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Where to stay in Penang: 10 best hotels

Conjuring up images of whirling wok smoke, heritage shophouses and sandy beaches, Penang is one of Malaysia’s most famous destination. Hop on a short flight or take a road trip up to Penang to feast on Georgetown’s hawker treats such as char kway teow and assam laksa. Be sure to take a tour of Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion and cool off at the top of Penang Hill before heading to Batu Ferringhi to enjoy a day lazing at the beach. When the night falls, visitors are also spoilt for choices of hotels around the island. Let Skyscanner do your homework as we bring you the 10 best hotels for your Penang vacation.

Cheap flights to Penang

Where to stay in Penang on a budget?

1. Syok @ Chulia: best for backpackers looking for culture and comfort

Syok means cool and fun in Malay and that rings true at this cheerful guesthouse in the heart of bustling Chulia Street. Originally a shoe shop, the owners have now transformed the place into a hip hostel with walls decorated with artworks of up-and-coming local artists. There is also a selection of fresh dorms and doubles with high-quality Slumberland Supreme mattresses guaranteeing you a good night’s sleep.

Attractions in Penang around Syok @ Chulia:

Chulia Street is the beating heart of old Georgetown and is lined with beautifully preserved shophouses and home to an eclectic selection of shops, bars and hotels. We suggest heading out of the dark with an empty tummy and heading off on a Georgetown food tour. After dark, hawkers begin to flog their fare so load up on Hainanese satay and wanton mee on Lebuh Chulia before turning onto Lebuh Kimberley for a bowl of fragrant kway chap. You can spend hours in Georgetown browsing and gobbling your way around the city, though your waistline might disagree.

Rooms from: RM 41

Address: 458 Lebuh Chulia, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

How to get there: RM 38 in a taxi from the airport

Website: Syok @ Chulia

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2. Hutton Lodge: best for a budget heritage bungalow stay

Situated in one of Georgetown’s last few remaining bungalows built in the Indo-Malay style in the 1890s, Hutton lodge was originally home to a wealthy Indian-Muslim family before becoming a Chinese hotel and restaurant, and finally recasting itself as one of Penang’s better budget hotel options. Rooms are functional and spacious, and those watching their pennies can opt for the shared bathroom option. There are a number of relaxing social spaces to chill out in including the breezy downstairs patio. The family rooms can sleep four and would be perfect for a group of friends exploring Penang.

Attractions in Penang around Hutton Lodge:

Take a trip up Penang Hill, the oldest British hill station in Asia, which attracted colonial settlers from as far back as the late 1700s. The British built their bungalows up here to escape the heat (standing at over 800 metres, Penang Hill is as much as ten degrees cooler than sweltering Georgetown), and today visitors come to ride the steep funicular railway that leads to the summit or go for cool hikes around the hill to snap awesome pictures of the island.

Rooms from: RM 64

Address: 17 Jalan Hutton, 10050 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

How to get there: RM 38 in a taxi from the airport

Website: Hutton Lodge

Book Hutton Lodge

Read more: 5 best places for hawker food in Penang

Where to stay in Penang at the mid-range?

3. Museum Hotel: best for a colonial-era atmosphere

Set in a beautifully restored terrace of Georgetown shophouses, the Museum Hotel helps you ease yourself back to Penang’s bygone days in comfortable rooms with authentically shuttered windows and colonial-era furniture. Enjoy your room’s reassuringly heavy brass light switches and retro bakelite phones before heading to the private museum to admire artefacts of Penang’s past.

Attractions in Penang around Museum Hotel:

The Museum Hotel is located in the heart of old Georgetown so head off for a walk and explore some of Georgetown’s heritage architecture. Near the hotel is the Teh Bunga Mansion, a gorgeous example of Penang architecture that was built in 1893, lovingly restored in 2007 and now open to visitors. When your tummy starts to rumble, you’ll be pleased to know that the Museum Hotel is a stone’s throw from the renowned New World Park Food Court where you can choose from a wide selection of Penang’s famous street food dishes. Locals recommend ordering the smokey char kway teow, sinful fried oysters and refreshing cendol.

