Georgetown, Penang, offers a great array of places to stay, from cheap backpacker haunts through to charming heritage hotels. Here are a few guesthouses and hotels in Georgetown that struck us as outstanding value for money. Don’t let the choice of hotels in Georgetown put you in a spin. Under 50 ringgit If you’re visiting Georgetown on a budget, dorms are the way to go. Most of the... Read our full review of Great places to stay in Georgetown, Penang.
Lebuh Chulia -- often referred to by its English moniker Chulia Street -- was named after the moneylenders from the eponymous region in India who first settled this area. This is the heart of Georgetown's backpacker scene, with the predominant theme being cheap guesthouses, hole-in-the-wall restaurants and Chinese shophouses selling everything from antique knick-knacks to furniture.
In a city of beautiful hotels that really deserve the boutique label, 23 Love Lane really stands out. A collection of buildings that date back in some cases to the 1800s, 23 Love Lane was previously the Oasis Hotel (among other things) that was frequently described in guidebooks as a dilapidated old house — dilapidated no more. Lovingly restored over three years, the property opened in... Read our full review of 23 Love Lane.
Sinkeh, the name of one of Penang’s latest guesthouses, means “newcomer” in Hokkien dialect, a historical reference to one of the most hardworking intakes of Chinese immigrants to Penang; but is perhaps also an allusion to the owner’s vision of entwining heritage, modern architecture and the arts community. Sinkeh is no ordinary 19th century shophouse restoration. Space and light... Read our full review of Sinkeh.
Opened in July 2012, and formed out of four linked shophouses that date back to the late 19th century, Cintra Heritage House offers a heritage-style lodging at a more affordable price than many others in the city. We're not sure the shiny stickers on the floor to warn guests about changes in floor height are heritage listed, but we liked this place. Rooms are well sized and come in standard,... Read our full review of Cintra Heritage House.
East Indies Mansion, in the very centre of Georgetown, is no ordinary homestay experience. Considered one of Penang’s most impressive early residences, the building’s roots go back to the very first days of the settlement, since it belonged to the founding father of the town’s Chinese community, Koh Lay Huan. If heritage is your reason for visiting Penang, then this is your opportunity to... Read our full review of East Indies Mansion.
It’s all in the name: A less imaginative owner may have opted to call this homestay, located at number 47 on popular Muntri Street, by street name and number but this fun play on words hints at the twinkle, quirkiness and dash of poetry that sets Moon Tree 47 apart. On the first floor of this charmingly restored shophouse, located right in the UNESCO heritage site are three rooms: two... Read our full review of Moon Tree 47.
Penang is justly renowned for its clan temples, but it also has some of the best preserved Chinese shophouses anywhere in Asia. Spared from the merciless development that has bulldozed its way through many cities in the region, Georgetown’s streets stand testament to the amazing culture and architecture that developed here during the 19th century, and by staying at Muntri House you have the... Read our full review of Muntri House.
From the team behind the Galle Fort Hotel in Sri Lanka, Noordin Mews bills itself as affordable luxury accommodation for today's flashpacker in the heart of George Town and we couldn't say it any better. While the hotel is a bit out of the tourist section of Georgetown (Chulia Street is 15 minutes on foot) it more than compensates with excellent value accommodation, a swimming pool and great... Read our full review of Noordin Mews.
Opened in 2008, Old Penang offers solid budget to flashpacker accommodation and is very popular -- with good reason. The majority of the offerings are dorm beds but there are some private single and double rooms as well, including some with private bathrooms, but most opt for the dorms. Dorms are available in female-only and mixed and the wooden framed beds are solid and of a good standard.... Read our full review of Old Penang Guesthouse.
Located in a beautifully restored heritage shophouse, Pavilion Coffee Homestay has all the hallmarks of Penang’s best cafes combined with stylish yet affordable accommodation. Pavilion Coffee Homestay: not just for coffee lovers. Inside, there is a great balance of both heritage and modern features, and the traditional carved Chinese front doors and expertly crafted wooden entrance screen... Read our full review of Pavilion Coffee Homestay.
Next door to Old Penang Guesthouse, the restored colonial Red Inn offers charm, personable staff and spotless dormitory accommodation (along with a handful of private rooms which we were told are always full). As with the other Red Inn properties, free breakfast comes standard and free WiFi is advertised. We were shown a three-bed and four-bed dorm, the latter was downstairs, a bit dark and... Read our full review of Red Inn.
