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“Another form over function place”
Review of Sekeping Kong Heng

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Sekeping Kong Heng
Ranked #11 of 73 Ipoh B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Los Angeles
Level Contributor
25 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Another form over function place”
Reviewed 7 April 2013

I stayed at Kong Heng last Oct. We were supposed to stay 2 nights but I left after one night because of a booking error by the manager.
First of all, the location is wonderful if you are in Ipoh to eat the famous Kong Heng food. Great to wake up and go downstairs and chow down. Unfortunately, you won't get a chance to sleep in since all rooms are right on top of the restaurant. The noise from the restaurant flows through the floor with very little drop in volume. So you get to hear every pail and dish clank from 7am, when the restaurant starts working on the weekends.
The decor of the hotel is quaint and post industrial meets modernism. However the room I had had functional issues. The toilet and shower is on a high platform off the floor and only curtains separate the toilet from the room. The shower is a cube with glass walls which opens to the toilet. So functionally, it's not really easy to climb a few steps to the toilet or shower.
The bed is built on the wired mattress box like the hotel in KL. There's no fridge in the room but the curtains do cut off light.
The bedding weret white sheets and there was ac. But the ac blows directly onto the bed. The elevator is really just an external small cargo lift.
The 3rd floor room was an interesting design. The bedrooms are suspended from the ceiling. However, I could still hear the restaurant from the 3rd floor.
Overall I found the hotel interesting but not a place to stay for a party weekend where one would want to sleep in. Those in transit, say on the drive from KL to Penang, will find this a quirky little place.
My issue with the manager was probably a break down in communication. When I checked in, I asked if the room could be kept for 2 nights. She said ok. Then at 9am, she tells me they have a photo shoot in the room and I needed to move rooms, after I'd unpacked.
I said I wasn't interested in repacking and unpacking again, so I decided to check out. Then they told me that the room would be available after the shoot. Not very good communication!

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled with friends
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1 Thank VagabondFoodie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Selangor
Level Contributor
17 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 March 2013

The newest slice to the Sekeping family, Sekeping Kong Heng combines old world nostalgia (general structure & feature walls retained from original 90-yo shophouse, complete with flaking paint & rustic wear & tear stains & strains - or treated to look like it) with modern comforts (a/c, hot showers, hotel standard beddings) & an industrial re-skin. Like their other projects, SKH is an interesting marriage of contrasts, and you can't help but be impressed by the artful intertwining of old wood & new steel by the architects & builders, so that both co-exist in tasteful & sometimes quirky, inhabitable harmony.

On the plus: it's much more comfy than I expected - the place was well-kept, clean & we didn't encounter a single insect during our 1N stay. It's also situated in a quieter part of Ipoh town ("old town"), so you don't get Ipoh's clubbing scene bass beats invading into your hotel room - tho you still do get some traffic noise from the main roads. The WC, washbasin & shower stall are cleverly built into the room's space & it was all quite comfortable.

Minuses: They've retained much of the original building structure & flooring, which means walls consist of light partitions & floors are wooden planks - this translates to the almost mutant ability to hear every single noise from your neighbours, including heavy footfalls, long showers, wee morning toilet flushes & many conversation exchanges. During our stay, the couple staying 2 doors down had a major tiff till wee hours of morning, so we were subject to hours of semi-hysterical female ranting despite our shushing at them. However, we were also privy to their happy ending as the noises of their subsequent patch-up activities were evident for all to hear too. We ended up with not much sleep, but a double espresso at Burps & Giggles the next morning set everything right (there is direct access to the bistro from behind Sekeping KH).

Their common area at Level 2 is quite comfy - hammocks to idle off a muggy afternoon, with clanging pots & pans and satay aromas wafting up from Kong Heng downstairs. Plenty to eat downstairs if you're feeling peckish - Kong Heng's "sar hor fun" (kuey teow soup) is delectable but expect a 30 min wait, and their pork satay, super yums.

