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“Fantastic View From An Aging Hotel Cafe” 3 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
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
“Fantastic View From An Aging Hotel Cafe”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2012

I didn't actually stay at Bellevue The Penang Hill Hotel, having only visited to dine in the cafe and enjoy the view. However, it's obvious that the facilities are aging... No surprise, as Bellevue The Penang Hill Hotel is among one of the first stone structures ever built on Penang Hill, and was formerly a bungalow owned by the sheriff of Penang, William Halliburton.


As the first and only hotel on Penang Hill, Bellevue The Penang Hill Hotel is rather small, with only 11 rooms, and no other normal hotel facilities (Swimming Pool, Arcade, etc.). It does have a small cafe / lounge, on a deck behind the hotel, which overlooks Penang Island, and has a great view.


Nowadays, Bellevue The Penang Hill Hotel is mostly booked for events, rather than hotel stays. Currently, as of September 2012, the hotel is undergoing upgrading and restoration works, although you can still visit and dine at the cafe.


The Bellevue The Penang Hill Hotel cafe is minimally staffed, during my visit, there were only 2 staff present. Also, unless the Bellevue The Penang Hill Hotel (Cafe) has been booked for an event, the menu selection is limited to finger food. The full menu is only available during an event booking, this is because they ferry supplies up the hill according to demand.


Tip: Staff are instructed to discourage guests from dining in the garden behind, however, they will allow garden dining if the cafe is full. Or if you first dine indoors on the deck, then request to move to the garden later. You can however, walk around the garden, take photographs, and enjoy the view. As Bellevue The Penang Hill Hotel is private property, there won't be hordes of tourists here, only guests and customers of the hotel, and is therefore relatively quiet compared to the rest of Penang Hill.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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
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English first
Pune, India
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 16, 2012

I just recently stayed at Bellevue when i hiked up Penang hill. My initial plan was to hike from Teluk Bahang forest park till penang hill. I had reserved Bellevue because it would be late when i reach Penang hill and there would be no way to get down.
The service is average and so is food - Nothing fancy. Alcohol is expensive. However, the view from the restaurant is great. You get a good view of Georgetown.

All in all, expensive and may not be worth it. If you can go down the same day, just eat at the restaurant, enjoy the view and skip staying at the hotel.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2012

I had been a long time ago and back with a visitor to show them the view. What a let down. Following a slow and disjointed journey up on the railway we went to the hotel for a light brunch. Service was dealy slow as we sat on the terrace (gardens all roped off) Eventually a menu arrived and orders attempted. How can eggs or vegetable rolls be out if stock ? A juice and coffee was eventually managed after a 20 minute wait. Best summed up by two ladies on the next table who sent back a simple pot of tea as it was cold and metalic tasting. ..how can they get that wrong ?
The place has a wonderful setting and has a h u g e amount of potential but is run down, badly maintained -with no apology-and regretfullyto be avoided at all costs

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, AB
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2012

When it comes to staying in Penang Hill this is the only hotel you can choose. If you stayed in a house in Malaysia then you'll be use to this hotel. Most people stay in this hotel because they have no choice or for the view. I have no complaints for this hotel except the bed which is hard. The hotel says the water can be used to drink, to take a shower, and brush your teeth with out needing soap or shampoo or toothpaste. The restaurant is average and the staff are friendly.

Room Tip: All rooms are the same.
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
kuala lumpur
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
75 helpful votes 75 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2011

We had tea on the terrace of the Bellevue Hotel on a cool day in December. It's an old bungalow which has a few rooms to let, although I don't think it's much patronized as a hotel.
However, it was great for tea, as it has a wonderful view of Penang island and the mainland across the sea.
Initially we sat on the terrace as for some reason the stairs down to the front lawn were barred off with a rope, but we asked a waiter if we could open it and go down, and he said okay. We then asked another man, who appeared to be in charge, if we could have our tea at the tables on the lawn and he said "okay, if you carry your tea down" !! Which we did, as it was so pleasant to sit in the open air and enjoy the surroundings.
We had freshly fried hot samosas for tea, and a nice pot of hot tea, which was appreciated after our long trip to get up the hill.
The hotel doesn't look very well maintained, but retains some charm because of it's location and some memorabilia displayed in the dining area.
The staff and service are just acceptable, the saving grace was the view and weather. (none of which are due to the hotel's efforts!)

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.

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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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