Extra Photo Gallery: Room | Facilities | F&B Outlets
Syuen Hotel is located on Jalan Sultan Abdul Jalil in the Greentown precinct of downtown Ipoh. The hotel is centrally located close to two of the major shopping malls in Ipoh, namely Ipoh Parade and Greentown Mall.
Strangely, for a city the size of Ipoh with some 600,000 dwellers, it does not have that many business-class hotels. The decline of tin mining industry in the 90s has somewhat dented the development of the city. Syuen Hotel came into the hospitality scene to emulates the city's rich heritage values as emanated from its building design - a Neo-classical architecture that brings back the old colonial feels for the hotel guests.
With 290 rooms packed into an eleven-storey building, Syuen Hotel offers a number of room categories such as Superior, Deluxe, Family, Junior Suite, 1-bedroom Executive Suite, 2-bedroom Executive Suite and themed Penthouse Suite. It is interesting to note that the duplex Penthouse Suite is a unique offering to the discernible patrons. The three suites, exquisitely named as Regency, Putri and Emperor, are offering period furniture and furnishings from the Elizabethan, the 18th-century Malaya and the Han Dynasty respectively. Intriguing product offering but then, I am not exactly big on antiques from the days of yore.
One important thing to learn about the hotel is that the Superior rooms, as the lowest room category, do not come with any windows. If you scrutinise closely, you will notice that the hotel building is built in a box-shaped design which means there are rooms that had to be placed in the middle of the building to maximise the usage of space. I had a feeling that the building was probably intended for something else rather than a hotel.
Upon learning the possibility of spending a night in claustrophobically window-less room, I checked myself into a Deluxe room instead. The room is generously installed with a floor-to-ceiling glass window that can be slightly opened for a much-needed shot of fresh air. The Deluxe room opens out to the view of Dataran Bandaraya Ipoh and the Greentown precinct in general.
I was utterly disgusted with the bedsheet cover of orange-and-white floral stripes. I had no idea what the hotel management was thinking exactly. I should have probably made a prank call to the front office and say, "Patsy Cline just called. She wanted her bedsheet back!", just to tell them how I felt. But then, I was already unimpressed with the hotel lobby and the prospect of staying in a window-less room, so I thought it should not come as a surprise for them to opt for floral motifs that can attract birds and butterflies.
At the corner of the Deluxe room, a writing desk and a lounging one-seater fabric sofa are placed as the added room features. The wardrobe is fairly large with sporadic usage of reflective mirrors, which for some reasons, look quite great in an ambiguous kind of way. The room also provides a mini bar, an electronic safe, an IDD telephone, coffee and tea making facilities, an electronic control panel for room lighting and air conditioning as well as a colour TV with atrocious channel receptions.
Just as I slowly made peace with the rather unappealing room, I found the bathroom to be outright decrepit with low-quality tiles that had shown signs of molding and a toilet bowl that looked as good in a public restroom as it is in this disappointing hotel. The hotel is not exactly generous in the bathroom department with a fairly small space between the bathroom sink area with the bath-cum-shower tub. The toiletries provided in the bathroom are also not as fashionable as I initially thought in this business-class hotel.
The hotel supposedly boasts a number of health and fitness such as a swimming pool with built-in jacuzzi, an outdoor tennis court, two squash courts and a well-equipped gym that comes with a steam room. The swimming pool is shockingly small, not to mention unappealing, and you thought the biggest hotel in Ipoh will have the biggest swimming pool. Not true. The pool also has a section which used to be a submerged pool bar. It is no longer operational with leftover pieces of garbage truly mar the sight. The so-called outdoor tennis court is also useless with utterly dilapidated state of maintenance. The two squash courts were under renovation during my visit but I reckon the hotel was in no hurry to finish them.
Syuen Hotel offers three F&B outlets. The main restaurant is called Rice & Spice Coffee House, which was formerly known as Seasons Coffee House. I had the chance to try out the breakfast buffet here and it was truly forgettable with bland-tasting nasi goreng and half-boiled eggs that were not. One floor up from the main lobby is Silverboat Restaurant which supposedly serves fine Chinese cuisine in a mediocre interior furnishing. The lobby lounge of the hotel is called The Emergency Bar which offers a secluded spot well-hidden among the unimpressive potted plants. The cocktail bar is embellished with the flags of Malaysia, British's Union Jack, Australia and Japanese "sunburst" that was widely used in the 2nd World War.
Its exterior exudes an old-world charm but overall, the hotel is terrible to say the least.