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All reviewsinfinity poolperfect retreatmain bathroomsunrise viewideal place to relaxburmese fooddurian seasonspider websthe barnoutdoor bathtubspent two nightsbayan lepasa lovely staythai riceburmese staffrice barnssteep drive
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Reviewed November 3, 2012

Malihom is set in a stunning hilltop location with glorious views both to the east and west coats of Penang. It's accessible only via a steep private road that winds up through a private estate of rainforest and Durian trees and was designed by the architect/artist wife of philanthropist Stephen Yeap initially as a family retreat. You might describe the end result as a labour of love.

There are only eight "rooms" in Malihom, each a converted Rice Barn - half with sunrise views and half with sunset views. We were in Aloun, perched high on the east side. A lower deck had two wicker (and very comfortable) hammocks, tables and reclining chairs; a mezzanine level with open-air shower and sunken bath with views down the valley and across to the distant mainland; and a top level with aircon, bed, TV (we never once had the inclination to switch it on as that would have seemed wrong somehow!) and balcony.

These barns are rustic more than luxurious and strike the right balance between being "connected" with the amazing sights and sounds of the rainforest and perfectly comfortable accommodation.

The grounds around the hotel are worth exploring - myriad ornamental flowers and plants interspersed seamlessly with bananas, pineapples, nutmeg trees, durians etc.
Passion fruit grows all around the barns and central areas and even though past the season we found enough ripe ones to pick and eat straight off the vine.

The staff are great and always eager to help and please. Most are from Burma originally and, as a result, the food is an even more glorious fusion of styles and influences than is already the norm in Penang. (Our Burmese feast on our final night was stunning!). Breakfast and beautiful three course lunches and dinners are included the rates.

Lastly there are the views - whether from your "barn", the top of the watchtower, the dining/breakfast rooms, lounge or the excellent infinity pool - it is almost worth visiting for these alone. The constantly changing light and skies from sunrise to sunset (and beyond) are transfixing, beautiful and relaxing (even in the odd tropical downpour).

if you like pristine, pampered luxury this may not be for you - but for for a truly unique, natural, relaxing break with attentive service in a stunning location, Manihom is definitely for you.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Ken_Douglas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 30, 2012

What an experience. The taxi has to drop you at the bottom of the mountain and the hotel staff come and take you up to the top in their 4 wheeled drive.Once you arrive you are there for the duration. Complete relaxation, nothing at all to do other than relax, watch DVD's, swim, read and admire the views. The views are sensational. The 3 meals a day are very good. The staff are lovely and very polite and respectful. The rooms however are basic and could do with being more luxurious given the price you pay. For those of you who like camping, then this is equivalent of the UK log cabin but with windows made solely from shutters and mosquito mesh, therefore you can hear every rustle of leaves, mating frogs, cicadas and other wildlife. Mosquito repellent we found is essential. Fruit trees are an abundance we were treated to fresh passion fruit and nutmeg directly from the huge variety of trees I can definitely recommend, but would suggest that 2 nights is enough if you like the contact of other people and sites to see, but if you want absolutely nothing to do ( or to start writing a novel or paint ), a view to die for (including from the infinity pool) then you may be happy to stay longer. P.S if you like a bevvy when you are away then I would suggest bringing your own booze, there is no bar but they do have a wine list and bottled beers-Wine is around 20.00 a bottle for the basic house wine.

NB: Anyone with a disability or baby and prams would find this hotel very difficult as it is all very uneven paths, steps and terrain

Room Tip: You have a choice of views solely of the mountains down to the sea or on the other side the mountains, the towns and then the coast. Also some rooms have hammocks and some don't. So when booking think wisely about what you want. We chose the sea only view in the room next to the pool and it was a beautiful view especially as we had chairs on the terrace, but there was no hammocks on ours.
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank GinaNamini
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 31, 2012

Amazing 4 night stay with my fiancé - especially the views, staff and food.

