Caravans and hip hotel
Somewhat quirky Rucksack Caratel is almost like two separate hotels, with themed caravan-style rooms on the ground floor and modern hip boutique-style rooms on the floors above, with views to the swimming pool and gardens.
The triple-storey white modern looking building is tucked down a lane behind Saint Paul’s Hill, and has an appealing leafy outlook and overlooks the Sultanate Palace Museum garden. As you enter the open-plan ground floor lobby, you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve happened upon a summer camp with tyre-swings, table-football games and picnic tables.
“Parked” under the eaves festooned with bunting are the caravan rooms. Named for various stars including Marilyn Monroe, Elvis and BB King, the caravans sleep a couple in a double bed or four “buddies” in two double bunks, and like caravans, the rooms are rather compact and dark as windows are tiny, however they are brightened up with loud coloured painted walls.
Clean en suite hot-water bathrooms with rain-shower mean you don’t have to tramp across the “caravan-park” in the dark. Picnic tables outside the vans create an “outdoor” living space. Although we think the caravans are a cute concept that will probably appeal to kids, we feel they are little overpriced.
The upstairs rooms, as well as being more spacious and brighter, are better value, though they are a bit of a mixed bag too. Catch the lift to the second and third levels for a range of simple smartly styled bright and airy rooms. Light floods from almost wall-to-ceiling windows, but go for a pool or garden view, otherwise you’ll have a wall-to-ceiling view of a wall. Crisp white linen, dark wood and tile floors and white walls decorated with large photographs create a fresh contemporary look.
Ensuite hot-water rain-showers and separate toilets are screened behind opaque glass and washbasins and benches are open-plan inside the rooms, which in the larger rooms looks stylish. In rooms with reduced space, this configuration is rather odd as the bed is pushed up against the bench, resulting in it only being accessible from one side, and the potential for water and toothpaste foam to splash over your pillow—easy to get a drink from bed though.
Standard amenities (even in the caravans) include air-con, flatscreen TVs with cable channels, a safe and tea-making facilities. Notably missing is a minibar, however cold drinks including beer and ice creams are available from the lobby. Rucksack’s smallish but welcome swimming pool is located in a decked area at the back of the hotel and offers a relaxing spot to cool off after a hard day's sightseeing. Pull up a sun lounge or bag one of the hammocks and enjoy the birdsong from the neighbouring garden.
Simple breakfast is included: local “bungkus” style Monday to Friday, and a Western buffet breakfast on weekends. Ask one of the friendly staff for a map and hire a bike (10 ringgit) to explore the town. Perhaps it’s the fun camp-like atmosphere, but Rucksack Caratel seems to attract a fairly young crowd. We think it’s good for any age, and the lift makes it accessible for less mobile folk too. Limited parking is available and note that the hotel has a non-smoking policy.
If you are heading to Singapore, the Rucksack crew run a popular hostel and hotel there too. For other fun themed options in town, check out Timez or if branded themes (and no windows) appeal you can sleep with Hello Kitty or Mickey Mouse at Love Guesthouse (see theirFB page).
Address: 107 Jalan Banda Kaba, Melaka
T: (06) 292 2107;
Coordinates (for GPS): 102º15'4.25" E, 2º11'34.26" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: 120 to 250 ringgit
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Standard double room|
|134 ringgit||180 ringgit|
|Deluxe double room|
|138 ringgit||180 ringgit|
|Superior double room||147 ringgit||190 ringgit|
|Quad air-con private bathroom|
|258 ringgit||310 ringgit|
|276 ringgit||330 ringgit|
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