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“Okay, but not 5 star.” 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
Seattle, Washington
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
73 helpful votes 73 helpful votes
“Okay, but not 5 star.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2006

This hotel, like many older things (including myself), is best approached with sunset and candelight. It doesn't stand up well to the glare of afternoon sunlight.

The building is an interesting old place, maintained well. Rooms are absolutely huge, and the bathroom was quite nice. But it's the service and the little things that give a property a five star rating, and the E&O came up lacking.

I reserved a non-smoking room (premier suite) directly with the hotel. This was to include little things like a "welcome cocktail," cold towel upon arrival, fruit plate in the room, etc.

Arrived at about 3:00 in the afternoon. The large lobby smelled of paint (they were re-painting the first floor hallways). Check in was awkward, with three clerks who were not particularly responsive nor was it clear as to who was to be doing what. No cocktail was offered as advertised, no towels.

I was brought to my room, which was large but smelled badly of stale smoke. I also noticed things like mismatched bedspreads on the two beds in the room (distinctly different, a bit worn, and old), mismatched robes in the bathroom (one terry, one waffle), and the "fruit plate" was comprised of two soft whole apples on the coffee table.

I immediately reminded the individual who brought me to the room that I had asked for a non-smoking room. He indicated that the hotel was very full and they didn't have any available. He offered to bring an ionizer, which he did, but it made little, if any, difference.

I went back to the front desk to try to change to a non-smoking room. One of the clerks first told me they don't have non-smoking rooms. I indicated that I found that hard to believe, since I made a reservation specifically requesting one and was never informed of the non-existance of non-smoking rooms. At that point a second clerk came over and, without checking, told me that because I made a reservation through on online agent like Travelocity, they were not obligated to meet such a request, but do so when they can. I NEVER use those sites for just that type of reason, using them instead to find hotels, fares, etc., but then booking directly with the hotels/airlines. I told him I booked directly with the hotel, whereupon he looked embarrassed and brought out a manager. The manager was pleasant, and told me that while they do, in fact,, have non-smoking rooms, they are limited and offered the ionizer. Given the lack of options, I accepted it, but it did nothing.

Other service issues included requesting information about buses to travel to the Cameron Highlands, and I was simply told to go to the bus station. I say that with a smile, because it really wasn't that big a deal, but to direct someone to a large bus station at the base of a tower in the middle of town, (which, by the way, was the wrong station to get to long distance buses, was confusing, dirty and frenetically busy), without any other information, is not exactly five star service.

The "fitness center," (a number of machines in a hallway on the way to the pool) was locked without explanation for much of the time I was there.)

'Happy hour' in the bar was mediocre; things like hot hor d'ouvres served in chafing dishes with no flame, rapidly turning cold, and not particularly good.

On the upside, the room was in fact large, with a nice balcony overlooking the Straits. The pool area was lovely, and the breakfast buffet ample and fine. The internet access was free and available 24 hours, (albiet in an odd, underutilized, and relatively empty room shared with a staff workstation), and the overall building, while of course showing its age, was interesting and different. (And really -- in the evening, after the paint smell diminished, with with much dimmer lighting and no need for any real service, the place was quite pretty.)

In short, the place was fine. Not outstanding, not even really much above 3 star. If it had been advertised as a three star property, I probably (except for the smoking room and the misrepresentations) would have been satisfied. As a five star property, though, the E&O is just simply lacking.

  • Liked — Bathroom, large room.
  • Disliked — Stale smoke, misrepresentative service, amenities lacking as advertised, mismatched and worn bedding
  • Tips/Secrets — Always book directly with hotels/airlines to avoid "third party booking" issues.
  • Stayed October 2006, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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 (421)
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Hampton, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2006

Pound for pound this must rank as the best place to stay in the world. Ambience, comfort, charm it has it all in spades.
Rooms are huge and fabulous.
This was my second time there and the only criticism is that the service seemed to have dropped from my first time and their was evidence that perhaps they are trying to cut some costs.
It is also now being used by a lot of families and a kids play area would be perfect addition (our little boy of two had to run up and down the stairs for entertainment).
We will though return without doubt as nowhere else in the world can you be in such a unique and wonderful hotel for around GBP 70.

  • Liked — size
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed October 2006, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
85 helpful votes 85 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2006

I stayed in the hotel for one night being a guest for my friend's wedding. Having stayed in other hotels in Penang including The Gurney, Golden Sands and Sandy Bay, I was a little disappointed at first as the hotel was huge and empty, away from the hustle and bustle of the Batu Ferringhi and Gurney Road crowds.

