Melaka is a boutique hotel in the heart of the old city of Malacca. It
is a 30 minute drive from the North-South Highway (Malacca/Ayer Keroh
exit), and 10 minute drive from the bus station (Sentral). Surrounded by
antique and bric-a-brac shops, it is only a stroll away from Malacca's
The hotel is a carefully restored Peranakan house which once belonged to
the descendants of an eminent philanthropist and rubber plantation
owner, Tan Kim Seng. Extending 100 metres long, its distinct
characteristics are its beautiful and intricately decorated façade and
the impressive length of the house. Retaining its old charm, Hotel Puri
Melaka provides modern amenities to its hotel guests.
Puri has a distinguished beginning. It was the ancestral home of the
descendants of Tan Kim Seng (1805-1864). He was a third generation
Straits Chinese born in Malacca. His grandfather migrated to Malacca
in the 18th century from Eng Choon district of Fujian Province,
China. He became a very successful businessman in Malacca. When
Singapore was founded in 1819 by Stamford Raffles, Tan Kim Seng
moved to Singapore. Growing even richer in Singapore, he contributed
generously to society.
Seng never forgot his place of birth, Malacca. His contributions to
Malacca were equally significant. The Malacca Kim Seng Bridge and
Kim Seng Clock Tower are but just some of his legacies.
building Hotel Puri resides in was first built in 1822 and was
bought over by Tan Kim Seng in 1840. The house was then rebuilt by
Tan Kim Seng's grandson, Tan Jiak Choo at a cost of 14,000 Straits
Settlement Dollars in 1876. The house sits on a piece of land which
has in its possession the original Dutch title dating back to
28.4.1819. It is located in one of the oldest streets in Malacca
called Heeren Street by the Dutch, and known as Holland Street to
the Chinese till this day. It was also nicknamed Millionaires' Row
as most of the Chinese millionaires of the pioneering period lived
on this street. After Malaysia's independence, the street was
renamed Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock.
building now housing Hotel Puri stretched from the street to where the
hotel kitchen is today, a full 100 metres long. It had three airwells to
let in air and light, and a water well which supplies water in the days
when pipe water was unknown. The original water well still exists and is
now standing near the former cafe entrance. Where the hotel garden and
the L-shaped new wing stand today was an open area. The compound was
used as a stable for the Tan family horses and parking area for horse
carriages. In addition, it also housed a mini zoo said to have included
a tiger and several deer. Except for the western influenced architecture
of the Chee ancestral home opposite Hotel Puri, other buildings along
this street including Hotel Puri is typical of Peranankan culture, a mix
of Chinese, Western and local flavours.
Who are the Peranakans? The word Peranakan was originally used in
Indonesia for the descendants of immigrant Chinese who have forgotten
their own language and integrated and adopted some local Malay custom,
and practice intermarriage with the natives.
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