By: Lita Geynna

IPOH: Famed for its historical and preserved buildings, Old Town Ipoh is a must visit place for anyone that set their foot in the silver state of Perak.

Nevertheless, there is one particular stay that was tucked underneath the century year’s old history, and still resonates the classical entrepreneur journey that goes to its 4th generations nowadays.

For those seeking a touch of preserved pre-war stay, equipped with real structure of the authentic wood and bricks from the 20’s, there is no better place to stay than the nearly 100 year old, rustic and mesmerizing Ban Loong Hotel located in Jalan Bandar Timah, Ipoh.

What made this hotel so fascinating is the stories that lies behind each and every bricks structure there is to the place.

Ir Loh Ban Ho, is the man that made it all came true when he realized the prominence to bring back the sentimental, and bygone value of the place that was waiting to be demolished anytime soon.

Being the 4th generation of the renowned Taipu generation, he decided not to let that happen, certainly not on his watch.

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A Business Venture Turns Refugee Camp

“My great grandfather, Loh Mee Loon, bought this piece of two storey shop at the tender age of 23 years old back in 1926 and name it Ban Loong General Merchants and Hardware Dealers, and became the pioneer in tin smith, hat making besides introducing iron galvanizing technique in Ipoh.

“I was told that it took him a month from his village in China to reach the ship, and another three months sea journey to Malaya, before he collected some money to buy this shop, now how could I ever let it go to waste, without sharing the eccentric historical tale to others? ,”he said.

It was later understood that the shop then become a refugee camp for all the Chinese’s immigrants especially women who came to find a job and mostly to wait for their husband who is already working in Malaya.

“The first floor would function as their rooms, and the ground floor would be the location for my late great grandfather to operate his booming business.

“In other word, the women will work for my families whilst waiting for their husband and securing a job, and they were given comfort shelter, food and a family,”he said.

The Hotel

There are few Ipoh’s old town that I cherish, but the moment I step into Ban Loong Hotel you will certainly know that this is it, this is old school Ipoh, the bit that makes you feel like you’ve arrived.

The entrance is tucked around a corner on Jalan Bijih Timah street but once you step through those classical glass doors into the lobby, with its intricate bricks walls, plain ceiling and colossal authentic Chinese tiles, you’re hit by its grandeur.

The hotel, which started as a tin smith and hat making center, has an imposing presence and everything here feels so historical with its batik wrapped tissue boxes, classical radio and the touch of oriental design in its relaxing area.

The rooms are equally well pitched. A tranquil mix of mahogany brown, classical elegant Chinese tiles, wooden beds, perfect shower room design and unique yet minimal decorations along its wall.

The corridor are one not to be missed, as the owner play with its creativity in creating glimmering lights that shone from the translucent fluorescent yellow soft bulb.

And of course, the moment I wanted to leave the hotel to further explore the mesmerizing city of Ipoh there’s always something to lure you back, which is the hospitality and warmth from the hotel staffs, such assisting and sincere.

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The Ship

Ban Ho added, restoration of the building took around one years with much investment, sweats and tears and making countless painful decisions of preserving the historic spot but fulfilling the fire safety requirements by the Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia.

I was shocked when Ban Ho told me that the hotel was built in a ship-like structure, in the easier architecture term.

“In order to preserve this historical and meaningful building of our family, we took double the time required to build a normal shop, we manage to preserve most of  its original  brickworks (102 yrs old) and most of the wooden beams by building it on a ship like structure, or raft foundation.

“It is really stable, injecting two feet thick of solid concrete below the hotel.Furthermore, we had strengthen the whole building with a new steel structure. It’s like building a new frame within an old frame, or a new chapter within an old book,”the experience architect added.

Ban Ho believes that with its tedious strengthening works, and based from his experience as a structural engineers of thirty years, it can take ban loong for another decade for our future generations to visit.

Highs

Polished, revived and achingly elegant – this is Ipoh Old Town’s signature at its best. Do drop by to the famous Sin Yoon Loong first ever white coffee, just around the next block from the hotel, and be sure to catch the Ipoh Chicken Kueyteow as early as 7 am on the weekend!

P/S: In conjunction with Visit Perak 2017, drop by to Ban Loong Hotel, 51 Jalan Bandar Timah, Ipoh, or you can opt going there by driving!

Waze Coordinatres: https://waze.to/lr/hw0zfhh67

Ban Loong Hotel
51, Jalan Bandar Timah, 30000 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
Tel: 05-2555989 /016-2580989
Website: www.banloonghotel.com
Email: reservation@banloonghotel.com

WiFi is available

Check-in time: 3pm – 12 midnight
Check-out time: 12pm
Note: Reception counter is open from 8am to 12 midnight.

Check out their room rates!  (inclusive of 6% GST):

Deluxe Twin Room (2 Single Beds)
RM 178 nett

Deluxe Double Bedroom (1 Queen-sized Bed)
RM 148 nett

Standard Twin Bedroom (2 Single Double-Decker Bed + common toilet)
RM 88 nett

Standard Twin Bedroom (2 Single Double-Decker Bed + common toilet)
RM 88 nett

Standard Twin Bedroom (2 Single beds + common toilet)
RM 98 nett

Premium Double Room (1 Queen-sized Bed + Back view)
RM 198 nett

Premium Double Room (1 Queen-sized Bed + Front View)
RM 208 nett

Family Room (1 Queen-sized & 1 Single Double-Decker Bed + Back View)
RM 238 nett