Known as the ‘Pearl of the Orient’ Penang is a melting pot of Malay, Chinese, and Indian influences, evident in its diverse architecture, cuisine and traditions.
With its stunning beaches, intricate street art, delicious street food, and historic sites, this northwest Malaysian destination is a place that will captivate all the senses!
Penang’s hotels, rich in charm, offer an insight into the city’s eclectic panache, and range from heritage boutiques to luxury high-rise compounds. Here are my favourite cool and unusual hotels in Penang, Malaysia (in no particular order)…
1. Hard Rock Hotel Penang – a contemporary, vibrant and trendy hotel with Instagrammable features perfect for partying Millennials and Gen Zs
If you’re in the mood for upbeat tunes, all-night entertainment, and an amplified service, The Hard Rock will hit the spot.
For exploring the colonial capital of Penang, the hotel is idyllically located, and as you return after a busy day, you’ll be rewarded with a blissful spa, a shimmering infinity pool, and the kids will be entertained at the kids’ club.
The rooms, decked out with rockstar memorabilia, offer a peaceful retreat from the resort’s vibrancy and are accompanied by spacious, well-furnished balconies.
The in-room amenities are top-notch and include BOSE sound systems, free blockbuster movies, and footed bathtubs.
- To book, check prices or availability for Hard Rock Hotel Penang
2. Angsana Teluk Bahang, Penang – an upscale, hip and vibrant resort where guests can enjoy a newly opened wellness center
Nestled on the pristine Teluk Bahang beach, here we have the ultimate island destination for an indulgent escape.
The Peranakan-inspired design caught my eye upon entrance and set the tone for a stay teeming with character, vibrancy, and elegance.
Some of the rooms feature a private plunge pool, affording guests the utmost seclusion. Among the facilities, you’ll discover an expansive infinity pool, a further family pool with a water slide, a kids’ club, and an integrated wellness centre.
To treat the palate, there are five restaurants and bars, each sporting an individual theme and inviting guests to relax while sampling some exquisite local and international delicacies.
- To book, check prices or availability for Angsana Teluk Bahang, Penang
3. The Prestige Hotel Penang – a trendy, quirky-chic and cool hotel in a location perfect for Millennials and Gen Zs
Here we have a luxury homegrown hospitality haven in the heart of Georgetown. Inspired by the area’s colonial Victorian heritage, the urbane traveller is invited to relish a magical setting here.
With an all-day dining outlet, an arcade with a mix of retail stores, and a rooftop infinity pool, there are plenty of options to captivate the senses within the hotel.
I thought the ground floor Glasshouse Restaurant, where an assembly of colonial décor whimsically brings George Town’s charm to life, was the perfect spot to unwind after a day of sightseeing. Eye-catching, fairylike elements fill the reception and communal spaces, enhancing the property’s enchanting flair.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Prestige Hotel Penang
4. JEN Penang Georgetown by Shangri-La – a fashionable, chic and lavish hotel neighbouring two shopping malls
Situated a short stride from the city’s downtown UNESCO World Heritage Zone and its jumble of colonial architecture, Hotel Jen is a graceful modern boutique with a distinct energy.
My room was graced by jaw-dropping views over George Town, and sported all the mod cons you’d expect in a big-name hotel chain. On-site you’ll find a health club with a spa, a fitness centre, and an outdoor pool, offering places to indulge in pampered luxury.
If you’re in the mood for an evening tipple, the Lobby Lounge bar is one of the city’s most idyllic spots, and lying adjacent to it is the charming artisan Café Jen.
- To book, check prices or availability for JEN Penang Georgetown by Shangri-La
5. Beacon Executive Suites – George Town – a family-friendly, stylish and lifestyle accommodation featuring an outdoor swimming pool, fitness center and garden
A fine embodiment of graceful urban living, these executive suites are ready to capture your heart and fulfil every lifestyle need.
The property looms 30 stories above George Town, and its contemporary facade is a spectacle to behold in itself. A dynamic combination of concrete, steel, glass, and natural elements blend harmoniously to form a sensory experience here.
At the top floor, you’ll find the Sky Podium, which commands panoramic 360-degree views of the cityscape and offers an infinity sky pool, a sky bar, and a sky gym. I loved the high quality of digital amenities here, with many smart services granting guests access to a truly cutting-edge lifestyle.
