Great location, first-class luxury
Resplendent on the banks of the Melaka River, Casa Del Rio pays architectural homage to Melaka’s Portuguese past.
Colonnade arches span the three storeys of the modern terracotta-coloured building forming a U-shape around a sizeable lagoon-stye water feature complete with fountains and floating pavilions, so inviting we thought it was a swimming pool. This boutique-style five-star seems bigger than its 66 guest rooms, perhaps because the rooms themselves are huge, each with generous private balconies overlooking the river or lagoon.
We were pleasantly surprised by the comfortable and well appointed interiors, with rich earthy tones using natural stone, wood and terracotta, adding to the Mediterranean flavour. Solid wooden furniture, plush king-sized beds and vibrant tapestries create an opulent ambience. Daybeds could easily accommodate an extra person or kids. The style is classic, but far from cookie-cutter. Creature comforts are attended to with all mod-cons accounted for including a turndown service that provides the next day's weather forecast.
Marble bathrooms enclose deep tubs with separate rain-showers, and sliding panels allow you to enjoy the view or close for privacy. A dressing room off the bathroom lets you keep your luggage out of the way too. Enjoy the view from your balcony overlooking pretty pink bougainvillea-filled window boxes, then relocate to the rooftop infinity pool with views over Melaka.
The appealing azure rectangular pool is partitioned with a fenced kids section and a not for-the-acrophobia unfenced section, seemingly spilling into the Melaka River. Limited sun lounges offer little shade but a poolside bar is either swim up or you can enjoy your drink in the shady poolside pavilion. For a spot of cardio, there’s a rooftop gym too. If you’re still in need of recreational (non)activity, a spa offers treatments that includes a rub down with gula Melaka, the local palm sugar—sweet!
Located right on the edge of Melaka’s UNESCO heritage district, the towns’s best dining is steps away, but if you’d prefer to eat in-house, two riverside restaurants and a bar offer everything from Peranakan specialities to pizza. A daily breakfast buffet is served in The River Grill, and the casual River Cafe offers a Peranakan tiffin set lunch for 38 ringgit and all you can eat steamboat dinner for 38 ringgit per person, both worth checking out for non-guests too. Casa Del Rio’s well trained staff greeted us at every turn from reception to cleaners, welcoming and professional.
We think Casa Del Rio is an ideal place for a little indulgence: It’s our top five-star pick in town. If you’d prefer more traditional Peranakan style, nearby 5 Heeren offers a museum-like stay in a boutique guesthouse, however they don’t have swimming pool; Hotel Majestic near Kampung Morton meanwhile presents classic rooms with great five-star service.
Address: 88 Jalan Kota Laksamana, Melaka
T: (06) 289 6888; F: (06) 289 6999
Coordinates (for GPS): 102º14'50.32" E, 2º11'38.66" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: over 500 ringgit
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Standard double room|
Weekdays. Weekends 650 ringgit.
|486 ringgit||486 ringgit|
Two-bedroom River Suite. Weekdays. Weekends 1,750 ringgit.
|1,486 ringgit||1,486 ringgit|
Sally spent twelve years leading tourists around Indonesia and Malaysia where she collected a lot of stuff. She once carried a 40kg rug overland across Java. Her house has been described as a cross between a museum and a library. Fuelled by coffee, she can often be found riding her bike or petting stray cats. Sally believes travel is the key to world peace.
Our top 10 places to stay in and around Melaka