GEORGE TOWN'S waterfront area - Weld Quay - is set to be infused with new life when the RM130 million The Rice Miller Hotel & Godowns opens its doors by the middle of 2014.
The luxury boutique hotel, which is part of the RM270 million Rice Miller development in the core zone of Unesco's heritage precinct, will comprise 46 rooms.
Additionally, 21 serviced aparment units in an adjoining building, which form part of The Rice Miller City Residences, will also be operated and managed by the hotel, said its general manager Patrick Moukarzel.
"Our plan is to not only place Penang on the world tourism map but to also bring new life to the port city after 5pm when the financial district becomes deserted.
"The six food and beverage outlets we are going to open are set to raise the bar for entertaining and fine dining, and will serve as a lifestyle hub for both visitors and locals," he said in an interview with Business Times recently.
Also to be found in the hotel's vicinity is an events hall located in a restored warehouse which will offer full-service banqueting, exhibition, along with arts and culture performance facilities.
"The refurbished warehouse will also include separate function rooms which can accommodate 300 people and 240 persons, respectively," he added.
Guests at the boutique hotel gets to be catered to individually with private butler services, while a rooftop swimming pool will enable them to take in the views of the old city and waterfront where they will be able to see cruise ships berthing at the Swettenham International Cruise Terminal and ferries plying the Penang Channel.
Apart from the 48-suite hotel and its lifestyle restaurants and trendy cafes, the project that is situated by the old harbour is also expected to include office buildings, a spa and gymanisium.
The Rice Miller project, which is developed by Asian Global Businesss Sdn Bhd, sits on a 1.2ha site and the hotel occupies one-third of the land.
On the 1.2ha site, the project consists of four adjoining parcels of freehold land and is bound by Beach Street on the west and Weld Quay to the east and is a 20-minute drive from the Penang International Airport.