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“A Unique Stay” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of 1881 Chong Tian Hotel

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1881 Chong Tian Hotel
Ranked #69 of 170 George Town B&B and Inns
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
43 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
“A Unique Stay”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 7, 2012

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.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank travelbug32_00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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76 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (26)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
79 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 2, 2012

As a walk in, we negotiated a deal which suited our budget. The room was beautiful and the whole atmosphere great. Having a karaoke warbling party til midnight was not optimum. Breakfast was late and somewhat strange..... But would return again.

Room Tip: Each room is an individual and are beautiful
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank kazbah56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
106 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 25, 2012

This Chinese heritage hotel was only renovated last year and it has been done beautifully and displays the owner's antique collection in all areas. The rooms are well-designed with modern facilities alongside the antiques. Staff were helpful and knowledgeable about places we wanted to see.

HOWEVER, I would not have booked had I known that Shark's Fin soup was on their restaurant menu!!

Room Tip: Try to get one away from the speakers located around the hotel which relay the same Chinese music ov...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank maat49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
677 reviews
128 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1,834 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 1, 2012

Staying at the 1881 Chong Tian Cultural Hotel was an authentic and beautiful experience in Penang. The hotel is almost brand new,

LOCATION - The hotel is located in Chinatown, just a block from a hawkers street food area and within walking distance of pretty much everywhere in the historical district. Lots of Chinese shops nearby, markets, and whatever you want. Penang Hill is about a 20 minute drive. About a 15 minute walk to the Chew Jetty and waterfront.

AMBIENCE - 1881 Chong Tian is a true cultural hotel, probably the only of its kind in Malaysia right now. The culture is Chinese, of course, and not Malaysian, but it is a really lovely experience. The place is lavishly decorated with Chinese antiques, part of it is a museum, and the staff even is dressed in cultural clothes. The center of the hotel is open to the sky, quite an experience during a downpour. Bamboo is growing through the hotel's roof. The beautifully restored hardwood staircase squeaks with history as you walk up to your room. The food is authentic Chinese, and sooooo good. Gorgeous artwork hangs on the walls, handmade, must be extremely expensive. It is a very small hotel, cozy, and personal.

ROOMS - We booked a Junior Suite. It is huge, at about 1000 square feet. There is a hallway where you can sit on a bench, I'm not really sure why, supposedly for reflection or reading I think. There is a dining table for two and a tea table in the room, then the huge bathroom is through typical Chinese folding doors, and actually partially outside with bamboo growing around the periphery. There is a flat screen TV (but only a few channels), wi-fi in the room, and it is beautifully decorated with Chinese antiques and a hardwood floor.

The bed is decorated with a satin throw, and there is a standalone shower and jacuzzi tub. There is A/C in the room through dual air conditioners - necessary because the bathroom is open to the very hot outside air. The lighting is dim, great for ambience, not great for working. There is chinese music piped in through a set of speakers (you can turn it off) that is lovely for the ambience.

Some things about the room were less than perfect. There was a laundry bag, but no laundry list, you had to write it out by hand. There was toilet paper but no holder. Our bed had only an undersheet - no oversheet - and no mattress pad on the bed, so you felt every rivet and seam. No oversheet felt unsanitary as who knows how often the satin spread was washed. We asked the first day, but they didn't have any sheets. Same with the second day (they brought us a blanket to lay on). However, by the third day they had provided us with a mattress pad, so at that point the bed was quite comfortable, though the sheets were still missing.

The toilet leaked around the base, and the shower drain was shut so the water from the shower ran all over the bathroom for two days while we waited to get it fixed. Finally fixed by the third day. The toiletries provided were terrible for a hotel at this price. There were only two hangers provided and nowhere to hang clothes except a coat rack. However, taken as a big picture with the place, these were not a big deal, and the staff was enthusiastic to accommodate us.

FOOD - There are only three breakfast choices - a sandwich, a roti bakar with one egg, and a noodle dish. The noodle dish was awesome, though many westerners would find seafood noodles to be strange early in the morning. The other choices were fine, but will leave all but the lightest eaters hungry. Luckily, street dim sum is readily available just outside the doors of the hotel and the staff is eager to point you to it.

