In 2014, Tong Chye Kiam, who was in the insurance business, came across a dilapidated 70-year-old house in Melaka and dreamed of transforming it into a hotel. So, he purchased it and after extensive work was done, he opened it in 2018 as The Nest House, a 10-room “homestay, one of Melaka’s leading eco-friendly guest houses.”
A bare wall of bricks revealing the original texture of the building is on the ground floor, I suppose it serves as a reminder of what was and now is.
The remodeling of the four-floor building was carried out by a local architect firm and the interiors are the brainchild of ex-psychiatry- nurse-turned-artist, Melanie Bayoud, originally from Australia.
No two rooms are the same, each is different and “tastefully designed with a touch of minimalism and sustainability features in mind.” Translation: there is no daily housekeeping. You need a fresh set of towels? Beg!
Other quirky “rules”: air conditioning shuts off automatically in the morning – I woke up in a pool of sweat each morning I was there – shoes are not allowed in the building; there is no elevator – my already sore left hip almost rotated out of its socket each time I struggled up the steep flight of stairs to reach my room, and it didn’t help that there are no handrails. It also becomes a hazard if one is not sober or had one alcoholic drink too many. In fact, it’s a disaster waiting to happen.
Indeed, each climb up to my room was a death-defying act.
The Nest House seems to assume all guests are burglars, thieves and robbers and pilfer, ie steal like there’s no tomorrow; though you pay in advance, they demand a deposit upon arrival and they also read you the riot act as well as wave a big list of things on the premises with their (exorbitant) prices in case you feel like taking, say, a bottle of shampoo away. If my memory serves me right, that’s something like 40 bucks, by the way. Yes, for a bottle of shampoo.
The “pantry” with free 3-in-one coffee and tea (plus some cup noodles and a small selection of local biscuits) and a huge parking lot do not make up for the bad taste in my mouth at being treated like a prospective burglar.
There is a roof top where one can go and chill out but that’s means climbing enough flights of stairs to dislocate most of the joints in my aged body.
Besides, what does one expect to see from a roof top of a building that has only four floors?
Will I ever stay there again?
But I will readily recommend it to my younger friends.
The Nest House is more for youngsters who post pictures on Instagram. Indeed, this Airbnb – that’s what it is to me basically – looks like it was intentionally built for social media, with its many selfie-and-photo-corners for the young and silly, to shoot photos for flaunting on Facebook or Instagram.
Yes, there are also couples who go there to have their wedding photos taken.
Most of my dreams have turned to nightmares so it’s very heartening to see Tong’s dream become a reality. I am very happy for him. But to me, The Nest House is a very difficult establishment to like. Blame it on my age and my grouchiness.
Oh yes, the hot water doesn’t really work.
And oh yes, I almost fell off my bed – it was too small. I don’t think it’s a standard size bed.
But if you are a sucker for punishment, and you want pretty pictures, here’s where it is, according to its website:
“We are a lost gem
Hidden in an un-named street
We are hidden in the street behind
129, Jalan Melaka Raya
Taman Melaka Raya, 75000 Melaka