The Eastern and Oriental Hotel Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia
Over a century ago, the Sarkies brothers opened the opulent Eastern and Oriental Hotel for affluent Victorian colonists and travellers on the island outpost of Penang, on the banks of the ‘Malayan’ Andaman Sea. Today it is reincarnated for the modern traveller, but remains as luxurious and is held in as high regard as it was when it first opened.
The Eastern and Oriental Hotel is not the most famous of the infamous Sarkies brothers’ hotels, but it was the first in Asia and acted as a blueprint for their more majestic properties to come, the Raffles Singapore and The Strand Hotel Yangon, Myanmar.
The old wing of this stunning example of colonial architecture on a splendid plot at the heart of old Georgetown is everything you’d expect a historical Grand Dame to be – polished marbled floors and wooden shuttered bay windows, opening out to sea – complete with grand-pianist to accompany guests supping their lauded high-tea. The Eastern and Oriental Hotel is a fine example of luxury hospitality, definitely on the island of Penang, but perhaps even in all of Malaysia.
For those who are after something more modern, they also have a lovely ‘Victory Annexe’, bringing a more contemporary option for guests, albeit with one eye firmly on its heritage. Here you’ll find among other luxurious mod-cons, an infinity pool, fully-fitted gym and rooms featuring standalone roll-top baths and breathtaking balconies looking out to sea and the sunset.
The property is perfectly placed to explore Penang’s fantastic heritage sites of UNESCO fame. But when you need to get out of the searing island sun, being perched on a sun lounger under a parasol at the hotel’s gorgeous pool is just the ticket.
Their beachside sister property, The Lone Pine, is just as sublime.
Right on time
While you’re Out There
Penang is a street-food mecca; many Malaysians will tell you that it is the best the country has to offer, and that’s saying something. We recommend a food tour, the hotel concierge will certainly oblige and book you on one. But if you want to explore for yourself, we recommend a walk to the Northern end of the swathe of beach that is Guerney Drive, a 30-minute stroll from the hotel, where you’ll find an age-old hawker centre, right next to the shopping mall that is Guerney Plaza. This outdoor food court opens in the evening and is super popular with locals. It’ll give you an opportunity to sample small tasting plates of cuisine very specific to the island.