We stayed five nights in October. The E&O has been superbly recreated from the old building, keeping many original features but completely replacing many areas such as the rooms. I liked the location, near the historic areas and central Penang. The staff are friendly and helpful, the overall ambiance excellent.
We arrived on a rainy night and were hoping to go to the main restaurant "Sarkies Corner" for dinner. When we asked, we were told it was a "wine & dine" buffet. We asked how much, it was something like RM110 or RM130, I'm not sure I stopped listening after "one hundred and....". There was no option to have the buffet without paying for the wine. This would not be a problem in Europe where wine is cheap, but in Malaysia a cheap bottle of wine in a restaurant costs RM80 upwards. This approach excludes those who do not want to drink, including the majority Muslim population, almost institutional racism. Note that these buffets are not publicised, the hotel supplies a leaflet and posters of special dining events (much cheaper) but the "wine & dine" buffets (all weekend - Thursday to Sunday?) are not mentioned. Be warned.
We went out into the monsoon rain in search of food, to the Shangri-La hotel near Komtar (now called Traders). The buffet here was RM65 and outstanding. We've eaten at the Shangri-La for over 20 years now; it has the best food in Penang.
Breakfast was good. One tip, the egg station has a large stack of ice-cold plates, so when your eggs are nearly done pick up one of the warm plates on the adjacent counter and hand it to the chef. We also had the "executive lunch", this was very good and good value, buffet style starter and desert with a made to order main course. No executives around either!
The rooms are lovely, nearly all face the sea and garden. The furnishings are modern old world style with a beautiful spacious bathroom. The shower is excellent and some smart worker has made a gentle slope on the shower floor so the water runs away. The housekeeping was very good also.
The mattress was awful, it consisted of a rigid wire framework with minimal upholstery. Cheap and nasty. As far as I could determine there was little difference in the hardness of the bed and the solid floor. It gave no support, I got pain in my shoulder and hips where they pressed on the bed. I asked at reception whether they had better beds but was told they are all the same. We later stayed at a mediocre Holiday Inn with an average bed, it was absolute heaven. If you really want to stay at this hotel make it a day or two only, the cumulative effect of five nights sleep loss was too much.
It's with real sadness that I say I can't recommend this hotel. They've done such a good job of recreating it and we should support such endeavours which benefit everyone. However, the fundamental purpose of a hotel is to provide somewhere to sleep for the night and this is not possible at the E&O. It fails to get off first base. They spoilt the ship for a ha'pworth of tar.
- 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