Yeng Keng Hotel - a fully restored heritage boutique hotel in the centre of Georgetown
Rooms are tastefully decorated
The back entrance to Yeng Keng and a small but functional bathroom
Various seating areas and hot and cold drinks and fruit available all day for house guests
Lush gardens lining the driveway
Lush plants keep the hotel feeling fresh and tropical
19th century building has been carefully restored to its original magnificence by owner Dato' Ong Gim Huat. With the guidance of Lawrence Loh (the architect who helped restore the Blue Mansion), the team painstakingly set about the tedious work of bringing life back to the crumbling structure. Excavation uncovered four layers of tiles and six layers of paint. Much work went into sourcing ceramics to match the original stratum and the same technique of mixing the colours themselves as they did 100 years ago was used for the wall coverings. Unlike modern times where one generic tile can be used, the roof consisted of male and female tiles each stacking perfectly to fit together. This too became a labour of love in keeping the original feature. Six million ringgit later, the integrity of this heritage building is revitalized for all to enjoy its splendour.
The 20 rooms of Yeng Keng Hotel remain their original size (with the additional of a toilet) and have been tastefully decorated. The heritage feel is maintained with the discreet addition of modern conveniences such as a flat screen TV (hanging like a painting on the wall) and a mini fridge and safe stored out of sight behind sliding doors. Tea and coffee facilities are accompanied by an old tin thermos adding character to the modern appliances. Good quality linen and bedding, dark rooms and both air conditioning and fans support a sound sleep. Small but functional bathrooms make an efficient use of space.
The rooms surround a central open air courtyard studded with lush plants, coffee tables and garden furniture. The hallways offer nooks and crannies with lounges and arm chairs for people to read, sip or take a quiet moment. Each room opens up to this inner space converting it into a giant communal living room. Guests tend to walk around bare foot in this common area and as a result I witnessed eager staff sweeping and mopping the tiles every two hours ensuring the comfort and cleanliness of the space. I too found the area inviting and within seconds of taking my chair and opening my lap top (free Wi Fi throughout the hotel) staff had offered me a cold drink. A feeling of being a guest in someone’s home purveyed throughout my sojourn. Staff were always smiley and friendly, but unobtrusive. The lobby area provides free tea, coffee, cold drinks and fruit all day for guests. Breakfast is included in the room rate providing local and western fare equally.
What many smaller boutique hotels lack in general is facilities. Yeng Keng however offers private secure parking, a pool long enough to do laps in with sun recliners and umbrellas and an adjoining cafe and courtyard. Manicured gardens line every wall providing a green tropical mood in the heart of a cement crowded town centre. You could literally hear people sigh as they exited the industrious streets and entered the peaceful facade of Yeng Keng. Greeted by warm staff and a clean, green retreat the atmosphere is comfortable and relaxed.
The antique and trishaw repair shops are establishments that seem to have given time the flick, not changing since opening day in the vincity of three quarters of a century ago. Chulia Street, formerly known as the red light district, has been cleaned up with the introduction of World Heritage status and brandishes some of the most renowned Penang street food. Right next door though you can get a taste of history with Executive Chef Tan Jee Yong PJK, one of the oldest working chefs in Penang, at Yeng Keng Cafe. But more of that to come in the next post...
Reason to visit: a true heritage experience in the comforts of a pristine boutique hotel, excellent service, good breakfasts
Yeng Keng Hotel
362 Lebuh Chulia
+6 04 262 2177