The Brown Stone Hostel & Space – INTERVIEW

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When you take a look at The Brownstone Hostel & Space, Ipoh, you’ll immediately fall in love with its aesthetics. There’s just so much to admire and nothing that’s not to like!

Located in Ipoh, The Brownstone aesthetics relies heavily on maintaining the traditional structures, while decorating the interior space with modern and an almost minimalist touch. So, when you approach the place, don’t underestimate the seemingly old exterior.

Pleasant surprises await inside! It’s no new knowledge that many travellers visit Ipoh to find & take photographs with the renowned wall murals.

If you are one of those travellers who is also staying at The Brownstone Hostel & Space, you’ll find no shortage of places and areas to take photographs within the hostel too!

We don’t want to ruin the surprise just yet, but you can see more about everything that awaits you at The Brownstone Hostel & Space, Ipoh as you read more about the place and what its founder,

Tony Chin, has to share with us.

1) Please tell us about yourself and your background that has contributed to you becoming an Airbnb host.

I am Tony Chin, an Interior Designer by profession and a part time AirBnB host of a few properties.

2) What is the meaning behind the name of “The Brownstone”, and what does your hostel’s theme represent?

This property still retains its original structure comprised of brown blocks stones and the façade was also inspired by the New York townhouses, where in the heydays were simply called as ‘Brownstone’.

3) Can you tell us more on the story of the building and how did you ended up choosing this property for your hostel?

I mainly chose this property due to its location within the heart of New Town Ipoh. Secondly, we were intrigued with how well-maintained the original structure and walls are. Even certain interior decoration pieces were taken off the original design.

Originally, this was a mansion – a family home. Later on, it was converted to subrental units (kongsi style – British era). Ironically, 60 years on from Malaysia’s Independence Day, this property still provides accommodation! But this time, it’s a travelers hostel. It feels like we have travelled a full circle and back!

4) Are you the one who designed the hostel? Which part of the hostel is your favourite and why?

Yes, I am the main designer of the Hostel. The spacing of the building truly inspired me to create many common spaces with the idea of travelers mingling about at ease in whichever areas they may prefer. The dining/ pantry area is one of my favourites.

I take pride in the fact that I tried using as much recyclable woods and window frames as I could to attribute to the aesthetics.

As for the swings replacing the chairs, well, it’s something out of the box, a fun and modern furnishing choice so that guests won’t feel so restricted. I also actively plant all the greens throughout Brownstone in an effort to please the eyes and calm the mind, hence the rooftop garden is also my pride and joy.

5) Can you introduce us to your team members?

There are two other share partners involved in Brownstone. Mr Keen Lam is a Graphic Designer and Mr Dixon Chai has a Hotelier background.

Mr.Dixon Chai(on the far left) and Mr.Keen Lam (Sitting on the bicycle)

6) How did you meet your team/ partner and reach a consensus to start this awesome hostel business together?

We are friends who have been having the same idea to open an accommodation just like this. We were only in search for ideal location and building. When we came upon this property to let, we came to a decision within a week!

7) We noticed that you have many posters / artworks displays on the wall. Can you tell us more about them? Especially the large map made with newspaper!

Each room name was derived from the old cinemas in Ipoh town. Hence, each room contains at least one piece of art related to the original cinema building and the room’s namesake.

Even the street of our Hostel itself used to have four old cinemas. As for the newspaper map, the headlines were purposely chosen, as the historic win of PKR taking over as the New Government coincide with the official registration of The Brownstone Hostel & Space within the same week!

8) Please tell us more about the products that are being sold at the hostel and the person behind the scene of each product?

I always believe in supporting local artists. The corner with items for sale such as postcards and tote bags are works of Urban Sketchers Ipoh (USI). As for local t-shirts, these pieces are also designed by local Ipoh talents. There are also handmade soaps and books being sold. All by local Ipohrians.

9) Have you met any unforgettable guests that make a great story to The Brownstone Hostel?

One of the memorable guest was Mr. Steinke Mortimer, a German cyclist (keirin rider) who had been CYCLING for the past 7 months from Berlin before “cycling” into Brownstone.

We had the pleasure of having a chat and interview with him, and he was featured in our Facebook page.

Mr.Steinke Mortimer, a German cyclist from Berlin

10) As we know, you serve breakfast for the guest, can you share what's on the menu?

Breakfast is given on complimentary basis for guests to fill themselves up before starting their food hunt /adventure in Ipoh. We serve crunchy apples, toast with butter, jam, and kaya spreads. During the weekends, we add-on fresh hard-boiled eggs. Coffee, tea and water dispenser are available all-day for free.

11) Can you tell us more about the neighbourhood surrounding your place and some recommended food and attraction in your area? Please name a few of them.

We are located in a large park nearby Taman Dr Park. We are also walking distances from Market Lane (weekend Flea market), Night Market, famous Bean Sprout chicken and Dim Sum. Additionally, the rows of bars that cater the nightlife scene is also located nearby. We provide an in-house map to all guests.

12) Any plans for Brownstone in the near future?

In our future plans, we wish to offer our space for art exhibitions and mini workshops as well; not just constrained to staycations.

13) Anything else you'd like to share with the audience that I didn't ask?

We hold talks on travel, arts or culture almost on a monthly basis. It’s a free sharing session open to the public!

That sure is interesting! If you’d like to get a sneak peek of Brownstone before staying there, why not check their Facebook page to check for announcement for their next talk and sharing session?


If anything, we definitely love the team’s effort in creating their own map to guide their guests to tourist hotspots near their hostel. So, can we take it that you already have a rough idea of where you might want to stay if you venture to Ipoh soon?

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*This is not a paid writing, all the interviews are by done invitation only.

Editorial Team

Editorial Team

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