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“Like a Curates Egg Good in Parts but too full of its own importance” 3 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
Plymouth, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
“Like a Curates Egg Good in Parts but too full of its own importance”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2013

Over view
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.

Location
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 !

Room Tip: Choose an Eastern room for peace and quiet.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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.
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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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (398)
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English first
Singapore, Singapore
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2013

Has much charm and a nice feel. Service lacked in some areas. In 1855 which is billed as a fine dining restaurant their was little fine dining training. Not knowing the difference between sparkling and tap water a little alarming. Fine dining menus are normally accompanied by fine wine....alas not. 5 star hotels need to ensure their staff understand way they are there. We did not let this affect our stay which was good but it should have been special. The service in 1885 was friendly but so inexperienced.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maidstone, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2013

My wife and I together with my son, daughter-in-law & 6 year old granddaughter visited this hotel for 4 nights from 25th February. Having read the reviews we were ready for the "Old World" feel of the hotel and we were made to feel very welcome on our arrival. The current hotel( they are adding a larges number of rooms in the next month or so) consists of all suites in the traditional colonial style (modern materials-a lot of plastic!!) Our suites were large and sea & pool facing with lovely outlooks - we could easily see the towels on the sunbeds before 8am - nothing changes does it?). The staff generally were very polite and friendly and ready to help and we were escorted to our suite by a charming young man who explained some of the history of the hotel.
Whilst the A/c in the room was fine and easily adjustable that in the public areas was definately arctic and remained so all the time we were there, a covering up was need each time we left the room.
As it was our first night and we arrived in the evening we decided to eat in the corner restaurant adjacent to the bar. One other couple were inside but the place looked like an empty fish restaurant on a wet Sunday. It was devoid of any character but without at that stage realising we could eat outside we sat down. There were three staff in the room - nobody approached us, welcomed us - we were ignored completely. Then we realised we could sit outside so we moved- past the waiters & manager type- again ignored- found our own table and althoughstaff came out to bring orders to othe couples completely ignored us for at least 10 minutes until we went and requested service We observed another couple who arrived after us and they received the same treatment. Service was then forthcoming but so slowly that it took an hour plus for our main course to arrive after a starter. No apologies or explanation given but we did determine that there was another function on elsewhwere. Unforunately this set the tone for our appreciation of the hotel and although we thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Penang, if I went again I would not stay in the E&O. We did enjoy the breakfasts which were excellent with plenty of choice and a good standard. The hotel is too full of it's own importance and it seemd to us that they went out of there way to favour some guests above others. For a very expensive stay i am afraid we all came away a little disappointed.

Room Tip: Dont eat in the hotel unless you have breakfast included, deep pockets for the restaurants and warm...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 4 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.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2013 via mobile

I stayed at the E&O when they first opened and was blown away by their cozy colonial elegance and classy opulence. I was keen to go back again and after many years, we found time to go. It was my husband's first time staying there and was looking forward to it after hearing about my memorable stay. Boy, were we disappointed!

We booked into their Georgetown Suite (#335), which was huge in size with a separate living room and dining area, bedroom, walk-in closet (a room in itself!) and a big bathroom. But it being so large, there did not seem to be enough furniture or interior furnishings to fill up the space! What furniture there were were tacky and cheap, much like a 3-star hotel's furnishing. Lighting was not sufficient for such a size, so parts of our suite were shroud in creepy darkness. The bed was also big but hard, and the pillows were much too soft and thin. The airconditioning was also arctic no matter how you adjusted it.

What irked us most was the noise - we had our baby with us and were assured that our suite which faces the city/main road would not be noisy as their latest refurbishment included double-glazed windows. This is NOT true - we heard every music beat playing from opposite bars, every car driving/horning by and each motorcycle rattling pass. We were also unfortunate enough to have the noisiest water pump in the planet above our suite, which clanked, hissed and sighed throughout the day and night. Our baby kept waking up throughout the night, as did we.

We were informed that breakfast would be served till 11am, but by 10.30am the food were not replenished and they began to start clearing the buffet trays away. That said, we enjoyed their freshly fried noodles and roti canai; and the buffet spread was good.