Set on the northern stretch of Love Lane, past the intersection with Lebuh Muntri, Red Inn Heritage is one of a number of properties under the Red Inn label in Georgetown. It's a big property, running a long way back with a large reception and common fronting onto the street, along with a couple of cafe seatings laneside. There are a dizzying variety of options from large dorms to compact double... Read our full review of Red Inn Heritage.
Looking for a restorative night’s sleep in Penang? One of Georgetown’s newest boutique hotels, Ren i Tang, offers you the chance to stay in a building with plenty of curative credentials, since it is converted from what used to be Southeast Asia’s longest established Chinese medicine hall and warehouse. The concept may sound clinical, but it feels as though there is a very positive feng... Read our full review of Ren i Tang.
Hostels in Georgetown are undergoing something of a renaissance at the moment. As attention moves away from the tired establishments along the traditional backpacker row, Lebuh Chulia, a host of more happening hangouts are beginning to emerge, and Roommates Guesthouse on Lorong Chulia is one of the most recent new kids on the block. Located conveniently close to the backpacker bars, but... Read our full review of Roommates Guesthouse.
Heritage hostels, homestays and boutique hotels have really mushroomed in Georgetown over the last few years, but options for quality larger hotels, with rates that won’t break the bank, are still a lot more limited. However, the recently-opened Royale Bintang Penang is changing the game, and is giving some of the island’s bland, over-priced and underwhelming four-stars a real run for their... Read our full review of Royale Bintang Penang.
This modern-styled guesthouse is owned by the same people who have 75 Travellers Lodge and Oriental Guest House just a few doors down. Rooms are moderately-sized for the money and all rooms come with private bathroom, are available in fan and air-con versions and a few rooms have balconies as well. The rooms won't hit the pages of Vogue anytime soon but they are clean and well-maintained. On the... Read our full review of Star Lodge.
There is no shortage of accommodation in Penang but to be frank, many of Georgetown’s tired-looking budget hostels may not really cut it with today’s discerning backpacker. However, Ryokan on Lebuh Muntri is bucking the trend and has successfully bridged the gap between the drab hostels on nearby Lebuh Chulia and the clutch of high-end boutique hotels that are springing up all over... Read our full review of Ryokan.
The 75 Travellers Lodge is a little bit tatty in places but very easy on the budget, with cheap dorm beds and very affordable budget rooms. The people who run it have succeeded in creating a warm atmosphere and you will find guests hanging out at the table and chairs at the front chatting and swapping stories. The rooms downstairs are a bit dark so it's best to have a look at some upstairs if... Read our full review of 75 Travellers Lodge.
Guest Inn Muntri seems to attract a more Southeast Asian crew than some of the other guesthouses in Georgetown which can make for a refreshing change. Rooms come in three main varieties: dorms, private single and double rooms with shared bathroom, and two private rooms with bathroom. Downstairs includes a small cafe and common area where the complimentary breakfast is served and there is also a... Read our full review of Guest Inn Muntri.
Right beside the popular Muntri Mews and attached to the Western Oriental Cafe, the Oriental Guest House has basic but quite spacious share bathroom rooms in a cavernous 100+ year old building. You may think we're exaggerating about the cavernous nature of the place, but walk into the foyer/common area (which is the cafe) and you'll see what we mean. Most of the rooms are upstairs and come in... Read our full review of Oriental Guest House.
Move over, rundown hostels of Georgetown: there’s a new boy in town. It is not often you walk into a backpacker hostel and feel like you could be in a trendy boutique hotel, but Syok @ Chulia will challenge your conceptions about flashpacker accommodation and it is no exaggeration to say that it sets a new benchmark for Penang, and very possibly for the whole of Malaysia. Lebuh... Read our full review of Syok @ Chulia.
Set behind their cafe restaurant area right on Chulia Street, the Yeng Keng Hotel offers 20 smart rooms in a restored 19th century building. Originally a private residence then later in life a budget hotel, the Yeng Keng in its present form opened in 2010. The decor is more understated than some properties in Georgetown, and you'll feel less like you are staying in an antique shop here. The rooms... Read our full review of Yeng Keng Hotel.
