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“exceptional hotel with terrible service”
Review of 23 Love Lane

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23 Love Lane
Ranked #15 of 172 George Town B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 2, 2013

The hotel restoration has been done with great detail, care and professionalism, but the same can not be said the staff who were tardy, unhelpful and well below the standard expected at the price range the hotel is charging.

Overall assessment:
Guests going to 23 Love Lane will to pay above the average rate for Georgetown to receive a unique special experience. This hotel does have gorgeous facilities and the building is rich with history, but that is where the special experience stops. All aspects related to service delivery are disappointing. Staff are well under trained to be working in a boutique hotel environment- they are not proficient, mindful, or effective at their jobs. The restaurant menu is below standard. The front office staff know little to nothing about the local area. The cleaning staff needed to be requested verbally provide a turn down service because it was 3pm and our room had not been attended to. The uniforms worn are unprofessional - especially compared to other similar hotels in the area. (See Mango Tree, Seven Terraces, Clove Hall)

The hotel does have potential, but in order to reach a reasonable standard of service the hotel needs to invest in good staff. Until then, the level of service is on par with a $55USD a night interstate motel that has a bistro attached.

Issues in chronological order:
1. small. Upon arrival instead of checking into rooms to freshen up (Penang is a hot and humid) guests are made to wait unnecessarily for 15-20 minutes for a complimentary drink to be made - could have easily been brought to the room, and the drink does not taste great. Once we have finally been given allowed to go to our room and rest we receive a phone that ring for over 20 rings without hanging up - show some professional discretion; if we wanted to answer the call we would have with up the phone on the 3-5 ring.
2. small. Breakfast. Reasonable food. Waiter does not write down order and messes up the eggs. Coffee is terrible.
2. large. Turn down service was ignored on our first day. When guests are paying a premium price, compared to other locations in Georgetown, for a room a basic expectation is our room will be made up.
3. medium. Afternoon tea. Ordinary tea bag are provided at afternoon tea. When being charged a boutique rate it should be expected to real tea leaves especially when a city like Penang has such a rich history of Chinese/Indian/Colonial tea drinkers. A small problem, but very disappointing. Additionally, when coming back to the hotel for afternoon for some tranquility away from the excitement and intensity of the city the last thing we wish to hear is the blender going for 10 minutes while new guests checking in wait for their special welcome drink.
4. large. A mid-high boutique "heritage" should be able to provide expert knowledge on Penang or at very least be able to recommend professional tour guides. They should NOT just hand guests pamphlets for George tour bicycle rental. Extremely disappointing.
5. Large - set complimentary dinner. the food provided for the complimentary dinner was a disgrace. Old Australian meat with garlic butter and potato chips. firstly menu choice, completely uninspired! Disappointing! and regret worthy! A boutique "Heritage" hotel should be telling a story about the history of the city, street and food venders through the meals they serve. Providing a "Special" meal which is of a low quality pub meal/catering standard is a huge mistake and a big tell that the hotel has not invested in staff. Wine, the line provided was extremely disappointing.
To continue with dinner. We were provided with a complimentary bottle of wine which we were told was meant for our NYE dinner. The only problem was, we were given this bottle of wine the next day as we were checking out. Pathetic service!!

6. Serious. After providing our feedback no hotel management or staff wanted to discuss our concerns, expect to say " we are sorry our service was not good". Game breaker !

Conclusion: This hotel is in its infancy: it is undergoing growing pains. We stayed at the hotel over the christmas new year period, probably the hotels busiest time. But we paid extra for a hotel that gets all the little things right. This hotel does not. Well, not yet at-least.

