Enterprising: Lian and Thor working together to operate their home-turned boutique hotel in Lorong Hang Jebat, Malacca.
MALACCA: Two sons of a retired couple have to make reservations to stay in their own home in Lorong Hang Jebat here.
Their parents have turned the family home into a boutique hotel and occupancy is full on most days.
Thor Keng Boon, 64, and Lian Yoke Ting, 60, had earlier bought a dilapidated building in the historic city as their retirement home. They then turned it into a hotel.
Lian said they had three sons, aged 37 to 21. The youngest stays with them.
“We have no choice but to ask our two sons to make an online booking if they want to come here,” Lian said in an interview.
“This is because the hotel only has seven rooms and all the rooms are taken up, especially during the weekends.”
Lian said she and her husband shared a common interest for antiquity and heritage.
“We decided to purchase a rundown building here and turn it into our home, and also boutique hotel,” she added.
Lian said the building was previously used as a rubber trading outlet and later a furniture storeroom.
They then turned it into a hotel, retaining its original geometrical motifs and architectural design.
The couple spent their retirement funds to restore the building and after seven years of delicate construction works, the building was handed over to them in 2012.
They converted it into a hotel in August the same year.
Lian said Malacca Heritage Trust president Debbie Lee Chay Hwa shared her expertise in preserving the house the way it was a century ago.
Lian said the hotel, which was named “Wayfarer”, was for tourists and backpackers to stay in.
Business has bloomed and tourists from Europe, China and even locals book into the “Wayfarer” each time they visit Malacca.
“My sons complain that they are treated like hotel guests who have to book a place to come visit us,” Lian said.
“But we need to run our business as we need to generate income in our golden years.”