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The antique cottage

  • "Cyclamen Cottage" offers a unique heritage homestay experience in Melaka. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily
  • The reception area of Cyclamen Cottage. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily
  • The antique bed in the guest room. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily
  • The familiar daily necessities placed there give the room a truly homely feel. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily
  • The preserved ancient well next to the old house. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily
  • Li’s house looks like a mini museum itself. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily
  • Various kinds of antique keys. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily
  • These spittoons have become priceless antiques now. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily
  • The lion head relief and the number "1937" on the building are still in good conditions. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

With the award of Unesco World Heritage Site, more and more tourists begin to flock to Melaka and there is a significant corresponding increase in lodging service.

Nevertheless, the service is not only limited to general accommodation, there are also various kinds of lodging offerings that have further enriched the historic city.

Cyclamen Cottage is one of the most distinctive and popular heritage homestay options in Melaka.

There are some 30 villa-styled cottages at Teck Chye Avenue and majority of them have become dilapidated over the years. Some of them have been bought and razed to ground just for some modern property development projects.

Investing in dilapidated houses

Owner of Cyclamen Cottage, Li Mu Yong, 49, is a discerning and courageous man who has invested with his family in three dilapidated houses at one time. They invested a large sum of money to restore the original looks of these houses. After the renovation, the first house was turned into their home while the second the third houses were turned into two heritage homestay villas with 11 guest rooms altogether.

Li said during an interview with Sin Chew Daily that the renovation cost was similar to the amount he invested in acquiring the properties. However, he has already received his returns as the rooms were packed with guests every day since their opening last September.

Almost half of his guests are from Singapore while the rest are from Western countries.

One of his guests told him that the inn had made him feel like staying in his hometown in England.

Classical English style

The distinctive features of Cyclamen Cottage are its serenity and classical English architectural style. Cyclamen Cottage has attracted many returning guests and a new couple even took their marriage photos there.

The guests prefer the peaceful environment of the cottage with its close proximity to the town centre about 20 to 25 minutes walk away.

Used to be residences of British officials

Tech Chye Avenue is a unique historical enclave where all the buildings along the road share a common feature: they were the residences of wealthy Babas in the olden days.

Li said the three houses that make up the Cyclamen Cottage were once used as residences for the British officials and were later sold to the local Babas.

Antique furnishings

He spent a year renovating and repairing the old houses.

On top of that, he also placed antique furniture collected by him over the years in the cottage, including antique lamps, fans, kitchen appliances, etc.

Li has organised a historical workshop which attracted the participation of some 150 Singapore students. The Cottage also invited some artisans to demonstrate to the students.

A Baba from Penang, Li is keen to introduce the culture of Melaka as well as Baba and Nyonya to the tourists.

A small museum

Li has been collecting antiques since he was 15 and he has now set up his own mini museum inside the cottage after 30 years. Nevertheless, the museum is not opened to the public but only guests.

He always shows his collection to the guests and through the antiques and stories, the guests would have a better understanding of the Baba and Nyonya culture in Melaka.

He said collecting antiques had been his greatest hobby.

Cyclamen Cottage
Address: 2884C, Lorong Teck Chye Avenue, Limgbongan, 75200 Melaka.
Contact: 012-621 6031
Website: http://www.cyclamencottage.com. (Translated by LIM LIY EE/Sin Chew Daily)

MySinchew 2010.08.14

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