Hotel Penaga Review, Penang - Poplar Travels
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Apr 12 2015

Hotel Penaga Review, Penang

Penang has become a popular spot for hotels with loads of character and the number of small boutique accommodations is one the rise. With trendy nightlife, street art lining the roads and a nearby beach, this small city is a popular destination in Malaysia. The quaint island of Georgetown, with its colonial charm, is especially popular for boutique hotels. Among the best is Hotel Penaga, designed and owned by a power couple consisting of a well-known architect and an environmentalist. The resulting structure is stylish, welcoming and green.

The Rooms

Our room was on the corner of the main building and had a balcony that wrapped around two sides. The area is quiet in spite of the several restaurants located in the neighboring buildings. From our balcony, we could see sky scrapers as well as local stores and trendy coffee shops, giving a fun and summarizing view of the city.

The decor throughout Penaga manages to incorporate intricate antiques from around Asia with modern paintings and bright, boxy furniture. Our incredibly comfortable four poster bed with its puffy white duvet was accented by a lime green couch at the foot. Our dressing area housed a huge red antique wardrobe next to a walk-in glass rain shower.

The Clarke Terraces in the adjacent building are each unique with the same funky-meets-antique designs as the main building, but we think our Hutton Room (H20) was one of the best. The Terraces all have jacuzzis and separate living areas. The Terraces are larger, perfect for families, and include a wet bar and outdoor jacuzzi.


The Grounds

Hotel Penaga is made from what was originally a row of townhouses. The main building houses the lobby, restaurant and bar and the Hutton Rooms. A garden area joins this with two other buildings with the Clarke Terraces and Transfer Suites. The garden is so full of interesting plants, a guide is provided in each guest room to aid exploration.

A small glass-walled pool is tucked behind the main building with a lounging area for two. The heat of Penang certainly makes this an ideal feature for any accommodation.

The walls of Penaga are decorated with uncommon art created by a number of local and international artists. The hotel hosts an artist in residence program and many pieces were created by past participants specifically for the hotel. To get to know the program and the hotel’s owners, spend some time in the library where you’ll find shelves full of interesting volumes on the area, art and architecture.

The Spa

The spa at Penaga is small, but personable. Appointments must be made in advance due to the limited space and staff, but there is a sizeable menu. All the products and treatments are completely natural, so you can have a true detox experience. I stopped by before we left for a pedicure and have since grown fond of the natural look – no nail polish is used since it contains so many chemicals.

The Food

Breakfast was a partial buffet with a la carte items. The menu didn’t include anything especially unique or exciting except for a mix of caramelized bananas, onions and apples. That and the bacon were especially delicious. Eager to explore the area we actually attempted to find breakfast outside the hotel, but returned defeated, unable to find a single breakfast spot open at 8:30 a.m.

Penang is known for its amazing food, so we suggest venturing out for your other meals. The staff had lots of good recommendations for us and were happy to draw directions on a map.



Quick Tips

  • Hotel Penaga is in a great location in Georgetown, perfect for exploring the different neighborhood. Ask the staff for recommendations for meals and sight-seeing
  • Make spa reservations in advance
  • Pay attention to the unique art around the property and in your room!
  • We loved our corner room in the main house, but the Clarke Terraces are ideal for families or a longer stay
  • For more information and to make a reservation, visit Hotel Penaga online


Poplar Travels was a guest of Hotel Penaga. Our opinion is always our own. 

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Evanne Allen

Evanne co-founded Poplar Travels after quitting her job in Washington, D.C. She got itchy feet at a young age and has never lost the urge to explore the planet. A previous museum employee, she is apt to drag travel partners into several cultural institutions anywhere she goes. She wishes she could speak every language and loves meeting new people.

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