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“Service does not match up to a 5-star standard” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Eastern & Oriental Hotel

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Eastern & Oriental Hotel
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   10 Farquhar Street, Georgetown, Penang Island 10200, Malaysia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #5 of 51 Hotels in Georgetown
Singapore, Singapore
1 review
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Service does not match up to a 5-star standard”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2012 via mobile

Imagine having to change room late in the night with an infant in tow! That left a sour taste in our otherwise, enjoyable holiday in Penang. Upon arrival, we checked into room 308. Unfortunately, we only discovered the aircon was not working after returning to the room from our tour around the vicinity, which was around 8pm. The butler sent someone to our room to fix the aircon. It was unpleasant to have a repairman doing major repair work in our room while we were trying to settle our baby to sleep. Thereafter a chambermaid came into our room to clean up the mess and dirt caused by the repair work. All these activities going on in our room made it impossible for us to settle our baby to sleep! And the aircon was still faulty after all the hassle. By then, husband and I were worn out from the lack of rest, had not had dinner yet and a cranky baby missing her bedtime as there was too much stimulations going on in the room! Hence, the move to room 310 when all else fail. Imagine repacking our immense belongings back into the luggage for the move. I was already too exhausted to demand for a recompense for such a terrible experience offered by a 5-star (questionable) hotel. All we wanted was to settle baby to sleep, finished up our takeaway dinner which had already turned cold and unpalatable, shower and sleep. E&O did nothing thereafter to make up for our loss of rest due to a negligence in the upkeep of their room facility. Upon discharge, I had to make known the ordeal we went through and asked the manager for a satisfactory recompense. The response was disappointing, coming from a 5 star ( questionable again) hotel. The manager maintained that our room was changed and that in itself was the recompense for us.

The service I had received did not meet up to expectation. It is merely lip service when I read the manager's reply in tripadvisor to complaints from other guests that all guests are treated with utmost importance and will be given the highest level of service and product quality. Perhaps the level of service I was given is already E&O's highest level of service. If you intend to stay in E&O, I beseech you to think twice, thrice cos this bad experience happened very recently on 19 Dec 2012.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,472 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Singapore
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2012

I booked a premier suite in this hotel for what was intended to be a relaxing weekend getaway with a friend. What we experienced though was quite the opposite.

We were given room 219. The room is large as advertised but it felt dark and rather spartan. Unlike in the photos on the hotel website, the living area did not have a fabric sofa set but was furnished instead with a distinctly uncomfortable set of cushion-less Chinese style hard wood chairs. The hotel has also it seems replaced curtains with heavy dark wood louvered doors which allow little natural light into the room. The bed was awful with a rock hard mattress and a thin blanket covered with a sheet. The bathroom/toilet is spacious but the fittings badly need maintenance. The hand held shower was faulty and the cistern leaked all night. Overall, for almost MYR1000/night, I felt that there was a distinct lack of luxury. However, the hotel being overpriced for what it offered was not the worst of it.

This last bit I've considered not including but decided on balance that potential guests should be warned that the rooms in this hotel might be inhabited by other entities. I have always been a bit of a sceptic, so when friends initially suggested that such an old hotel might be haunted, I laughed it off. However, after having been traumatised through the night by spectral disturbances at the E&O, I am no longer so cavalier about such things. At first light the next morning, we packed up, cancelled the rest of our stay at the E&O and moved to a newer modern hotel.

I did want to like this hotel but can’t really find a reason to recommend that anyone stay here unless you are specifically looking for a supernatural experience. The only positive thing I can say is that the service we had from the hotel staff during our short stay was excellent.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2012

The E&O Hotel has a lovely character, maintains its old charm. With a quiet stream of visitors, it is not noisy and rushed. The rooms are all suites and very spacious with aged and authentic furniture. The local food from their restaurant is not comparable to the true Penangite's but sufficiently good enough for tourists. Buffet breakfast has wide selection. Their high tea should not be missed.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 4 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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Singapore, Singapore
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2012

I like this colonial style of hotel and found the decor to be really to be my taste. In some places I felt like the hotel was ageing, but for me that just adds to the authentic charm of the hotel, and still felt comfortable. Staff were all very helpful and polite too.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Ajax, Canada
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2012

Quiet, well appointed room, great location: stayed two nights December 2012. Food at buffet (both breakfast and dinner) was outstanding, exercise facility was adequate. Suites are somewhat dated compared to other Penang hotels (g hotel), but should be improved with new wing.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled on business
    • 4 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Top Contributor
101 reviews 101 reviews
99 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
274 helpful votes 274 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2012

There are some things which some service providers excel in doing, and there are some which only those in the know will have the know-how to deliver. I suppose the Eastern & Oriental Hotel in Penang is the latter, and not only because of its historicity but also because of its many capable and pleasant staff.

