This is a restored shophouse with a Chinese heritage 1960s era theme. The deco of the hotel public areas and rooms are set in the mid 1950s design and may not appeal to everyone's taste. For those who prefer a bright and modern ambience, this is defintely not the hotel you would want to stay in. I would think it is suitable for Chinese history buffs and those who have a nostalgia of Penang in the 1950s/1960s.
For the elderly and those with restricted mobility, this hotel does not have lifts so climbing up stairs to your room is not an option. They kept to the original wooden staircase so the steps can be narrow on some of them. Maybe they were mean't for asian feet which were much smaller then.
The room I had was dim even with all the lights switched on in in the room. In keeping with the authenticity of the Chinese heritage deco, every piece of furniture in the room is in dark shade of wood stain. I find the room unique and an experience but my firend says it give him a scary feeling. They even have pip in Chinese music of the 1950s / 60s era! Wow.
The room does not let much natural light in even with the wooden shades open. This is probably the reason why we got up late both mornings as even at 9 am, it feels like 6 am in the room.
The rrom is hugh. However the bedding is not the best I have slept in considering what we paid for our room. The matress does not have a matress protector. Just the sheet over the matress so you can feel the pockets in the matress. Not a pleasant and comfortable thought. It is the same for the pillows, not protector so you try not to think what's under the pillow sheet!
The baths are a combination of old and modern. Wooden clogs, toiletries kept in traditional rattan basket, dull shades of granite for the walls but a wonderful rain shower and a big bathtub.
Breakfast is a choice of set A, B or C, ie sandwhich with sunny side up and 2 pcs sausages, soft boil eggs with local jam and butter or fried noodles. They were served cold, even the eggs. Probably been prepared earlier and left waiting to be served.
If you are driving, the hotel does not have an exclusive parking area although they do manage to reserve the public roadside parking lot just in front of the hotel. It may get difficult to find a lot if they have more guests who drive and stay.
It is a beautiful hotel and I am sure the owner must have a passion and interest to invest in its restoration. However the quality of the restoration is telling in the water seepage through the bathroom walls during a heavy downpour. The towels haging against the wall were soaked and stained red from the water seepage. Even the floors were wet from the rain splashing into the bath area.
The staff are very nice and friendly. They are helpful and most accommodating. YOu know they are genuine in their service.
I get the impession that the owner does not have experience in running a hotel but does it for his passion. The staff are wonderful but needs training to be on par with other established hotels in Penang. The food at breakfast lacks quality control and can be improved. The rooms needs additional lightings as they are not really good for reading. Perhaps bedside reading lamps would be helpful. the beddings could do with improvements as well. Anyway I am expressing my personal opinion.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- 1881 Chong Tian Hotel is the Chinese Culture hotel and is the first of its kind in Malaysia. Housed within a century plus year old building, it was also previously known as Chong Tian Hotel back in 1881. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- 1881 Chong Tian Hotel Penang/George Town