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“The Outlook Hotel meets 1920s shabby chic” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Eastern & Oriental Hotel

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Eastern & Oriental Hotel
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   10 Farquhar Street, George Town, Penang Island 10200, Malaysia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #10 of 70 Hotels in George Town
Melbourne
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“The Outlook Hotel meets 1920s shabby chic”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2008

Okay. I was expecting a lot since the reviews here were RAVING, but to be honest, my first impression was a bit underwhelming.

The place is spoken about with reverence by taxi drivers - as though you need to sell your soul to stay there - and, well, it is quite expensive - even on internet deal. But in terms of cost to value, after only two nights, I'm still not quite sold. And I am more than willing to admit that perhaps it was just not the right place for me.

It is everything as described, classic, antique, chintzy in places with wonderful details like large shower roses and beautiful old bathroom fittings. But although these details were attended to, I found others were not. Such as the bathroom tiles were a bit grimy, the room smelled a bit musty and damp (incense took care of this), bare, minimal balcony (plants would have been nice), and not enough tea, coffee and milk supplied. it was as though there was an expectation that the place (the building and rooms and overstaffing) speak entirely for itself. I booked a Premier room fairly cheap (comparative to regular prices) over the internet.

Perhaps it's unreasonable of me, and perhaps it's about the calibre of the hotel, but the staff were professional (but not really friendly), the room was beautiful (but not really looked after) and while all the facilities are there - the availability of information, such as where to go for local food, was not very forthcoming. It may have been the style of guest that I was (it was an exception and not a rule for me to have my bed turned down and a butler on call) but I just found it slightly wanting in terms of feeling welcome. I have stayed in much cheaper places with 10 times the warmth.

Having said that, I did fall in love with hearing the ocean from my room, great breakfast (almost anything you want), the large, echoing hallways with parquestry floors and barely another guest in sight. REDRUM came to mind a number of times. And for those who have seen The Shining with Jack Nicholson, some staff were dressed in white jackets and I did wonder if I imagined them sometimes. It was the tail end of my trip and I was ready to relax, and it truly was a haven of classic (if slightly unpolished) opulence with ocean views and sounds. If you want more action, however, I'd suggest some luxury resort in Batu Ferringhi - cheap food, market and nighlife is closer to hand there.

In terms of location, it was pretty good. It was a decent, but not unproductive walk to the shopping centre straight down Penang Rd. And I also suggest that (if you are staying at the E&O as a luxurious treat) you get on a local bus to get around. 1.50MYR gets you pretty far and taxis are a premium. I paid 25MYR to get somewhere that cost me 1.50MYR on the bus back. And I saw more from the bus than I ever could have in a cab. It was great.

Look, if you are happy with the prestige of staying here, it is a treat just to walk around and look at the antique chandeliers and wing-backed chairs, and you want service that is impersonal but impeccable, this may be the place for you. But if you are like me and appreciate more informal, friendly service in perhaps less 'character and reputation-driven' accommodation, then I'd choose somewhere else and spend the same money. You are likely to get something a bit more 'all round fantastic' for your dollar. Overall, I found E&O a bit overrated.

  • Liked — Private, quiet and like being on the set of The Shining
  • Disliked — Impersonal service, lack of attention to detail (considering price)
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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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
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Melbourne
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 24, 2008

We stayed at the E&O for five nights. Originally we had booked a deluxe suit but upgraded it to a premier suit when we arrived (with the premier suit you get a balcony). Upon our arrival we were cheerful greeted by the porters who took our bags and accompanied us to the reception area. There we were served a refreshing drink whilst we checked-in. We were shown to our room by the receptionist and told about the hotel facilities. Our room was large, bright and clean. The bed was firm and our room was air conditioned. The room had a wonderful old world charm about it. We had a beautiful victorian bathroom with separate wash basins and high grade toiletries. The hotel buffet breakfast offered in-door or outdoor seating with a great selection of food. I highly recommend the birtcher muesli. The restaurant offers a great buffet dinner and some nights is filled to capacity as the hotel offers a 50% discount to locals who own a specific type of credit card. The pool is very clean and has an outdoor table service. The gym is well equipped and is also kept tidy and clean. The business centre has three PCs all with fast internet connection. Internet is free. Staff are very friendly, helpful and always greet you with a smile. Staff are happy to give you directions on where to go and what to see and can arrange tours of Penang for you. Whilst the hotel doesn’t offer a spa centre, one can be found a minutes walk across the road (Penang Road). We met other guests including an airline pilot who said “it’s his favourite hotel in all of Asia”. Overall, for our first time in Penang, we were extremely happy with the service and accommodation at the E&O and look forward to our next stay there.

