If you want nostalgia, elegance, and colonial charm, and would like to stay in a historic hotel with furniture and fittings matching a former time and place, complimented by deferential (but not necessarily efficient) service, then this MIGHT be the place for you.
The E&O is situated in a sea side location close to many of the tourist sites, but its magnificent colonial frontal façade overlooks a run down area with some of the closest venues more appropriate to Pattaya, or Patpong.
Rooms and Hotel facilities
We stopped (February) in a spacious, well appointed, (apart from the steam driven TV) and quiet ‘Delux sea view suite’ on the first floor, at the furthest point from the hotels main restaurant room.
Breakfast therefore was a ten minute walk away from our room through the lovely tropical gardens or the atmospheric corridors full of smiling staff. At each step we expected celebrities of a bye gone era to join us on our way. If we had received a ten MYR discount on our bill for each ‘good morning’ we received it would have been a free three day stay.
Unfortunately if you can draw yourself to look away from the immaculately kept grounds on the sea side of the hotel and sidestep the populous and noisy wedding breakfasts that spill out into the guests walkway each morning, the immediate view over the sea wall is of a filthy rubbish strewn (and at low tide smelly) foreshore/sea and a long unromantic view of dockside cranes and merchant shipping.
The supposedly historic Main Bar was a cold (nearly arctic) and lifeless venue with a loud and unwatched TV in the corner (perhaps inappropriate for a bar professing to be from the late 19th century). Unfortunately the inattentive and rude staff were unable to keep a proper check on what we were actually drinking, (which wasn't much given the ambience), and therefore paying for, as we found out when we came to check out. Take note: drinks are not signed for so others may be having a good time at your expense.
The hotel has a small pool close to the foreshore which was good for taking attractive photographs but mostly unattended perhaps because of the smells at low tide from over the wall
Restaurants and meals
A good choice of well cooked and well presented breakfasts and good value buffet meals are served in the main restaurant situated in newly built (but as yet unoccupied) 400 room soulless concrete ‘extension’. Unfortunately the area nearby is full of builders detritus supposedly hidden behind a corrugated iron fence. The foreshore here or the dumpster half hidden behind this fence is probably the best place for the architect who designed the new wing.
We paid extra for the ‘special’ Valentines Day evening meal and dressed in what we thought would be appropriate attire for the Hotel and the occasion.
The Hotel Manager complimented me on my linen jacket and Thai silk tie and my wife’s evening dress (which we had carted round Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand) en route to the venue, but we felt slightly annoyed to find ourselves mostly surrounded by people in sweaty tee shirts, shorts, and baseball caps. Luckily this did not spoil our romantic evening or the lovely eight course meal.
Perhaps a mild dress code might be more in keeping with the Hotels marketing initiatives, certainly large women in near bikini tops leaning over a magnificent display of sushi food can be off putting !
- 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