Stayed in Oct 12, with my young family (6/9yo boys) on a pay 5 stay 7 deal with breakfast. Also got a free upgrade to a seaview deluxe room. Having heard about the on-going music, we requested two interconnecting rooms as far away from the lobby as possible, which allowed us to cope pretty well with the nightly bands. The interconnecting rooms were large and modern, with a nice view of the pool and the beach. Beds were very comfortable, we had a king size double, and the kids both had king singles.
Breakfast was pretty good, with the usual asian fare, as well as indian! . My kids loved having chicken nuggets/samosas/curry for breakfast. No bacon to speak of, the turkey bacon(?) was not to my liking, and the omletes/eggs weren't the best either, but plenty of fresh fruit etc.
The pools are fantastic for all ages. The water slides were hugely popular with my kids, as well as many adults. The water park is great also. There is plenty of room away from the main section of the pool for people to get away from the noise and children if required. My two boys spent 5-6 hrs each day in the pool. There plenty of other activities on offer as well. Volleyball in the pool was popular. The beach is relatively clean, water quality was OK, but don't expect crystal clear seas. Hardly any surf, which suited our young children.
Beach activities: HKM water sports seems to have the monopoly at this end of Ferringhi. We hired a jetski for 30 min(150 MYR), no problem with sharing it amongst the entire family. My wife and 2 young boys went parasailing(150MYR ea). I was impressed with the safety measures that HRM took. An "instructor" went with everyone to make sure the beach landing was safe. I would happily recommend HRM, not only for the resonable prices, but they did not hassle us with a hard sell, just explained what they offered, and let us get back to them when we were ready.
The pools bar(s) had lots of happy hour promotions, usually 2 for 1 offers. Service around the pool was good, prices aren't too bad either.
We hired a taxi to do some sight seeing around Penang. George Town, Reclining Budda, Fort Cornwallis, Penang Hill, and across the ferry to Butterworth then back to Batu Feeringhi. 30 MYR per hour, which was very good value. Contact either MR Choo (016 452 5737), or Mr Ho (016 490 4756). They both have very good knowledge of all the sights, and have very clean new taxis.
The night markets down the road offer the usual shirts/watches/DVD etc. The nearby Lone Pine hawker centre has lots of cuisine choices, all pretty cheap. One disadvantage to staying at the far end of Ferringhi Beach is the lack of ATM's. There are 2 located opposite the Shangri-la Hotel, about a 10 MYR taxi ride from the HRH. One is at the bank on the corner, the other is inside the small 7/11 store behind the bank. These are very popular, and if you find yourself short of cash, especially on a weekend, it can be a problem. The ATM's don't get topped up on weekends, and are often closed due lack of funds. We were lucky at the 7/11, but the machine only allows 30 notes the be dispensed at one time, with the largest bill being a 10 ringit note. Cash up Fri morning is my advice.
Monkey Beach: This seems a popular day trip for most visitors. Boat trip, fishing, BBQ lunch, a couple of hours at Monkey Beach: 350 MYR. If you are not too fussed about fishing and the BBQ, a cheaper less time consuming option is the bus. Catch bus 101 from outside the HRH to the national park entrance (1.40 MYR for adults) It takes about 15 min. Got to the rangers office near the bus stop and register, it is free. You can then walk through the park to Monkey beach (takes about 1.5 hrs). Alternatively, directly opposite the rangers office, you can hire a boat to take you to Monkey beach (about 15 min), they wait about an hour for you to have a look around, then back to the rangers office. Costs 80 MYR for the entire boat which would cater for around 10 pax. To be honest, it's not worth it. The beach is nice, but there aren't that many monkeys, and they can be agressive and angry. Don't get too close!
Overall, a great family holiday and the HRH is a fantastic place to take your family, with plenty to keep young kids occupied, while you lounge by the pool with a few drinks.