Room Tip: Instead try: Mango Tree Seven Terraces Clove Hall
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Michael J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 29, 2012

Stayed for 6 nights in Straits Eclectic #4 which is upstairs at the rear of the property(Image #6 in the hotel website gallery). The first thing you notice when coming in through the beautiful gates is the instant peace. Although the hotel is located on a narrow, quite busy street (like nearly all George Town streets), opposite a school, the hotel is a beautiful, serene and tranquil oasis. There is no pretention here. Every one of the staff is friendly, courteous and attentive. The rooms are of a very high standard and serviced meticulously every day. Beds are turned down every evening. They are not marble bathroom type accomodation. Each type has it's own charms, but the pick for us was the Garden Room. It has the most wonderful semi-outdoor bathroom and is the quietest. The only noisy intrusion was the airconditioning which was a bit loud. When everything else is quiet at night, the a/c fan noise is quite instrusive. During the day we opened the shutters and relied on the ceiling fan. bathrooms are large and very clean. The entire property was completely restored and modernised in 2010-11, so it is only just starting to settle into it's new clothes. Loved the Lobby (where afternoon tea is served every day from 4pm), made frequent use of the Library (lovely comfortable decor and artworks) and just lazed about the terrace joining the straits eclectic with the library (image 11 in their gallery). It really is as lovely as it looks. The whole experience is made all the better with the attention of Mr Fauzi. he really makes you feel special and important. Nothing is too much trouble. If you want or need something just ask. Breakfast is in the hotel's restaurant (separate building adjacent to the hotel and accessed via it's back door from the hotel garden) There you can have the usual continental fare as well as anything else you can think of. Be prepared for Mr Fauzi to make suggestions you should try. Wonderful local variety of pancake and other dishes I've forgotten the name of, were a terrific start to the day. By the way you must try the Old Town White Coffe in your room. I'm now addicted and just had to bring two bags home. The Restaurant only serves one type of meal; Australian tenderloin with garlic butter (home made), salad and fries. The hotel encourages you to get out amongst the local food restaurants and hawkers. There is plenty to choose from within walking distance of the hotel. We needed a late checkout as our flight was not until after 5pm. Mr Fauzi obliged at no extra charge. Would definitely recommend this hotel if you are looking for a more personal and home-like experience. They were just finishing restoring and decorating a stand-alone shop house only one small block away which is designed for families who wish to be slightly more self-contained. You have all the facilities of a normal house with the added benefit of a visiting chef to cook for you if required. Opens early November I believe.

Room Tip: All rooms are good and unique, however the Jack Roof Annex rooms are closer to Stewart Lane (Lorong...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank Stephen V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 17, 2012

Very convenient location with plenty to eat, drink and see within walking distance. Not cheap for Malaysia but worth it we think.
We walked to the big shopping centre with our 4 and 6 year olds and had a cheap meal close by.
The breakfast was a la carte and very good.
They helped us arrange a hire car before we arrived.

Room Tip: We stayed in the Indian Shop and liked it.
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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7  Thank DaveAgnes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 9, 2012

It was an excellent stay in Love Lane with my family. Our mission was the famous Penang food.

We decided to stay one day in George Town city so as to cut the travelling time to and fro Batu Ferringhi area. We intended to stay also in ParkRoyal.

The decision was great because each time after we explore the nearby area on foot, we could go back to rest for awhile.

We were greeted by the ever friendly staff, I did not get the person who talked to us ( I think Fauzi, a big guy with a geniune smile always).

It was drizzling when we got there but the staff ran out to us to assist us with our luggage and was greeted with a smile and a welcome drink.. I think the drink is taste like caramel plus plum plus lime in it.. it taste great!

Love Lane gives you the respite from the busy traffic outside and what a way to day dream in the lounge area with afternoon tea provided and snacks as well. You will have this feeling of a private space with a few guests which you will not see often.

We went to a famous steam boat Goh Huat Seng resturant to have dinner in Kimberly Road just about 15 mins walk away. The price for two is about RM44 only. It is really healthy and delicious, but be warned there is usually a queue.

We tried the famous Penang Laksa, Cha Kuey Tiau and Bee Hoon Thiang ( Fish balls with Vecimelli) in a pre-war shop house along Lebuh Keng Kwee, only about RM3 to 4 per dish. There is also a famous Teochew Chengloh outside the coffee shop.

The next morning we had a gorgeous breakfast in Love Lane. You can choose Nasi Lemak, Roti Chanai and Western breakfast. Fresh fruit juices was also served to you liking and guess what... free flow! Huh! Wow! The best part of the western breakfast was the crispy hash brown fried to perfection. The Nasi Lemak was in a just nice serving not too much or too little anyway you can ask for second serving but we reserved our stomach for our food hunt later on.

