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.
none. Camping would be a much better choice.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.