For those who like the “grande dame” experience (and I certainly do) this place delivers. We stayed in the Herman Hesse suite, which is a palatial corner suite with a private terrace, separate dining area, living room and an enormous bedroom. It is very luminous and pleasant and makes you feel absolutely royal. I have also stayed in normal rooms which are all very grand and with a wonderful colonial feel. As with all hotels in a great location, not all rooms benefit from that location. Find out in advance if your room faces the sea or faces the parking lot and road (and the very noisy bars across the road). It can make all the difference to your stay.
Service levels are inconsistent and seem to correspond to position (low in the restaurant and pool area, high at the front desk, which is probably a question of training). Overall though, attentive to any concern, our “butler” (Ming) was flawlessly professional, and at one point we had half the front desk helping us sort out dining options (everyone wanted to help and had a helpful personal point of view).
There is a fitness "room" with a step machine, one treadmill, a handful of basic weight machines that are almost as antique as the hotel itself, a bench and a rack of dumbbells that go up to fairly heavy but unmarked weights. The real problems with the exercise room are 1) that it is actually the access corridor to the pool area from the hotel, so people are constantly walking through the middle of the room and 2) you may find uniformed staff sitting on the weight bench enjoying the air conditioning, as they tend to congregate in the exercise room to take refuge from the heat. There is also a locker room and sauna attached. The bathroom, too, is heavily used by the staff for their needs, which can be problematic.
I highly recommend hiring bikes and exploring the old town on two wheels.
I am not one to focus on the breakfast buffet but this one had some impressive elements, notably the fresh cooked to order char kway teow noodles and other local specialities. Also, the outdoor terrace looking out over manicured grounds and the sea was a delightful breezy place to start the day. (However, their machines are unable to make a proper decaf espresso.)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Eastern & Oriental Hotel is the embodiment of both a special time and a special place. For well over a century, this remarkable hotel - known simply as 'The E&O' to generations of travellers - has stood as a testament to the grand elegance of the British colonial era. In many ways, it has also come to represent Penang itself; its story inextricably woven into the island's history, its traditions an indelible part of many a traveller's treasured memory, its name synonymous with the magical island once known as The Pearl Of the Orient. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Eastern And Oriental Hotel
- Eastern Oriental Georgetown
- Eastern & Oriental Hotel Penang/George Town