Rucksack Caratel

Rucksack Caratel

Caravans and hip hotel

More on Melaka

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.

Travelfish says:

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.

Take refuge from the heat with a splash in the pool. : Sally Arnold.
Take refuge from the heat with a splash in the pool. Photo: Sally Arnold

“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.

Rooms have varying views, so if that matters do take note. : Sally Arnold.
Rooms have varying views, so if that matters do take note. Photo: Sally Arnold

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.

Another of the rooms in the storeys above the  : Sally Arnold.
Another of the rooms in the storeys above the Photo: Sally Arnold

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).

Contact details for Rucksack Caratel

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

Room rates

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
4-bunk “caravan”
258 ringgit 310 ringgit
Garden suite.
276 ringgit 330 ringgit

Reviewed by

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.

From US$34

Provided by Travelfish partner Agoda.

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