Heeren Inn (Malacca) has bed bugs

If you visit Malacca, never stay in the Heeren Inn.

Bed bugMy family was attacked by bed bugs on Friday night in the Heeren Inn. The hotel owner did not care.

We stayed in rooms 207 and 208. The bed bugs attacked in the early hours of the morning and the itchiness woke us up. We assumed that the bites were from mosquitoes. Later in the day, the bites became inflamed and uncomfortable. When I described what a bed bug looks like, my mother realised she had found one that morning on her bed.

My mother has more than 50 bites all over her body. Her face too – eyes, nose, cheeks, forehead, chin, neck – are red with bites. The feeling is uncomfortable and painful. Sophia and I have about 20 bites. I've taken my mum to hospital twice and she has had one steroid injection, one Piriton injection and has been given 5 days of Piriton tablets to try to ease the pain.

Bed bug bites on the armIt's terrible for this to happen on my mothers holiday. I am torn to even publish the photos here, the bites are so severe. I've since removed the photo of her bitten face because it's too painful for me to share. It's my responsibility to look after my mum while she visits us in Malaysia and staying in this hotel was a big mistake.

I explained the situation to the hotel owner. To my shock, he would not give us a full refund. He claimed he did not even know what bed bugs were, so I showed him photos from Wikipedia and explained that:

  • Bedbugs are normally carried into hotels via guests baggage.
  • They live in dark places such as floorboards or under furniture.
  • The bites are very uncomfortable and last for more than 7 days.

He still refused to refund the 156RM room cost (£25 / $50US). After much discussion, he offered me 56RM saying that we "should pay something for the room". I told him that we would be "paying" for his infested hotel room for the next 7+ days and declined his stingey gesture. The money is not important, it is the principle that matters. You cannot ask people to pay for a room with bed bugs.

The very least he should have done was give a sincere apology and a full refund. But in fact he showed that he does not care what happened to my mother. What a money-grabbing, selfish man.

Now I'm telling other people so they can avoid this painful mistake. You can help me by linking to this page so people can avoid the Heeren Hotel and learn how to protect themselves against bed bugs.

Advice to travellers:

Bed bug bites to the finger

  • Ask the hotel / guesthouse / backpackers what they do to avoid bed bugs. They are a common problem in tropical countries and hotels should have a pest control procedure in place.
  • Bedbugs can live in any room, including clean-looking ones.
  • They are more likely to be found in high turnover accommodation with guests moving from one hotel to another especially backpackers, though they can be found anywhere.
  • As a very rough rule, the more you pay for a room, the lower the chance of bedbugs is.
  • If you wake in the night to the feeling of insect bites and you cannot hear the buzz of mosquitos, then you might be being bitten by bedbugs. They normally feed between 3-6am. Often they bite a few times in the same place – sometimes 3 bites in a line or a ring.
  • They can live for 18 months and they can survive without feeding for up to 12 months.
  • Some people have only a small reaction to bedbug bites.
  • I still have not found an effective remedy to reduce the discomfort of bites. Coconut oil can help. Piriton (injection or tablet) can also help. If you know of a good remedy, please, please, please leave a comment below.

Bedbug bites to the backI have been attacked by bedbugs (and trust me, attack is the correct word) in Australia, Indonesia, and twice in Malaysia. They are the nastiest bloodsuckers of them all.

Please note that the Heeren Inn is not the same as Heeren House. Heeren House is a different guest house in Malacca and looks like a pleasant place to stay.

Malacca is on the west coast of Malaysia and is sometimes spelt Melaka, Melaca, or Malaka. Heeren Inn is spelt just like that and not Heren Inn, Herren Inn or Herron Inn.

18 Comments »

  1. sengkim said,

    August 19, 2008 @ 3:41 pm

    many thanks for your comment. will list out heeren inn in our booking.

  2. Kenny Low said,

    September 4, 2008 @ 12:31 pm

    NEVER STAY IN THE HEEREN INN !!!!!

    I should have read your blog properly and memorize the room number… i stayed in Heeren Inn for 3d 2n last week on the 30th Aug-01st Sept 2008 in room 207 and my friends stayed in room 208 from 30th-31st Aug 2008 for 2d 1n.

    And… Yeah!!! You are right mate, me and my gf were attacked by bed bugs in room 207 but surprisingly not in my friends’ room 208.

    On the first night (we went to bed quite early in the morning about 5am++ after having some playing card game at the reading area) and when we woke up the next day, i thought i had been bitten by mosquitos because i had found about 2 rashes on my arm (but the feeling is not like mosquito’s bite, it is more painful than mosquito bite) so i went to the reception counter to borrow mosquito repellent to spray in the room. The hotel owner’s reaction is like “huh? got mosquito fly in?? the toilet’s window have to be closed…” He don’t even bother to pay for a look into my room. At first I thought it was safe after spraying the mosquito repellent but apparently it was not!!

    On the third day, this time, i found 2 more rashes on my arm and about 5 rashes on my gf’s arm (all rashes were in red and swollen as what shown by your photos here, actually i don’t know that was bed bugs bite untill i read back your blog after came back from there, OMG!!!). I can definitely tell that we had been attacked by bed bugs now…. Luckily we had lesser bites than you guys…

    So, travellers, please skip this Heeren Inn the next time you plan to visit Melaka. Cheers!

