Where to Stay
Where to stay depends on your budget, style of hotel and the type of holiday you are after. If you want to be walking distance from Unesco Heritage Sites, then Georgetown is ideal. If you want tranquility, an on the beach type of holiday, then select a resort in Batu Ferrenghi. Or there’s Gurney drive, which is located in between the two. Either way, Penang is not a big island. You can get from Batu Ferrenghi to Georgetown in about 20 min (without heavy traffic). Grab taxi will cost about 15RM.
Eastern & Oriental Hotel (E&O) - You can’t talk about heritage hotels in Penang without mentioning the venerable E&O. A colonial landmark, its legion of famous guests includes Noel Coward and Somerset Maugham. It was built in 1884 by the Sarkies brothers, who also built The Raffles Hotel in Singapore 3 years later. Its new wing resembles any new five-star accommodation. But the old wing’s lobby and public rooms still holds plenty of nostalgic character. The waterfront location is pretty scenic too. So you can have the best of both worlds – close to Georgetown’s UNESCO sites and beach holiday.
Seven terraces - Chris Ong, an ex-investment banker turned hotelier converts heritage buildings into beautifully-restored boutique hotels. Seven Terraces consists of seven Straits Chinese shophouses converted into one magnificent Peranakan property. Guest rooms are all on the second floor while the gutted interior now boasts a stunning granite courtyard. In Chris Ong’s portfolio of hotels, there are also Muntri Mews, Muntri Grove and Jawi Peranankan Mansion. Tip: A "must" is to book dinner in their gorgeous restaurant, Kebaya, a unique dining experience with specially designed Nyonya cuisine and contemporary inspiration using French techniques.
The Edison - A newcomer to Penang, this boutique luxury hotel (part of Small Luxury Hotel group) sees a heritage 20th-century mansion restored with beautiful Art Deco details and modern comforts, situated on the edge of a Unesco World Heritage site. Here's a review from Telegraph.
Campbell House - The beautifully restored three-storey, 100-year-old house has 11 suites with a mixture of Eastern and Western furnishings. The owners are an expatriate couple that fell for Georgetown’s easy living and they’ve imbued the Campbell with a sense of authenticity and personal service. It also contains Il Bacaro, one of the better Italian restaurants in Penang.
Macalister Mansion - Perhaps the most beautiful and aesthetically pleasing of all the boutique hotels on this list (in our opinion!) Macalister Mansion offers 8 different gorgeous rooms filled with carefully selected art inspired by the life story of Sir Norman Macalister. Traditional meets contemporary in the form of stunningly executed minimalism, with colonial touches of shophouse windows and verandahs complemented by modern artwork and clean lines for a luxurious stay. Of all the hotels in town, this is one you must visit to drool over its great style, even for a quick look at the beautiful bar area.
G-Hotel is a contemporary hotel sandwiched between two of Penang’s biggest malls, Gurney Paragon and Gurney Plaza. We know it well for its excellent and affordable Japanese restaurant ‘Miraku’ on the first floor. Behind the main hotel on Gurney Drive, facing Kelawi Road, they have built a boutique hotel we call ‘Baby G' with a lovely rooftop pool and terrace. I'd stay at the Kelawi hotel as it is much newer and less busy.
Set amid 30 acres of landscaped gardens and centuries old trees, on Batu Ferringhi Beach, the Shangri-La's Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa, offers exclusive luxury within easy reach of Penang's attractions. Here you can relax in the tropical swimming pool, enjoy a jungle trek, dine at a choice of four bars and restaurants, benefit from a host of entertainment options and ease away every day tensions at CHI The Spa which features indigenous Malay style interiors and 11 treatments rooms.
Newly completed DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Hotel is located about 5 minute drive from Shangri-la and just 45 minutes from Penang International Airport. They offer complimentary shuttle to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of George Town, 20 minutes drive away.