National Day fell on a Thursday this year and Bryan had the Friday off so we thought we’d do a quick trip to Malacca in celebration of his birthday. Bali was expensive so it wasn’t an option. I was resistant about Malacca at first as my last trip there was uncomfortable but we booked ourselves into a nice room at the new Casa Del Rio and it made the entire trip pleasant.
The drive up was uneventful except for 2 incidences:
1. Road block. Fortunately not our car but 2 BMWs were stopped at the side for speeding. There are 4 toll booths between the border and Malacca, the first one starting right after you cross Malaysian customs at from the Second Link. between the 1st and 2nd, and the 2nd and 3rd toll booths, there are bright yellow signs with a picture of a camera and the word “Operasion” which warns that the speed cameras are in operation. We obediently maintained our speed at 110km/hr and it was after the 3rd toll that we spotted the road block. The police (or Polis) waved us through as he checked our car plate number against his list. I remarked that it’s good we didn’t drive an expensive BMW, but Bryan pointed out that those cars were probably powerful enough to push past 120km/hr. We duly noted that both cars carried Singaporean and Malaysian car plates.
2. Runaway tyre. This was the most unexpected but hilarious of incidences in our history of Malacca trips. We were calmly driving down the 2-lane highway when we spotted something odd in front of us. It was a black object that moved from the right lane to the left, causing a coach bus on the left lane to swerve a little, a bit like an old dame picking up her humongous dress and doing a little footsy to avoid running children underfoot. as we got closer, we realised that black object wasn’t a bird or a person but in fact a tyre that had gotten loose from somewhere. It was still rolling down the road, this time a foot behind the back wheels of the bus. We thought it was a 5th wheel that had fallen off a jeep or something until we realised it was an important 4th that fell off a car! it was the funniest thing to see on this drive. a few hundred metres down, we spotted a small car slowing down to the road shoulder, with its rear right wheel missing!
We stopped at one of the rest stops for a toilet run. Spotted a new Baskin Robbins outlet so we grabbed a scoop of praline and blueberry something.
We discovered Casa Del Rio almost a year ago on our 2nd trip to Malacca. We stayed at Hotel Putri at that time, a boutique hotel along Jalan Tun Tan Cheng (street behind Jonker Walk). Rio was in the midst of construction then as we gazed at it from our hotel, wondering what sort of place it would be like. We decided to find out this trip and we were pleasantly surprised by the 5-star standard it claims to hold.
The architecture boasts of Spanish influences but truly reminded me of the buildings along Robertson Walk back in Singapore. We lounged in one of the settees by the lobby as we waited to check in. The structure of the hotel blocks out most of Malacca so it feels like you’re not in Malacca. So for awhile, I pretended I was in the sweltering Caribbean heat.
The room was large, so big that an Olympian could do a 100m hurdle through the open doorways through the bathroom into the balcony. This was a marked improvement from Aldri Hotel, a 2-star budget hotel which was located next to the main touristy roundabout plagued by 100 yellow trishaws with their techno music. A mainstay of Malacca but a ear sore in my opinion. I hated those trishaws with a passion and was glad Casa Del Rio offered no view, or sound, of them.
The best bit about any 5-star hotel is the little touches they add to your room that makes it different from any other hotel. Our bath tub was guarded by Captain Yellow, a rubber duckie who swam with us whenever we took a hot bath. When we went out for a quick dip in the infinity pool, the staff ninjaed into our room and turned down the room, adding aromatherapy oils to the burner and made a world of difference when we returned. Other ninja services include wiping our car windscreen while it was parked in the hotel car park below.
While it tries to give us 5-star service, what I found lacking at the hotel was the bar. When I tried to order a vodka cranberry, they said how about cranberry juice? Confused, I repeated my order and they said ah but they only have cranberry juice, hinting that they didn’t have vodka at their pool bar. I found it funny that the staff refused to say the word vodka, so we made do with sour white wine.
In all, I liked Casa Del Rio a lot. It made Malacca bearable as I could lounge around in relative peace and do nothing but read my book or go dip in the pool for an hour or two. Definitely a must-return for us.