The Convalescent Bungalow heritage building on Penang Hill will be redeveloped into an eco-friendly hotel with 250 to 300 rooms, the state legislative assembly heard today.
Yeoh Soon Hin (DAP — Paya Terubong), who is state tourism, heritage, arts and culture state exco, said Penang Hill Corporation (PHC) is preparing the project’s request for proposal (RFP).
“A request for proposal to develop the eco-friendly hotel will be called after land issues of the hotel have been resolved,” he said in reply to an oral question by Goh Choon Aik (PKR — Bukit Tambun) on the number of visitors on Penang Hill and the status of hotel development proposals on the hill resort.
Another heritage building on the hill, Woodside Bungalow, will be redeveloped into a boutique hotel as a unique tourism attraction, he said.
He said land issues with the project were being resolved.
“Currently, restoration works on the Hillside Bungalow is underway to be turned into Hillside Retreat and it is expected to be open for operations at the end of this month,” he said.
Yeoh also said affordable accommodations will be developed along the Coolie Line and that site investigations are still being conducted.
“The RFP for the project will be called by early 2020,” he said.
As for the historical Crag Hotel, Yeoh said state agency, Chief Minister Incorporated (CMI) was tasked with redeveloping the site through a RFP for the restoration, refurbishment, redevelopment and management of Crag Hotel.
“An international company was appointed to develop and manage a six-star hotel by rebranding it as Aman Crag and the hotel will have a total of 28 rooms,” he said.
He said the hill resort only has 12 rooms now under the sole existing hotel, Bellevue Hotel, and the hotel has an occupation rate of between 30 per cent and 40 per cent.
Yeoh said Penang Hill recorded a total 1.38 million visitors as at October 17 this year, out of which 874,949 are locals and 5050,902 are foreigners.
“This number is expected to exceed the total visitors of 1.74 million last year, out of which 1.19 are locals and 547,503 are foreigners,” he said.
He said this year, the hill is expected to record about 1.8 million visitors depending on economic and weather conditions for the rest of the year.
He said PHC will continue to improve services on the hill resort to attract more visitors to the hill.
He added that PHC is committed in protecting and preserving the natural environment of the hill so that it remains as a top eco-tourism site for local and foreign visitors to Penang.