- To book, check prices or availability for Beacon Executive Suites – George Town
6. G Hotel Kelawai – a sleek, urban and unique hotel providing guests with an Insta-worthy rooftop bar overlooking the city
Enter a world of refined opulence at G Hotel Kelawai, where iconic design and a cutting-edge lifestyle set the stage for a life-lasting experience. Each of the 208 rooms is uniquely inspired to invite guests to play or work by day and mingle by night.
You will have a choice of three trendy and stylish food & beverage outlets here, my personal favourite of which was the Gravity rooftop bar, where spectacular vistas dominate.
Elegant yet casual, the hotel truly sets a benchmark of excellence within Penang’s stunning hospitality circuit, and every interior detail has been crafted to perfection.
- To book, check prices or availability for G Hotel Kelawai
7. Cheong Fatt Tze – The Blue Mansion – a historic, unique and rustic boutique hotel within walking distance of local popular attractions
Boasting over a century of architectural, cultural, and historical significance, this eclectic mansion invites you to revel in Penang’s illustrious past.
Modern comforts are set against a backdrop of genuine old-world charm here, and you can be guided through the property on an immersive history tour.
This boutique heritage hotel plays host to 18 spacious, exclusive guest rooms fringing the tranquil inner courtyards, and each one is intricately furnished and themed around the history of the great Cheong Fatt Tze himself.
I thoroughly enjoyed the dining experience here, which incorporated fresh ideas into local dishes to craft a truly mouth-watering sensation.
- To book, check prices or availability for Cheong Fatt Tze – The Blue Mansion
8. Eastern & Oriental Hotel – a classic, upscale and elegant hotel where guests can experience the delicious flavors of Asian and international cuisine
Eastern & Oriental wears its illustrious heritage proudly and welcomes nostalgic travellers to a vacation teeming with charm and character.
The hotel’s grand waterfront façade gazes across the mainland towards the old colonial town, and the cavernous atrium echoes back to its 19th-century heyday with a white grand piano, Asian antiques, and an original gated lift.
The eclecticism of George Town is right on your doorstep, and within the hotel, there are two pools, a lavish Thai spa, and opportunities to embark on yoga and cooking classes.
My favourite experience here was sipping a G&T sundowner on the 6th-floor terrace, gazing across the Straits of Malacca.
- To book, check prices or availability for Eastern & Oriental Hotel
9. Campbell House – a stunning, newly renovated and petite hotel surrounded by shopping boutiques and local eateries
The ultimate basecamp for a Georgetown adventure, Campbell House boasts a nostalgic ambiance and a chic boutique flair.
Around the property, a handful of ancient artefacts reminds you of the city’s storied past, and the staff service radiates an intimate, homely character.
I opted for the Silver Leaf room, whose high ceilings, glamorous silver hues, and eclectic mix of traditional and modern furniture set the scene for a soul-soothing welcome to Penang.
Another popular choice however is the Indochine room, where serenity and colours reign supreme, and the décor blurs the lines between French Renaissance and Indonesian heritage.
- To book, check prices or availability for Campbell House
10. Kim Haus Loft – a cozy, traditional and new hotel where guests can hire bikes to discover what the area has to offer
What was once the headquarters of a prestigious jewellery company, Kim Haus Loft has evolved into one of Penang’s leading hip boutique hotels.
Antique lanterns, quirky wooden furnishings, and soft natural hues provide the interiors with plenty of character.
The industrial design rooms are loaded with creature comforts, and the on-site bakery is the most idyllic space to treat the palate to sweet, savoury, and healthy options.
Throughout the property, a radiant glow of artistry embellishes each space, topped with vibrant pops of colour and cosy seating areas. Breakfast here is a buzzy affair, and can be relished on one of the charming, well-furnished terrace areas.
- To book, check prices or availability for Kim Haus Loft
11. The Upper House, Batu Kawan – a hip, bright and contemporary hotel ideal for those travelling on business
Here we have a landmark business hotel situated in Batu Kawan. It is set within Vervea, the largest gated commercial precinct in Northern Malaysia.
A funky, colourful theme suffuses the property’s interiors, topped with an abundance of natural light which flows through the large windows.
The chic guestrooms are fitted with Serta mattresses, and boast trendsetting amenities such as LG 43” UHD Smart TVs and organic toiletries.
At The Upper House you can choose from two eclectic eateries, The Dolce Patisserie or Bambu. Both combine tremendous city views with delicious drinks and expertly crafted dishes.
