The history of Carcosa Seri Negara is integral to the development and history of Malaysia.
In 1895, four Malay states were governed by hereditary Sultans, with the help of British advisors. Sir Frank Swettenham, then the British advisor to the Sultan of Perak, suggested that the four states form a single Federation. His suggestion was accepted by the Sultans and the British Foreign Office. Sir Frank himself was appointed the first Resident-General of the Federated Malay States.
Kuala Lumpur then was a simple village inhabited mainly by Chinese tin miners. But Sir Frank had loved the site ever since 1888, when he visited a jungle area on the western outskirts. Feeling that the town needed a public area, he supervised the damming of a stream on that jungle site. The stream became a lake and the jungle became what is today the Lake Gardens.
In 1896, Sir Frank started constructing his official residence above the Lake Gardens. This was Carcosa, probably a stylization of the Italian cara cosa or “dear place”.
In 1904, Sir Frank moved to Carcosa, at the same time finishing a building called “King’s House” on an adjacent hillside. King’s House, today Seri Negara (which means “beautiful country”), was to house the Governor of the Straits Settlements as well as other illustrious guests of the Malay Federation.
From 1904 until the 1941 Japanese invasion of Malaysia, Carcosa was the official residence of the highest British representative to the Malay States. The titles have varied over the years (Resident General became Chief Secretary, which became British Resident, Selangor State), but Carcosa always remained “the house on the hill”. Receptions, formal balls and holidays were always celebrated here. When guests arrived, they were housed at the King’s House.
A point of pride with the residents has always been the Lake Gardens. Malaysia has over 18,000 indigenous plants, trees and flowers. Added to these, the British planted flora from their previous postings, many of which thrived in this privileged spot. During World War II, Carcosa became the Japanese Senior Officers’ Army Mess. In August 1945, the British Army used the mansions for their own Senior Officers until a Chief Secretary was appointed. With the independence of Malaya in 1957, Carcosa became the official residence of the British High Commissioner, while the King’s House - now renamed Seri Negara - was the official guesthouse for Malaysia’s most important visitors.
In 1987, Carcosa was returned to the Government of Malaysia, and in 1989, after Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II stayed at Carcosa during the meeting of the commonwealth nations - Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), both mansions were administered together forming what is now called Carcosa Seri Negara.
Internally, they have gone through several changes. What had once been drawing rooms, studies, and small guestrooms are now suites and function/banquet rooms. Externally, Carcosa Seri Negara preserves its original outlines. The mansions, set against the manicured lawns and the lake gardens, show a part of Malaysia which seemingly can never change.
Carcosa Seri Negara offers lunch and dinner daily with a modern interpretation of Malay cuisine. “The Drawing Room” at Seri Negara offers all guests a traditional English Afternoon Tea as well as a Malay Afternoon Tea. For those guests staying at Seri Negara a personal butler is on call. Butlers can assist with any in-room dining requests and special dietary requirements.
Seri Negara Mansion
The Veranda Restaurant
Casual dining can be enjoyed in-doors in the intimate restaurant or outdoors on the wrap around veranda. Enjoy a modern interpretation of Malay cuisine.
- Lunch - 12:00 noon – 2:30 pm
- Dinner - 6:30 pm – 10:00 pm
The Drawing Room
Authentic English Afternoon Tea is served either in the original Drawing Room of Seri Negara or on the shaded veranda that surrounds this mansion.
- English Afternoon Tea - 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Facilities & Services
- Private Butler
- Private Bar
- Internet access in rooms and wireless internet in public areas
- Room Service
- Satellite TV and DVD
- Complimentary Car Park
- Landscaped garden with outdoor seating
- Espresso coffee and tea making facilities in the suite
- Foreign Newspaper
- Currency Exchange
- Special Meals for Diabetics, Vegetarians
Meeting & Events
Seri Negara has two venues for the use of luncheons, dinners and receptions. Alternatively, they are also available for conferences, meetings, seminars and banquets. Audio-visual equipment includes LCD projectors, whiteboards and high-speed broadband and wireless internet access.
All suites are fully air-conditioned, furnished with
- mini fridge
- private bar
- writing desk
- king size beds and twin suites with queen size beds
- twin wash basins
- separate walk-in showers
- satellite television
- espresso coffee and tea making facilities
- IDD with access to internet
Each suite in Seri Negara mansion are distinctive from one another in both size and furnishing.
Grand Makmur Suite
The word “Makmur” means prosperity; it is part of the Pahang State’s name. This is the largest suite in the Seri Negara mansion, with two private verandas to enjoy the panorama of the gardens and the city whilst sipping a cup of English breakfast tea. This suite has a colonial four poster king size bed, a separate living room and access to the Jerai private dining room. The suite with its generous proportions is framed with beautiful French windows, including its own walk in robe, separate dressing room and a bathroom with its own Jacuzzi. In such spacious and comfortable surrounds one can combine the responsibilities of business as well as leisure.
The four stately suites are unique and by virtue of their individual design, size and decoration, derive their names from selected Malaysian States. These spacious suites with high ceilings and separate living rooms overlook the beautiful manicured gardens. All suites offer king-size bedding except for the Seri Kinabalu which provides two queen size beds.