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French Hotel

kayes



Registered: July 2008
Location: Penang Malaysia
Posts: 4,824
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· Date: July 16, 2008 · Views: 28644 ·
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Phoebe
Land Down Under

Registered: July 2008
Posts: 447
July 25, 2008 10:57am

Ah, here it is. Hotel French itself! What's the name of the coffeehouse that was in there in the mid '70s? Was it Peacock Lounge or something else? Left behind plenty of memories there ...
Ken Chan

Registered: July 2008
Location: Chicago. IL, USA
Posts: 1,170
July 25, 2008 10:24pm

Indeed, Peacock Lounge is Hotel French's in-house coffee shop. The ambience was not bad but the food was just mediocre. The owners thought they could challenge the supremacy of ABJ Coffee Shoppe, which was the king of the hill at that time. However, Ang, Boon and Jeffrey's joint (ABJ) was still the outright winner, business-wise.
kayes

Registered: July 2008
Location: Penang Malaysia
Posts: 4,824
July 27, 2008 1:34am

Ken, who married Irene Chin? Ang, Boon or Jeffrey? Irene's father, Chin Mook Loy was a good friend of my father. I remember Chin Mook Loy taught at the Anderson School.
Ken Chan

Registered: July 2008
Location: Chicago. IL, USA
Posts: 1,170
July 27, 2008 8:33am

Irene Chin is married to Jeffrey Liew (Liew Why Hone's son) and her father, Chin Mook Loy was my Health Science teacher in Anderson School. ABJ was indeed a pioneer in the coffee house business and many of the cooks and servers were recruited from Penang. In the later years, the chief cook left ABJ and to start Hong Kong Coffee House, which was just a few doors away. ABJ's pastries became hot items and the 3 partners opened a cake shop in Ipoh Garden. Ipoh's other successful pastry business was owed by Mary Chong, who was a secretary in Majlis Perbandaran Ipoh in the 60's & 70's.
kayes

Registered: July 2008
Location: Penang Malaysia
Posts: 4,824
July 27, 2008 8:44am

Ken, you are a fountain of info, just like Phoebe Smile I think Irene's elder brother, Andrew, lives in Taiping now. My father also knew Dato Liew Why Hone well and I came to know him through Freemasonry. He is truly a great gentleman and he rendered me help when I needed it. I have eaten a fair bit of Mary Chong's cakes. Used to be able to buy them from a shop in Greentown.
Retired Falcon

Registered: August 2008
Posts: 1,168
September 3, 2008 3:31am

Hi Kayes,
You can still place an order for her cakes at her house in Jalan Lasam just opposite the Japanese Garden of the Turf Club.
Regards, Joe
kayes

Registered: July 2008
Location: Penang Malaysia
Posts: 4,824
September 14, 2008 2:13am

Here's a pic of the French Hotel I took yesterday, 13 September 2008.


http://penangnewspaper.com/pics2/frenchot.jpg
Ken Chan

Registered: July 2008
Location: Chicago. IL, USA
Posts: 1,170
September 14, 2008 9:27am

The color scheme of the building remains the same but the hotel itself doesn't looked well-maintained. I use to know the owner and I wonder if the property still belongs to their family. Peacock Lounge which was located on the ground floor must have folded up because there are no signs to indicate its existence.
kayes

Registered: July 2008
Location: Penang Malaysia
Posts: 4,824
September 15, 2008 4:53pm

Ken, you are right, the hotel is not in good shape. Comparing the two pics, it now looks worse than before. The only difference is that there is now a money changer at the previous left entrance. I wonder what is up at the "penthouse" which appears to have a zinc roof.
hokin

Registered: August 2008
Posts: 118
September 28, 2008 8:53pm

Guys
I was on a flying visit to our beloved Ipoh on Sat and passed by French Hotel. The reason it is runned down is because it is already closed down.....as least it appears from the outside. The place looks disserted and emptied out and the signage has also been taken down. I thihk the signage is already gone in Kayes' 2nd photo above. Retired Falcon should be able to confirm this.
Ken Chan

Registered: July 2008
Location: Chicago. IL, USA
Posts: 1,170
September 28, 2008 9:42pm

Thanks hokin, for the update on French Hotel. You are probably correct about its closure because hotel business has become very competitive. With so many newer properties opening in recent years, the market is too saturated, and older hotels like French will no doubt find it hard to survive. Another of my favorite haunts during the late 70's and early 80's have bitten the dust, but the memories will live on.
Retired Falcon

Registered: August 2008
Posts: 1,168
September 28, 2008 11:16pm

Another one bites the dust. Yes, it has closed down. It is just sad to see these places close down esp. when it was one of your favourite haunts as Ken said. Cockman Street was one of the happening places in those days with ABJ, Oasis and the two theatres Lido and Cathay. I suppose that area has lost its Chi.
kayes

