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“if there's a last train down, pls take it.” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Bellevue The Penang Hill Hotel

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Bellevue The Penang Hill Hotel
Bukit Bendera, Georgetown, Penang Island 10450, Malaysia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #36 of 48 hotels in Georgetown
Singapore
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“if there's a last train down, pls take it.”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2011

Just came down from a 2-day-1-night trip to Penang Hill, and honestly it felt like a century.

Didn't have much expectation of the hotel, though the restaurant HAD a good reputation in the olden days for serving authentic hainanese cuisine. Dad insisted on a mini family-get-together, and Penang Hill was decided to be the venue. Being the one and only hotel there, hence tis here we stayed, much to my dismay. I really hate leaving bad reviews for businesses, but my conscience got the better of me and I sincerely urge any potential 'visitors' of the hotel to think twice, trice, or as much as you can before deciding on the stay. Like the title of this review, with all my heart I suggest that IF you can make it down the hill on the last train, please do.

We made our bookings a week or two prior to the visit, and was promised a special package by an office personnel. If you're experiencing the same, I urge you to please note down the name, time and date of the conversation. Best to even if you had it recorded, as it will be of very good use when you check-in. Checking in took a good half hour coz the front desk ladies insisted on charging a walk-in rate though there was record of the booking, just no mention of the specials promised. After much 'discussion', we've finally 'secured' what we were promised. Payment, was a requested to be made in full, even before we took baby steps to our room.

Nearly fainted when I opened the room door. I would have walked out of the hotel the minute the 'hassle' started at the front desk, and seeing the room condition and the stench that 'gushes out', I would have taken the Carl-Lewis sprint if it hadn't been dad stopping me. What stench, you may ask.. well, imagine a long-soaked, mouldy carpet closed in a cupboard for years. Yes, that's how it was.
One close look at the carpet, you'd 'realise' you're smelling it 'right'. Mouldy and soaked it is. We took 2 family rooms ( each fitting 3 ), and I couldn't even bring my camera near the 2nd room. My aunt described it as 'felt like we're sleeping in a prison cell'. Oh, I almost forgot. Please, do NOT open the cupboard. you WILL regret, I assure you. Heritage, yes.. smelling heritage, absolutely!

Fair enough, the cool air all around makes it a splurge to install air-conds in the rooms, hence we find only 1 standing fan at the corner. I had to turn it on as quick as I could manage, top speed, naively hoping it would 'blow out' the stench. It did, after 1/2 hour, and I guess pretty much after us 'getting used' to the smell.

Sheets and blankets neatly tucked in, yes, bathroom - heritage, yes, though fair enough, clean.

Made dinner reservations as we were warned that they would be served earlier, as the workers need to take the 8pm train down hill. I love food, but what was served was not even near our expectation. I later learnt that the 'previous' owner of the restaurant, who's also the cook, has unfortunately passed on, and he apparently 'brought' the quality of food with him. Ordered Inchi-kibin, and found the drumstick deep fried into the texture of over-dried chicken breast. No other words to describe the rest of the bird served. The so-called 'famous' ABC fried rice was soggy ( perhaps someone could teach the 'cook' some basics of cooking ), noodles starchy though it was supposed to be dry.

We sneaked out ( yeah, sneaked out, as hotel's manned-less after 9pm ) to the garden to enjoy the night view of Penang Island. That, was the peak of the stay, really. Cooling breeze, good view of the island, and starry night skyline.

Woke up early to witness the beautiful sunrise ( yes, the back garden faces the east ), and I have to say, that's the only 1 out of 2 point deciding on staying in the hotel. Breakfast was simple yet acceptable. 2 sunny-side-up eggs each, some slices of toasts, butter, marmalade, and pot of nesafe. No, no tea was available.
We took a short walk to the now-run-down-and-uncared-for Craig Hotel after breakfast, and with the lightest-heart possibly within the 2-day-stay, checked out of our room and took next available train down.

There was great news that Craig Hotel will be reinstored but perhaps in 3-5 years time. That would be a healthy competition. Monopoly is not a good when customer's satisfation is compromised, and qualtiy of service is long gone in the dump.

I'm unsure of the 'good reviews' posted for this hotel, or maybe we were given 'dumpster rooms' because we were offered a 'special value-for-money package'? Stay there again ? yes, when the sun rises from the west.

Room Tip: none. Camping would be a much better choice.
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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19 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    2.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Denver, Colorado
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2011

I came to the Bellevue quite on a whim. I expected the rate to be well over what a budget traveler could afford. To my surprise it was quite reasonable and turned out to be just the respite I needed to recover from what had turned out to be an otherwise disappointing vacation.

The hotel is a charming world heritage building. It is surrounded by beautiful gardens and a bird park. RM5 to visit, but free to guests staying at the hotel. It is also near the nature trail, and not too far a walk from the trolley that goes up the mountain. There is no air con in the rooms, but the mountain is cool enough at night that I didn't even notice.

The hospitality and attentiveness of the staff was world class. I would highly recommend this for any travelers wanting a quiet get away.

Room Tip: The hotel is small, only 11 rooms, so it might need to be pre-booked during high season.
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, DC
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2008

I came to Penang Hill while the cable car line was down for repairs, so I was actually the only guest on the Tuesday night that I stayed, and the service was very good. I would definitely recommend the hotel for a romantic getaway, or a quiet retreat. The hilltop location is absolutely unique on Penang island; the rooms do not have views per se, but the restaurant has the best view on Penang island. My room was large and very clean, with adequate towels and seating, but the carpet was somewhat worn. The hotel is somewhat more expensive than similar properties in Malaysia, but there are no competitors on Penang Hill. The prices will probably go up when the cable car comes back into service. Hotel guests get free admission to the impressive aviary exhibit, with 20 or more exotic birds.

  • Liked — The location and views.
  • Disliked — Accesibility
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 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.
Peripatetic member
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2008

We love Malaysia and this is the first time I've been moved to post a warning on a Malaysian hotel.

Penang Hill is a delightful area and one we wanted to stay. The Bellevue is the only hotel: it has an excellent location on the hill - central and convenient for walking and the funicular railway. The rooms are a good size. The lawned garden is attractive with nice views over the city (no views from the rooms).

BUT BUT BUT sadly it has to be one of the dirtiest and most sloppily run hotels. We prepaid three nights but gave up and left after two. What did we dislike?
- filthy carpet in the room. OK, we can wear slippers.
- discoloured and dirty paintwork throughout. This room hadn't seen a coat of white paint in many years. OK, don't look.
- one small old threadbare towel each. Ok we carry towels.
- very very old badly discoloured bath (enamel all peeled off), no water, only cold from a shower hose. Old insanitary loo.
- no soap. OK, we carry soap. BUT a sign saying "treated water no soap needed". Doesn't work, not true!

The thing that turned it from unpleasant to unacceptable was the fact that during the three days NO-ONE came into the room EVEN ONCE, to clean, make up the bed, the usual. By Malaysian standards this is quite an expensive hotel (easily ** equivalent) - certainly not sold as a fleapit or an unserviced room rental.

It's a shame because, given its location, this place should make a fortune. Mind you, given they seem to spend nothing on cleaning or maintenance they have minimal expenses so it probably does make a fortune!

  • Liked — leaving it
  • Disliked — Dirty, long-overdue for renovation, NO room cleaning durnign stay
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Bellevue The Penang Hill Hotel

Address: Bukit Bendera, Georgetown, Penang Island 10450, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Penang > Penang Island > Georgetown
Hotel Style:
Ranked #36 of 48 hotels in Georgetown
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
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Also Known As:
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