Hotel Penaga -
The Arts, Greenery and Comfort, All in One Beautifully Restored Heritage Property
A Green Surprise in George Town
The grounds of Hotel Penaga are a refreshing surprise amidst the sultry concreted George Town centre. Three beautifully restored heritage buildings comprise the block and in between the structures are stoned pathways lined with lush gardens. It’s a breath of fresh air (literally) to see so much green making both a pleasurable start to the day and a very welcome respite after hours of traipsing the streets exploring the UNESCO and culinary sites within walking distance of the hotel.
|Outdoor Tables and Gardens|
Owners clearly value the natural environment and a number of programs and awards support their efforts. Solar panels generate both power and heat water. A rainwater tank captures roof runoff and, the kitchen separates organic waste for composting. Recycled materials, salvaged from demolished buildings, were used wherever possible to restore the structure. The garden too is thoughtfully landscaped using mostly indigenous plants and is designed to reduce heat and glare. These and other actions earned Hotel Penaga a Gold rating by the Green Building Index, the first for a heritage restoration in Malaysia.
|Hotel Penaga Reception|
One of a few, if not the only hotel on the island, that supports an “artist in residence” program, rooms and common areas are filled with tasteful artworks from masters from around the world. Paintings, photographs, sculptures and mixed media pieces fit seamlessly into the setting inspiring guests with their diversity and messages for the world.
Heritage and Comfort
Three room categories are offered in a trio of buildings. The Clarke Terraces are ideal for families or groups. Multiple bedrooms with ensuites, a large living area and courtyard, and well-equipped kitchenette make the stay very comfortable.
|Giant Jacuzzi in Clarke Terrace House|
Honeymooners will appreciate the eight Transfer Suites, especially the four with balconies and views to Penang Hill. A generous 60 – 70 square metres of space allows for a sitting room, bathroom with Jacuzzi and separate shower, and a large bedroom with a timber four-poster bed.
|Bedroom in Transfer Suite|
Our room, in the Hutton building is a decent 40 square metres and extends the most affordable rates. A balcony tiled with heritage ceramics is just big enough for a coffee table and two chairs. A roofscape, broken up with green foliage, is the view.
|Living Area in Hutton Room|
Dark wood frames the doors and windows, with stained glass letting in colourful rays of light. The lounge features restored timber floors and reconstructed Chinese antique furniture. Cable TV, a mini-bar, safe, complimentary Internet and, tea and coffee making facilities (standard tea bags and instant coffee) add comfort.
A set of stairs leads to the loft where comfortable beds, bedside tables and lamps make up the bedroom. Linens and the mattress are snug encouraging peaceful dreams.
|Bedroom in Hutton Room|
Although the bathroom maintains its distinct heritage feel with antique furniture and dark wood paneling, modern conveniences are integrated seamlessly to provide a very comfortable bathing experience. A corner Jacuzzi sports powerful jets and the shower pressure too is strong - there’s no wait for hot water to run through the pipes.
|Bathroom in Hutton Room|
It’s a beautiful space and we feel that even while sleeping, we’re living the sites of Penang. The experience might only be bettered with a personalized welcome, such as a pot of tea or local treat.
|Hutton Room Balcony|
Breakfast is included in most packages and is served in the very pleasant atmosphere of Cinnamon Restaurant. Black wood and maroon cushioned chairs seat cream marble tables. White china and napkins and a single flower vase dressing the tables and uniformed waiters give the space a feel of elegance of the past. Taking full advantage of their green surrounds, a wall of folding windows open up to the lap pool, which borders the restaurant and gardens across from it. It’s hard to believe we’re in the middle of George Town.
|Pool Views from Cinnamon Restaurant|
The morning spread is a simple offering of mostly Western flavours. Fresh fruits, pastries and breads, cereals and a number of hot dishes including the usual fry up of mushrooms, sausages and tomatoes, some rice and noodles, are on the buffet. Eggs are made to order and coffee and tea is brought to the table. It’s simple, but enough to begin the day well.
Other Food and Beverage
Cinnamon Restaurant is opened throughout the day for a la carte meals and, the Tanglung Bar and Library Lounge serves a range of mixed drinks, wine and beer. We try their Penaga Punch, a mix of gin and tropical juices, garnished with a slice of pineapple and maraschino cherry. It’s sweet and refreshing, a welcome respite from the afternoon heat.
|Chairs in the Tanglung Bar|
|Penaga Punch - Hotel Penaga's Signature Cocktail|
A lap pool is filled with salt water, reducing the amount of chemicals used in the hotel, and is lined with garden chairs and umbrellas and, headed with a sun deck. It is a popular place for relaxation throughout our visit, with ladies catching some rays and taking a break from seeing the sites mid morning and afternoon.
The Penaga Spa by Tanamera is located in the gardens of the hotel. An airy patio holds the reception area, which benefits from the natural green surrounds and lovely art pieces by a number of the resident artists Hotel Penaga has hosted over the years. One of the earliest artworks is a feature wall, a mosaic of broken tiles, stones and ceramics that provides an inspirational backdrop to the entrance. Round stained glass windows filter the outdoor light leaving muted hues in the treatment rooms.
Three double rooms are fully equipped with a separate changing room including shower, sauna and toilet. All rooms have a claw foot bathtub, which is a wonderful thing to soak in after a body treatment.
|Bathtub in Spa|
Indigenous plants from the region are used as the primary ingredients in their spa products, which feel natural and unprocessed. I partake in a Warming Massage (60 minutes RM175), which combines a dry scrub and massage into one session and, Hubby tries the Malay Traditional Massage (60 minutes RM140). Our therapists are gentle sweet ladies, best suited for those who prefer a light to medium strength massage.
We’d definitely stay at Hotel Penaga again. We appreciated the greenery, artwork and beautiful heritage restoration. Added benefits of a spa, hotel restaurant and bar, and salt water filled lap pool are appealing bonuses.
Reasons to visit: a beautiful heritage building in the heart of George Town; a green garden haven rare to find in the town centre; artworks everywhere; great location; a Gold rating by the Green Building Index.
Corner of Jalan Hutton and Lebuh Clarke
10050 George Town
1300 88 1891
+6 04 261 1891