Eastern & Oriental Hotel
Many cities around the world have that one hotel that’s steeped in history and evokes memories of a bygone era. Singapore has Raffles and Rangoon has The Strand, while in Penang’s vibrant capital Georgetown, it’s the Eastern & Oriental Hotel, an island institution. Since opening its doors 130 odd years ago, the E&O has welcomed illustrious guests from world-famous playwrights and authors to royalty. The architecture and décor reflects its late 19th-Century colonial beginnings with a striking Moorish Revival façade, grand staircases, antique furnishings and light and airy corridors with arched windows.
The hotel has two buildings – the original Heritage Wing and the Victory Annexe which was a 21st-Century addition. The former wing went through extensive renovations recently but lost none of its grandeur and sophisticated air. There’s a striking swimming pool which is exclusively for the use of Heritage Wing and Corner Suite guests which has views of the Straits of Malacca and the mainland coast. There’s also The Cornwallis, an exclusive lounge where breakfast and evening canapés and cocktails are served, and Palm Court, the venue where a traditional English afternoon tea is served every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The modern Victory Annexe loses none of the old-world charm of the original building but the designers had the contemporary traveller in mind. There’s a fitness centre, a sea-view infinity pool on the sixth floor and a museum that charts the history of Penang and the hotel itself. This modern wing is also home to the buffet restaurant, Sarkies, and the cosy Planters Lounge.
The suites at E&O are stylishly designed with a mix of modern and light tones, antique furnishings, natural wood floors and partially marble bathrooms. Some of the suites, such as the Deluxe and Premier Suites, overlook the Straits of Malacca, while others like the George Town Suites have city views. We love the vintage-style roll top baths and more heritage vibes in the Straits Suites and Writers Suites. Over in the Victory Annexe are the Studio Suites, which have a balcony overlooking the water, and the dual-aspect Corner Suites.