The room had a high ceiling though the airconditioning was a little not so quiet it did not prevent us from getting a pretty good sleep.

It is worth the stay in 23 Love Lane.and guess what "I be back!"

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with family
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10  Thank ITravelIWrite
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2012

LOCATION: This 10-room boutique hotel is located @ 23 LOVE LANE, hence its name. It is conveniently situated in Georgetown's Core Heritage Zone and most attractions & sights are within easy walking distance.

In the vicinity are several historic churches, mosques, Chinese and Indian temples. There are also numerous colonial buildings & pre-war shophouses with interesting architectural features. Just grab a free Penang Traveller's Map & explore on foot, you'll be rewarded with unexpected finds along the way such as whimsical wall murals & quirky street art...

OVERVIEW of PROPERTY: 23 LOVE LANE comprises several structures built during different periods with the oldest dating back to the 1800s, all of which are housed within a huge walled garden. It was originally built as an European private residence but was later sold off & converted into a budget hostel. The current owners lovingly restored the entire complex to its former glory over a 3-year period, paying meticulous attention to details covering all aspects of the restoration project.

Their laborious efforts at heritage conservation have clearly paid off as the property is now a splendid architectural gem beautifully furnished & stylishly decorated with choice picks from the owners' impressive collections of antiques, vintage furnishings & contemporary artworks.

The 10 rooms @ 23 LOVE LANE are spread across a few buildings: Anglo-Indian Bungalow; Eclectic Straits Building; Indian Shophouse; & Jack Roof Annex. Each has its own unique layout & distinctive decor, you can view them all on the Hotel website's photo gallery.

ROOM: We stayed on the ground floor in the Anglo-Indian Garden Room with an eclectic Straits Chinese decor. The inviting room was very spacious & comfortable. It was tastefully furnished with the following: a double bed; 2 bedside tables with reading lamps; a pair of armchairs with small coffee table; writing desk with stool by the window; a pair of red lacquered cabinets; luggage rack; multi-channel flatscreen TV; air-conditioner & ceiling fan; wardrobe with hangers & a small in-room safe. Bottled water and coffee- & tea-making facilities were also provided.

BED: The huge bed was comfortable with clean sheets, warm blanket & ample pillows.

BATHROOM: The enormous bathroom was partitioned into 2 separate dressing & bathing areas. The Dressing Room was furnished with a long vanity counter with twin basins & a huge mirror above; bathrobes & slippers; toilet. Ample clean towels were provided & replaced with fresh ones as required. Amenities provided were comprehensive: hand soaps; toothbrushes; comb; cotton buds; shower caps; mini sewing kit; etc. The Bathing Room has a quaint wooden bathtub (apparently still functional); a red bamboo ladder for hanging towels or clothes; Crabtree & Evelyn Body Wash, Shampoo & Conditioner; and a powerful rain-shower with consistent hot water supply.

F&B: Our room rate was inclusive of daily breakfast which is served in the Café next door. The breakfast buffet was rather disappointing with a limited spread of white & brown bread with jams & butter, assorted cereals and cheeses. For beverages, they offer the usual coffee, tea & fruit juices. The only cooked food available are eggs (prepared any style you like), roti canai (flat round Indian bread served with curry) or nasi lemak (Malay rice cooked in coconut milk & typically served with cucumbers, fried fish & egg).

Would prefer having more familiar Western breakfast items like baked beans, sautéed mushrooms, sausages, grilled tomatoes, etc. Did not enjoy the breakfast here else i would surely have given an “Excellent” rating...

If you wish to dine in for Lunch or Dinner, the Café serves steaks & fries ~ only that & nothing else, which is peculiar... The Bar serves drinks & snacks from 7am to 10:30pm. In addition, there's daily Afternoon Tea in the lounge between 4-6pm for in-house guests.

SERVICE: Room Reservation, Check-In & Check-Out all proceeded smoothly. Being a small boutique hotel, the handful of service staff soon recognized us on sight & even greeted us by name. Service rendered was warm & attentive; especially that by the Duty Manager, Mr Fauzi who embodies the very essence of gracious hospitality. The frontline staff speak fluent English & Bahasa Melayu.

