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Brainchild Of The New E&O Heritage Wing Design; The Person Behind The Idea

Penang, 19 September 2019 – Helming the renovation of the Eastern & Oriental Hotel (E&O) Heritage Wing is the founder of Interiors International Sdn Bhd Datin Tham Oi Wah.

Born with creative instinct, Tham came to realise that she had a knack for interior architecture and design when she was designing a house for her family in the early 90s.

In 2008, her interest and passion led to the establishment of her interior design firm – Interiors International.

Besides overlooking the refurbishment of the Heritage Wing, Tham was also involved in most of the E&O Group’s projects including the hotel’s Victory Annexe which opened its door in 2013.

She and her team now embarked on another challenge – to restore the Heritage Wing back to its former glory whilst retaining the timeless essence of the hotel to transport guests back to the heyday of the Sarkies Brothers, the hotel’s founding members.

“The historical structure and location of the Heritage Wing are the most ideal inspiration for our work, and it has helped me in coming up with the perfect concept and design for its new look.

“We strive to evoke the elegant charm of the early period of the hotel when prominent figures like Somerset Maugham and Rudyard Kipling passed through the doors of the Grande Dame,” Tham explained.

Although physical works only began in March this year, there were already much deliberations and preparations following the opening of the Victory Annexe.

“It is quite challenging as we have to maintain the historic integrity of the 19th century structure while upgrading its amenities to the 21st century,” Tham said.

With the Heritage Wing recognised as a historical building, Tham emphasised that they had to be very careful and strictly adhere to the guidelines set by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation on the dos and don’ts.

“Structural challenges might also arise throughout the refurbishment which our team of architects, contractors and designers must solve with a high degree of flexibility and capability,” said Tham.

On managing the public’s expectation from the revamped Heritage Wing, Tham said guests strolling along the walkway would feel themselves being transported back to the olden days.

“It’s just like revisiting an old friend where they can reminisce the past while discovering the delights of its refreshed outlook.

“I also believe that the cherry on top would be the familiar faces of the E&O staff, whose friendly service are sure to complete the legendary experience, greeting the guests with their unmistakable brand of warm hospitality,” she said.

The E&O Group hopes that when the doors of the grande dame reopen in December with fully refreshed suites and new dining concepts, it would represent a new level of hospitality that would make the Sarkies Brothers proud.