Urban Vintage : Our Interpretation

At M Boutique Hotel Ipoh, we have tried to replicate, as far as possible, the atmosphere of Malaya’s Pre War Shop houses that were borrowed from the Straits Settlements in Ipoh. This style is called Straits Eclectic, but being young and cheeky, we added our very own interpretation and added some urban elements. Much we do at M Boutique Hotel Ipoh has a meaning behind all our fit outs, including the numerous text art that you will find adorned in our Hotel. At first it appears as gibberish or cryptic messages but in actual fact, much of our text art  has it’s own tale, as we are picky about the smallest detail in our home. One classic example is the biggest but often not even given a second look by our guests, the black on white text art that says “Espingardas, Revolwers & Pistolas”. Did you know that we actually paid homage to a man who is now buried nearby M Boutique Hotel, in Masjid Paloh.



Espingardas-Y-Perfecta-InnerD’Arcy Hugh Hilton Bird was born on 23rd February 1887 in a small village in Yorkshire, England. Proudly raised from a lineage of Portuguese master swordsmen, known as Esgrima. D’Arcy was thought the finer points of medieval sword fighting techniques passed on by his Grandfather. In college, D’Arcy developed a keen interest in the art of gun making, inspired by his Portuguese lineage, drawing references from a book Espingarda Y Perfecta (The Perfect Gun). It was written in the closing years of the 17th century in Lisbon, and describes the work of three brothers, leading gunsmiths of their day, two of whom signed the book and the third of which remains anonymous. It was highly unusual to write about the closely guarded secrets of the art, they signed it using anagrams. The three brothers were Jose Francisco, Joao Rodrigues, and Manoel Antonio.


Upon graduating from college, D’Arcy enlisted in the Militia, and was assigned to the 4th Battalion, The North Folk Regiment, Special Reserves. He was known for his skills in Swordplay and his knowledge in Firearms by everyone. He was also mentioned in the Dispatches and left the militia on 31st May 1908.


According to local folklore, D’Arcy was captivated by the opportunities the new colonies had to offer under the British Empire, making his way to Malaya shortly thereafter. He settled down in Ipoh during the Tin Mining Boom and was amazed not only by the rich flora and fauna Perak had to offer, but with the locals as well. It is rumored that D’Arcy brought to life his childhood passions, opening a trading and information post right here on this very location where M Boutique Hotel currently sits, selling his hand made guns and teaching sword skills that he had learnt as a child to the locals. D’Arcy made many friends and organised numerous safari trips into the Jungles of Perak, armed with his homemade guns for protection. He later married a local and embraced Islam, and was named Ismail Bin Abdullah. D’Arcy passed away on 25th November 1950 and is buried nearby at Masjid Paloh. At M Boutique Hotel Ipoh, we remember his passions, drawing from his beloved book Espingarda Y Perfecta and Esgrima Antigua in our interpretation of this text art and typography, including our Urban Vintage decor. Can you find other stories in M Boutique Hotel Ipoh?