  3. Jake said,

    September 5, 2008 @ 4:57 pm

    Sorry to hear about your bedbug experience Kenny. I told the owner of Heeren Inn to hire Rentokil or another pest control agency. He said he would, but obviously he does not take this seriously.

    This is a serious public health issue. Hotel owners need to be educated about bedbugs and the public need a way to report hotels to the Ministry of Health. I’ve emailed them to ask what process, if any, is in place at present.

  4. Kok said,

    October 7, 2008 @ 2:37 am

    wow.. thanks for sharing…. i almost wanted to look for more info about Heeren Inn after seeing a traveling programme recommending Heeren Inn in Malacca…
    forget abt staying there anymore…

  5. tanya said,

    October 11, 2008 @ 7:47 pm

    I stayed at Sunny’s Inn in Melaka a couple days ago and my room had bed bugs too.

  6. ann said,

    February 14, 2009 @ 10:56 am

    waouh!
    just to say no to confuse this hotel with the heeren gusethouse just 100 meter away!

  7. Jake said,

    February 14, 2009 @ 3:08 pm

    That’s right Ann. Heeren Guesthouse is completely different. I’ve heard its a pleasant place to stay and you need to book early because its normally a full house.

    Since I wrote this article, I’ve been bitten again in other hotels in Malaysia. I’ve also read stories about bedbug infestations in the US and UK (Guardian article). They are travelling around the world and unfortunately I predict many of us who travel will come into contact with them in the years to come.

  8. jamesmcnicol said,

    April 10, 2009 @ 7:04 am

    I carry a product i bought on ebay called bedsafe everywhere i stay, a quick spray and it fully protects you. can be bought direct at http://www.crownsupplies.co.uk or on ebay for about £10

  9. Jake said,

    April 11, 2009 @ 10:20 am

    James – does this product really work on bedbugs or is it for dustmites?

  10. punchi baba said,

    July 9, 2009 @ 4:05 pm

    OMG, thanks for sharing> We were just about to book the hotel for a night. I will remember this, and will tell everyone not to stay in this HORRIBLE hotel !!!

    Any recommendations for good, clean yet not so expensive hotels in Malacca?

  11. punchi baba said,

    July 9, 2009 @ 4:07 pm

    We stayed in Baba house, and that didnt have any problems like this. Only complaints are that the bathroom was not very clean, and the breakfast is meager.

  12. teobesta said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 10:26 pm

    thanks for this informative entry
    i’d no idea what they looked like
    it confirmed my fears that those nasty things that woke me in cheng ho guesthouse an hour ago were bedbugs
    though i also found a tinier red bug happily wandering around the white sheets sometime later
    your photos have thoroughly scared me
    and am imagining that they’re all over me now
    i’m hoping i don’t react as badly S-:
    the place looked so squeaky clean too
    i wasn’t even supposed to stay here
    just stumbled on it
    and the gentleman on duty was so warm and hospitable i decided to stay
    i’m sitting in the lobby now
    waiting for dawn so that i can leave
    )-:

  13. Jake said,

    March 30, 2010 @ 11:29 pm

    Sorry to hear that Teobesta. At least you woke up and can prevent any further bites! I suggest you capture one of the bugs – dead or alive. They are very hardy – to kill them, you have to really squash them hard. You will see the blood (your blood) come out.

    Bed bugs will live anywhere – the cleanliness of the hotel/guesthouse has nothing to do with it. They hide in cracks in the day (floor boards, bricks, behind furniture, in bed frames) and even the most professional cleaner won’t find them. Once they have taken up residence, they can live for months without feeding, so they are very hard to eradicate. Even professional pest control companies can have a hard time removing them once and for all.

    One preventative measure you can take in the future is to check out the room when you arrive. Pull the bed away from the wall, look in the cracks, lift up the mattress and look along the bed frame. If they are there, you will probably see them scurrying along.

    Good luck on your travels and tell the owner of Cheng Ho Guesthouse that they must hire pest control immediately!

  14. Adrian said,

    April 27, 2010 @ 10:53 pm

    We’re lying in bed at ‘River View Guesthouse’ at 5am watching these things crawling around for the last hour.

    I’m wondering if they’re in the other rooms too, or whether we can change to a different one tomorrow, and we’ll be ok for one more night.

    What horrible things they are.

  15. C2 said,

    May 23, 2010 @ 7:47 am

    hey, just want to confirmed the location of this hotel, is it the one that right next to the river ?

  16. Jake said,

    May 23, 2010 @ 1:40 pm

    C2 – no, the hotel right next to the river is Heeren House which is a nice place to stay and is often fully booked.

    The place with bedbugs is Heeren Inn which is further up the road (Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock).

  17. C2 said,

    May 28, 2010 @ 5:09 pm

    Hi Jake,

    same role as Heeren House right ? located in the middle of the role right ? operated by a chinese family with surname “Au”?

  18. evita ong said,

    January 9, 2011 @ 4:19 pm

    aiyo… me out date, coz just back from Melaka which stayed at Heeren Inn,no23.
    lucky my child didnt complaint about bed bugs, but only complaint the enviroment hotel a bit dirty coz we found 1 pair of dirty stoking inside drawer..maybe their worker not proper clean up the room after last customer check out.

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