Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Hotel Review: The Ranee Boutique Suites, Kuching.

Greetings from Kuching, over on the Island of Borneo! We were here over the long weekend to celebrate a cousin's wedding, and were advised enthusiastically that The Ranee Boutique Suites was the "best hotel in town." So naturally we had no choice but to book a room!

Ranee Boutique Suites

The Ranee certainly lives up to the 'boutique' portion of its name - the entire hotel is renovated off a couple of shophouses and has just 24 rooms. We use the word 'rooms' intentionally, because these really are just regular hotel rooms despite the hotel's self-declared "suite" naming convention. It's got a terrific location right smack on one end of the Kuching Waterfront, right around the corner of a shopping mall (Plaza Merdeka) and within easy walking distance of a myriad of food, handicraft and other miscellaneous knick-knack shopping options.

Ranee Boutique Suites

Check-in and check-out times are 2pm and 12pm respectively. Check-in was quick and easy, with a mini welcome amenity of iced lemon tea and cold towels. Now we might be nitpicking a bit here perhaps, but it was a cold, rainy day so we would have much preferred hot towels and hot tea instead.

Ranee Boutique Suites

The interior is gorgeous, striking just the right balance between the modern (televisions, fans, air-conditions and sofas) and the traditional (retro bicycles, furniture, fittings and art pieces). There's even a small mini-"garden," complete with a shared seating area for relaxing. It isn't the biggest or most authentic of gardens, of course, but we quite liked it, especially since we could lounge around in air-conditioned comfort.

Ranee Boutique Suites

We were booked into the "Standard Suite," which as you can see in the photos below was really just a standard hotel room. That's fine, though, because the room itself is really nice and clean (we particularly like the feel of the timber flooring). The bed and pillows were very comfortable and just the right firmness - although the linens weren't quite up to 5-star hotel standards - and we were impressed that the drinks and snacks at the mini bar were very reasonably priced. None of that $10 per can of coke nonsense here.

Ranee Boutique Suites

Bathroom was huge, clean, and completely and uncharacteristically modern. Fully stocked, too - shampoo, soap, toothbrush & paste, razors - everything you'd need to freshen up after a long day.

Ranee Boutique Suites

Breakfast is served in the bar/cafe; As this isn't a huge hotel they've wisely opted for cooked breakfast to order rather than try to put out a decent buffet line.

Ranee Boutique Suites

Each breakfast comes with juice, coffee/tea, fruits, and a choice of about a dozen different 'main courses,' ranging from Angmoh big breakfast, to Malaysian staples like roti canai, and Sarawak Laksa (rice noodles served in a curry-like broth). The options we tried were decent enough - I don't think it would qualify as good by any stretch of the imagination. Can't expect a 3-michelin starred chef in the kitchen in a hotel this size, I suppose.

Ranee Boutique Suites

The main negatives of The Ranee, thanks to its' (small) size, centre around the lack of hotel facilities like gymnasium, swimming pool, function rooms, business centre, room service or a proper restaurant. At around MYR 285 or SGD 106 nett, it's also pretty pricey - room rates are even slightly higher than those of the nearby Pullman Hotel (slightly lower than the Hilton).

Having said that, if you're in town and don't need big hotel chain facilities, we'd totally recommend The Ranee, thanks to its' charm, decor, and killer location. Check out their website for reservations (or you can also head to the usual suspects like agoda or expedia). 4 thumbs up.


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