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“Charming hotel which urgently needs a renovation”
Review of Cathay Hotel

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Cathay Hotel
Ranked #93 of 177 George Town B&B and Inns
Reviewed January 15, 2009

Indeed, this hotel a history and even the staff is still the original one from the 40's. The hotel has its own charm but one cannot ignore that the large rooms desperately need a renovation. There is no TV in the room, the bathroom is flooded with water after each shower and the toilet does not have a cover.
There is a big food court just opposite the hotel where one can have a beer and a great choice of various dishes.

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank Rosapho
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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29 - 35 of 47 reviews

Reviewed January 12, 2009

I love the Cathay! In the past, the it has been an oasis for the budget traveller. For around the same price as a flea-pit in KL's Chinatown, or on Lebuh Chulia, you get a vast room with space to stretch out, unpack and feel human.

On this trip, we weren't the skint backpackers we've been on past visits - we were spending the rest of our week in Penang at Cheong Fatt Tze, the E&O and Lone Pine - but I still wanted to fit a night in at the Cathay. I was nervous about how it would feel in comparison to our other accommodations; whether it would bring our holiday feeling to a screeching halt. Well, it hasn't changed much over the years. There's been at least one new paint-job, aircon, some new neighbours (the Red Garden Food Paradise, the Chocolate Butik), and some lost neighbours (I particularly miss the bar at number 20!), but the hotel remains largely the same (even to the same staff from a decade or more ago).

Look, you don't go to the Cathay for a "service" or "resort" experience. It's old school - you get a key to the room, which has a bed to sleep in, a bath and shower to wash in, and a fan (and the aforementioned aircon) to make the environment comfortable for sleeping. If you get one of the front, upstairs rooms and throw open the shutters, you get a good view of the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion. There's space in the courtyard downstairs, as well as in the gracious upstairs lobby, to sit and relax.

I'll definitely keep going back to the Cathay.

  • Stayed: January 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank Naustrav
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 24, 2008

This hotel was not the most luxurious we have stayed in on our trip, and we were a little apprehensive having read the previous reviewers comments about cleanliness. However we can only comment on our room which was clean, and although the bathroom desperately needed retiling and repainting, we didn't find anything worse than we have found in other budget accommodation! Warning - the locals do not refer to streets by the same names so I did have some difficulty finding my way back to the hotel one day when I was a little lost!

We found a nice cafe, I think called the Stardust, a few streets away for cheap breakfast and travel information. The night market opposite the hotel was also great for cheap food at night, and the cheesy singing entertainment was an experience in itself! There was quite a lot of noise from this until about midnight, so this may cause problem for other people who are light sleepers, but did not bother us.

  • Stayed: August 2008
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Thank eddiebearontour
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2008

A nice historical Chinese building converted to a hotel but maintaining the old-world charm. Massive doors lead to huge rooms that while basic, are much better than others in the Chulia Street area. The staff was very accommodating - allowing me to borrow nearly everthing that i had forgotten. The only downside, which i found very surprising, was there were no towels provided for the showers... i asked, and they don't ever provide them... i found this very strange.

There is a nice food court / beer garden across the street, but the noise doesn't make it into the rooms. Try the East Meets West sushi place, which is very nice and friendly.

As someone who lives in Thailand, I must, like many other people go to Penang many times a year. The hotels in Penang, are almost always absolute CRAP. I usually travel on the cheap, but even spent western money (near $75/ night) at another place nearby (Cititel) and the staff was rude, room was dirty and was denied entry to breakfast because i was wearing sandals (I went anyway and told the greeter to "stop me")

Anyway, this is a budget hotel, but as budget hotels go in the exceptionally dirty city of Penang, which i would avoid if i didn't have to go there, this one is the best one i have been to..

just remember to bring your own towels.

  • Stayed: September 2008
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Thank GoodDreamGuy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2008

Booked in here for 2 nights but left after the first as the bathroom was filthy , you could catch something off the towels and the bed linen was so worn it was like sleeping under a hairnet. As i was leaving i observed the cleaning lady remake my bed using the same linen and placing the towels back on the racks. nice !!!!!!!
My advice - if you really are strapped for cash and your not fussy go for it , it is in a great location but if you dont want to risk the flea bites and you have the cash stay away.

  • Stayed: July 2008, traveled solo
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Thank Squashed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 18, 2008

The Cathay hotel is located in a very nice white colonial building. The rooms are big and are very basic decorated. We paid RM 80 for a 3 persons room. That's very cheap and it was value for money. The rooms are clean but not maintained so the bathroom looks definitely 'shabby' because everything turned old. Another downturn is that it's opposite the night market so it does get very noisy.

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled with family
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Thank saiho
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 25, 2008

The building looked nice and historical. The interior decor too seems to be kept that way since early 20th century. This created an interesting ambience around the hotel. So 1 star for this.

The room was spacious but was not really comfortable. The towel provided was really thin and got easily soaked.

The price was about RM60, so 0.5 star for this.

The location was great though. It just parralel to Penang Road where there is quite a lot of action especially at night. Nightclubs, bars, restaurants, etc are within easy walking distance from here. So 1 .5 star for this.

Stayed: December 2007
Thank kellios
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Cathay Hotel

Address: Cathay Hotel 15 Lebuh Leith, George Town, Penang Island 10200, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Penang > Penang Island > George Town
Hotel Style:
Ranked #93 of 177 B&Bs / Inns in George Town
Number of rooms: 30
Also Known As:
Cathay Hotel Penang/George Town

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