Photo from the Road: Coliseum Hotel and Café

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Photo from the Road: Coliseum Hotel and Café

This is where W. Somerset Maugham stayed on his tour through British Malaysia. He frequented the hotel and bar and must admit is the reason for my stopping here. It served as a coffee break on my walk through Little India and thought maybe, just maybe, a little inspiration from this legendary novelist and playwright might rub off onto me.

Even if you have no concern for Maugham you might appreciate the décor of this place—it’s as if it hasn’t been touched since the day it opened in the early 20s. The waiters wear white long-sleeved shirts un-tucked. This place is a colonial relic you won’t want to miss.

Frommer’s says “It used to be the place for the starched-shirt colonial types to get real Western food back in the day. Now it’s a favorite with the locals, who come for enormous sizzling steaks.”

Text and photos by Stephen Bugno







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Stephen Bugno
Stephen Bugno
Stephen Bugno has been traveling the world and writing about it for the better part of 20 years. His articles and essays have appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Seattle Times, and Transitions Abroad magazine. He blogs at Bohemian Traveler and edits the independent travel magazine He most recently set up a tour company offering authentic, small group tours at Unquote Travel. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


  1. Dave Davis says:

    Thank you for the reassuring photos and text, and they’re just what I need. I’m changing countries and haven’t been so far away from the Indian subcontinent in decades. (Terrifying…) Thanks, Dave Davis

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