The Ranee offers a rustic place to stay away from home

By Patricia Hului
@pattbpseeds

 

BACK IN THE 19th century to the early 20th century, being ‘The Ranee of Sarawak’ signified elegance and sophistication.

It was the title bestowed first upon Margaret Brooke and then Sylvia Brett, queen-consorts to two White Rajahs of Sarawak, Charles Brooke and Charles Vyner Brooke respectively.

Stepping into the present, the title still signifies elegance and sophistication with a boutique hotel aptly named The Ranee Boutique Suites.

 

Officiating ceremony

The Ranee was finally officially declared recently on Sept 5 by the Minister of Tourism Sarawak Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg (fourth right). Wong (third left) said the officiating ceremony which happened two and half years after it was fully operational since June 1, 2012 was perfect for the hotel as it was now at its best.

Ranee Facade

The facade of The Ranee which is part of Kuching’s historic Main Bazaar area.

 

The woman behind The Ranee, director Rosemarie Wong said she envisioned style and individuality for this three-storey hotel.

Her vision truly came to life as The Ranee has 24 rooms with each decorated and styled individually.

The self-proclaimed hoarder is also a firm believer in giving second life to old items, so take your time to pay attention to every single detail of the interior decor throughout the hotel.

As the saying goes, one man’s trash is somebody else’s treasure; at the Mbar & Bistro located at the hotel’s ground floor of the hotel you will find traditional, rustic food containers lined up above the seating area.

And you cannot miss the huge double doors that stand at the Garden Suites deck. They used to be doors to a fort dating back to the 17th century.

When you step into the bathrooms, the benches are made out of old belian timber trusses which were used to support the building before the hotel was built.

 

ANCIENT DOOR: The more than 400 year old fort door (right) is seen here at the Garden suite deck.

ANCIENT DOOR: The more than 400 year old fort door (right) is seen here at the Garden suite deck.

The Reading Lounge

FROM ABOVE: A view from above the Reading Lounge.

 

The same wooden beams also can be found at the ground floor, separating the Ranee’s lobby from the in-house café.

The building is a piece of history on its own. The Ranee actually comprises two 19th century shophouses along Main Bazaar, one of the oldest streets in Kuching.

The five Ranee Suites were inspired and named after Sarawak’s first Ranee Margaret Brooke, her daughter-in-law Sylvia and of course her three granddaughters; Leonora, Elizabeth and Valerie.

 

Ranee Valerie Suite

HOME AWAY FROM HOME: The Valerie Suite.

View from Ranee Sylvia Suite

BREATHTAKING: A view from Sylvia suite where you can see DUN building.

Ranee Margaret Bathroom

FIT FOR A QUEEN: A glimpse of bathroom in the Margaret suite.

 

Every inch of architectural design in The Ranee is influenced by Kuching’s rich colonial history, heritage and diverse crafts.

The concept is exotic as well as modern, with natural wood enhancing the hotel’s contemporary designs and incorporating lots of local traditional arts and crafts.

For the travelling bookworm, The Reading Lounge at The Ranee offered the comforts of home away from home with a bookshelf full of books on Borneo topics, literature, magazines and local daily newspapers. This comfortable space located on the first floor is a mix between a library and a drawing room.

So, you are a local and not looking for a place to stay? The Ranee is still the perfect place to visit.

Mbar & Bistro offers a range of gourmet coffees and a wide selection of cakes – including the Ranee Tuak cheese cake.

 

MBar&Bistro

MODERN CONTEMPORARY: Watch out the rustic food containers that also work as décor at Mbar & Bistro.

 

Manufactured locally, the hotel claimed that The Ranee Tuak was a must-try. As a native Sarawakian, I have a high expectation on how I like my traditional fermented rice wine to taste.

The Ranee Tuak however is a perfect blend of sweetness and smoothness, not too intoxicating or harsh.

In July 2014, TripAdvisor which is a widely known travel website providing reviews of travel-related content awarded The Ranee a Certificate of Excellence.

Recently, TripAdvisor also ranked them number 1 out of 47 hotels in Kuching on Aug 31.

Other suites include Standard Garden, Standard, Superior, Deluxe, Deluxe Twin, and Executive which all offer the basics; a king or twin beds, en-suite bathroom, complimentary tea/coffee-making facilities, flat screen TVs.

For some travellers including myself, there are two common deal-breakers before booking a room: no Internet or a picturesque view the moment you look out your window.

Both are available at The Ranee.

For example, from the Margaret and Sylvia suites, you can absorb the beauty of the Astana and the Serapi mountain range from your own private deck.

Free wifi is available throughout the hotel.

Overall, if you are longing for an intimate and luxurious stay with easy access to all the major attraction spots in Kuching, The Ranee has its own in-house Tour Desk run by CPH Travel who have been in the tour and travel business since 1963.

As for me, I would go back there to grab a bottle of The Ranee Tuak. Off the clock of course!

For further enquiries, give them a call on 082-258833 or 017-8030377. Drop them an email at theranee@gmail.com or visit them at www.theranee.com

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