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Carcosa Seri Negara

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Quick Facts about Carcosa Seri Negara

Contacts and Address

History of Carcosa Seri Negara

It comprises of two buildings. Carcosa, which was named by Frank Swettenham, was purposely built by the British for him as Governor of Malaya at that time. And Seri Negara, originally named King's House, was built for British governors.

Both are majestic mansions or 'bunglows' as the locals prefer to call such buildings. I know this is a misnomer, but hey, we're Malaysian. They were built round about the turn of the 19th century and are located on two adjacent hills.

Seri Negara means beautiful country. However, Carcosa doesn't have a definite meaning. It was named by Frank Swettenham. His letter, quoted below, to the Editor of British Malaya in 1936 tells a very interesting story.

History of Carcosa

History Seri Negara

Opened in 1913 as Governor's House and later renamed King's House. Occupied by British governors and High Commissioners till the Malayan independence. Later the name was changed to Istana Tetamu or Guest Palace

Frank Swettenham's Letter

This is Frank Swettenham's letter to the Editor of British Malaya, in May 1936.


In the April magazine your correspondent in Malaya asks me, in courteous terms, to tell him why I gave the name to the house that was designed and built for me at Kuala Lumpur by the late Mr. C.E. Spooner, assisted by Mr. A.B. Hubback as he was in those days and I have no objection to answer the question even though the simple truth may spoil a number of excellent stories. When this house was finished and occupied I read a book which interested me. It was called The King in Yellow and at the beginning of this book there were some verses with a note explaining that they came from Cassildas song in The King in Yellow,

Act 1, Scene 2. Here are two verses: -

Strange is the night where black stars rise, And twin moons circle in the skies, But the stranger still is Lost Carcosa.

Song of my soul, my voice is dead; Die thou, unsung, as tears unshed Shall dry and die in Lost Carcosa. I did not call the Resident General's dwelling Government House, or House, because neither seemed an appropriate name in Protected States. I did not give it a Malay name, because it was to be the residence of a British Officer; so I took a book name as has often been done before.

As to the word, I imagine it was the Castle of the King in Yellow, but the book explains nothing about either the place or its occupant. That apparently can be found in the play, to which there are only occasional allusions. Probably it is a word created by the author’s fancy, though it looks like a combination of the Italian words cara and casa and would mean desirable dwelling, as indeed I found it.

The only curious fact is that this name was prophetic for, as I understand, the house has lost its name and is thus, Lost Carcosa. The occupant, I am told, is now styled F.S, instead of R.G.

Yours obediently,


19th April, 1936.

Resolution of the Federal Legislative Council

Ownership has changed hands between the British and the Malaysian government a couple of times. Below is a quote from the resolution by the Federal Legislative Council, in handing the title deed of of the property to the British, in September 1956.

That this Council approve of the proposal to make a free gift of the house and buildings known as "Carcosa", together with the gardens and land attached, as a token of the goodwill of the Malayan people to Her Majesty's Government, for use as the residence and office of the future representative of that government in an Independent Federation.

The British returned the ownership of the property to the Malaysian Government in 1987.

As Exclusive Resorts

The two colonial buildings which are now (since 1989) exclusive hotels sitting on two adjacent hills located on the Lake Gardens area of Kuala Lumpur.

Many famous personalities have since come to stay in the hotel, including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

There are a total of only 14 suite rooms, 8 at the Carcosa and 6 at the Seri Negara. They are all decorated according to Victorian style to give you a taste of how life for the aristocratic society was like during the Victorian era. However all suites come with modern state of the art electronic systems including the latest DVD players and internet facilities. You will also get 24 hours personalized butler service.

All the suites are named after the various titles of states in Malaysia instead of being simply numbered.



All arrangements for your golfing trips will be arranged for you by your butlers. These include transfers to the golf clubs, green fees, caddies, buggies and professional coaching if required.

The resort has excellent arrangements for golfers at all major golfing clubs in and around Kuala Lumpur, including:

Weddings, Private Parties and Corporate Functions

The beautiful garden and lawn provides excellent venue to host your functions there. It has a capacity of 380 pax.

Dining In

Mahsuri Room serves lunch and dinner daily. French cuisine is on offer in the elegant dining room that overlooks the sweeping veranda and garden beyond.

Gulai House

Traditional Malay cuisine are served in a more relaxed atmosphere. Gulai is a local term referring to curry, especially the drier variety. The highlight of the week is the Sunday Curry Tiffin Lunch, served from 12:00 to 2:30 PM.

Afternoon Tea

Another highlight is the English Afternoon Tea. An interesting English tradition of having afternoon tea is preserved. Here you can let your imaginations wonder to the days of yore when this land was a British protectorate. Yes you can still enjoy the English Afternoon Tea here as it is served daily in the charming restaurant and by the veranda overlooking the beautifully kept garden.


Khamsiah from Malaysia

I have been to many many 4 and 5 star hotels in M'sia and some even overseas but Carcosa Sri Negara is the one I would like most to visit and has been in my dreams all this while. I say dreams because Carcosa is one of the most expensive hotels and beyond affordability of mostly everyone except for the privileged few.

May I suggest that for ordinary people like me perhaps Carcosa could make some special exceptions and offer some discounted prices for its meals and maybe even for its rooms. Maybe this can be considered for special occasions like birthdays, weddings and retirements. This will provide golden opportunities for the public to enjoy such a majestic and beautiful place at affordable costs. Fyi I will be celebrating my 55th birthday followed by my retirement soon on 11th March 2009.

This is just a suggestion and would appreciate yr kind consideration. Make Carcosa the pride of all Malaysians!

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