Chance to camp under the stars on Penang Hill

An artist’s impression of Hillside Retreat on Penang Hill with tents for camping. (Penang Hill Corp pic.)

GEORGE TOWN: Penang Hill, the oldest hill station in the country, will be able to accommodate more overnight visitors from October with the opening of Hillside Retreat, which can take in 80 guests.

At present, those who wish to spend a night on the hill only have the choice of Bellevue Hotel, which has 12 rooms.

Penang Hill Corporation (PHC) general manager Cheok Lay Leng said Hillside Retreat, combining the charms of Hillside Bungalow and Tulip House, will offer both boutique rooms as well as “campsite” facilities.

Hillside Bungalow along Upper Tunnel Road will have four boutique rooms, four bunk-bed rooms and an open area that can accommodate 14 four-person tents for camping.

Cheok said it will be an ideal glamping site.

Hillside Bungalow was built in the 1900s and is one of the oldest buildings on Penang Hill, serving as a rest house for British government officers. It was left vacant for a long period until its restoration recently.

Tulip House, located below the main Summit Road, will only have two rooms. It was built by the British in the 1920s as a workers’ quarters and was turned into government quarters after Merdeka.

The quarters were last renovated in 2016.

Cheok said Pembinaan YSBT (M) Sdn Bhd has been selected to operate the facilities following a Request for Proposal called in September 2017.

He said the company aims to make accommodation on the hill affordable.

At the same press conference, Chief Minister and PHC chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the project was made possible through public-private partnership.

“It also reflects the endeavour of the Penang government to promote ecotourism and allow families to spend quality time together while enjoying the natural beauty of Penang Hill,” he said.