Boutique hotel with historic charm From a bungalow to a budget hotel, the building is restored to its original form

October 15th, 2010 Leave a comment

AFTER undergoing a RM5mil conservation work, a budget hotel has been transformed into a cosy boutique hotel with excellent amenities in the heart of George Town, Penang.

Exuding a historic charm for those seeking to relax in a place of rich culture, the newly restored Yeng Keng Hotel on Chulia Street appears to take guests back to over 150 years ago when the building was first built.

As one walks down the corridors of this historic hotel, one cannot help but admire the vintage furniture and lime washed walls decorated with colourful works of art, including batik paintings.

Conservation and upgrading works began last year by the current owner, Hoo Kim Properties Sdn Bhd, and were completed in April.

Kim Com-pany Sdn Bhd and Kim Mansions Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Ong Gim Huat spoke of a colourful history linked to the building that was originally a private residence built in the mid-1800s.

He said it was an Anglo-Indian bungalow, which was bought by an Indian Muslim family, but was sold to a group of Chinese businessmen who were trustees of the Cantonese Club ‘Yin Han Pit Shu’ in 1897.

Ong said they bought the building on behalf of the association and it was later donated to the trustees of the Straits Chinese British Association in 1939.

“In the early 1900s, the building was leased to another person who set up Yeng Keng Hotel. The traditional Chinese arch at the entrance was then constructed to add grandeur to it,” he said.

In 1985, the land for the budget hotel was bought over by Ong’s father. The hotel stopped operating in 2009 and its business was subsequently handed over to Ong.

“We wanted to restore the building to its original form apart from turning it into a friendly, homely sort of resort right in the middle of a heritage city,” he said.

Ong added that they engaged architect Laurence Loh, who restored the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion on Leith Street, to help retain the building as much as they could.

“We did our utmost best to restore it like the original as well as making it modern and livable,” he said, adding that they even roped in skilled craftsmen from China to help with the restoration.

The 20-room hotel, which opened in June, has a small bar, garden, swimming pool and car park. Wi-fi service is also available while its newly opened kitchen will soon serve Hainanese, Chinese and Western food.

The hotel is located at 362, Chulia Street and can be contacted at 04-2622177.

SOURCE: The Star

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