For whatever reason, no chain hotels really caught my eye for our stay on Penang Island. In the end, I decided to go for the well-reviewed Lone Pine Hotel on Batu Ferringi beach, as it looked like a decent place to stay, at a good rate.
I booked through American Express partnership with Hotel Club. This earns 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar, and was a great reminder that you can seek out non-chain hotels and still earn a decent return on your points spend, if you look in the right places.
We arrived around 1am after a delayed Jetstar flight from Singapore, and were warmly welcomed, given a cold juice, checked in quickly and shown to our room. I didn’t end up taking any room pictures, but I’d booked a standard twin room and it was more than ample for two people, with a balcony, comfortable beds, decent air conditioning, and an outlook over Batu Ferringi beach.
The best thing about Lone Pine was the mixture of the setting of the beautiful pool in spacious grounds, right next to the beach, but still very private.
A vast buffet breakfast was included in the room rate, as well as meal credit for their Japanese restaurant. The quality of the food was excellent.
We spent our 2 full days in Penang by first wandering around the city, looking at the rich multi-cultural streets, and colonial influences on the place.
On day 2 we took a taxi for the morning to go up Penang Hill, but unfortunately the view at the top was a bit obscured by haze.
We then headed down to the Eastern & Oriental (E & O) Hotel to sample their vast, amazing buffet lunch. At around $25 AUD per person (no drinks) the food was astounding. My pictures don’t really do it justice.
I had considered staying at the E & O which was a but pricier than the Lone Pine (and a sister hotel). I’m glad we didn’t – it had a certain wow-factor given the colonial feel, but the pool was nowhere near as luxurious as the Lone Pine’s.
This stay was a great reminder that you should look outside the usual chains for something different – that goes without saying I guess, but it was just nice to spend some time with a more local, independent feel.