Penang used to be a weekend getaway destination for a relaxed trip with good food. With their upgrades and reconstructions, Penang hotels are transforming into something much more than that.

People flock to Penang to immerse themselves in the rich heritage and for newer festivals such as the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. Now, they can also stay in wonderful hotels that doesn’t feel like the old Penang.

Though many boutique hotels have been popping up, there are more luxurious hotels appearing in the scene too.

We flew to Penang with Malindo Air, which isn’t a low-cost airline as some people think. They offer 25kg check-in baggage allowance, in-flight meals for short flights and long flights, wifi for long-haul flights. They even have extra leg room. Malindo Air has 4 flights to KL and 1 flight to Penang daily.

For comfort lovers: Hotel Jen

Hotel Jen’s large and luxurious lobby which was decorated with Chinese New Year lanterns greeted us as we entered. It might sound familiar if you know the branch beside Orchard Gateway.

All 443 rooms in the hotel just underwent a 15-month transformation. The soft, fluffy white bedding felt as comfortable as it looks.

The rooms have a safe deposit box, hair dryer, fruits, wifi, power outlets, cable TV channels and more. They are attentive to guests, down to the detail of having different bristles on toothbrushes for easy identification.

Situated in a convenient location in the heart of George Town, Prangin Mall is right across the street.

For history and luxury: Royale Chulan Penang 

Night 2 was spent at Royale Chulan Penang, with Penang Cruise and Ferry Port Terminal just at its doorstep. Royale Chulan offers George Town’s history along with their friendly service. Being a heritage like building, their decor is more traditional too.

Picture via Royale Chulan Penang

Located near offices and business outlets, making it convenient or just great for those who like the grand financial district. Even their toiletries look royal.

For foodies and goodies: PARKROYAL Penang Resort

The first place we went in PARKROYAL was the Cinammon restaurant. Have you been told not to eat in hotels when you’re overseas? I have, multiple times. I am a believer that street food is usually the yummiest when you want to try local cuisine.

Picture via PARKROYAL

I was ready to grab a small bite then venture out, but I was pleasantly surprised at the dinner buffet spread. They had all sorts of cuisines, from western to local, with seafood and an array of desserts.

Their rooms were equally wonderful and it even came with a personalised letter. They also prepared a tropical fruit basket containing dragon fruit, star fruit, orange, apple and bananas.

The pool has a low amount of chlorine, making it perfect for long swims and relaxation. They only close the pool at 11pm, making them one of the few hotels for night swims.

For business and comfort: The Light Hotel

Last but not least, we went to a new hotel, The Light Hotel. Once you enter the doors, you will see the huge chandeliers and lounge, which definitely makes you feel like you’re entering a grand place.

This is not on Penang Island, but in the mainland, Butterworth. It is the only 5 star hotel on the mainland. With a large room and bed, a widescreen TV and the modern decorations, you’re sure to feel pampered.

The hotel has a lot of decor with marble motifs, making it look lush. Even the bathroom floor and counter is a beautiful black marble.

Their rooms are made just for that too, with a comfortable work desk for guests on business trips. They are perfect for those that need a break on a business trip, which is what they are aiming for.

Pictures by Carissa Wong.

So now, you’ve got the hotel. What to do in Penang?

Penang Hill is the place to be for culture and the arts.