In this issue, we bring you to discover a century-old hotel in Penang, Malaysia. The Eastern & Oriental Hotel has remarkably stood through generations of travelers and is a testament to the grand elegance of the British colonial era, making it one of our top recommendations for a honeymoon vacation in Penang.
A quick 1.5hr plane ride from Singapore brings us to the island of Penang. Nicknamed as the Pearl of the Orient, Penang is well known to be a cultural hub and food capital of Malaysia. This vibrant city offers you much to discover from its historical landmarks to natural scenery. During this trip, we were blessed to stay at one of the crown jewels of Penang – The Eastern and Oriental Hotel. This prestigious hotel has stood through the British colonial era and seen generations of travelers. In many ways, its story is inextricably woven into the island’s history – similar to how The Fullerton Hotel is like to Singapore.
Located in the prime seafront of Georgetown, The Eastern & Oriental Hotel is an iconic landmark set in Penang’s heritage heart and capital city. Walking down the streets from this holiday home is like taking a walk through the paths of history, for Georgetown has well-preserved its cultural and historical heritage, and has been acknowledged as a UNESCO heritage site. The property is made up of two main sections – its Heritage Wing built in 1885, has played hosts to some of the world’s most celebrated artists, writers and heads of state. Its newer Victory Annexe, opened in March 2013, is where modern luxury meets old world charm. Read more to discover what’s in store for your Penang honeymoon.
5 Reasons for you to Stay at the Iconic Eastern & Oriental Hotel in Georgetown for your Wedding & Honeymoon
1. Experience colonial heritage living in Georgetown
Not many properties can claim that it has seen through two world wars, the wane of a colonial empire and the birth of Malaysia. The Eastern & Oriental Hotel has experienced a long and colorful history throughout its century-and-a-quarter timeframe. This elegant hotel has hosted the likes of Lee Kuan Yew, Charlie Chaplin, and Rudyard Kipling in its auburn halls. More than a hotel, Eastern & Oriental serves as a treat to nostalgic couples and history buffs in search of the city’s rich colonial history. For your honeymoon, stay in one of the plush suites of the heritage wing to transport yourself back in time, starting with the lofty entrance into the hotel’s domed atrium which echoes back to its 19th-century roots. Furnished beautifully with antique furniture, it comes complete with a white grand piano, grand staircase, and an original gated lift still in working order. Its colonial interiors remind us of our visit to Cameron Highlands Resort.
We suggest booking the Pinang Suite, which comes with a beautiful view of the Straits of Malacca. This one-bedroom suite comes with its own lounge, opulent en-suite bathroom, dining room and a spacious sea-facing balcony. Couples seeking more modern interiors, do check out the corner suites at the Victory Annexe Wing.
2. Host your wedding at the prestigious Macalister Ballroom
For your solemnization, you can choose to have an elegant outdoor garden ceremony by the seafront. For your lunch or dinner reception, Eastern & Oriental has two illustrious ballrooms that are unmatched for its grandeur and prestige, making it one of the most sought-after wedding venues in Penang.
Located in the Heritage Wing, the Grand Ballroom comfortably seats 400 and comes equipped with a full stage, royal boxes, and a gallery. The Macalister Ballroom at the Victory Annexe can seat 300, and it has five function suites that can be tailored to accommodate 20 to 600 guests. Click here for their wedding packages. Helping you pull off the wedding of your dreams is a ready team of professional event organizers. Ceremonies at sundown are especially romantic, with the backdrop of the Andaman sea exquisitely framed by the hotel’s majestic colonial architecture and design.
3. A beautiful blend of modern luxuries with old world charm
During our stay, we stayed in a studio suite at the Victory Annexe Wing. These suites have a modern take on the established British colonial style such as deep timber flooring, dark accents, and antique furnishings. The room was beautifully completed with a classic marble tiled bathroom that has a free-standing shower and a bathtub. We were pleasantly surprised by the generous living space, which was made even more noticeable as you take a peek of your balcony. The balcony allowed us to savour the cool breeze from the Malacca Strait.
We enjoyed our stay in these comfortable, polished rooms. Consistent throughout the property are elements reminiscent of its rich heritage, but improved with access to modern conveniences such as a flat-screen TV and your own espresso machines. With thoughtful details and fittings all conveniently familiar and up-to-date, it feels like a nice modern interpretation of colonial splendor.
4. Enjoy a culinary feast right at your doorstep
True to its character, dining at the Eastern & Oriental pays homage to its rich history. Penang, internationally known to be a foodie’s paradise, is where you will get to experience a blend of amazing cultures and rich flavors. Food-wise, there is so much to discover at Eastern & Oriental. During our 4-night stay, the list of must-tries was longer than the time we had to savour them all! The cuisine is heavily influenced by a mix of cultures – Chinese, Malay, Indian, British. You will be able to find delicacies that will surely please your taste buds. Eastern & Oriental houses 6 dining options to offer you a wide spread of variety that includes signature local recipes and handcrafted drinks.