  • Liked — Room had a view of the sea
  • Disliked — Nothing!
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bendigo, Australia
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2008

The building is almost a replica of Raffles in Singapore, built by same owners. Lovely , old colonial experience, all white with red roof. Large gardens and an outdoor dining area and pool along a sea wall to the bay. The bay is not for swimming.

Fantastic staff, eager to help, great service. Large parquetry floors everywhere, huge lobby, almost a step back in time. Huge bedroom with separate lounge and bathroom. Timber and brass handles everywhere. We chose it for looking round historic Georgetown and shopping rather than the other side of the island where the swimmimg beaches are, as we were only there a short time.

The night markets and beach area are about 25 mins taxi ride away. Taxis are safe, and most people have a good knowledge of English. The food at the hawkers markets at Batu Ferringi on the beach side, is fabulous, inexpensive and plentiful. We did not get sick eating there. Large number of market stalls, selection of copy goods and all different items too.

  • Liked — Style and comfort. 5 star luxury.
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
77 helpful votes 77 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2008

Grand old colonial building built in the days when air-conditioning wasn't available.

Huge rooms that are tastefully fitted out. Great sea view (although the sea is somewhat grey and mucky).

Helpful and friendly staff.

Disappointed with Penang though.

  • Liked — The old architecture
  • Disliked — The mucky sea
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Singapore
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2008

My husband and I held our wedding reception at the E&O and stayed there for 2 nights. The experience was nothing short of wonderful. As both of us are non-locals, we only had a small reception for my mum's friends and relatives at Sarkies. We took their "Wine and Dine" buffet which was totally worth it. The food selection was excellent, from cod fish to grilled prawns to sashimi and not forgetting authentic Penang fare. The roast duck is a must try as it was so succulent and tender.

The hotel excels in all areas. Here, I must compliment the assistant manager Ben who assisted us with the preparations from getting the wedding car to the hand bouquet and making sure our room was ready for my husband for an early check-in.
Ben and his staff never failed to respond promptly to all our requests and was ever so patient and helpful. For the record, they got everything right and made our reception perfect. They even gave us a complimentary afternoon tea to celebrate our wedding. The rose petals on the bed were also a lovely touch. I'm not sure why some guests mentioned the bed was too hard but for my husband and I, it was soft enough and comfortable.

And I'm not sure if the other guests had mentioned this: the butler service is impeccable. Within 3 seconds of pressing the butler assist button next to our bed, the butler would call to find out our needs.

Overall, this hotel and its staff are truly impressive and its guests truly fortunate to experience such wonderful service.

I know for sure that I'll definitely return to Penang and staying at the E&O again!

  • Liked — Its service
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ireland
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2008

Stayed here for 7 days and what an amazing hotel. You can not fault this hotel. What is magical about this place is its excellent staff and their service combined with the old colonial decor. Ask for a room with a sea view (as ours did). The rooms are large, with separate sitting area, two TV's and a very large bathroom. If you have children, there is plenty of space for 1 or 2 spare beds, if you don't mind sacrificing some of the sitting area. The hotels pool is small but nice and overlooks the bay. There is also a small gym. We tried the hotels "All you can eat/drink" buffet. It was excellent at at just RM95 (approx EUR20), excellent value. There are plenty of restaurants outside the hotel (across the road). Opera is one which we tried and the food was excellent and very good value. If you like exploring, Georgetown has much to offer with an excellent mix of old Colonial, Chinese and modern architecture. Taxis can be haled from the side of the road. Ask the staff in the hotel for rough prices as you can haggle the price with the driver. Penang hill is worth as visit, taxi approx RM20. Gurney Plaza shopping mall RM12. The night market in Batu Feringgi is also worth a visit, it kicks off about 6pm. Taxi should cost about RM30. The area also has a beach, but be prepared to be mobbed by locals selling their produce.

  • Stayed April 2008
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 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.
Lara, Australia
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2008

We had a wonderful time in this great hotel. Nothing was too much trouble for any of the staff.On arrival in our suite The Herman Hesse we were presented with chocolate cake with red rose petals scattered on the tray. Oh what luxury. The bathroom was just superb with double doors opening out to a private verandah.
Buffet breakfast was a feast. So much to choose from and the staff were on hand to attend to coffee etc. Saturday nights buffet is a must for anyone who is visiting Penang . I think it would have to be the best buffet in Penang.Excellent!!
Some people say the beds are too hard but we slept very soundly.
If going to Penang and staying in Georgetown this is definately the place to stay.
KeenMolly

  • Liked — the heritage ambience
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed April 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes
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, George Town, Penang Island 10200, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Penang > Penang Island > George Town
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:
#2 Luxury Hotel in George Town
#2 Family Hotel in George Town
#3 Romantic Hotel in George Town
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/George Town

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