We were made to feel welcome like friends staying over in a private residence rather than guests at a hotel. Mr Fauzi is very approachable and ever ready to assist with any request or query you may have. We were departing on a late flight so he kindly stowed our luggage after Check-Out & even allowed us to relax in air-con comfort up in the Library where we enjoyed a complimentary pot of tea.

The only thing which considerably marred our stay was that curious folks would often walk in to explore the hotel grounds, many boldly entering the main building & even upstairs to take photos... Since most guest rooms @ 23 LOVE LANE open up to communal areas like the Library, Lounge or Terrace, having strangers wandering around the premises at all hours is really quite intrusive on guests' privacy...

FACILITIES: There is Free Wi-Fi throughout the property but connection seemed better in the communal areas rather than inside the room. The Library in the Anglo-Indian Bungalow has a wide & diverse selection of English books as well as coffee- & tea-making facilities. Besides offering Laundry service, the Hotel will also help you arrange for Airport Transfer, Heritage Tours & Massage.

In SUMMARY: Penang offers its visitors plenty of accommodation options to suit every budget. As a mid-range property steeped in history & cultural heritage, 23 LOVE LANE is an excellent choice for a memorable stay in a beautifully restored 19th century residence with an eclectic yet elegant decor, modern comforts and touches of luxury.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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14  Thank LeChat_EnVacances
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 17, 2012

definitely d best place we've ever stayed. Forget about d hi end modern tall rise hotel. This place really captures d real meaning of excellent hospitallity, service n accomodation. They did provide a crib for my baby! Everything is so amazing, from d room decor, to d beautiful yard, to d overall interior design, to tip top staff n service to d food! I must say their nasi lemak is totally out of this world! It has been a while since i last had that kind of nasi lemak...n i am a local! U feel right at home d moment u passed d majestic entrance gate. We were staying at anglo indian grand, n our room was right above d mansion porch with d front yard view. They put beautiful lamp at d yard along d drive way, from d gate till d porch, which looked so beautiful at night! Another plus point for us is d library n pantry which is just right outside of our room. D best way for u to embrace d heritage n learn about d culture, in style. Too bad we only spent a night here. Will definitely come back for our 3rd wedding anniversary!

Room Tip: Make sure u make an early reservation as they only have 11 rooms.
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with family
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9  Thank Awienn M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 29, 2012

Stayed at this hotel a couple of months back in the room call straits eclectic. Absolutely love the room! The room has a huge amazing bathroom/toilet. And the toiletries was not the ordinary hotel provided type of toiletries instead they use Crabtree and Evelyn.
The breakfast was lovely,set at the garden (you have an option not to sit at the garden as well).The room came with king size bed, flat screen tv, hair dryer, player where you can plug your iPod/iPhone to play music from your device and it charges it as well. The deco of the room is lovely. Basically, it's the type of room where you don't want to get out from. Perfect to just laze around whole day.
It's quiet and very peaceful. At night (not so sure what time) the main gate will be lock. Don't worry, because there is a bell and you can just pull the rope outside the gate to give the bell a ring and the guard will unlock the gate provided you show him your room key (an assurance for the guard to know you are one of the guest I suppose).
23 love lane is an ideal place for couples. If you feel like having some street food, you can walk down to chulia street which is like 5 mins walk (or less) and 24 hours convenient stores too. Not only that, buses go through chulia street. And for those who plan to get visa/tours/rent a bike/books, can just walk to chulia street to get it sorted. (chulia street is basically the backpackers hood).
Bare in mind that 23 love lane can be a little pricy but totally worth to spend on if you want to completely shut your brain from work etc and spend quiet and quality time by yourself or with your love ones.

  • Stayed: March 2012
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11  Thank AsianWalkAbout
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about 23 Love Lane

Address: 23 Lorong Love, George Town, Penang Island 10200, Malaysia
Phone Number:
Location: Malaysia > Penang > Penang Island > George Town
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #15 of 172 B&Bs / Inns in George Town
Price Range: $62 - $442 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — 23 Love Lane 4*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
23Lovelane Penang, A Heritage Boutique Hotel in George Town UNESCO World Heritage Site. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
23 Love Lane Penang/George Town

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