This 3-page travel feature was published in The Malaysian Women’s Weekly magazine to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Eastern & Oriental Hotel – one of the grandest and most beautiful establishments of Penang, and a surviving reminder of the elegant grandeur of the times gone by. The article also includes a boxed insert on must-see spots in Penang, whose capital George Town was accorded World Heritage Site status in 2008.
The article was researched, written and published under my byline in the magazine. The flow of the article was largely centred on the history of the E&O – tracing its life since its establishment in 1885 to its rise as one of the finest hotels of the East in the early 1900s, then through its decline in the 1930s to the 1980s, and finally its renewal in the 1990s and its re-emergence as the Grand Old Dame of Penang.
Even as the article traces the chronology of the E&O’s fortunes, subtle details enhance the narrative and lend it an authentic feel. The emphasis is on describing the traditions of the E&O – the famed culinary traditions, the weekly dances, and the emphasis on the very best in hospitality. The inclusion of little notes on the visits of Hollywood stars and famous writers complete the sense of old-world glamour that the E&O was renowned for. By the end of the article, the reader is well aware of how the E&O had changed with time, but has remained apart from its contemporary starred rivals due to one thing – its insistence on maintaining the old-fashioned romance of travel.
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