The Chinese restaurant was outstanding. Totally gourmet, authentic Chinese. Absolutely delicious, and so beautiful. Gorgeous decor, lovely Chinese music, and the most helpful and friendly staff you could ever hope to have. We ate here three times, and everything we had was amazing. Even things the waiter recommended that didn't sound good at all and we wouldn't have ordered ourselves, were delicious. The waitress helped us debone the fish and shell the shrimp to make it easy for us to enjoy, as we're not very good at that. Wonderful. If this isn't the best Chinese restaurant in Penang, I want to try the others! Never tried the Western restaurant.

Just around the corner is a street hawkers night market where you can try hawker food. Plenty of selections. A good Hainan Chicken and rice place is on the corner, and another heritage restaurant across the street. Backpacker land with lots of Australian-friendly pubs is just a block away, and there is a night club next door (never bothered us).

SERVICE - The most amazing part of Chong Tian is the staff. Wong at the front desk was absolutely the most warm, helpful and friendly guy you will ever meet. The rest of the staff was similarly eager to please, and always so gracious and saying hi to you, asking if they can help with anything, and always trying hard to get you whatever you need. This included the restaurant, the housekeeping, everyone.

AMENITIES - I don't think there were many outside of the restaurant. No bar. No swimming pool or anything like that. Just a small museum which was nice to see but not signed so you really didn't know what you were looking at.

BUSINESS - Definitely not a business hotel, but we made do with the table in our room. The only problem was it was so dimly lit, made it hard to work. Wong was happy to bring us an extension cord so we could plug in all our electronics (there were no available outlets in the room), and there was wi-fi in the room that wasn't fast enough for Skype but worked most of the time (not all) for surfing and email. Nowhere to sit outside of the room, we had a conference call to take and had to rent a meeting room from the nearby Traders Hotel.

I think many of the strange things in our room can be attributed to that it may have never been occupied before. We were the only guests in the hotel for most of our four days. These things probably won't be an issue for the next guest. We took a look at the Presidential Suite, wow. Gorgeous Chinese decoration. We were so happy we booked 1881 Chong Tian, would stay there again in a heartbeat. We felt like we really gained a Chinatown experience here.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Johann&Sandra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alor Setar, Kedah, Malaysia
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 31, 2012

Was invited for a private dinner last week. The dinner was superb. Having Chinese food in the fine dining way was a perfect mix. A combination of east and west in such a romantic place. Would recommend to those who want to know and taste the real Penang in the ‘heritage way’. The owner, Mr Seah, an avid antique collector is very friendly and helpful to their guests. You need to have passion in order to create something like that. A heritage boutique hotel like this is long overdue in Penang. Well done to the team of Chong Tian Hotel Penang.

Room Tip: Try the Chinese Fusion Food
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank RickCheng
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 6, 2012

One word. Picturesque. Every nook, every corner makes a perfect angle for a picture dated back in time. Retro antique fittings are decorated against vibrantly colored walls and bedrooms. To add to the atmosphere, Chinese oldies are pipe throughout the whole hotel including inside the rooms! Every time we step into the building, it's a feeling that is bewitching us back to that era of times where things are in sepia mode. 

We were with a few families and were given each room that were all decorated differently. Also to note that the beds are lined with really luxurious smooth sheets, definitely with high thread counts and comfy 4 pillows on each bed! 

On the downside though the roadside traffic can be heard from the room and they don't provide simple laundry bag. 

Other than that, it was overall a good experience. We really appreciate the fact that they were really lenient about the late check out time. Thumbs up and recommended! If you've been to Puri Hotel in Malacca, you'll love it here even more! 

  • Stayed August 2012
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Joanna82KL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 9, 2012

The newest heritage hotel in Penang has the most gorgeous rooms you can imagine. Completely deocorated with chinese antiques, you feel like going back in time, the moment you step foot in the hotel.

The staff is very helpful and the rooms are luxurious. The Chinese restaurant serves great food!

Definitely the place to explore Penang from!

Room Tip: All rooms are great
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank MarcodeBooij
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about 1881 Chong Tian Hotel

Property: 1881 Chong Tian Hotel
Address: 38 40, 42 Jalan Pintal Tali, George Town, Penang Island 10100, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Penang > Penang Island > George Town
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #69 of 170 B&Bs / Inns in George Town
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — 1881 Chong Tian Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 11
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 
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
1881 Chong Tian Hotel Penang/George Town

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