As far as the Chinese-style hotels in Penang go, this one is good value, clean and spacious. We were shown a ground floor room out behind the kitchen area that was spacious with a real mattress (even if it was a bit too big for the bed frame) ceiling fan and air-con plus bathroom. For the money, this is excellent value when compared to the private room offerings at the various hostels across... Read our full review of Hang Chow Hotel.
Popular but basic, Stardust Guesthouse has its own cafe downstairs where you can watch the Penang speed by on Chulia Street. Upstairs, you'll find average rooms, but that is the case with most of the budget digs that face right onto Chulia Street, and noise is an issue. That aside, the facilities, including the bathrooms, are clean and well looked after. Compared with the fancier hostels on Love... Read our full review of Stardust Guest House.
The Love Lane Inn offers free WiFi and basic budget rooms — though go for an upstairs room as the downstairs ones are pretty dark. As with many Georgetown guesthouses, free tea and coffee is on offer in a small seating area on the ground floor. Rooms could be cleaner and both the rooms we were shown (a single and a triple) were pretty drab. Still, for this area this is cheap. All rooms have... Read our full review of Love Lane Inn.
Staying in Batu Feringghi is expensive and often means spending a lot more money than in Georgetown, or making do with a rundown room in a very simple guesthouse. Budget places are scarce, so if you're keen on staying here but don't have much to spend, try to book ahead. Most budget travellers don't bother and instead opt to stay in Georgetown.
Penang is an island that shivers with good stories: rags to riches and back again, love and loss, passion and pain, all written into its hand-painted tiles, parquet floors and louvered shutters. Enter stage left… Lone Pine Hotel. The first hotel in Batu Ferringhi, the sandy shore of the north coast, it is said to have been established in 1948 by the Australian doctor Albert S. McKern.... Read our full review of Lone Pine Hotel.
With a similar home-style feeling to Baba's, this slightly more expensive place is owned by the same family. It also has most rooms on its second storey and a blue paintwork theme, though they do have a row of newer rooms on the ground floor, which are air-con and have TV. E&T is recognisable by the massive shade-casting tree in the big front... Read our full review of E&T Budget Guesthouse.
Ah Beng is the cheapest on the strip and you get what you pay for. Rooms are built into and extended around a family home and the place has seen some wear. Rooms are a reasonable enough size and the bathrooms what you would expect. There's nothing here that a lick of paint and a bit of care wouldn't sort out and it's about the same standard as places on Lebuh Chulia.... Read our full review of Ah Beng Guesthouse.
Alis is a little more polished than your average budget stay and prices reflect that. This two-storey building is set around a courtyard back from the beach and is comprised of brick downstairs with a wooden floor above. All rooms have satellite TV and are spacious and clean. Staff are a bit aloof and it doesn't have the same homey feel as its... Read our full review of Alis Guesthouse.
This friendly family-owned place has an authentic home-style sense to it, where travellers end up feeling a part of the family rather than just a guest. Guests take off their shoes before entering the blue-dominated house, and most rooms are reached via a wooden staircase located at the back of the kitchen. An open-air veranda holds a row of doors to different sized basic rooms that are clean and... Read our full review of Baba Guesthouse.
Accommodation for backpackers in Penang has undergone something of a renaissance in recent years. A slick new breed of affordable hostels has popped up in Georgetown, with dorms styled in the latest boutique hotel trends and kitted out with an attention to detail and comfort that would put many more expensive places to shame. Now the beach resort of Batu Ferringhi, on the island’s northern... Read our full review of Roomies Boutique Bed and Breakfast.
Ismails is comprised of a row of white concrete chalet-style rooms. Each has its own small balcony area, but all adjoin, affording no privacy. Only two units face directly onto the beach, with the remaining ones lining the walkway between the beach and the road. All rooms are large, bright, comfortable and in good condition. The interiors are more modern than their neighbours and each has... Read our full review of Ismails Beach Guesthouse.
Close to Ismail's, Waverunner is almost its mirror image but in a considerably shabbier state. While the rooms on offer are well sized and come with TV and air-con standard, they lack the more modern finish at aforementioned Ismail's. Also missing are the balconies and the all round bright clean... Read our full review of Waverunner.
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