I finally went to Novotel Melaka (Malacca)!!
I’ve been stalking the property for quite a while, because it’s new, and the last time I’ve been to this small town was 2007 maybe?
I took a 4.5 hour ride from Singapore to the hotel direct and arrived at about 12:30pm midday on 11 March 2016 for my3D2N family trip. I picked this hotel as I’m with Accor and it is one of the newest hotel in this small town. The lobby looked spanking new and didnt show many signs of wear and tear….yet.
Address – Jalan Melaka Raya 2, 75000 Melaka, Malaysia. Website.
Price – MYR256++ per room per night for the Executive room, and MRY336++ per room per night for the Executive Suite – superb steal with Accor’s 40% Super Sale.
Check In – Prior to arrival, I had emailed the hotel to inform our ETA and requeste for early check in (12noon) and out (1pm). So check in was smooth, plus they had taken into consideration my request for a connecting room which was nice. But I wasnt offered check in at the lounge nor even the Accor privilege desk even though I booked 1 Executive Suite + 1 Executive room – a bummer.
Rooms – Our Suite (1700) and room (1706) was really nice! Spanking clean and totally spacious, esp fun with the connecting available. The suite has a cosy living area + TV, a comfy huge king bed, bathroom + tub, a walk in closet, and a second toilet. The room was spacious on its own with plenty space for luggage too. So in total, we had 3 TVs and 3 toilets. Super luxurious 🙂
Premier Lounge – Located on the 18th floor with rather nice views of the sea(?) – but the seatings were surprisingly few. The place could have been easily flooded if just 1 floor (out of 3) of executive guests turn up and overwhelm the entire place. Things were kept clean and kudos to that – but my grouses are laid out in the later part of this review. This is also the first lounge of an international 4-star property that I see has only 1 kind of beer + white wine + red wine and nothing else – no liquors or otherwise. A bit disappointed I must say.
Location – Not quite smack in the middle of the town centre but near enough to walk to it, although the sweltering heat makes it very hard to enjoy the short walk (tip: borrow umbrellas from the bell desk!). Plenty of decent masage places nearby (MYR29 for 1 hour foot massage) and local eateries to pacify hungry tourists like us (the coffeeshop right opposite hte hotel entrance serves nice bat kut teh). Not much shopping to do though unless you are after local souvenirs & snacks and stuff.
*Digress: we also did the touristy Jonker’s St, which turned out to be actually rather fun~
Check Out – painless process and done at the lounge, although I wished they offered me a hard copy of the invoice for my own records.
Service – the real reason why I rated this property ‘average’ (warning – long details ahead):
I was not assisted with luggage although the bellboy was there when our vehicle arrived, not offered check in at Accor priority desk nor the Premier Lounge despite having 1 suite + 1 executive room, and not explained the lounge benefits at all, including breakfast which I later found out in the most unpleasant way that I could not dine at The Square. There was no welcome letter in the rooms explaining the lounge benefit either.
Things were unpolished at the Premier Lounge especially – when I first went in on Friday evening for the cocktail hours, the staff was not at the desk but instead sitting on the couch and enjoying the straits view with her back facing us, so she wasn’t even aware we came in until we greeted her.
Food during the cocktail hours was quite sad, with some items being obviously frozen packets and reheated / re-fried and branded with the novotel tag. Some items eg cheese were laid out there were no knives to cut it. During breakfast, the bread area did not have any tongs / cloths to hold the bread to slice them, and juice canisters were put out but they were empty and not refilled throughout the 2 hours (we had to ask them separately for juices and they brought it out in glasses or us). Egg orders took 20mins for 1 fried egg, and hard boiled eggs were served semi soft boiled. Staff also did not know how to operate the coffee machine as it needed to ’empty grounds’ after just 1 cup of coffee (means the grounds were not clear the night before), and the staff needed to wait for another staff to come up to teach him how to fix that, and he told me the machine needed to be ‘repaired’?
On most occasions, staff chatted loudly in the staff area and sometimes the door was left wide open so apparently it really matter if guests can hear them or not, and at one point, a male staff came to me to follow up on a matter while still munching food in his mouth. During cocktail hours on Sat evening, the Lounge was absolutely chaotic due to a large group with kids running crazy on their own and making alot of noise. While I understand that staff may not be able to control the behavior of large groups, what was strange was that there seemed to be only 1 staff around at that time (poor girl!), and food quickly ran out after a while, and remained so for a long time. No replenishment of food during cocktail hours is a disaster, and the hotel could probably anticipated the crowd according to the bookings. 2 more staff came up towards the end of the cocktail hours, AFTER things have quietened down. Very puzzling arrangements I must say.
My first breakfast on Sat morning was an equally unsettling experience: because on one had explained the benefits to me, we headed down to The Square, only to be asked for our breakfast vouchers at the door, and was asked to approach the front desk to get ours after explaining I didnt get any at check in. The front desk asked for my room numbers, and promptly told me, sorry we are “not entitled to breakfast”. I was shocked and said that all executive room & suites should include breakfast. She then seemed to check again and said that our breakfast is at the premier lounge and for us to go there instead. When we reached the lounge, I clarified again with the male staff and he said yes we actually can opt to have breakfast at The Square. After I explained that we did try but were turned away, he made a call seemingly to check. He then told us we can have breakfast at the lounge here, but if we still prefer to dine at The Square, he will call the restaurant for us. So we said yes, that’s still our preference, but before that I clarified once more if dining at The Square is an entitlement for executive guests, and he said yes. So he called The Square, but told us that the staff at The Square said they did not get any authorization from the front desk to allow executive room guests to dine there for breakfast.
Seriously?! I couldn’t understand why if it’s an entitlement, we still need someone to authorize us to have breakfast at the hotel restaurant. In the end, we simply gave up and ate at the Lounge. For me, I will understand perfectly if things were explained to me properly but it wasn’t. And all the to-and-fro and different information was very frustrating to say the least.
Lastly, we had 4 key cards in total for the 2 rooms, and most of the time, only 2 worked. We could get to our floors but the key would simply not open the room door for some reasons. The wait for the lifts did not make the journey to get the key cards sorted out any better.
I had sent in my feeback with the above details in the Novotel post-stay email and requested for someone to get back to me on this but I recieved a generic reply that says they “fell short in your check in experience, F&B services during your stay with us”. I had expected a more personalized reply especially after giving so much details. Sigh.
(After note: the hotel GM chose to reply to my Tripadvisor review defensively. Oh well)
In summary: excellent hardware but terrible software. If they dont buck up on the software and the hotel has been worn down, there will no longer be any reasons for me to return to this property.