Note: this is a picture-heavy post. I've tried to narrow it down, but I really want to show you Friends this lovely place we stayed in during our New Year's mini vacation
If you read my previous posts, you might know that I spent Christmas vacation at my parents', then went for a four-day trip to Penang, Malaysia. Mind you, I didn't go to the newer part of Penang where all the skyscrapers and glam life are. I went exclusively to stroll around the old part of Georgetown, that is full of quaint buildings from 1800s or early 1900s from various cultures: Indian, Chinese, Peranakan and British. And the best part is, they are all scattered about at a relatively compact area, that you can just walk around everywhere! No wonder the place is annointed as one of UNESCO World Heritage sites, just like Borobudur Temple in Indonesia. Those blocks of architectural diversity is a haven for photographers, and also for lovers of art, culture and history like myself!
I wanted to have a completely different experience on this trip, so I chose to stay in this quaint, small heritage boutique hotel called Yeng Keng. They only have 20 rooms, and are housed in a magnificent 19th century, Chinese-style building. It was a gamble, actually, since I had no idea what the hotel is really like, outside of pictures from the website, and I was afraid that an old hotel would be damp and everything. Not to mention that the price is not cheap (in fact, newer hotels are cheaper!). What encouraged me was the impressive reviews from guests from all over the world about this hotel at www.agoda.com. The guest list spans from German, Australia, France, USA, Singapore, etc. Very international. So I thought, why not take a chance? It might be interesting. Boy, I'm so glad I did!
Yeng Keng is an old building, yes, but has been restored to its original splendor, with magnificent Chinese-style entrance gate, road-side cafe, beautiful intricate details and carvings, lovely antique furnishings, and oh-so-cute colors! No wonder I took so many pictures of the hotel alone.
The room is very clean - which is very very important for me - and with modern amenities. The room is rather small, but it doesn't feel cramped at all. And the staff.. Goodness! I stayed in five-stars hotels before, with excellent yet rather mechanical service. At Yeng Keng, perhaps because they only have 20 rooms, the staff are not just strictly professional, they are genuinely helpful, attentive, friendly and proactive. For example, on the last evening, I told the receptionist that I'd need to check out very early the next morning at 5.30 to catch a flight. Without my mentioning anything, she kindly asked if I wanted a wake-up call, if she should order a cab for me, AND "Would you like to have some sandwich for breakfast? The restaurant is still closed at 5.30 but I can ask the kithen staff to prepare something for you to eat." And she did, and we got sandwiches with hams and butter and cheese, and some fruits, as well! How thoughtful!
AND the location of the hotel alone is well worth the money. Chulia Street is in the main artery of the multi-cultural heritage walk, situated only 15 minutes away from the furthest place of interest. We could walk to the nearest convenience store to buy bottled water, to the malls, and the souvenir shops. I didn't buy anything though, we were too busy sightseeing and taking pictures. This was not like my Singapore trip, solely dedicated to shopping. This one was about culture! ^__^
Anyway, I'll stop rambling and here are some pictures of the hotel.
Part of the road-side bar at the front of the hotel. Note the ratan chairs.
The lobby is small and cute, with glass tile of Yeng Keng logo, representing the entrance gate.
The pool has an interesting stone-work background for picture taking! I love!
And these are the Chinese-style stoneworks...
Top: Connextion (Matahari Dept. Store). Skinny jeans: Forever 21 (Sommerset). Sneakers: Nike. Purse: Palomino (Sogo). Gold skinny belt: unbranded.
The second floor. The hotel has many sitting nooks and mews with antiques or new comfortable chairs. Guest can sit and read the magazines or play board games and cards provided by the hotels.
I so wanted to bring some of these furnitures home! They're gooooorgeous!
The breakfast room is painted in cobalt blue. Very pretty and different!
And every morning, in addition to continental-style breakfast, they also serve these local delicacies and cakes for the guests.
The back door leading to the backyard. Have you ever seen a back door sooo 'dressep-up' with such elaborate and intricate carvings and happy colors like this? I haven't! Not even in Las Vegas hotels!
Even this old-fashioned windows are just beautiful to take pictures! From the wide windows, I could see the buzzling of Chulia Street, the road-side cafe at the front of the hotel, and the Chinese-style entrance gate.
For more information, go to their website at www.yengkenghotel.com or for reviews go to www.agoda.com.