Rustic feel room but with luxury of great bed, linen, AC etc. great bathroom with sunken bath with a view.

Big thanks to the team who went out of their way make it special inc sourcing flowers and a cake for my fiance's birthday - as well as arranging a special candle-lit drink on the balcony with champaign

If you're wanting to get away from it all and like the (loud!) sounds of the rainforest - the. This place is magic!

In between relaxing, sleeping, eating - we did managed one wander round the rainforest which was very cool too.

They are quite geared up to offering western food to the local Malaysian / Asian guests - however we wanted local food so they made a different Burmese banquet every night :)

I can't recommend this place more - but don't want it to get too busy... (although with only 8 rooms this is unlikely).

Room Tip: All are good - but only 2 have the sunken bath. We were in "aloun"
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Peter W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 26, 2012 via mobile

We stayed over night as part of our honeymoon. So pleased we did. The views were magnificent. Staff always polite, helpful and on hand. It's a very unique place with lots of charm and character. We loved it even though the weather was pretty awful during our stay. The food was of a very high standard. We would love to return.

Tip: If you come please make sure you organise for the hotel to collect you. It's a fab journey up, don't be put off.

  • Stayed: August 2012
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3  Thank Sparelaxed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 25, 2012

We have mixed feelings about the hotel. We have booked our hotel after reading a sparkling review by a leading guidebook, and decided to splurge out and stay 2 days at the development. Even with the hotel’s website discount we found it kind of costly (we were backpacking types), but the stay’s full board plus the hotel is so well reviewed, so we bit the bullet.

The hotel design is rather unconventional. Some parts are pretty, but there are odd design quirks here and there. The rooms are old Thai barns which are mostly smallish and tight, with odd pillars sticking here and there. Even though we stayed in Aloun, which is mid-sized of the barns, the actual sleeping area is really still quite tight and in-suite toilet tighter.

One side of the hotel oversees southern Georgetown, and the other faces the bay on the other side of the island. In the morning the mist settles in, which is kind of pretty. At night you can see the lights of busy Georgetown. Frankly we’ve been to prettier hill resorts elsewhere, but Malihom is still pleasant nevertheless. The air however isn’t crisp and fresh as I think it should be. More often than not we were smelling some kind of exhaust, bug spray/fumigation or linoleum, which marred the stay. It just isn’t quite the dreamy place the guidebook makes it to be.

What I think makes the place outstanding is the food and the people. The folks running the place are so sweet, you feel like you’re part of the family. They are always coming up to say hi, and to ask how we were doing. They played with our 16-mth old girl and she warmed up to them quickly.

The food! We were pampered with gourmet meals, including a gigantic and amazing Thai lunch on our last day there. The ingredients are delivered fresh every morning. They even put out a white table-cloth for dinner and had a lantern lit, like we were at a formal restaurant (even if there was Thai dance music playing, which entertained my little girl). There is a tray of fresh fruits to self-service on, including passionfruits from the vines nearby.

Don’t expect much in the way of frills and facilities. The actual hotel ground is quite small, though the hotel owners also own some of the surrounding areas on the hill so guests can trek out. They also provide bicycles, but the hills are really steep. Even the DVD collection is at least 3-yrs old and hasn’t been maintained. There is a clean decent pool though, which is inviting on a hot day.

Overall I think Malihom is a niche development that asks to be accepted and appreciated as it is: a quiet place to put up your boots and chill. A welcomed getaway from Penang’s heavily touristed towns. Don’t come here expecting to be wowed and kept busy ... it’s not that kind of place. I doubt the 9 barns are meant to be filled, or if the infrastructure able to cope if that happens. The price helps keep the place exclusive, and in exchange you get a quiet and friendly place to chill with great food served in-between.

Room Tip: Aloun overlooks the southern Georgetown city from the balcony, which makes it the most popular barn in Malihom.
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank WeeKee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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