For presenting that period feel, the old-world charm and the colonial days of years gone by, you cannot fault the E & O. In fact, because of some chips off the door sills at the lobby toilets, and the peeling off of some paints in the restaurants, you get the very authentic feel that you've entered a time machine. Whether this is deliberate or not remains arguable; what's obvious is that the E & O promises that old-world charm and that grand dame of colonial Penang feeling, and it delivers exactly just that. So if you're like me, a sucker for an era gone by and the dolce vita seen in the good, old colonial days, you will like the E & O almost at the instant you step into its lobby.

The attention to details in the restoration of this grand dame of colonial Penang is as meticulous as one could be. The examples can be endless, but I shall name a few. Just check out the key deposit cabinet at the lobby, the telephone on the check in counter and the furniture used and you cannot help but agree that the designer / architect of this restoration project truly knows his stuff at the back of his palm. If you are blind to the modern amenities such as a flat-screen computer at the check-in counter and the ubiquitous mobile phones used by visitors lingering at the lobby, you'd most probably mistake for being in 1920s Georgetown. These details extend to the lifts used (check out the oldest one with metal shutters!) and the room amenities. What can I say? This is a tender loving job very, very well done indeed!

The room I had, Number 208 is big enough to house a family of four. The bed could have been better if it's a genuine king-sized bed, instead of a combination of two super single beds. But that said, all the rest of the amenities are first-class and work very well, while at the same time evoking that 1920s feel. Details like the old-fashioned shower stall, the very quaint bath-tub and the lamps used at the very authentically-restored Charles Dickens-style writing table all make the experience at this room doubly special. Yet the the modern amenities such as WiFi, telephones with two lines, a big flat-screen LCD TV set and hot water for shower are all there. You cannot get the better of these two worlds.

So what is it that made me not award the last star for the E & O? I suppose it's the food at the breakfast restaurant which is nothing to shout about frankly. In fact, the fried noodles my partner and I had had sand in them for two days in a row! The spread of sushi was also not welcoming at all while the use of bottled / packaged fruit juices cheapen the otherwise high-class feel of eating at the E & O. I was told the 1885 haute cuisine restaurant is famous and well-regarded, but I hardly saw any patrons there during the 4 days I was at the hotel.

The location of the hotel away from the centre of Georgetown also means you need to walk, or take a taxi to the places of interest within the city itself. Granted the walk usually takes no more than 30 minutes, and the taxi rides can be very zippy and relatively cheap, but with the merciless Penang sun blazing over you most of the time, walking is not truly a good option here.

The very adept and affable staff of the E & O however more than made up for any of these shortcomings. The check-in staff were a joy to speak to, and cheerful and ever-grinning Kelly P'ng actually brought us to our room personally, after offering us a (very) cold towel to cool down from the hot weather and a most wonderful welcome drink. The concierge was very obliging with all sorts of requests, and the housekeeping staff was attentive and at the same time not intrusive. When we were there, there was a party to light up the Christmas tree and that was a jolly and enjoyable event. although the food was nothing great, even as there was ample booze. All in all, the software also made the E & O, I suppose and this is one aspect I hope they continue to keep it up.

The E & O is one of those hotels which I'd been dying to stay in, just like the Raffles in Singapore and the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok. I am glad I made the splurge this time round and given a chance and also the financial ability, there is a strong possibility of me returning to this hotel again. Well done!

Room Tip: Opt for a room facing the sea, better view than looking at the coconut palms and tropical trees in t...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edinburgh, Scotland
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2012 via mobile

Rarely does a hotel exceed my expectations, but the E&O most certainly did. It was by far the highlight of our stay in Penang. The quality of service we enjoyed throughout our visit was nothing less than outstanding, and the E&O can take pride in their staff. As others have written, this hotel has an old fashioned, colonial feel to it. It exudes grace and elegance from its marble floors & dark wooden staircases and furniture, and is a strong reminder of Britain's imperial past (even though it was founded by 3 Armenian brothers).

We especially enjoyed the beautiful pool area and the high level of service we got from the staff there. A combination of peace, sun and some tranquility(sadly spoiled at times by the works to construct a new jetty adjacent to the hotel) made the pool a haven from the noise and traffic of Georgetown. Sipping a cool Tiger beer after a day in the sun is one of life's delights.

During our stay we were invited to the ceremony to switch on the Christmas tree lights. Despite the temperature being in the 80s, it felt very Christmassy sipping drinks in the foyer listening to Christmas carols. Lovely. I was also lucky enough to celebrate my birthday during our time here. The staff remembered this and sang 'Happy Birthday' during dinner and presented us with small desserts at the end. It was a lovely touch and typical of the personal service we enjoyed at the E&O.

The E&O is one of the best hotels I've stayed in, and should we ever be in Penang again, there is only one hotel we would use.

Stayed November 2012
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Additional Information about Eastern & Oriental Hotel

Address: 10 Farquhar Street, Georgetown, Penang Island 10200, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Penang > Penang Island > Georgetown
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in Georgetown
#1 Luxury Hotel in Georgetown
#2 Family Hotel in Georgetown
#5 Romantic Hotel in Georgetown
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Eastern & Oriental Hotel 5*
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/Georgetown

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