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Choosing Hotels in Penang

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Choosing hotels in Penang is made easier when you know their location and what to expect. At Penang Travel Tips I want to help you make informed decisions when making your choice. Some of these hotels are even linked to the Online Reservation console, allowing you to book rooms online. Try it out. You'd love it.

When choosing hotels in Penang, you need to know that they are divided into two categories: city hotels and beach hotels.

The city hotels are those located within George Town. Also within the city hotel category are the few hotels in Bayan Lepas, on the southern part of the island, which caters to people involved with the Bayan Lepas Industrial Zone. When choosing city hotels, you need to know that the majority are in the 3-4 star category, with only one or two five-star hotels in George Town. They cater mostly to business travelers. There is however an abundance of budget hotels in the Jalan Penang, Lebuh Chulia and Lebuh Leith area of George Town.

The cream of the crop among the city hotels is the elegant Eastern & Oriental (E&O) Hotel, along Lebuh Farquhar, built by the Sarkies Brothers who also founded the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. It's the place in Penang for the peacocks of society to flaunt themselves. A stone's throw away from the E&O is Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, home of one of the richest men in Southeast Asia during the early 20th century, and now turned into a boutique hotel. It caters to discerning travelers looking for a unique travel experience, and has the pocket to foot it. The beach hotels are located along the northern coast of Penang island, from Tanjung Tokong through Tanjung Bungah and Batu Ferringhi, all the way till Teluk Bahang. They include 5-star resorts as well as the smaller, family-oriented hotels. There are also a few budget accommodation here. If your idea of a holiday in Penang is to laze about at the beaches, then these hotels are for you. You can get most of what you need, including shopping and restaurants, within the vicinity of the hotels, especially around Batu Ferringhi. However, be aware that the city of George Town is quite a distance away, about 15-20km. You can certainly get there by bus - look at the Rapid Penang schedule. Taxi to George Town will be quite expensive, as would be expected. Some have free shutter bus services to the city.

Writes Peter McNamara of Australia:
When I come to Penang, which has been yearly recently, I have been staying at the Golden Sands in Batu Ferringhi. I find the complex suits me very ideally. The rooms are spacious, the sea view relaxing, the pool area refreshing as is the bar service (happy hour each day), breakfast is entertaining, the omelettes are to die for, with the turkey/bacon and chicken/ham to cater for all tastes (there is real bacon and eggs at Mario's across the road for the diet un-consious!), music at night at Sigi's as the sun sets and in the Lobby Lounge til late.Night market and food stalls on the road outside.

Complimentary buses to and from Georgetown (Traders) make it easy to get around. There is a taxi rank across the road and Rapid buses stop outside the door.Hire car place is nearby as well. The hotel is very family orientated as well with a kids club recently installed. Up class Rasa Sayang is next door and you can use the facilities there as well. Unfortunately for ready cash there was only one ATM in the building across the road.

Now that the Rasa Sayang has re-opened, the Golden Sands may be due for re-furbishment in the future. If this comes about, I may move next door to the Lone Pine or further down the road to the Holiday Inn but still within the Batu Ferringhi area.

Among the beach hotels in Penang are Copthorne, Paradise Sandy Beach and Crown Prince, almost one after another, at Tanjong Bungah. You can see from map that Tanjong Bungah is the closest to the city. Further down are the hotels in Batu Ferringhi, including Hydro Majestic Hotel (formerly called Ferringhi Beach Hotel), Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa (presently the most expensive beach hotel in Penang, run by the Shangri-La group), The Golden Sands Resort (also run by Shangri-La group, and a short distance from Rasa Sayang) and Lone Pine Hotel (one of the earliest hotels in Batu Ferringhi). A short walk way are Holiday Inn and Parkroyal Penang. These are all hotels within the Batu Ferringhi village, a commercialized part of Batu Ferringhi. Further away, and in a more serene surroundings, is the Bayview Beach Resort. Two hotels along this stretch, the Casuarina and the Penang Mutiara, are presently closed. The Casuarina may reopen as the Hard Rock Hotel.

Travelling on a shoestring budget?

If you are travelling on a shoestring budget, you might instead want to read my travel tips called How to see Penang for less than $18 per day.

List of Hotels in Penang and Hotels in Malaysia

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Local Guided Tours of Penang

If you are coming to Penang and need someone to show you around, I can arrange for you a licensed tour guide to take you around. Guides charge a fixed fee of RM360 for taking a small group of up to 10 people on 4-hour walking tours. Walking tours exceeding 4 hours is charged an additional RM90 per hour. Tours are tailored to guest requirement. For more details, contact tour coordinator. Other types of tours also available. For details, click here.

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