Service on the whole was acceptable but not particularly notable. You would expect staying at such a beautiful hotel paying these prices that your stay would be the most memorable one... But we beg to differ.

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2013 via mobile

We stayed here for 4 nights in beautiful suite rooms. Location is also fairly good. However, the whole time we were there we had shocking service. On the first night we had dinner in Sarkies restaurant which is more akin to a school canteen. There were 8 occupied tables and 4 wait staff. We were not shown to a table, totally ignored and ended up getting our own menu. We waited 45 mins for food despite constant reminders. For 3 days they had no chicken satays on the lunch menu- an Asian staple food! One day we wanted to get a taxi and I asked one of the door ladies to help and she told me to go on the street and wave it down myself. Not a big deal but at this standard of hotel you would expect more. The pool area in the day time felt more like a care home. We were the only people with a young child and even though she is fairly quiet I felt like we were being looked at. There are several long term British guests and it felt like there was a hierarchy of clientele. The manager only spoke to the 'regulars'. There is some work going on the shore so one morning we were having breakfast on the terrace accompanied by the sound and diesel smell of the digger. Breakfast is good and the wait staff were very attentive. Over rated over priced. Would definitely not recommend this for families and I wouldn't stay here again unless the rates were halved.

  • Stayed February 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
London, United Kingdom
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2013

We had a great stay at the E&O last weekend, despite a bumpy start being given an incorrect room (think this was Agoda's fault, however the hotel staff should have been slicker rectifying the issue). We were left in the room for 30 mins and then told the hotel was at full occupancy so there was no alternative. This was clearly not the case. In the end we were found an alternative perfectly lovely room, although it was clearly a downgrade. in any case, after this we settled in really well. The building is a glorious colonial facade, refreshingly cool and calm inside and with spectacular views of the sea. Decor is very "heritage" throughout (eg bathrooms are huge with original features, well appointed in the traditional colonial style).

Food: plenty of options at breakfast but don't arrive late as they stop replenishing so there's less available, the a la carte restaurant is fine but expensive; the bar food was very tasty. Afternoon tea was disappointing, particularly the sad looking sandwiches with fish paste spread.

Service: was good, and mostly accommodating, but slow and surly in places (especially breakfast)

Room service: a major gripe for me, and i think this was down to our room change. We had no towels both times the room service had been in, toiletries were not replaced either. Having said this, when we let them know, they quickly brought these things to us. I do think this wouldn't have happened if we had not changed rooms but it was irritating nonetheless.

Overall we appreciated the E&O for all that it offered in Penang. Next time I would stay here again, but perhaps in the new block they are currently completing.

Room Tip: Be sure to demand a sea facing room
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Norwich
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2013

We stayed two nights to celebrate a special wedding anniversary. The hotel knew this but we were amazed when ushered to our room to find a large sheet of paper on the bed with a heart outlined in rose petals and two roses for my husband to present to me. And furthermore on the next day, the actual anniversary, we were telephoned in the afternoon on our return to the room to say a "parcel" was on its way up. This turned out to be 5 of the staff with a plate with two pieces of cake and a greeting in chocolate icing which we held while they sang "You are the only one for me"!!
The only criitcism of the suite (sitting area with sofa, desk etc opening on to bedroom then large luxury bathroom with bath, shower , his and her wash basins...) was that we could not get the room temperature sufficiently high for comfort in the day time- whatever we did it was too cold so we opened the window if there in day time. We did mention this to the desk but although we think someone came to the room in our absence it was clearly not possible to do anything. The bed was vast, but mattress on the hard side. The pool and sitting area with comfortable recliners and large parasols on the terrace by the sea is superb. So is breakfast. But we suspect that when the rest of the building,including an enormous tower block, is completed the place will seem too crowded - unless it is the plan to have separate pool and breakfast areas for the newer part. Breakfast from a fantastic choice sitting under a canopy outside was an experience to remember for ever. The location is good for walking into China Twon and Little India. There is a food hawker market quite near - so no need to pay large sums for hotel dinners. The staff anticipate one's every wish and need and are charming.This is undoubtedly one of the great hotels of the world.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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.
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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*
Number of rooms: 99
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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