Rooms from: RM 207

Address: 72 Jalan A.S Mansor, 10050 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

How to get there: RM 38 in a taxi from the airport

Website: Museum Hotel

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4. Ren i Tang Heritage Inn: best for a taste of medicinal bliss

This inn has a colourful history dating back to 1895 when the building was used as a Chinese medicine hall and was indeed one of the most prominent in all Malaya. The herbs and potions created here were bottled or parcelled up and sent to the most far flung places of overseas Chinese settlement in Southeast Asia. More recently the current owners have renovated the building lovingly and filled the hotel with gorgeous antiques and heritage furnishings. There’s also an excellent café downstairs and a mini-museum detailing the history of Chinese medicine.

Attractions in Penang around Ren i Tang Heritage Inn:

Head down to Leith Street for a tour of the stunningly beautiful and iconic Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion. Built by a wealthy merchant in the 1880s, this striking indigo blue mansion shows many of the design elements of traditional Suzhou architecture and the principles of feng shui. It’s well worth joining one of its guided tours here to learn more about the lavish life of Cheong Fatt Tze in 1890s Penang.

Rooms from: RM 276

Address: 82a Lebuh Penang, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

How to get there: RM 38 in a taxi from the airport

Website: Ren i Tang Heritage Inn

Book Ren i Tang

Rickshaw against indigo wall

Cheong Fatt Tze in one of Penang’s most iconic sights. Photo credit: Phalinn Ooi

5. Noordin Mews: best for the discerning flashpacker

With lashings of 1950s style, this new boutique hotel is tucked away from the busy Georgetown streets behind a pretty walled garden awash with tropical greenery and an inviting swimming pool. In the 1950s, Noordin Street was the swinging home of Wembley Cinema with its parties, traditional ronggeng dances, billiard halls and live music performances. This glamour period of the street’s history has heavily influenced much of the interior décor of the hotel with portraits on the walls displaying fresh-faced icons set alongside more traditional Penang Peranakan furnishings. Rooms are lush with comfortable beds and bang-on-trend bathrooms.

Attractions in Penang around Noordin Mews:

Budding photographers should start their Penang explorations around Noordin Mews by popping into the nearby Camera Museum. It’s the first in Asia and pleasantly geeky and offers a welcome air-conditioned respite from the heat of the Penang sun. Learn about spy cameras, the earliest 3D photography and even on the development of photography from its earliest days in the 18th century to our somewhat narcissistic relationship with cameras today.

Rooms from: RM 333

Address: 53 Noordin Street, 10300 Georgetown, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

How to get there: RM 38 in a taxi

Website: Noordin Mews

Book Noordin Mews

6. Lone Pine Hotel: best for lazing around in style

First set up as a beachfront guesthouse by an Australian in 1948 (he mistook the casuarinas for pines, hence the name), the Lone Pine underwent extensive renovations in 2010 and has become an award-winning boutique hotel which shows the influences of the original 1940s roots of the hotel. Rooms are gorgeous, with large, breezy balconies and plenty of natural light. Laze away days in hammocks under the shade of the casuarinas, plunge into the pool, pamper yourself at the Pure Energy spa or slip on your vintage shades for a lounge on the nearby beach.

Attractions in Penang around the Lone Pine Hotel:

Head off into the wilds of Penang for a day trip to the beautiful Penang National Park (grab bus 101 from Batu Ferringhi), Malaysia’s smallest national park but also one of its most accessible. There are isolated beaches to laze on, a jungle canopy walk and well-marked hiking trails. Take a boat trip and keep an eye out for dolphins and white bellied sea eagles or head to the turtle sanctuary for encounters with green sea turtles or olive ridley turtles. If you are feeling particularly rugged, you can camp at the designated camping grounds and give the kids a really memorable Penang trip.

Rooms from: RM 496

Address: 97 Batu Ferringhi, 11100 Batu Feringgi, Malaysia

How to get there: RM 85 in a taxi from the airport

Website: Lone Pine Hotel

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7. Seven Terraces: best for large groups or family stay

If you are travelling in a group or with your family, Seven Terraces is the ideal place for you. With their range of apartments, duplexes and single rooms, you can be sure of an intimate stay perfect for quality time spent. The rooms and apartments are set in a beautifully restored set of spacious shophouses with Peranakan furnishings, gorgeous floor tiling, heavenly pool and huge televisions. The hotel’s restaurant, Kebaya, is also renowned for its modern twist on Nyonya cuisine and is well worth visiting for one of its good value set meals.

