting texts on the community’s history and culture.
For more information and reservations, head over to Baba House’s website here.