Ibis Melaka Hotel

Merit, Hospitality Category | BCI Asia Interior Design Awards 2018

The Ibis hotel is an international chain with its own brand image. This project, set in the historic city of Melaka, was envisioned with a tradition- and culture-driven design. Hence, the challenge was to blend the melting pot of local cultures through architecture and artwork in a way that is also in line with Ibis’ modern simplistic design standards.

The 249-room Ibis Melaka Hotel is located within the UNESCO World Heritage protected zone, surrounded by many tourist attractions and low-rise buildings dating back to the different colonisation eras. As such, each design process had to be carefully thought through to comply with the UNESCO and local regulations.

Therefore, the hotel’s architecture is designed with the influence of Victorian style, with a façade similar to its neighbours, and is kept to six storeys to blend seamlessly into the local context.

The interiors focus on subtle Peranakan elements, with a modern twist and a blend of Victorian, offering guests a transition of cultures as they walk through the hotel. As the red of the Ibis brand colour is also iconic in Peranakan culture, it is cleverly applied, from the fabrics and abstract paintings to the hand-painted tiles. Wooden louvred Peranakan-styled doors are used as riser doors in the guestroom corridors. Materials such as tumble stones in the public area and local wooden furniture play on the sentiments of classic bygone days.

Images of the former Savoy Cinema, a local landmark that originally stood at the hotel’s site before it was razed in a fire, decorate the walls of the hotel—simple touches that pay tribute to the history and memories of the area.

As the lobby is located in the centre of the building, a skylight is incorporated to allow sunlight in to enhance the interior spaces. The changing light and shadows with each passing hour also create atmosphere variations in the lobby.

The windows along the façade bring in natural light and also allow passers-by to peek in. The open-plan ground floor is often a hive of activity, with meeting areas and restaurants, and timber flooring and screens help to reduce the noise levels.

The hotel guestroom floors are U-shaped to allow guests a hotel courtyard view or street view. With all the hotel facilities confined to the ground floor, the remaining five storeys could be maximised for rooms.

Project Name: Ibis Melaka Hotel
Location: Jalan Bendahara, Kampung Bukit Cina, Melaka, Malaysia
Completion Date: May 2017
Number of Rooms: 249
Client/Owner: Goldstone Property (Malacca) Sdn Bhd
Architecture Firm: Arqhitect NIA
Interior Design Firm: Aprilist Associates Sdn Bhd
Principal Designers: Melvin Gan; Abby Yoong
Civil & Structural Engineer: McCallum Engineering Consultant
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: PKV Consulting Engineers Sdn Bhd
Images: Accorhotels