Ipoh has become an enormous tourist attraction in the last few years. The city mainly attracts local tourists because of the delicious food and many attractions. More and more foreign tourists pay a visit to this magnificent city. Ipoh is definitely a high potential tourist destination in the making. There are several hotels, from 5-star hotels to simple lodges for backpackers. One of the better hotels in Ipoh is the French Hotel.
About the hotel
People often rate the French Hotel as the best hotel in Ipoh. It is an affordable 3-star hotel, with some features you would normally only find in luxury 5-star hotels. The hotel is centrally located, and the rooms are beautifully furnished and also very spacious. The hotel lies along Jalan Dato Onn Jafaar; one of the popular downtown streets in the city. Within walking distance is the historical centre, several restaurants, the Thieves market (Sunday morning), the night market, and the popular shopping mall Ipoh Parade.
Checking in is efficient and pleasant. The staff at reception have good tips and even a map with all attractions (the best hawkers included). After checking in, you can take the elevator to your room. On the first floor is the nice lunchroom Jose & Deli Eatery and next to the hotel is a 7/11 supermarket.
All 48 rooms are magnificent. Not often do you see a hotel with such beautifully decorated rooms for these prices. They are big and are fully equipped. A double room has a large king-size mattress, or two queen size mattresses that are very comfortable. There is a desk/TV stand. The shower is spacious and nicely decorated. The room has a TV, A/C, Wi-Fi, a safe, a minibar and a wardrobe.
Ipoh is known for its delicious food. There is no breakfast included in a stay at the French Hotel. However, you can add it when you arrive for RM10. The breakfast is served at Jose & Deli Eatery (opens early in the morning). Alternatively, you can go to one of the many popular dim sum restaurants. Some of the best there are to be found in Ipoh, such as Restoran Foh San and Ming Court, are a mere 5 minutes’ walk away.
In the immediate surroundings of the hotel are several attractions. No more than 5 minutes away is an alley where several local artists made gorgeous murals. Coming from the French Hotel, you will find it just after the Jalan Datuk Onn Jafaar and Jalan Sultan Iskander intersection.
No more than a 15 minutes’ walk away lies Ipoh’s historical centre. Located here is the magnificent train station, various cute coffee bars and several beautiful murals by the artist Ernest Zacharevic (check the locations of his artwork here).
A few minutes away lies Gerbang Malam Ipoh; Ipoh’s night market. Here you can buy souvenirs, and try the various local snacks.
Every Sunday morning the Thieves Market is held next to and directly behind the hotel. Locals come here to sell their goods, from food to snacks to secondhand junk. It is an enjoyable market, but beware of pickpockets!
The hotel is easy to find, thanks to the many one-way roads. Guests of the hotel can park their car for free in the guarded parking lot close to the hotel. At night and in the weekend you can also park your car right in front of the hotel. If you arrive during the week, you will have to buy a parking ticket at one of the many tobacconists. Like on the island of Penang, you buy a ticket for a certain amount, then you have to scratch off some boxes to show the right time and day. By placing the ticket in sight, you have proven you have paid for your parking.
Our final verdict
The French Hotel in Ipoh is a magnificent, central hotel in this upcoming touristic hotspot. It looks quite simple on the outside, but the rooms are spacious and nicely decorated. The price/quality ratio is high. On walking distance there are several highlights; the historical centre is one of them. Delicious food in Ipoh plays a big part, and you can get it at several places near the hotel. At the time of our stay there, on TripAdvisor the hotel was judged one of the best hotels in Ipoh.