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Crag Hotel / Uplands School - Penang island, Malaysia

Discussion in 'European and International Sites' started by tiktok, Apr 17, 2016.

  1. tiktok

    tiktok 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Apr 17, 2016
    Likes Received:
    My first report, so hopefully I've got it generally right (edit: nope, I forgot to include a better thread title - this report was from April 2016). The 'Crag' site is a former hotel and school located in the jungle on the north edge of Penang Hill, Pilau Pinang, Malayisa. In its time it has been a private residence, a hotel, an international school, and a film / TV set.


    Around 1885 a bungalow was built on the site by Captain John W Kerr, an employee of the East India Company. Penang Hill was a favourite location for Europeans living on Penang to come to escape the intense heat and humidity of lower elevations.

    In the late 1880s four Armenian immigrants to Malaysia (then Malaya), the Sarkies brothers, were busy establishing hotels throughout South East Asia. Their properties included the Oriental Hotel in George Town, Penang, the Hotel Oranje in Indonesia, and the famous Raffles hotel in Singapore. They bought the Crag bungalow and developed it into a hotel, opening it in 1894. The hotel apparently changed hands in the 1920s and was extended around this time too.

    The Crag Hotel continued operation until World War 2. When the Japanese occupied Penang they took over the building for their own use. After the war, the building was disused for a decade before being leased to the Uplands School (now called the Penang International School and located elsewhere on the island). The school opened in 1955. The relatively isolated location was considered a bonus in terms of safety – this was the time of the Malay Emergency. The school was even visited by Queen Elizabeth II in 1972. Uplands School moved to a new site (their second of three) in 1977, and the Crag Hotel site was abandoned.

    The site saw brief action as a location for the 1992 film Indochina, and then was left to decay again.Around 2012 there were several attempts at a deal with an overseas hotel chain to redevelop the Crag Hotel site, but nothing came of them.

    In 2015 the new BBC series Indian Summers decided to use the Crag Hotel as a location and the site was somewhat cleaned up. The main building has been somewhat renovated – vegetation has been cleared, a new path has been installed, new doors and windows have been fitted, and the interior and exterior have been painted. It looks like they may film another series, as inside there are plastic-wrapped packages of furniture, pool tables, china, etc. Some of the basement rooms had documents dated 1920s and 1930s - given their condition, presumably props from the film.

    However, away from the stare of the TV cameras, the decay remains. The outer buildings, and even the side of the main building itself, are still very overgrown and in some cases in a state of near collapse.

    On with the photos:















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  2. Bolts

    Bolts 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Feb 4, 2015
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    Nice pics :thumb
  3. SOA

    SOA 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Apr 14, 2016
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    That is right up my street and would be in my element here :)
  4. Gina66

    Gina66 28DL Member
    28DL Member

    May 4, 2016
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    I spent three holidays in Penang with the RAF between 69 and 71. I was stationed at Changi in Singapore. We went to a holiday place called Sandycroft on the beach.
  5. Punk

    Punk Obi Punk Kenobi
    Regular User

    Sep 29, 2012
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    Nice first report :thumb
    Good, thorough history :thumb
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