RM3m makeover turns Yeng Keng Hotel into luxurious stay

GEORGE TOWN: From a facility charging RM5 per bed per night for travellers on a shoe-string budget, Yeng Keng Hotel here, which was built in the mid-1800s, will reopen its doors as a five-star boutique hotel come June.

Beginning in 2009, Hoo Kim Properties group had invested over RM3 million in renovating the once dilapidated building in bustling Chulia Street.

The hotel, No 362, is one of the oldest surviving buildings in the historical enclave of Chulia Street.

Originally built as a private residence, the Anglo Indian bungalow initially belonged to Shaik Eusoffe bin Shaik Latiff.

In 1897, the trustees of the Cantonese Club Yin Han Pin Shu bought the building and in 1939, donated it to the trustees of the Straits Chinese British Association.

In the early 1900s, the building was leased to Yeng Keng Hotel.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng visited the hotel last week, accompanied by Kim Company Sdn Bhd and Kim Mansions Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Ong Gim Huat.

Lim said George Town’s listing as a Unesco World Heritage site had sparked tremendous interest among many building owners towards reviving their heritage properties.

“Since the listing, there has been a healthy trend of ventures into boutique hotels and similar businesses within George Town.

“It has also helped to boost conversion activities while lending some commercial activities within George Town,” Lim said.

Ong said the hotel would have 20 rooms with five-star finishings.

“We are located within walking distance of the heritage sites in George Town and we hope to attract heritage enthusiasts from Europe, Singapore and even Malaysia who love the feel of living right smack in the heritage city and Chulia Street is the main thoroughfare in the heritage enclave,” said Ong.

He said bookings would open for June, with room rates starting from RM350.

This article appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, April 26, 2010.
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