We chose this hotel because of it's Number One ranking on Trip Advisor. Now, having just spent 12 days there, it's my turn to tell others just how good the Yeng Keng is. And it really is good, no matter how you measure it. The Yeng Keng is a hotel with atmosphere and personality. It's a place you immediately feel comfortable in. I imagine this is what hotels of the 20's felt like.
The location is perfect, provided of course that like us, you want to be slap-bang in the middle of hot, noisy, vibrant Georgetown. I appreciate that some people might prefer a more scenic outlook but we loved having the action right outside the front gates. More importantly, we loved leaving it behind when we came home to the tranquility and orderliness of the Yeng Keng.
Incidentally, we recommend buying a Rapid Transport Tourist Visa (AUD$10) which gives you 7 days access to the bus network all over the island. And... a number of buses (including the 101 to Komtar, Gurney Drive and Batu Ferringhi) pass by the front door.
The rooms are beautifully presented, furnished and maintained, as is the entire hotel. Mind you, we had what I think is the best room in the hotel - room 201 - one of two Chulia Suites. But from what we saw, all the rooms are lovely, it's just that some are not as well located and perhaps a bit on the small side. We found the floor plan on the Yeng Keng website helpful when choosing our room.
In terms of value...? The Yeng Keng is a long way from the cheapest in town but for what you get and what it delivers I think it's a very fair and reasonable rate. The Eastern and Oriental is twice as much for example, but it's not twice as good.
The facilities are first rate. All the guest areas are kept spotlessly clean and are very inviting. How nice to sit out in the entrance courtyard and enjoy a couple of (very reasonably priced) drinks after a day out sight-seeing. There's free tea, coffee, water and fruit available to guests and the swimming pool is a very welcome inclusion... we swam every evening. The (adjacent) Yeng Keng cafe serves a wonderful and varied breakfast and is a great spot for a Hainanese-flavoured lunch or dinner. By the way, the spring rolls and fried rice are just sensational - and my wife raved about the Kerabo Mango salad.
There's an abundance of eating options within a few hundred metres of the hotel. The hawkers are right out front but do also try the Red Garden food court in Lebuh Leith and the Restoran Kapitan (20 minutes walk down Lebuh Chulia) for the best and cheapest Indian cuisine we've ever had.
I've saved the best till last! It's the people at the Yeng Keng that make the diference - and not just the reception or cafe staff... everybody! I've never stayed at a hotel with such genuinely polite and charming staff. After 12 days we got to know Yeoh, Priah, Azie and Michael pretty well but all the staff (including housekeeping and security) are so warm, helpful and courteous. The reception staff drop whatever they are doing, stand-up and smile at you when you approach them - when did you last see that at the Hyatt or Hilton? And nothing ever seems too difficult or unreasonable for them. It is they that make the place feel so welcoming.
We were genuinely sorry to leave the Yeng Keng. I don't know if we'll ever get back, but I certainly hope so.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Yeng Keng Hotel is a 20-room restored heritage boutique hotel located in one of the oldest surviving and intact 19th-century buildings at the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage City of George Town, Penang. Like many of the other buildings in the neighbourhood, it was originally built in the mid 1800's as a private residence. The Anglo Indian bungalow belonged initially to Shaik Eusoffe bin Shaik Latiff an Indian Muslim family and remains unique in Chulia Street for not being relegated to the rear of a row of shop-houses blocking its facade. In 1897 trustees of the Cantonese Club 'Ying Han Pit Shu' bought the building on behalf of the association, later donating it to the trustees of the Straits Chinese Building Association in 1939. The building was later leased to Yeng Keng Hotel. The conversion from a residence into a budget hotel was the prevailing trend along the street at the beginning of the 20th century. Small places of lodgings that were conveniently reached from the harbour were in great demand as the traffic in the port grew. An impressive traditional Chinese entrance gate was constructed announcing entry to the 'Lodging House,' adding grandeur to the commercial establishment and to distinguish it from the rest of the buildings on the street. Conservation and upgrading by the present owner, Hoo Kim Properties Sdn Bhd, was undertaken in March 2009 with the renewed Yeng Keng Hotel completed in April 2010. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Yeng Keng Hotel Penang/George Town