Ipoh Station Hotel to close down after 76 years (Update #2)

  • More interesting letters on Railway heritage – including one on the living heritage of one of our most interesting rail services!
  • Update: On a similar note, Vishnu Kumar Visavanathan of Petaling Jaya wrote this letter, Preserve old railway lines for the future, which laments the loss of our railway heritage through modernization and lack of interest!

TRANSIT was sad to learn that the Ipoh Station Hotel will close down after 76 years of operation.

The Station Hotel opened with the Ipoh Station (the ‘Taj Mahal of Ipoh’) in 1935

No more hotel at Taj Mahal of Ipoh (The Star)
Friday March 11, 2011

By CHAN LI LEEN
lileen@thestar.com.my

IPOH: The Majestic Station Hotel, located within the Ipoh Railway Station here, is closing down after 76 years.

A favourite: The 76-year-old Majestic Station Hotel. The building, which has a British Raj-style facade, was often referred to as the Taj Mahal of Ipoh. The hotel will cease all operations by the end of the month. Image courtesy of The Star.

Opened in 1935, at the same time as the railway station, the hotel will house its last batch of guests today and will cease all operations by the end of the month.

It is understood that the hotel premises will be handed back to the Railway Asset Corporation (RAC) as the lease is expiring.

When contacted, an RAC spokesperson said the corporation had not decided on what it would do with the premises.

According to a front desk employee who declined to be named, the hotel had stopped accepting reservations and would only accept walk-in guests.

“The place is a mess as we are busy moving out all furniture,” the employee said.

Construction of the railway station and hotel began in 1917 but the magnificent work of architecture designed by A.B. Hubback was not completed until 18 years later.

With its Moorish domes and turrets, the building has a British Raj-style facade and was often referred to as the Taj Mahal of Ipoh.

It has been a favourite filming site for many local and foreign productions, including Hollywood’s Anna and the King.

The hotel is also a favourite venue for prewedding photography.

Retired teacher H.J. Harder, 63, and retired plant manager Gerhard W. Poel, 65, are the last two guests at the hotel.

Harder (right) and Poel. Image courtesy of The Star.

“I feel very sorry but it does make us proud in a certain way. Hopefully, the building will stay like this and they will make something out of it.

“Like the Raffles Hotel in Singapore, the Straits Hotel in Yangon and the E&O Hotel in Penang, this place should be restored,” said Harder from Germany.

He said it was a strange situation for him as a similar incident happened 25 years ago.

“I was having a drink with Poel at the Majestic Hotel bar in Kuala Lumpur when we were told it was closing down the next day. Now, it’s the same story here,” he said.

Poel, who has since made Port Klang his second home, said he called up last Friday to make a booking only to be told the hotel was closing down.

“I was shocked,” he said.

TRANSIT Says:

To borrow a verse, “it’s so hard to say goodbye, to yesterday” … not to mention, it is harder when the announcement is so sudden.

We can only hope that the RAC will find some way to restore the hotel and return it to full function soon.

It is especially sad to hear this news given that we were hoping that the presence of the KTM Electric Train Service would encourage a revival of train travel between KL and Ipoh.

Additional Letters:

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7 thoughts on “Ipoh Station Hotel to close down after 76 years (Update #2)”

  1. It’s a pity and it is a lost for me. But hopefully they will still preserve the building properly in its original form.

  2. Maybe they’ll tear it down and build a shopping mall in its place, like they’re doing to what once was Pudu Jail.

  3. The Station Hotel Ipoh will only closed temporarily. My Brother had been given Mandate to refurbish the hotel to its former glory. Together with a South Korean Firm… the project is to restore and my brother, an architect graduated from Glasgow had redesigned the future interior and exterior. It will be opened again in the near future and word has it that a part owner will be the Sultan of the State.

    1. Hi @Sall

      Thanks for the information. Perhaps you could provide some documentation for your announcement – it certain sounds like a good initiative to retain the hotel.

      A refurbished hotel, as well as a revamp of the nearby bus terminal to create an integrated transport terminal (bus, intercity train & ETS) – as well as commercial development around the integrated transport terminal – would certainly bring economic activity back to that part of Ipoh.

      If combined with TRANSIT’s proposed bus rapid transit corridors for the Kinta Valley, this would provide fast, frequent and reliable bus connections into Ipoh town and surrounding areas.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

    2. I was born in Glasgow so I am delighted to see your brother is working on the project. I had been searching for a contact because I wanted to bring a group to the hotel in May 2012, I assume that will be earlier than the renovation completion.

      Alistair

  4. I have been working there for 10 years 1970 to 1981, I still recall all the wonderful time I use to have working there as Waiter,bar boy,room boy and a captain…now I am chef and I still cook the Roast Chicken like the one they use to serve there…anyone of the old staff who remember me??…raja

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