Room Tip: There is no signage pointing out the hotel from the street, and the entrance is not actually located...
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank lollypork
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 10 March 2013

The hotel in old Ipoh Town combines a modern design whilst keeping the reminiscence of the old structure. Great idea. The interior of the room has an 'industrial' look, which is greyish. A little red or yellow would brighten up the room. Toilet is behind the curtain.
Whilst the bed is fine, the noise keeps you you awake. Noise from people walking and talking on the floor above, early morning noise from the coffee shop below and a little later noise of the construction next door both on Saturday and Sunday. All together too much to sleep well.
The coffee shop below and many others are open till 5 pm. Within 5 min walk there are nice restaurants, some with tables on the street. Great food.
Lim Ko Pi on the Jalan Sultan Iskandar (5 min from hotel following Jalan Bandar Timah) is a must eat and see. Great food and good exhibition about architecture in Ipoh and Taiping on the floor above the coffee shop.
The Sepeking hotel and coffee shop is on Jalan Bandar Timah, not on Jalan Panglima. We were lucky that the owner guided us by car from the main street (Jalan Panglima Bukit Gantan) to the hotel after we called her. It is for new comers not easy to find, certainly when the coffee shop below is closed.
The price (MYR 200) is hefty for the value offered and certainly too hefty when sleeping comfort is not provided.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank natureloverskl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Ipoh hotels

Singapore
Level Contributor
32 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 February 2013

Residents of Ipoh and visitors all know about Kong Heng Restaurant that serves great food that has made Ipoh famous. Now there is one more reason to visit the Kong Heng restaurant in Ipoh Old Town...

To stay at the boutique hotel upstairs. Sekeping Kong Heng, literally translated as "A slice of Kong Heng" is a lovely restored boutique hotel with a new modern insert, owned and designed by Landscape Architect Ng Sek San.

One cannot get tired of all the contrasting textures of the old and the new, the living and the artificial, the stone and the steel.... Take a walk outside the hotel, and you are in the heart of the old town. It is a little dilapidated now, and deserted. But Ipoh has always attracted holiday makers and retirees returning to their birthplace, so there are signs of rejuvenation here and there. The cafe, Burps and Giggles located behind the hotel is one fine example. Together, these 2 must-see destinations prove what one can do with these old houses. All you need is a bit of funds and unlimited imagination.... and a lot of visitors.

For an architect especially, it is such a JOY to stay here. But you don't have to be one to appreciate the quirkiness and the ecclectic approach that brings about a perfect composition that oozes charm. Just don't expect the luxury service you get from those A-list boutique resorts. There is no over-attentive service here (only one receptionist/porter/bell-hop serves everyone in this hotel that accommodates about maximum 30+ people).

But at 200 Malaysian Ringgit a night and the best popiah (fresh spring roll) in the world downstairs in Kong Heng Restaurant, one cannot possibly complain!

Room Tip: There is a wonderful family room for 6 with a huge common room below. But the beds are on a loft acc...
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with family
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1 Thank SFR6262E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kuala Lumpur
Level Contributor
57 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 February 2013

You never know till you stay the night. Surprisingly quiet especially since it's above one of Ipoh's popular coffee shops. Takes you away to an alternate universe without care or worry. Certainly lives up to the "Sepeking" standard

  • Stayed January 2013, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank Friedbeef
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 January 2013

Stayed in Sekeping Kong Heng for 1 night in January and really wished we could've stayed for longer!

The place is a destination in itself, and you will definitely be content spending hours in your room or in its surroundings, just marvelling at the remnants of the historical space, landscaping, architecture, fittings, atmosphere. Despite being above one of the busiest coffeeshops in Ipoh, Sekeping Kong Heng is very peaceful and serene.

6 of us bunked in the Family Room (the one with one glass room). It's a really open space, which is lovely if you like a natural breeze. No airconditioning (except in the glass room) but that's ok, it's perfectly comfortable at night. There's only one bathroom though (some may find this lack of privacy a little unnerving) and it's quite open as well, so be sure to let everyone in the room if you're planning to use it soon to avoid any surprises! That's what we did anyway.

The hotel is pet-friendly which was a plus for friends who wanted to bring their (well-behaved!) furkid along. There is no TV in the Family Room and they do not provide water in the room. There are however some books to keep you entertained. If you really wanna watch TV or make a hot drink, you can make your way upstairs to the common area which is littered with comfy hammocks and bean bags. Alternatively, just buy a few bottles of water to keep in the room.

Food-wise, the location is amazing. As mentioned, Kong Heng coffeeshop is just below the hotel, so you can order all your favourite Ipoh delicacies. Behind the hotel (I don't think 'hotel' is the right term for this place), there is the kitschy looking Burps & Giggles cafe. They have beer, cocktails, coffee, hot food, etc. Lovely for a round of afternoon drinks with friends - which was what we did!

All in all, this place is great for a weekend getaway with friends or with your partner (their Standard Rooms are so sensual-looking, in an industrial kinda way!).

