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Friday, November 26, 2010

Day 1 in Penang on 6 Nov 2010 (Yeng Keng Hotel)

Just when I thought I'd seen it all given the extensive amount of travelling I had to do for my company's overseas acquisition last year and my own holiday sojourns in the region this year, I was proved wrong (yet again). For the first time (and hopefully last), we were told by a most apologetic lady boss that her hotel was overbooked despite their giving us a written email confirmation that a room had been reserved for us for the 2 nights we were in Penang.

Yes, that IS the lady boss in question with my CEB in the picture above. She said she was glad we didn't lose our temper or behave unreasonably as some guests would have upon being told they didn't have a room. I didn't tell her that experience and common sense has taught me that being nasty is always the last resort and 99% of the time, unnecessary. I understood that she was sorry this happened, I empathized with her the difficulty of running a hotel and human failure, but what I needed to hear was how she was going to fix the situation. And yelling at her or the staff would not motivate them to fix it in the best way for us.

She offered us the choices of staying at Traders Hotel or Cheong Fatt Sze Mansion (which I shall write about in the next entry). The hotel manager Jacky would fetch us to the hotel and back to Yeng Keng the following day. I didn't want to stay at Traders because if I had booked the hotel on my own, I would have gotten GC points. Besides, I'd read about it being a little run down. So anyway, after one most unforgettable night at CFSM, Jacky picked us up the following day after breakfast and brought us back to Yeng Keng Hotel. Below shows the entrance of Yeng Keng Hotel - it is a most beautifully restored hotel centrally located and within walking distance of all the famous eating places in Penang.

Below shows the common area of the second floor of the hotel which I thought was done up most tastefully so as to be well-decorated yet not cluttered. And yes, the chandelier is really something.

Because of the mix-up, the lady boss had arranged for us to be given the garden suite. The price difference between the garden suite and normal room is about RM50 (excluding tax) and I am not quite sure what the differences are save that Jacky told us that the garden suite had a private living room area. Per the picture below, while it is a nice touch, having a sofa area outside the blessed coolness of the air-conditioned room means that hardly anyone will use the settee if at all.

Below is a picture of the inside of our suite - I think the room should have been named Green Suite because a garden isn't well, necessarily always green. The Slog Reviews: 8/10 for cleanliness and comfort. I read on trip advisor that the rooms in Yeng Keng can be rather smallish but the garden suite is good-sized, comes with a safe, and fairly decent bathroom (no bath tub). Toiletries provided are basic so one is advised to bring one's own toiletries.

I've taken another picture of the back of the hotel which shows off the beautiful artwork in the hotel as well as the clean spacious layout of the rooms and hotel in general.

The backdoor also leads to the hotel's swimming pool which we observed to be deserted no matter what time of the day it was - the sun is scorchingly hot in Penang!

The hotel serves buffet breakfast and despite it being a boutique hotel, I have to say that compared to CFSM, it does a marvelous job of serving a decent yet tasty spread. The Nasi Lemak was so good that my CEB had 2 packets of that! I also rather liked the noodles and western spread of bread and cereal.

However, what really stood out was the provision of the local nyonya kueh by the hotel as part of its breakfast spread! It reflects the thought and commitment by the owners in ensuring that Yeng Keng Hotel reflects the rich nyonya heritage in Penang.

The Slog Reviews: 8/10. Although the hotel did mess up the reservation, the sincerity and readiness of the owners and the office manager (Jacky) to take responsibility and make good the mistake pretty much won us over. On its own merits, the hotel is centrally located along Chulia Street where the good food is, and is a refreshing change from the usual modern business hotels. This hotels isn't ranked #1 of all the hotels in Georgetown on Tripadvisor for no reason.

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