I have been vacationing here for about ten years with my family. It had been a great, undervalued place, decently-priced for both accommodation and food, and with good service. While the beach in Penang is somewhat mediocre by southeast Asian standards, the resorts in Penang more than made up for it by offering other things. The Holiday Inn, in particular, offered great family rooms with two double beds, which are ideal if you have very young kids. It also has a great location, smack in the center of Batu Ferringhi, with the night market right at its doorstep.
My most recent visit was quite a disappointment. The hotel has been somewhat refurbished (very basic flourishes, to go with the new Holiday Inn Resort branding). The management has seen this fit to raise tariffs by about 30-50%. This is still not too expensive. However, what was a real disappointment was the quality of food and service standards that have noticeably dipped. It wasn't something specific, but the little things that tell you how poorly the staff has been trained. (e.g., when waiving at a waitress in the restaurant, she would not come over but yell from her position across several tables what we wanted, and so on...)
All this is particularly alarming as the Batu Ferringhi strip in Penang now has keen competitors in the Lone Pine Hotel and the Hard Rock Hotel.