Registered: July 2008
Location: Penang Malaysia
Posts: 4,824
April 9, 2013 8:31am

The French Hotel has been transformed and better than ever! If you have stayed there, please let us know.


http://penangnewspaper.com/pics8/ipohapril32.jpg
Orange

Registered: February 2009
Posts: 3,163
April 9, 2013 3:50pm

Wow! Kayes's professional photography skills help so much to enhance the transformation. The lighting at the perfect time and the clever angle make this hotel look so classy! Bravo!!
ACS77

Registered: September 2008
Posts: 218
April 10, 2013 8:43am

I think French Hotel needs to get in touch with Kayes and use this picture for their own promotions.


Sam
ACS77

Registered: September 2008
Posts: 218
April 10, 2013 2:19pm

Hi Kayes, Isn't this French Hotel location where the former Oasis was?


Sam
Retired Falcon

Registered: August 2008
Posts: 1,168
April 11, 2013 3:56am

Hi Sam,
Yes, this is where Oasis was located. It was a favourite haunt for many to hang out in those days. Just opposite was ABJ, another popular haunt in those days. I'm sure you must have been a regular there. Smile
ACS77

Registered: September 2008
Posts: 218
April 12, 2013 6:52am

Hi Joe,


Thanks for confirming the location. Not a regular for one simple reason. Cannot afford it. Still a student at that time : ) The Banana Split at Oasis was my favourite. ABJ was a cool place but then again, I do not really drink that much socially. Sam
Retired Falcon

Registered: August 2008
Posts: 1,168
April 12, 2013 8:14pm

Hi Sam,
The Banana Split in Oasis was great. Another was Merry Widow and Nickerbocker Skyscraper, not forgetting the milk shakes too.
Just opposite Oasis was another one called Sembahwang just at the lane. I wonder if you remember it?
kayes

Registered: July 2008
Location: Penang Malaysia
Posts: 4,824
April 12, 2013 11:20pm

Joe, can you confirm this? Sembawang was first to open, followed by Oasis and then ABJ?
Retired Falcon

Registered: August 2008
Posts: 1,168
April 13, 2013 5:23am

Hi Kayes,
I think you're right that Sembahwang opened first. Their milk bar was upstairs, the entrance being from the lane. It was also a nice place to hang out.
ACS77

Registered: September 2008
Posts: 218
April 15, 2013 6:57am

Hi Joe,
I do remember the Nickerbocker Skyscraper. Wow, this sure brings back memories. As for Sembahwang, I have heard of it but had never been there. Only thing a remember about the lane across the street is the Tong Sui stalls that were opened in the evenings.


Sam
wongfam

Registered: August 2008
Location: Adelaide
Posts: 19
April 16, 2013 4:05am

Hi Joe and everyone at Ipoh talk,
During the early sixties, Cold Storage,Sembawang and oasis were the cool place to have some ice cream and western food as these places have air condition.Merlin Hotel used to have a snack bar too.ABJ was much later.Alot of the chefs or cooks were hainanese,they learnt the cooking for working with the British people that lived and work in Malaysia
Orange

Registered: February 2009
Posts: 3,163
April 16, 2013 6:22am

Hello wongfam,


Did we have Merlin Hotel in Ipoh? Where was this hotel located, please?
wongfam

Registered: August 2008
Location: Adelaide
Posts: 19
April 19, 2013 3:42am

Hi Orange,Ipoh Merlin was at Clare street,towards the Robin Hotel,I thing nowadays its call the Merloon hotel
Orange

Registered: February 2009
Posts: 3,163
April 19, 2013 7:47am

Thanks wongfam! Smile


Merlin Hotel KL (now Concorde Hotel) is 'Mer Loon' in Chinese. The Chinese names for these two hotels may be the same but I doubt they are from the same group.


Robin Hotel was started by a few Hainanese and they are somehow related to each other. When we were staying in Ipoh and whenever there were visitors or relatives visiting us, some of the conversations we kids heard went something like these: "Lock Bund's share holders are planning ..... or Lock Bund's this year's share is ..... coming back to Ipoh for Lock Bund's meeting and Lock Bund this and Lock Bund that ...."


I had never been to Robin Hotel. I didn't know Lock Bund is actually Robin Hotel until I read about Robin Hotel from Kayes's Ipoh Talk. I was very curious about the name of this hotel. So I started asking around and our senior relatives confirmed it. "Lock Bund" - "Lock" is "Fai Lock" (happy) "Bund" is (guest). Very appropriate Chinese name for a hotel. Lock Bund in Hainanese sound almost like Robin.


So don't "play play" with our elders' choice of English name! Ha ha



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