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“initial impression not so good ...” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Roommates Penang

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Roommates Penang
17 B Lorong Chulia, Georgetown, Penang Island 11200, Malaysia   |  
Hotel amenities
Taipei, Taiwan
20 reviews 20 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“initial impression not so good ...”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2012

I booked over online booking system weeks before arrival. It turned out they overbooked for the day I checked in and placed me at another nearby guesthouse. The dorm room in this other guesthouse wasn't any better, it's windowless and the space's very tight.

I wasn't please about this, and I insisted Roommates Penang was what I booked (according to online info. & images, its spacing appeared legitimate and there's window!). The staff from Roommates Penang then took me back, and placed me in its dorm room.

It's not like I'd walked in and inquired for availability on the spot. I'd booked in advance, and if they were putting guests in other nearby stay, then the quality and value should be at least equivalent, not something of less.

Roommates Penang may be tidy in general, and with spacious and comfortable bed, but doing something like this to customer can be very damaging.

I stayed in standard dormitory. Though I found the price quoted on their website for per bed's cheaper than if you book through online booking system, I still chose to book and pay deposit online to ensure myself the bed. Well, as mentioned above, this wasn't the case at all,

Other reviews indicated the 'warm welcome', I received none when I checked in. It wasn't until late in evening when I informed another staff that I was to check out early in morning did I sense some kindness. The staff offered to call a taxi pick-up for me, and was up early to open the door for my check-out. I would say this was a plus.

Since Roommates Penang's relatively new, there's still room for improvement. For those who want to be close to the old town, the location's good. It's relatively safe here, but has zero privacy.

Stayed August 2012, traveled solo
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
backpackies, Owner at Roommates Penang, responded to this review, September 25, 2012
Dear Guest.
Thank you for taking the time to comment and give us feed back. Its most valuable to us.
Yes, we have had some problems with our booking system, and had a few over bookings. Each time we have one, we have a heart attack and smack our heads silly for making mistakes like that. We are truly sorry for messing up on our side. We have since upgraded our checking system to ensure that this problem does not occur again.

As for referring you to another hostel, we usually ask our guests if they like the place before we leave them with the other hostel. Otherwise we will take the guests around to find a suitable comfortable guesthouse at the same rate.

Thank you for your feed back and we will strive to serve you all better.
Management and team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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110 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (20)
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English first
Valais, Switzerland
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
49 hotel reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
104 helpful votes 104 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2012

LOCATION: Roommates Penang is located at 17B Lorong Chulia, within Georgetown's Heritage Core Zone. You can either hop onto a taxi or board Penang Rapid Bus 401 from the Airport; depending on traffic conditions, the journey could take between 30-60 minutes.

ROOM: This budget hostel has only 2 air-conditioned 8-bed dorms on the upper floor. Apparently, the only difference between the Premier & Standard Dorms is that the Premier beds are slightly wider & have softer pillows. Each bunk-bed comes with privacy curtains, a wall-mounted reading lamp & power points for charging your gadgets.

Do note that the air-con is only turned on at night so the dorm can get quite hot & stuffy in the day, especially if you close up the privacy curtains. You can turn on the ceiling fans which help to dispel some of that stifling heat in the blistering tropics.

Our dorm did not have any lockers but we were told we can use the small steel cabinet outside to store our valuables and stow our baggage either under or beside our beds. Padlocks are available from Reception or bring your own. Each small compartment in that cabinet is not even big enough to hold a compact hiking rucksack, let alone a bigger travelling backpack...

Each 8-bed dorm had 4 metal bunk-beds squeezed into a fairly narrow space so it could feel rather claustrophobic when the dorm is fully occupied... As expected of a stay at any hostel, much of the experience is dependent on your fellow dorm-mates.

We did not sleep well as we were woken up in the early hours (around 2-3am?) by several people stumbling back to the dorm & chatting to each other in the semi-darkness... Though others were obviously asleep by this time, the group of latecomers did not bother to lower their voices nor to tread quietly around the dorm, hence they created quite a disturbance which kept us awake for a long while...