  • Stayed January 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank sarchan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
27 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 December 2012

So the best way to appreciate this place is to consider its "design language": they haven't tried to *restore* a dilapidated historic building to its former glory, as much as created accommodation *within* a historic building.

The distinction is subtle but crucial; this isn't one of those hotels where they'd retain a building's façade but demolish/ renovate everything else inside. Instead, they took whatever was already existing, chopped everything off into these metal-partitioned-walls, encased the windows in these glass panels (to make it compatible for air-conditioning), and added some ambient lighting and air-conditioning to it. And oh, the shower and the toilet are essentially in the same mental space as the rest of the room, only separated by a raised platform and (cloth) curtains for both the toilet and the shower, a bit of a wall for the toilet, glass walls (and metal flooring) for the shower alone.

So what you get are these rooms that have these fraying walls with faded peeling paint, walls with partially broken bricks and cement (but apparently, structurally safe), a desk where the wood is chipped in parts, and seemingly authentic, dated brass taps and showers.

So when you lie down on the (metallic, but with a comfy mattress) platform bed, you can easily imagine yourself as one of them dramatists in the Edwardian era, resting before the next performance or something.

But therein lies the rub; them Edwardian creatives were big on baroque, art-deco and presumably glamour. I wonder if their interior decorators would have left broken beams un-plastered or chipped wood unpolished. Nope, this is a very contemporary hotel alright; it makes this post-modernist point on old town Ipoh's very contemporary decay, unlike the restored shophouses in Singapore's Jalan Besar, or Malacca's Jonker Street, Sekeping Kong Heng invites you to experience that decay in air-conditioned comfort.

The problem, though, is that this can get _too real_ for some. People would have their own peeves; an earlier reviewer commented that the walls aren't sound-proof and that it can get noisy. I would agree, it can, however, in a civic district that essentially shuts down at dusk, that wasn't much of a problem for me. And neither are concerns about aural privacy, so to speak; there's this kampung vibe that you experience quite well.

Where it broke down for me, sadly, was in even more mundane aspects; the brass tap on the wash-basin in front of the bed had this unfortunate tendency to leak some droplets if you'd stomp your feet a bit near the desk. I don't mean this to be an actual complaint - hey, it was only a bit of a drip and only if I went out of my way to stomp on the floor - but an observation on the design philosophy here: you'd easily think they'd have avoided something like that had they used regular taps, for instance. I suppose they were true to their architectural vision.

The one real complaint, though was that I found it uncomfortable that the toilet did not have a door separating it from the bedroom; ignore complaints about visual privacy for a moment (like other studio apartment-style hotels, you shouldn't be doing this hotel in the first place unless you're by yourself or with a significant other), but consider, I'll try to put this delicately, a certain *olfactorial* privacy. It can get stinky, is what I'm saying.

As far as I could tell, the entire place was essentially run by this one guy who's name I forget. Friendly chap, didn't speak much English, but helped us to the extent he could. Don't have a problem with service one bit, mind you, in fact can't recommend the kid's helpfulness or resourcefulness enough, but for the 80 singgers post-tax that we got charged, I somehow expected a bit more activity.

The communal areas were interesting; did get to meet a nice Aussie (I think?) family, but see, the thing is this: when you have rooms that are essentially meant for couples, not too many guests would normally want to socialize with other guests. Also, in my experience, to generate that socialize-with-others backpacker dynamic, you'd have to go down on your price-point a bit; don't see too many gap-year-types coming down here.

I don't want to sound too harsh on what is a very unique hotel experience with a unique set of physical, and presumably investment, challenges, and indeed, my four-star rating should be an indication of my positive experience here, but it's important to have an accurate picture of what staying at this hotel entails.

And oh, a minor point, but the hotel isn't technically on Jalan Panglima, which is the name of the street between the City Hall and the High Court, past Jalan Yusuff; the entrance to the hotel, as is Kong Heng restaurant, is on Jalan Bandar Timah, the road *perpendicular* to Jalan Panglima. Inexplicably, TripAdvisor, Google Maps and Agoda got it wrong; in the neatly laid-out grid that old town Ipoh is, that's not that big a deal - you just have to turn a corner - but I like to get details like this right.

Room Tip: Yup, away from the
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  • Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank metamutator
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sekeping Kong Heng

Property: Sekeping Kong Heng
Address: 75 Jalan Panglima, Ipoh 30000, Malaysia
Region: Malaysia > Perak > Kinta District > Ipoh
Amenities:
Kitchenette Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #11 of 73 B&Bs / Inns in Ipoh
Number of rooms: 10

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