A very belated report!
In April 2018 we met LCK at a friend’s dinner. We had an interesting conversation and a few days later he visited us in our condo in Damansara Perdana. He told about a few of his projects, a colonial hotel up Penang Hill and his private botanical garden Suriana. When we showed interest, he invited us to visit him in Penang, where he is living.
On our way to Penang, we stopped for lunch in Ipoh. Aric is an Assam Laksa lover and maintains a website: Assam Laksa List where he has collected many assam laksa shops. His verdict about Kee Poh: so so.
Around 3 pm we arrived in Penang, where we had booked a room in the YMCA, next door to where LCK is living
A clean hostel-like hotel.
After we met LCK, he took us up Penang Hill, to have dinner in “his” Bellevue Hotel
The next morning we drove around Penang. Another project of Aric is to take drone images and videos of fishing villages. This is Kuala Pulau Betong in the South-West corner of the island.
For lunch we went to another laksa stall, only known as Laksa Stall Under The Tree in the Sungei Ara region. Aric’s verdict: Very good.
After lunch we went to LCK’s house, where transport to Bellevue was waiting for us. The house is an impressive colonial style mansion.
LCK’s driver brought us to the Bellevue Hotel where we checked in. Spectacular location with impressive views of Georgetown and Butterworth. Notice the geodesic dome at the right, more about that later.
We had a very pleasant room. Colonial atmosphere. Writing this blog more than four year later, I am not sure about details, but I think we had no TV in the room. What a blessing.!
The garden is well kept.
We went for a walk. The hotel is surrounded by other heritage. Left the monumental entrance of the Bel Retiro bungalow, founded in 1789 and still exclusive government property. Right the Penang Hill Mosque, much more recent (1966)
Left the attractive police station (1929). Penang Hill has become a major tourist attraction, which is spoiling the character of the place. Transport is basically via the cable car, bringing up crowds of day-trippers. We walked around and had a snack before returning to Bellevue.
Even Bellevue must take care not to succumb to modern developments. Buggy tours, Segway rides? Why? Sedan chair trips would be more appropriate ;-). Just promote the Garden Terrace, the Panoramic View Restaurant and the Nostalgic Charm of the past.
A collection of prehistoric animals might be fun for kids, but also doesn’t fit in the colonial charm of the place.
And lots of charm Bellevue has. Waiting for our dinner, we enjoyed the views, changing all the time.
Dinner was steamboat, well prepared. A few more visitors were also having their dinner.
The next morning around 8 am. Georgetown is still covered with clouds. Pure magic.
Enjoying an (almost) English breakfast. (No bacon because halal)
And slowly Georgetown appears through the cloud cover
Aric did some droning. A staff member is interested and watching closely ;-). View of Bellevue in the right picture.
General view of the hill. Bellevue is bottom right.
Before leaving, we took more photos of the interior. It is clear that LCK is interested in art and music.
He is a friend and admirer of the American architect and philosopher Richard Buckminster Fuller. The garden of Bellevue has a geodesic dome, a structure popularised by Fuller.
Buckminster Fuller passed away in 1983 and a room in the hotel serves as a kind of memorial. If you are interested to know more about “Bucky” and his relation with the Bellevue Hotel , have a look at this website : Buckyworld Confluence @ Bellevue
At 10am LCK’s driver came to bring us back to Georgetown. It is a winding road, no public access.
Our next destination was the Suriana Botanical Garden. LCK is an architect (Komtar , Jurong Town Hall) but also a trained botanist who has collected in this private garden many rare pants. Waiting for him, we walked in the garden around his house and had a look at a new building, still under construction.
The garden is located between Balik Pulau and Air Hitam.
We had a drink and duriasn at a small house in the garden. Very peaceful surroundings.
Also here a geodesic dome. LCK is very knowledgeable about ginger and banana species.
We walked around with LCK as our guide.
Of course I took many picture Here is an Orgy of Red
And Shades of White
Black & White
After an interesting walk in the garden, we drove back home, with flowers and fruits produce of the Suriana garden. A very pleasant trip, thanks a lot to our host..