On our recent trip to Melaka we stayed at Knocknock Home, a boutique guest house in Java Lane, close to historic heart of this UNESCO World Heritage city.
Java Lane (Jalan Jawa) is part of Kampung Jawa named after the Javanese community who settled this area from the 1600s onwards. The original kampung was redeveloped in the 1880s in what was probably the first planned housing project in Malacca. Today it comprises a few narrow lanes of plain whitewashed residential houses and shophouses, close to the iron pedestrian bridge crossing the Melaka River (Jambatan Kampung Jawa).
Like much of Melaka, the area was in decline for many decades but now the buildings are protected and are slowly being gentrified.
Knocknock Home is in one of these old two-storey buildings. The entrance foyer and owner’s apartment are on the ground floor while upstairs is one huge room for the guests.
The original exterior of the building has not been changed and the owners have done a good job of retaining many of the architectural period features while providing guests with a contemporary and stylish interior which is visually appealing and homely.
One word comes to mind regarding this place and that is ‘generous’. Firstly the space is generous. The room is 1000 sq.ft. (bigger than many homes in this part of the world!). The owner could easily have divided the space into two or more rooms but decided to retain the whole floor for single occupancy. The sleeping area is at the far end on a raised wooden platform behind sliding glass doors and air-conditioned. The sleeping configuration is one king-size mattress and one queen size mattress. Since we are 5 in our family we had an extra single mattress between the two doubles. Obviously with such cosy sleeping arrangements, this place is only suitable for families, couples or very close friends.
The cavernous shower area is at the other end of the room. Those bamboo blinds above unroll to provide privacy. There is a rain shower head or, if preferred, guests can bathe Japanese style sitting on a wooden stool in front of the ornate water jar with a hand-held shower tap. The toilet is in a separate cubicle.
Also generous are the room amenities such as the home movie system which projects onto the wall. A stock of Chinese and Western DVDs are provided. There is also cable TV for those who cannot be without the news or Cartoon Network. There is a fridge with beers and soft drinks sold almost at cost price (RM7 and RM2 respectively). We were also given six large bottles of mineral water free of charge during our 2 night stay. Complementary bicycles are available as well as more typical facilities such as tea and coffee making facilities in the room, a safe deposit box, hair dryer and WiFi.
Lastly, the owner Gus was most generous with his time and attention. He took us for a guided night walk to Jonker Street, pointing out interesting shops along the way. He even bought us a delicious late-night oyster omelette from one of Malacca’s most famous street food vendors.
Knocknock does not provide breakfast but Gus suggested various places we could try such as Dutch House Cafe, Limau-Limau Cafe, Baboon House and various dim-sum shops.
The second night we ended up having a nightcap with Gus at The Bridge Street Cafe which is run by a friend of his in Lorong Jambatan, the dark alleyway leading to the iron bridge.
We got the impression that for Gus, running Knocknock Home is not about making money but more a labour of love. He certainly makes his guests feel at home and we enjoyed listening to his old records on the vintage Australian radio/gramophone player.
He charges RM400 per night which for our family size is reasonable as we would have to pay for 2 rooms if we were staying in a hotel. The extra mattress costs RM50. Knocknock has a website if you want to find out more.
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