Sarkies, a new addition to the culinary oasis of George Town, will excite your senses with its daily buffet featuring a wide selection of local and international fair. For a romantic dinner, head to 1885 which offers you classical yet contemporary cuisine in an elegant environment that reminisces the finest traditions of colonial style dining.
1885 also serves up English afternoon tea, which marked one of the highlights of our stay. We were presented with a selection of 16 different teas, ranging from the classics like English Breakfast and Earl Grey to the innovative brews such as Fancy Sencha to Raspberry Royal. The tea set also includes a platter of pastries, cakes, scones and finger sandwiches. We enjoyed relaxing in the elegant space, just sipping up our teas over light conversations. Another must-visit is the poolside terrace. Located on the 6th floor, you will find light snacks, drinks and cocktails served on the terrace lookout adjacent to the gorgeous infinity pool. It is an ideal space for you to wind down the day with your loved one, as you enjoy a refreshing cocktail while admiring the sunset across the Straits of Malacca.
5. Go on a heritage tour around Georgetown
Penang’s main attraction is Georgetown, the cultural heart of Penang. Eastern & Oriental’s location gives you easy access to explore the well-preserved area of Georgetown and discover its rich, multicultural history. Eastern & Oriental is walking distance away from ornate Chinese temples, contemporary street art, and charming attractions that the port city is known for. During our stay, we had a blast exploring the vicinity, and would suggest you take on the below activities during your trip!
Things to do in Georgetown, Penang
Walk to nearby Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
Also known as the Blue Mansion, it is probably the most photographed building in George Town. The mansion was built by the rich businessman Cheong Fatt Tze in the 19th-century in the traditional Chinese style. Restored in 1995, the Blue Mansion is the most luxurious of the heritage homes within George Town and offers guided tours for a small fee. These are scheduled at 11 am 2 pm and 3.30 pm. It takes 45 minutes so do try to be there early.
Tour the Pinang Peranakan Mansion
Pinang Peranakan Mansion, the original home of an affluent Chinese immigrant turned entrepreneur, showcases the rich traditions and daily lifestyle of Peranakan culture – the name given to an affluent, mixed-race culture that’s scattered around the region, mainly in the important trading ports of Malacca and Penang. Couples fond of heritage design featuring elaborate, intricately designed artwork will absolutely love walking around the meticulously built complex.
Try the Hong Kee Bamboo Noodle
Stop at Hong Kee Bamboo Noodle shop, where they still practice traditional methods to roll out the noodles using a bamboo pole. They make noodles fresh twice a day and is quite a tourist draw so try to be there earlier than 11 am to get a front-row seat.
Bike around town to see Penang street art
Penang has embraced street art as a legit art form and has in fact been drawing tourists to see the spots in recent years. You and your partner can easily walk, hop in the front of a trishaw, rent a bicycle or rent a motorbike to see the murals but a tandem bike is a fun and a cheap way to get around quickly.
Take an afternoon stroll around Lebuh Armenian
Named for the influx of Armenian merchants that set up shop in the district in the 19th century, Lebuh Armenian is a bustling street full of shops, street art, and hip new restaurants and coffee shops. Cap the day with coffee or drinks at the any of the bars on the street and buy a trinket or two for a keepsake.
Drive out of the city and hike to see Kek Lok Si temple
Take a bus or cab out of the city and head towards the center of Penang island to see Southeast Asia’s largest Buddhist temple, marked by a towering 30-meter statue of the goddess Kuan Yin, and get a view of Georgetown from Penang Hill.
Take a trip to Penang hill
Penang Hill, located in Air Itam, is a nice place for couples to visit for its cold weather and take a breathtaking view of the city as well as the mighty Penang bridge. The most convenient way to get up the hill is by taking the funicular train and the earliest one you can take is at 6:30 am. Must see attractions are the Curtis Crest habitat, the viewing deck and take a couple picture with the love lock.
Embark on a food tour
Penang is consistently ranked as one of the best food hunts in the world and having tasted the rich culinary flavors the island has to offer, it’s very hard to argue against it. There are many food courts and hawker centers across the port town, but a good place to start would be along Gurney Drive to try the curry mee, Kimpo Famous Roasted, balitong, beef rendang, and mee goreng. From hawker food staples like Char Koay Teow to delicious broths like Penang Laksa, and even to scrumptious after meal delights like Rojak, Penang is truly a gastronomic delight. If you’re both up for a quick trip, do yourself a favor and have a taste of the legendary Asam Laksa at the Ayer Itam Market – it’s a Penang experience you can’t miss.
Georgetown in Penang is a cultural experience in itself with its unique blend of British, Malay, Chinese, and Indian influences. Its deep heritage and colorful colonial past have produced a thriving culinary and art scene that is probably the best in the region. The Eastern and Oriental Hotel is the perfect place for couples to appreciate and soak the island’s rich tapestry of delights, having been an indelicate part of its rich history – a perfect mix of nostalgia for the past, while forward-looking in the present.
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