The proprietress of JJ Cahaya Cottage, Hajah Joriah Johan is a very sweet and amiable lady. Upon meeting her for the first time, one cannot help but feel her warmth and sincerity. JJ Cahaya Cottage is a semi-detached house located in a housing estate along Lorong Pandan, Melaka. The grounds are quite spacious and nicely landscaped with flowering plants, a fountain, garden settees and a shady tree. The cool breeze and twittering of small birds is extremely relaxing and serene. I can easily imagine sitting in the garden enjoying the morning paper or having afternoon tea in the evening.
JJ Cahaya Cottage offers one room for board. At just RM100-00 a night, this is a real bargain. The room is air-conditioned, has a wardrobe, a comfortable double bed, a dressing table and even an ironing board. The room has even accommodated four occupants before but that is of course, with some of them sleeping on the floor with the extra mattresses. Most of the time, the room is occupied by married couples. Regardless of the number of occupants, Hajah Joriah maintains the charges at RM100-00 a night.
The rate does not include breakfast but that does not discourage customers from making further arrangements. Upon request, breakfast or any meal can be prepared and the menu is up to the customer! Hajah is very flexible and offers traditional Malay cuisine, Western cuisine and all the local Malaysian favourites. The charges are very reasonable starting from RM10-00 per person. By the way, Hajah is also in the midst of writing a cookbook so I can assure you that you are in good hands when it comes to food!
Staying with Hajah Joriah is like holidaying with an indulgent aunt in a cosy comfortable house. It is certainly a home away from home as customers are free to relax in the living room, watch cable TV, eat, surf the internet, laze around or even exercise in a mini gym outside. Books and magazines are plentiful- otherwise you can amuse yourself by checking out the myriad of art and craft tastefully displayed around the house. Hajah used to be a Home Science and Art teacher so everything is arranged very neatly and artistically. On the walls are framed bead embroidery (commonly known in Melaka as “kasut manik” or beaded shoes), traditional Malay gold thread embroidery (known as “tekat”), paintings, black and white pictures and even charming collages of birthday and Valentine Day cards. The sofa is decorated with colorful ribbon embroidered cushions. (Everything was made by Hajah herself). And completing the friendly atmosphere is the resident house pet, a large tom cat named Cello which strolls in and out of the house and readily plays with visitors.
For visitors who aren’t familiar with Melaka’s roads and haven’t got a clue where to start when it comes to sightseeing, Hajah is willing to play tour guide. Upon request, Hajah will bring you to all the popular attractions in Melaka and places which the average tourist would be hard pressed to find with a usual guide book in hand. Pantai Puteri (Puteri Beach), Perigi Hang Tuah (Hang Tuah’s Well) are a little off the beaten track but Hajah will get you there without any wrong turns. As most tourists are looking forward to some shopping, the proximity to the malls will be welcome. Don’t miss the traditional handicraft and souvenirs which can be easily found at the Heritage Zone at Pahlawan Mega Mall in Banda Hilir.
Most visitors are reluctant to leave JJ Cahaya Cottage and when they do so, they often buy their host pretty gifts to thank her for her hospitality and warmth. Many have also promised to return and I am sure they will because it is quite impossible not to like this talented and sincere lady who willingly goes out of her way to make her guests welcome, well fed, entertained and of course, comfortable.
The last gesture from Hajah before guests leave is a Goody Bag apiece. True to its name, the Goody Bag contains goodies such as homemade beef or chicken rendang floss (Hajah is also an entrepreneur and these delectable treats come from her own factory) and souvenir t-shirts. Since we all love gifts, guests are always nicely surprised and depart with warm fuzzy feelings and last minute photographs with their charming host!
I asked Hajah what drives her in this home based accommodation business and her answer was that she derives immense satisfaction from her guests’ happiness when they receive the best service possible. Coupled with her genuine interest in people and fondness for company, she has no regrets in starting this business recently. To Hajah, it isn’t just a business purely for profit. The extra income is a welcome bonus but the job satisfaction on the other hand is priceless.
To see more pictures of JJ Cahaya Cottage, click (here). Bookings and enquiries can be made directly with Hajah Joriah at the given telephone number and email address. Foreign tourists are also welcome. However, please bear in mind that in accordance with local customs, occupants in the room cannot be from both sexes unless legally married.
Linda Phua Sue Lin, Chief Executive Officer
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