Fun and homely
47 Muntri St, Penang T: (04) 264 4021
It’s all in the name: A less imaginative owner may have opted to call this homestay, located at number 47 on popular Muntri Street, by street name and number but this fun play on words hints at the twinkle, quirkiness and dash of poetry that sets Moon Tree 47 apart.
On the first floor of this charmingly restored shophouse, located right in the UNESCO heritage site are three rooms: two doubles and one single. The doubles we saw have newly painted wooden floors and walls in striking whites or vivid turquoise and pinks, with clean bedding accented by cheery patchwork quilt runners. Each room has individual retro-style chairs, tables or desks but all share air-con, water jugs and beakers, hairdryer, towels and new whiter than white mosquito nets. The romantically inclined might opt for the first double, the sight of morning light shining through fanlights above a triptych of green full-length louvre shutters making a bit of street noise worth it.
All three rooms share an enclosed shower room just along the corridor on the open air, leafy terrace with hot and cold shower, a separate toilet and two outside basins. While brushing your teeth you can look across at the terracotta tiles of Ta Kam Hong Temple or, as the couple of lounge chairs attest to, indulge in some stargazing with a few beers.
The five remaining rooms (three deluxe doubles/twins, a triple and a four person family room) are clustered in the shady back courtyard, an oasis of green leaves with a couple of handily placed benches on which to perch while waiting for slowcoach roommates. Peeling wooden double doors open into doubles that are split over two levels. The one we saw was simply furnished with a futon-style mattress on the floor, some funky wall art, with an “attic” ladder leading up to a private terrace and bathroom. If you are happy to put the DIY look plumbing down to the quirky feel of the place, these doubles have a compact, cosy nest feel. The ladder is steep and without a handrail so anyone travelling with younger kids or a recent hip replacement might prefer the triple or family room at the back of the courtyard.
The family room sleeps four, again with nice linen on mattresses at floor level. Two air-con units will keep the room cool while a full-size family fridge will chill your drinks. A TV and radio, kettle, ironing board, dining area with table and chairs and big, clean private shower room make this an ideal base for a family or group.
The homestay has an on-site cafe, tables set around the granite paved area well hung with plants and decorated with old photographs and antiques. Menus made from recycled muesli boxes offer up breakfast, lunch and lots of tempting treats (home-made brownies, cranberry and apricot scones and the divine sounding toffeenut ice-cream with tuiles) at reasonable prices. It is easy to imagine passing a relaxing few hours here, the only disturbance being the appreciative chomping of fellow diners over the relaxing jazz tunes in the background.
The front area of Moon Tree 47, selling arty postcards and stamps, with its own postbox just outside, is a one-stop shop to making your great-aunt Tilly’s day — go on, send her one!
As soon as you step onto the original, chipped, geometric-patterned tiles, the walls decorated with black and white photographs, old cabinets filled with knick knacks, with stacks of old suitcases and tiffin cases balanced on top, you get a sense of a place that has been lovingly restored. If you are a big boutique hotel fan then be warned that this tends towards more fun and homely but if you are after a prime location, friendly staff and a clean comfortable room with a touch of the unique, then Moon Tree 47 is just the place.
If you have been wooed, the owner’s enthusiastic plans for future improvements, from a fish pond to rows of plants in drainage pipes, will keep you coming back for more.