The rooms were large but comfortable. Each room had a living hall and a seperate bedroom that leads to a large bathroom. My room was on the first floor and faced the ocean, but the view was blocked by the trees out front. My friend stayed in a larger suite, nothing special, it was just bigger with a dining table.

The temperature of the hotel was cool, despite the hot weather outside, and each room had a ceiling fan, and opening the windows with the fan on provided a very nice breeze into the room.

The pool was excellent. I was there at noon, and it felt cool and I fell asleep on the deck chairs that surround the pool.

The coffee shop was nothing to shout about. There is excellent food in penang, and the coffee shop was serving typical normal fare, what a disappointment.

My advice - if you want a quiet vacation, this is an excellent hotel to stay. It has colonial charm, it has big rooms, and its wonderful to read a book in. You can always take a short taxi to Batu Ferringi or Gurney Drive if you want the crowds and good local food.

The price is a bit high though, at a discount, it went for Rm380++ for a basic room.

  • Liked — Great Colonial Charm
  • Disliked — Away from hustle and bustle that makes Penang
  • Tips/Secrets — Try one of their signature suites
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Worcestershire
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2006

This was the best hotel we stayed at in Malaysia.
The only thing it lacks is a beach but then it makes up for that in so many other ways that it doesn't matter.
I'll say no more as it is not required - just book it.

If you only have a few days there I'd recommend hiring a guide/driver for 6 hours or so to take you to various spots etc. it makes it all very easy and you get so much more information and fun out of it - we also got a couple of fantastic restaurant recommendations.
Also recommend spoiling yourself at the recommended spa - great fun and very good value too.

  • Stayed September 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brussels
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2006

Beautiful, historic hotel and a wonderful three-night stay, from start to finish.
We booked a premier suite and were thrilled to have a large balcony with beautiful sea views. The suite was impeccably furnished and very clean. My only gripe would be that the wooden furniture (easy chairs/sofa) looked very smart but wasn't very comfortable. I believe that different rooms have different furniture, however.
The service was excellent and we found that the room-service, bar (especially cocktails!) and restaurant prices were very reasonable.
Swimming pool was lovely, overlooking the sea, although there seemed to be a bit of work going on nearby, and you couldn't walk between the pool and the sea-wall as the area was cordoned off.
The location was also very good, with lots of restaurants and shops within easy walking distance.

  • Liked — Sense of history, wonderful service, beautiful building, gardens and pool
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed September 2006, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Strasbourg
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2006

Wow, wow and wow! We stayed in quite a few high-rated hotels whilst in Malaysia for our honeymoon, but this one was certainly the best and we only had a standard suite. We had the bathroom of my dreams, no less than two flat screen tvs, fresh fruit and the staff were excellent. It also had the best value for money wine that we saw in Malaysia and the breakfast was superb. The echo in the domed entrance was rather different too, not to mention the flowers on display. We were sad to have to leave!

  • Liked — Quality of room
  • Disliked — Shame there's no beach
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manhattan Beach, California
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2006

We stayed at the E&O for three nights as part of our honeymoon trip. The old (1885) hotel is fully restored and absolutely beautiful. The room (each a suite, I believe) was huge and very clean, the service was excellent, and the site-seeing driver the hotel arranged at our request was very knowledgeable and reasonably priced. The food at the hotel was quite good, too. Our room overlooked the hotel's garden which is at the seawall on the Indian Ocean (crashing on the rocks just a few feet below) -- what a nice way to be lulled to sleep! I have traveled extensively on business throughout Asia and stayed at quite a few "4-star" hotels, and this is one of the finest hotels I have stayed at for any price. Granted, it's not right on the sand beach like the higher-priced resorts in Penang, but we were much more interested in experiencing a more "local" Malaysian flavor in our surroundings and restaurant choices. A definite two-thumbs up! Btw, when in Penang, if you're interested in nature, we also recommend visits to the Butterfly Farm and the Fruit Farm. They're a bit of a drive, but very interesting (and tasty).

  • Liked — The hotel was historic and beautiful.
  • Disliked — The nice dining room was being renovated -- oh, well.
  • Tips/Secrets — Penang is very interesting -- just make sure you arrange through the hotel for a driver.
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 4
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 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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