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“The E&O is an experience in its own right” 5 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 #6 of 50 hotels in Georgetown
Kingston-upon-Hull, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“The E&O is an experience in its own right”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

What can you say about the E&O? The sense of history is almost palpable when you're following in the footsteps of famous guests like Rudyard Kipling and Noel Coward. If you ever wondered what top class hotels and service were like when Britain really was a colonial power, this is the place to find out.

The building is magnificent and full of old world character, and so are the rooms, all with magnificent views across the Straits of Malacca to the distant mountains on the mainland. All modern facilities are available including excellent free wifi, but the plumbing can be a little temperamental. Given its age that can be forgiven - it is after all very much in character! The staff are charming, friendly and helpful, they really can't do enough for you. The quality of the food is top class and so are the prices, but that's to be expected in a hotel of this standard. Sarkies Corner is a cheaper option if you don't want the full fine dining experience. Breakfast is everything you could wish for and is served in the morning sunshine on Sarkies terrace. It's a very civilised way to start the day.

The hotel has an attractive outdoor pool area shaded by palm trees where it would be very easy to spend the whole day relaxing, but cross the road from the main entrance and you're right in the centre of historic Georgetown, which can easily be explored on foot. Further afield are the many other attractions of Penang island, particularly Penang National Park - well worth a visit.

We stayed at the E&O for 3 nights during our tour of Malaysia and thoroughly enjoyed immersing ourselves in its old colonial ambience. It's not cheap, but you're paying for something special. If you're going to Penang it really would be a crime not to treat yourself to the experience of staying at this wonderful old hotel.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
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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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Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

We were very excited about staying here, but certain aspects let it down. The room was great - spacious and comfortable with a huge bathroom. We had a partial sea view, but the window was quite high as its an old building so it was hard to appreciate. The main let-down was the breakfast service, which varied day to day from good to awful. I sometimes it took three requests and 15 minutes for coffee to arrive, and then without the requested milk. I know this may not seem a big deal, but when it happens a few times during your stay it is annoying. We had also just stayed at the Cameron Highlands Resort, where the service was impeccable. I can't put my finger on what else was missing, but maybe it was the ambiance. There are so many modern additions that some of the character has been lost. Such a shame..

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

It has its flaws but we loved it anyhow - because of its charm, the ambience, the location, the genuine spirit of colonial past.

The hotel is located beautifully, just next to the historical centre, on the Heritage Trail on one side and to the sea on the other. We had a room with the sea view, one of the few rooms with small balconies; in the old part of the hotel (the new wing was not open yet). We were just in the centre of Georgetown but perfectly sheltered from the city noise. The pool area was lovely. The service very friendly and attentive; perhaps they seemed a little confused, but always trying to do their best. The breakfast buffet I found fantastic, with a big selection of both Western and Asian specialities (actually, much better than at Raffles, where we stayed later). The room big, elegant, the bed huge and comfortable...

The flaws? Well, the interior is old and not everything works 100 % perfectly. The beautiful stained glass door to the bathroom (with is huge, by the way, with two separates wash basins for each of us and plenty of room for storing our stuff) did not quite close, which was a bit annoying. The toilet flushing was a bit tricky. Yes, I think that was that.

I recommend this hotel for being an elegant, charming and romantic place.

  • 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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London, United Kingdom
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

Beautiful hotel, but it just doesn't have the historical charm I have expected. It was a bit sterile I would say, the fact that the clientele is a bit older gives it a feel of a luxury retirement home. They need a better attention to detail to give it the ambience it used to represent.
Afternoon tea - was nice, not to die for though (scones were a bit on dry side, NO CLOTTED cream - only whipping cream, average sandwiches), saying that the cakes were heavenly. It would be nice to give it a bit more oriental twist.
Breakfast was superb, staff needs training for problems management, they start falling over each other and apologising rather than than making sure things are sorted. Receptionists seem really junior, it doesn't suit the heritage status.

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Gainsborough England
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2013

We have just returned from a three week holiday in Penang and Langkawi and we stayed here for 7 nights. We are fans of modern hotels but having stayed at Raffles a couple of years ago and enjoying the colonial feel we thought we would try the Eastern and Oriental. It had all of the amenities of a modern hotel but with much more charm and elegance. We loved our suite which was very spacious on the second floor with a sea view balcony. Don't be put off by other reviewers who say that the hotel is over-rated and was better in the past - we loved it - its very like Raffles but without the fuss (and price!!) and we would have no hesitation returning next year.

Room Tip: Rooms with a sea view and balcony in the heritage wing are lovely although the new victory wing room...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Top Contributor
94 reviews 94 reviews
44 hotel reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2013

The E&O is an institution, legendary, Old World charm etc etc and it's all true. It looks and feels like a trip to a different era which is great. To a point. The pool is small for a hotel of this size and in shadow for a chunk of the day. It is VERY expensive for drinks, even compared with Malaysia's "think of a price and double it" approach to booze. For the price the E&O charges I'd expect a little more in terms of facilities, but in fairness, the excellent concierge suggested we visit the Lone Pines (sister hotel) for the day. We did, and next time around will go there instead. They are building a new wing with a more modern, boutique feel ( a la Lone Pines) which I think will revitalise the place. We also had two young kids with us and were very mindful of keeping them quiet around older guests who clearly booked the E&O to get away from kids. Or people under 80 generally. Staff were awesome most of the time, coffee amnesia in the breakfast staff aside: Good Morning Sir, Coffee? Yes Please. Same waitress seconds later, Good Morning Sir, Coffee? repeated again twice, still no coffee bless them. Good to have experienced it, easy 4-5 minute walk to loads of bars/hawkers/interesting stuff so location cant be beat.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Plymouth, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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 ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Georgetown
#1 Business 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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