The Architecture

Acquired back in 2011, Muntri Grove was originally a row of 10 modest houses built as living quarters for workers serving the wealthy families of the grand houses of Muntri Street. These double-storey houses were some of the early houses built in the 19th century with low roofs, small living spaces and only two rooms each unit. As with most buildings built during that era, these terrace houses feature British influences but the materials used were more modest such as single brick walls and wooden partitions upstairs between the houses.

Restoration works on the houses started in 2013 where the architectural framework was maintained as close to its original forms as possible with only minor additions to strengthen the structures as they are. The roof trusses, windows and doors are original parts of the houses that were repaired, maintained and some replaced. Access to the rooms on the ground floor are through the original front doors while on the first floor, the rooms are accessible through an impressive 130ft-long veranda at the back of the houses.

Each house unit was transformed into two large rooms, one on the ground and one upstairs, each spanning an area of about 450 sq ft to afford wide, spacious rooms to guests.The 10th house at the corner was destroyed during World War II and the space was rebuilt to house an elevated swimming pool and breakfast area on the first floor and the reception area on the ground floor. 

The Interior

The whole feel of the terrace houses is one of minimalist clean lines amidst the hidden lushness of an oasis in the city. The interiors of the houses were ones using minimal palette to create contemporary lines, lending a light and airy ambience to the rooms. 

The high ceilings lined with burnished recycled timbers gives warmth even as it blends smoothly with the botanical theme of the rooms. The bed linen of birds and plant motifs coupled with contemporary carpets and draperies gave splashes of colour to the rooms, bringing to live a feel of tropical lush forests. 

The floors on the ground floor rooms are terrazzo tiles from the 1950s, introducing a retro-feel to these rooms while timber floors made up the rooms upstairs. The rooms are furnished with four-poster beds made from recycled wood and most significantly, 1940s teak-wood dressing tables and chairs that were acquired from a nearby well-known hotel. The walls boast of original artworks created from historical tropical prints, continuing with the plush botanical theme of the rooms.

Outside the rooms, fronting the row of houses is a private oasis, a verdant splash of greenery of urban landscaping made from its original gardens. Similarly, a tropical lush garden lies behind the row of houses as its backyard while old dragon jars lined the whole length of the garden. 

The Precinct

Muntri Grove is a hidden oasis accessible through a narrow laneway from Muntri Street but is barely discernible from the main road. It is but 20m from the main road of Muntri Street, tucked behind the Hainan Association and Mazu Temple. Located between the busy Chulia Street and Muntri Street, it is a subdivision from the original land owned by the association in front of it. Its quiet location is the perfect get-away from the hustle and bustle of busy George Town without actually leaving the city. 

Just off the intersection of Leith Street and Muntri Street, this is a site known as where the original Jimmy Choo shoe shop had started out decades ago. The nearby Leith Street was home to the Hakka millionaires as evidenced by the grand mansions lining the street. 

One of the more famous mansions is the Cheong Fatt Sze Mansion, known as The Blue Mansion, and giving testament to an era of wealth and grandiose homes were the equally impressive neighbouring mansions along the street. Mansions such as the ones occupied by the Equator Academy of Art, the Red Garden food court, the Chocolate Centre and the Cathay Hotel are but a few examples. These stately mansions that still stand till today are historical remnants of wealthy families that used to live along this street during an era of opulence amongst the more successful Hakka migrants. 

Muntri Grove's gallery