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“Experience Colonial Asia at the E&O” 5 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 68 Hotels in George Town
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“Experience Colonial Asia at the E&O”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2007

A stay at the E&O allows you a unique experience of life in colonial Asia in the early 1900's. Sure, us Brits did not always cover ourselves in glory abroad, but we knew how to travel in style. As soon as you enter your spacious beautifully renovated suite, you begin to feel like Bertie Wooster, especially as Jeeves is just a ring away (24 hours a day) on the butler bell.

Our suite had a separate bedroom and living room with large bathroom complete with double basin, walk in shower and separate bath. The detail in the rooms is fantastic, with swooshing ceiling fans, antique phones, period furniture and bone china tea cups. The huge amount of wardrobe space are a reminder of how long Noel Coward, Rudyard Kipling and other travellers to this part of the empire would stay.

We stayed just briefly, but this was enough time to experience the hotel and the city of Georgetown (which is well worth a visit). The pool is beautifully situated by the waterfront, and the gym has all the essentials. The food was nice and the pub fairly busy due to an Australian couple getting married at the hotel that weekend. It's a popular spot for wedding photos for the locals too.

Lastly, I'd recommend asking for a room overlooking the pool as the windows are thinly glazed and the traffic noise at the back of the hotel is constant. Don't let that put you off - visit the E&O for a unique experience (a much cheaper and less snobby version of Raffles) rather than a relaxing holiday.

  • Liked — Insight into colonial Asia
  • Disliked — Traffic noise (it's a busy city)
  • Tips/Secrets — Request a room with a pool view
  • Stayed October 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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1,736 reviews from our community

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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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London, United Kingdom
13 reviews 13 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2007

My partner and I stayed for 2 nights in December 2006 - rooms are beautiful and huge with luxurious bath and shower. Main restaurant serves excellent modern european cuisine, really delicious, althought the staff are far too attentive - they literally watch you eating your bread roll, and the minute you take the last bite, they rush over to offer more bread - they mean well but it is a little unnerving when you know you are so obviously being observed!!
I really loved the colonial style of this hotel and would definitely recommend to anyone visiting Penang to stay at this hotel - good value too.

  • Liked — Suites
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
62 hotel reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
90 helpful votes 90 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2006

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.

  • Liked — Hotel ambiance and staff
  • Disliked — Does not provide sleeping facilities
  • Tips/Secrets — Don't go to E&O until they provide proper beds.
  • Stayed October 2006, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 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.
Seattle, Washington
14 reviews 14 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
79 helpful votes 79 helpful votes
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)
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
45 reviews 45 reviews
36 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
89 helpful votes 89 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)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.
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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
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 George Town
#1 Business Hotel in George Town
#2 Family Hotel in George Town
#4 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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