Eastern & Oriental (E&O) Hotel, Penang encapsulates Penang’s success as a maritime trading hub sitting between South Asia and South East Asia that has been shaped by Western influences. Definitively British colonial with Malaysian accents, E&O Hotel, Penang has been in existence since 1885, the brainchild of the famed Iranian-born and Armenian-descent Sarkies brothers who founded a string of hotels around Southeast Asia that included The Raffles Hotel in Singapore and The Strand in Yangon. Interestingly, E&O Hotel was the starting point of the brothers’ foray into the hotel business.
E&O Hotel, Penang consists of the original part aptly called the Heritage Wing, and the new extension completed in 2013 named Victory Annex. The Heritage Wing underwent an extensive nine-month refurbishment in 2019 on all of its 100 suites, public areas, food and beverage outlets, and pillarless Grand Ballroom.
The underlying intention behind the refurbishment is to restore the Heritage Wing back to its former glory whilst retaining its timeless essence and historic integrity. Now reinvigorated and upgraded, the Heritage Wing, with its British colonial elegance, promises an ultimate staycation defined by more pronounced exclusivity and privacy.
What Gaya Travel Magazine team loved about the newly refurbished Heritage Wing:
- The revamped Heritage Wing transports guests back to the romance of the olden days. Lovers of period designs should take note of the wrought iron grills that grace the hotel’s façade, including the hotel doormen’s two-piece khaki uniform complete with knee-high socks and pith helmets, known as Wolsely pattern helmets, which allude to British Malaya.
- Despite being luxurious, the Heritage Wing is not stuffily gilded, but instead comes off as tastefully relaxed, pragmatic, bright and airy with additional tropical touches, including generous amount of space to move and breathe.
- Guests who stay at the Heritage Wing have their check-in process done conveniently within the comfort of their suites.
- Each Heritage Wing suite is sumptuously treated with softer furnishings and lighter-coloured wallpaper, including double-paned windows to ensure proper soundproofing. Old-school designed light and doorbell switches, including the green-shaded Banker’s Lamp with brass finish on the work desk, are fixed alongside technologically-advanced features like smart flat-screen television sets, additional plug points and stronger Wi-Fi connection, allowing guests to appreciate the hotel’s past while discovering the delights of its refreshed minted appearance. Meanwhile, Malay-styled sarongs are hanged alongside bathrobes inside the wardrobe in each suite to remind guests of their current destination. Inside the bathroom, efficacious Panpuri brand of toiletries are made available through refillable dispensers mounted on the shower wall to reduce plastic wastage.
- Tipplers will be happy to know that each Heritage Wing suite comes with gin, vodka and whiskey, on top of Harney & Sons teas, as new additions. Remember to take a swig of the refreshing homemade nutmeg juice from the bottle in the minibar too. By the way, everything in the minibar is free!
- Heritage Wing guests are offered complimentary laundry up to three pieces of garment each time they check-in.
- For a refreshing dip or a spot of sunbathing, guests can head down to the Heritage Wing’s open-air saltwater pool that faces the sea. But if the weather is not agreeable, Heritage Wing guests are welcomed to use the sheltered L-shaped infinity pool on the sixth floor of Victory Annexe, the same level where they can find the hotel’s well-equipped gym.
- The Cornwallis– an all-day, library-styled, intimate lounge where Heritage Wing guests get to enjoy complimentary breakfast, evening canapes and cocktails – is worth checking up on with its plump Victorian-inspired sofas that match the tropical Asian teak accessories and cupboards. Breakfast at The Cornwallis is low-key yet exquisite, offering selections comprising homemade juices, yoghurt and pastries to accompany a la carte options such as the perfectly cooked and comforting eggs Benedict, which is our team’s favourite.
- Palm Court, located next to the lobby, is ideal for diners to have tête-à-tête with business colleagues, friends or family over a delectable assortment of finger sandwiches, pastries and scones paired with a choice of beverage from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m., the period when the outlet serves up its legendary three-tiered afternoon tea service. Due to its popularity, reservation is required to avoid disappointment.
- For a remarkably unforgettable fine dining experience, guests can proceed to the handsomely furnished Java Tree, which dishes out classic European menu that includes gratifying favourites like beef Wellington, Dover sole, beef tartare, and French onion soup, apart from mouth-watering Nyonya culinary delights that hail from the former Straits Settlements(Penang, Melaka and Singapore)such as pais buah keluak(grilled snapper cooked with Asian truffle and Nyonya spices), pineapple prawn curry, and otak-otak (grilled mackerel cake) with a twist.
Palm Court, Java Tree and Farquhar Bar require guests to wear smart casual dress code to enter, especially after 6:00 p.m.
For more info, visit https://www.eohotels.com/.