BED: The bunk-beds had clean sheets & a small pillow each; you can request for a blanket from Reception when you Check-In. The mattresses used here were reportedly “anti-allergen & anti-dust mite” which provided added peace of mind.

If you are assigned an upper bunk, do exercise caution climbing up & down the ladder as its rungs are spaced far apart; if not nimble enough, you may find it quite a challenge using that ladder, i nearly fell off once or twice when i missed my footing on the rungs...

BATHROOM: There was a small communal toilet on the upper floor & 2 communal bathrooms on the ground floor. None of which were immaculately clean but still acceptable by hostel standards. The communal toilet upstairs had no soap or liquid hand-wash which did not make for good hygiene practice.

The 2 communal bathrooms downstairs were small & spartan. Each had bare concrete floor & was equipped with a toilet; shower-head; a liquid-soap dispenser; compact square basin with small mirror above; and a narrow glass shelf that was barely big enough to hold a normal-sized toiletries bag.

There was just 1 hook on the wall which was hardly sufficient to hang our towels, used clothing & a fresh change of clothes. Our clothes & towels ended up getting wet by the shower sprays as there simply wasn't enough shelf-space or hooks for everything in that tiny bathroom...

F&B: Room rate was inclusive of a simple breakfast which comprised 2 slices of toast served with butter & jam, a hard-boiled egg & a cup of coffee or tea.

SERVICE: Reservation can be made via email or directly through their website, response was usually quite prompt although sometimes they may take a few days to reply to email queries.

Check-In was conducted in a slow, haphazard manner as the Reception staff took quite a long while to find our reservation & assign us our bunks; we waited for close to 20 minutes for him to settle everything including the issue of towels & blankets. Do note that Check-In Time is after 2pm & full payment is required upon arrival.

Check-Out was hassle-free, just clear out your stuff from the locker and return their towel & blanket upon departure.

FACILITIES: Despite being a budget hostel, Roommates Penang offers free Wi-Fi & several computer terminals on the ground floor. However, the terminals are positioned directly in front of the communal bathrooms so privacy is compromised...

There is a wall-mounted flatscreen TV and a funky glass dance-floor (albeit a mini one) in the foyer. Also available are plenty of maps, guide books & other helpful tourist information, either placed on the small side table or next to the Reception area.

In SUMMARY: Within Georgetown, there are numerous accommodation options to suit every budget. If you seek an affordable backpackers' hostel, there are many choices along Love Lane & Lebuh Muntri that offer much more spacious premises & perhaps better facilities at similar rates, so look around at what's available before you decide. If all you need is a clean, safe place to spend the night, Roommates Penang is perfectly adequate for the purpose.

Room Tip: Standard & Premier Dorms are both upstairs & similar in layout (8-bed each). Premier Beds a...
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Copenhagen, Denmark
16 reviews 16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2012

We got in with the night bus around 5am and were doing the usual touring around to find a hostel that was open at that time. Except Reggae Mansion that was full, this was the only place that opened their doors to us.

The place reminds me of a New Yorker apartment with cool wooden stairs going up and light coming down from upstairs. They've thrown in some big bean bags, a guitar, some good coffee and just outside there's a few tables to have a cold beer at (which goes by 6rm, so quite cheap).

They were helpful with everything from getting a bus to KL, renting motorbikes, to telling us where the good dim sum was.

