We had been recommended Roof Top Guest House and Hostel by a friend, and we were not disappointed. Set in a quiet street right in the centre of Chinatown, Malacca, suitably far back not to smell like the river, and with a selection of rooms available, Mani and Raymond who run Roof Top have got things just right.
Originally we tried to book by telephone but we were told we had to book online at Hostelworld; the guesthouse does not take bookings directly. So we booked a double room with ensuite bathroom and air-conditioning for RM 40 per person per night.
A Room on the Roof
Our room (number 9) was on the top floor, next to the roof terrace, where I guess the name of the guesthouse comes from. It was spacious enough with a wardrobe and drawers, as well as a small desk and chair. The air conditioning was possibly the noisiest I have ever experienced, but fortunately the weather was cool enough to sleep without it. We had a nice bathroom with a hot shower and sit-down toilet, and a window that looked out directly on to the roof terrace. This meant that at times we could hear other guests talking and smoking outside our window, and on one night we were kept awake until 3am by some loud, drunk backpackers. This was a one-off, however, and it did not spoil our overall experience at Roof Top Guest House.
That At-Home Feeling
What sets Roof Top Guest House and Hostel apart from other homestays, however, are the general facilities and atmosphere. It is set in a real house, with a large kitchen and dining area, a spacious living room with comfy sofas, DVD player and a bookswap. Guests are allowed to use the kitchen, and we really liked that there was free drinking water, tea, coffee and even fruit and cakes. Mani, who runs Roof Top, bakes cakes every day, but instead of running a timetabled breakfast system, the cakes and fruit are simply left out on the large dining table for guests to eat at their pleasure. We really enjoyed being able to get up whenever we wanted and know we could eat and drink.
The large living room was a great space for sitting around, and with free wifi throughout the guesthouse we were online all the time. Now, personally I would sometimes like to go on holiday and have no internet connection, to avoid the constant temptation to check email, but for most people, free wifi is a great bonus.
Up on the roof terrace, as well as being a smoking area with tables and chairs shrouded in greenery, there are clothes washing facilities, another plus-point.
The guesthouse felt very safe; there was a contactless card system for opening the front door, which meant that non-guests could not simply enter without ringing the doorbell and being let in. We found the atmosphere very friendly, with guests chatting to each other.
Overall I would totally recommend Roof Top Guest House and Hostel for anyone looking for relaxing budget accommodation in Malacca. We even extended our stay by a night because we liked it so much!