Overlooking Bambu is the rooftop pool, which offers a jaw-dropping vantage point across the vicinity.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Upper House, Batu Kawan
12. Lone Pine, The Boutique Hotel by The Beach – am idyllic, lavish and charming boutique hotel perfect for a couple’s romantic getaway
Lone Pine is Batu Ferringhi beach’s only boutique hotel, and offers scintillating Andaman sea views, a glamorous retro charm, and the area’s only Japanese restaurant.
The tastefully furnished guestrooms come with balconies with outdoor plunge baths, where you can relax and admire awe-inspiring ocean views.
The hotel began as a small, family abode in 1948, and I certainly felt a homely intimacy during my stay, especially when hanging out in the spacious garden on a swinging hammock.
The hotel’s verdant grounds are extremely pretty, and the hilly outcrops of Penang island extend as far as the eye can see.
- To book, check prices or availability for Lone Pine, The Boutique Hotel by The Beach
13. Very Hotel – an urban, modern and quirky hotel ideally located to explore around the city
Combining a funky, flamboyant flair with a beautiful natural touch, Very Hotel was designed to add a dash of colour to your Penang city break.
Throughout the property, the tropical hues and quirky animal sculptures make you feel as if you’re in the heart of the jungle, and plenty of playful touches embellish the communal areas.
In our room, the bespoke patterned tapestries and the wall-sized paintings of exotic plants set a truly invigorating tone, and the bathroom boasted a standalone tub surrounded by natural stones and potted plants.
While the essence of nature prevails, this does not compromise on comfort, with satellite TVs, a kettle, and plush linens in every room.
- To book, check prices or availability for Very Hotel
14. Hotel Penaga – a charming, historic and spacious hotel located in the heart of Georgetown
Arriving at Hotel Penaga, it was difficult not to be allured by the gorgeous heritage architecture. Stepping into the elegant and tastefully decorated lobby was equally as captivating, where pristinely restored antique furniture spiced up an opulent feel.
The traditional works of art hanging on the wall added a graceful touch, and the beautifully renovated guestrooms were teeming with homely comforts.
If you’re travelling on a budget, you can’t go wrong with one of the Hutton Rooms, whose Chinese and Nyonya furniture harmonise with the wide array of contemporary amenities.
For an evening of casual dining, the on-site Rossi Italian is a buzzy space serving up exquisite handcrafted culinary delights.
- To book, check prices or availability for Hotel Penaga
15. SKY Residence Prai Managed by The Ascott Limited – modern, new and stylish accommodation moments away from an array of restaurants, bars and entertainment spots
Radiating the charm and elegance of the Ascott brand, Sky Residence Prai is clad head to toe in gorgeous works of art, luxury materials, and soft natural hues.
Each accommodation here boasts awe-inspiring city views, as well as a cosy seating area draped in patterned tapestries.
My favourite spot has to be the rooftop infinity pool, which is dotted by comfy, white-washed cabanas and offers the most serene spot to gaze across the pulsating cityscape.
Each room is fitted with complimentary touches like slippers, bath robes, and designer toiletries. A microwave, a fridge, and a kettle are also provided, presenting guests with the comforts of home.
- To book, check prices or availability for SKY Residence Prai Managed by The Ascott Limited
16. Muntri Grove – an award-winning, cozy and bright accommodation offering a stay nestled in nature
A hidden oasis amid the bustling city, this graceful boutique is a bright and airy abode steeped in charm and splendour.
Originally a row of 10 modest houses, Muntri Grove features many British influences, while the roof trusses, windows, and doors share a nod to Penang’s storied past.
The floors are made up of terrazzo tiles from the 1950’s, and exude a retro feel which complements the teak-wood tables and chairs dotted around the property.
On the walls, original artworks created from historical tropical prints add a plush botanical theme to the interior aesthetic.
You can take advantage of a shimmering outdoor pool surrounded by exotic plants, which evokes the sensation of living in the heart of the jungle.
- To book, check prices or availability for Muntri Grove
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Ever since he was knee-high to a grasshopper Michael has always been a sucker for an adventure. Growing up he was lucky enough to live in a handful of exotic far flung locations including Hong Kong, Pakistan, Kenya and Tanzania and since then he’s continued his taste for seeking out new cultures. So much in fact he now travels the world as a trading digital nomad, exploring everything from the sizzling street markets in Bangkok to random back alleys in Sri Lanka and everything in between! He also has a special fondness for Cohibas, street food, playing carrom, and fine wine and knows his clarets from his chiantis. He counts Cuba, Amsterdam, Indonesia, Cambodia and Italy as his favourite destinations.