I'd go back anytime.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2012

I have to commend the staff and the owner of this place for making me feel so welcomed. Being a girl and traveling South East Asia solo, can sometimes be intimidating. I had the opportunity to follow their food tours and ended up making friends with the other people in the GUesthouse, which i think is a great PLUS! The beds are clean and comfortable and i love the interior decoration of the whole place. The Guesthouse is small, but it has HEART and it makes you feel welcomed and comfortable. I would definitely recommend this place to people coming to Penang!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2012

You know you`re in for something amazing from the moment you open the doors. From the helpful staff, to the clean, modern and very comfortable living quarters, this is a quality hostel. All the usual comforts are available, free wifi, computers and breakfast, but its the little extras that make Roomates such a nice play to be, from the little curtains besidd your bed, to the hot water showers,and the eggs included with breakfast. The staff are also starting to organise tours and the owner, Yen, is especially knowledgable about Georgetown and its surrounds. Rooms go for Rm 28 for the standard (which is anything but) and 28 for the deluxe. Highly recommended.

Stayed July 2012, traveled solo
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Singapore, Singapore
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2012

I had researched for weeks looking for the right hostel to bunk in during my short weekend trip to Penang and after much consideration, decided to go for Roommates Penang as the reviews were really good and the beds looked comfy! I was not disappointed at all, this hostel is absolutely AMAZING! :) Bunk beds didn't creak one bit during the few nights that I was there, the staff were great and gave the best tips on where to eat/where to go.

Breakfast was a simple spread of white bread, margarine/jam, hot coffee & tea and soft boiled eggs, there was always enough to go around and it wasn't crowded no matter what time we woke up. The showers were good in a way that it wasn't separated from the toilet so there was no trouble in getting everything settled without having to go to different bathroom stalls.

The location itself is one of the main plus points! Was able to check out the morning market/Little India/nearby hostel streets within a few minutes of walking and when I got tired, finding a bus stop to hop on was easy peasy! Overall this hostel is a BIG thumbs up! Would recommend anyone to stay there during their visit to Penang :) Big shout out to Kian? (not sure how to really spell it) he was one of the friendliest and nicest hostel staff that I've ever met!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 12, 2012

Roommates is a must. The dorms are clean, cool (air con), beds huge and comfy. The staff are brilliant, King, Kenny & Yen THANK YOU.
All are so informative, helpful and willing to go the extra mile to help you. King helped us plan our days while Yen & Kenny took us out in the evenings to dine at the famous Hawker stalls.

Roommates is situated in the street behind the famous 'Love Lane' so still very central but not as noisy as It's neighbouring street.

I would highly recommend staying here. We travelled as a couple and would definetly come back.

  • Stayed June 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Roommates Penang

Address: 17 B Lorong Chulia, Georgetown, Penang Island 11200, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Penang > Penang Island > Georgetown
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 39 Specialty lodging in Georgetown
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
WHO ARE WE and WHAT DO YOU GET WHEN STAYING WITH US??*18 century straits eclectic pre war shoplot - YES!*Experience staying in a classic heritage shop in Penang - YES!*Clean and comfortable- YES! *The place is so new you can even smell the paint- YES!*Guaranteed the Funnest guesthouse on the island- SOOO YES!*Value for money- YES!*So near to the heritage attractions, you can see it- YES!*So near to Penang Hawker food, you can smell it- YES!*SUPER Easy to get here by bus- YES! YES YES YES YES YES YES YES!!! :D We hope to having and seeing you real soon!Roommates Penang Guesthouse is housed in an 18th century refurbished ‘Straits Eclectic’ prewar shop lot centrally located within the core Heritage Zone of Georgetown, Penang. We are within walking distance to famous hawker food stalls like Chulia Street, Kimberly Street, shopping malls like Komtar, Prangin Mall and 1st Avenue as well as morning markets like Chowrasta Market. All the ‘MUST SEE’ Heritage attractions within Penang are located around the guesthouse and can be easily explored by foot or by bicycle. We also offer bicycles for rent for the convenience of our guests. Roommates Penang is definitely the ‘smallest’, ‘newest’ and ‘funnest’ (we made this word up!) guesthouse on the island. Although the exterior and certain sections of the guesthouse still retains its prewar features, we did cracked our brains to come up with a simplistic yet modern interior so that you can fully enjoy an open concept guesthouse that only has a land space of 530 ft2. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Roommates Penang Georgetown

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