Attractions in Penang around Seven Terraces:

Take a break from sightseeing and enjoy spending a day learning about Penang’s cuisine by joining a cooking class. Start your tour early and be led around one of Georgetown’s markets where you’ll learn about spices and herbs and pick up some local bargaining techniques before heading back to the host’s kitchen to get chopping, dicing, and preparing local favorites such as onde onde, curry laksa, and popiah. These classes are great for groups and fantastic fun. We recommend Nazlina’s Spice Station and Penang Homecooking School.

Rooms from: RM 566

Address: 8 Stewart Lane, 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia

How to get there: RM38 in a taxi from the airport

Website: Seven Terraces

Book Seven Terraces

8. Eastern & Oriental Hotel: best for colonial-era luxury and sunset cocktails

For those with extra ringgit to spare and looking for a touch of class, a stay at the luxurious Eastern and Oriental is a Penang must. Built by four Armenian brothers, the Sarkies (of Raffles Hotel in Singapore fame), in 1885, the hotel was declared the “Premier Hotel East of Suez” and was flooded with wealthy visitors including Somerset Maugham, Noel Coward and Rudyard Kipling. The colonial days may be long gone, but the hotel hasn’t lost its shine and glamour with pith-helmeted bellhops, large slowly rotating ceiling fans, and rooms with gorgeous views of the Andaman Sea. Even if you aren’t staying at the hotel, it’s worth heading up to The Deck bar to enjoy the sunset and one of their famous cocktails.

Attractions in Penang around Eastern & Oriental Hotel:

There are two American Express Heritage Trails which can be done on foot or by trishaw from the hotel and take in some of the city’s most important historical and cultural sights including Fort Cornwallis, Penang State Museum and the Carpenters’ Guild. If you travel by trishaw, don’t forget to get some insider knowledge from your driver on the best place for a Penang lunch and be sure to keep an eye out for some of Georgetown’s fantastic street art.

Room start at RM 582

Address: 10 Lebuh Farquhar, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

How to get there: RM 38 in a taxi from the airport

Website here: Eastern & Oriental Hotel

Book Eastern & Oriental Hotel

Penang street art

Don’t forget to check out some of Georgetown’s amazing street art on your heritage walking tour from the Eastern & Oriental. Photo credit: Phalinn Ooi / Flickr

Read more: Discover the 5 best driving holidays from Kuala Lumpur

Where to stay in Penang at the high-end?

9. Fig Tree Hill Resort: best for a rustic romantic getaway

If you are looking for a romantic getaway, book into the secluded Fig tree Hill Resort. The resort has six private wooden villas which are spacious and beautifully furnished and have oodles of private outdoors living space offering stunning views, fresh air and plenty of opportunities for romancing under the stars.

Attractions in Penang around Fig Tree Hill Resort:

Whilst the resort offers shuttle services into Georgetown, the main attraction of it is its escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Grab a mountain bike or go on a hiking trail to discover the beautiful island views and get in touch with nature. The resort has a pool, gym and Jacuzzi to ensure you leave feeling toned, lean and ready to take on the world.

Rooms start at RM 600

Address: Sungai Ara, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

How to get there: Free shuttle to and from the airport

Website: Fig Tree Hill Resort

Book Fig Tree Hill Resort

10. Shangrila’s Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa: best for family fun at the beach

This sprawling resort lies along Batu Ferringhi and has more than enough to keep your family busy for days. Bond with your family at the hotel’s pitch and putt course, jump in the pool or pull up a chair and tune out under the shade of one of the many rain trees around the resort. Kids can run wild at the Adventure Zone which has daily activities organised for kids and parents can take advantage of the hotel’s babysitting service to take your loved one for a romantic meal along the beach.

Attractions in Penang around Shangrila’s Rasa Sayang:

Keeping the little ones busy on holidays can be a challenge so we suggest you keep the iPad locked up and taking your kids to Escape in Teluk Bahang. Escape is big on exploring the natural environment and adrenaline pumping activities from the Flying Lemur to the Tubby Racer which mum and dad can join in too for a perfect and memorable family day out.

Rooms from: RM 714

Address: Kampung Tanjung Huma, 11100 Batu Feringgi, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

How to get there: RM 84 in a taxi from the airport

Website: Shangrila’s Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa

Book Shangrila’s Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa

Read more: 5 things to do in Penang that aren’t the usual tourist highlights

Cheap flights to Penang

Tummy rumbling for Penang’s hawker treats? Book cheap flights, hotels and car hire via Skyscanner or check out and download our free mobile app for easy browsing and booking on the go.

Published August 2016. Any prices are lowest estimated prices only at the time of publication and are subject to change and/or availability.

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