The hotel was originally opened during the
Christmas of 1937 by the Englishman Douglas
Warin. It was purpose built as a hotel in
traditional Tudor style and structure and is
considered to be one of the first of the
permanent building erected in the then fairly
new Cameron Highlands Hill Station.
The name of the hotel was then known as
Ye Olde Smokehouse Inn, a name which until
recently appeared in almost all Ordnance Survey
maps. The original establishment had six rooms
available for accommodation and was mainly
meant for homesick British expatriates who in
those days only returned home once in eight
The hotel fared quite well until the Japanese
occupation. During the occupation the premises
were used as an Officer's mess for the Imperial
Japanese Army. Immediately upon cessation of
the War the Warin Family returned and began to
resuscitate and run the hotel for a limited period.
The intervening war years and the associated
deprivation must have taken a toll on the
enthusiasm and staying power of this original
family as they soon sold out to a Scotsman, a Mr.
McDonald who ran the hotel in conjunction with
a nearby bungalow. Again, this did not last long
and the property was sold to yet another
Englishman, a Mr. Cowling. He immediately
began to expand the hotel but unfortunately due
to lack of funds the result was not entirely
satisfactory. This gentleman subsequently sold it
after about five years to a fellow Englishman,
Lt.Col.Stanley Foster. Foster improved on the
recent extension, making it more congenial to its
surroundings. It was he who probably took it to its
first level of commercial renown.
After owning and running the place for slightly
more than ten years, Foster sold it in 1977 to a
Malaysian, Mr. Peter K.H. Lee, who acquired
the property under the aegis of the Country Inns
Sdn Bhd. Lee who was not trained as a hotelier,
was then the Regional Director of Warner
-Lambert / Parke-Davis Asia. Over the next few
years the Lee family and staff have taken the
hotel to its present level of development and
30th August 2008 : An important part of the CGI logistics
was proper housing for participants after their 90 kilometre
graduation climb. In November 2007, organisers visited
Cameron Highlands and found The Smokehouse Hotel to be
decidedly the most charming hotel up there in the highlands.
The Smokehouse, has a reputation of being one of the
most beautiful and sought-after holiday English hotel resort
worldwide. Every conceivable corner within its eclectic
interior invites exploration - the mind lingers amid its ambiance
long after ones' heedful footsteps leave the timber floor
boards, an experience delightful and magical all at once. It is
no wonder statesmen, dignitaries and famed personalities the
world over, revisit the Smokehouse every so often, to be
entranced ~ just once more.
It was not till 14th May 2008 that Ms. Noor Azmah Ahmad
first got in touch with proprietor owner Mdm N. Lee. The latter
was sympathetic to the cause of SWCT and provided generous
subsidies on room rates booked for the event. Mdm Lee's
freehearted gesture to the Singapore Women's Cycling Team,
attests to her exemplary grace as a successful hotelier,
one who wears her heart on her sleeve.
To date the hotel has been featured in the BBC's
television programme 'Lifestyles of the Rich and
Famous', and also in 'ELLE' European edition.
The Herald Tribune of New York also rated it as
the Foreign Correspondent's Favourite secret
place. The hotel has also been featured in a
number of regional programmes including CNN
and Japanese television travelogues. In 1992
the Company purchased the adjoining land and
buildings previously known as Christina Loke
Chalet ( of Loke Yew / Loke Wan Tho-Sir
Malcolm Macdonald fame ). On this site the
owners are undertaking to add to the present
facilities a new Library, Conference Room,
Hot Pool and Spa, plus four additional Suites,
bringing the hotel to its next stage of
In 1985, the owner of the Smokehouse Cameron
Highlands ( Country Inns Sdn Bhd ) was invited
by the Fraser's Hill Development Corporation to
start the Smokehouse hotel at Fraser's Hill.
Country became the first company to be involved
in the privatisation of State's assets at Fraser's Hill
through the acquisition of the historical Red
Cross Bungalow and the Tavern.
The Smokehouse at Fraser's Hill is now regarded
as one of the landmarks at this Hill Station.
For family reasons, the unit at Fraser's Hill was
In 2004, Peter Lee was invited by the Penang
State government to refurbish and extend five
State owned properties of historic interest which
forms part of the Heritage Trail. These properties
are now being developed in the historic Penang
Hill, the oldest British Hill Station during the
The first phase, David Brown's at Strawberry Hill
at the top, overlooking Georgetown is scheduled
to open at the end of 2006, with the
Convalescent, originally built by the East India
Co., to open the following year.
The Penang Hill Development is undertaken by
The Penang Hills Hotels & Restaurants Sdn Bhd
of which Peter Lee is the Chairman.