Ren i Tang

Ren i Tang

That feels better

More on Penang

Looking for a restorative night’s sleep? Ren I Tang, offers the opportunity to unwind in a beautifully restored heritage building with plenty of curative credentials, converted from what used to be Southeast Asia’s longest established Chinese medicine hall and warehouse.

Travelfish says:

The concept may sound clinical, but it feels as though there is a very positive feng shui to this beautifully restored building, and the atmosphere makes it an ideal place to put your feet up, relax and recharge after a day exploring the streets of Penang.

Classic location. : Sally Arnold.
Classic location. Photo: Sally Arnold

Beyond and above streetfront Bistro Tang, the hotel’s restaurant in the heart of vibrant Little India, Ren i Tang occupies a large white triple-stored corner building faced with wooden-shuttered windows. Despite the activity and noise in the surrounding streets, you are drawn into a laidback, airy, stylish and peaceful retreat.

Many of the features of the original building have been preserved, both in terms of the architecture and the furnishings. Apothecary paraphernalia and antique medicine bottles were salvaged from the building and now decorate the common areas. The old pulley systems in the two breezy airwells, formerly used to bring herbs from the storerooms above to the shop on the ground floor, are ingeniously re-styled as part of the light fixtures and baggage-carriage system respectively. Next to reception there is even a small museum displaying tools for processing medicinal herbs and you can still smell the aromas in the air as you walk around.

Low lit and comfortable. : Sally Arnold.
Low lit and comfortable. Photo: Sally Arnold

Rooms are accessed via the original, but steep, wooden stairs, and as there is no lift, Ren I Tang is not really suitable for the less mobile traveller. Due to the nature of the heritage building, the layout of a few of the rooms is somewhat quirky, we particularly like the “airwell” room, and as is hinted by the name, wraps around a large shuttered void.

The interiors are modern and uncluttered enough to let the character of the building shine through. Carefully restored wooden floors and windows are offset by high ceilings, clean whitewashed walls and beautiful handmade beds created from salvaged and recycled timber. Soft white linens, Persian style rugs, fashionable light fittings and quirky towel racks and hooks give the rooms an eclectic yet comfortable feel, where modern and heritage characteristics blend successfully.

Warehouse interiors retained. : Sally Arnold.
Warehouse interiors retained. Photo: Sally Arnold

Rooms are air-con cooled with the addition of ceiling fans for a more tropical breeze, and amenities include tea and coffee-making facilities and flatscreen TVs with a range of satellite channels. Bathrooms are well appointed, featuring sleek contemporary cement and tile finishes, tasteful fixtures and a home-grown range of natural, eco-friendly and herb-inspired shampoos and soaps. Tub rooms add an old-fashioned wooden bathtub complete with a selection of herbal bath salts, perfect for a long restorative soak.

Aside from you room, you can enjoy the relaxing lounge areas and a delightful small courtyard herb garden offers a breath of fresh air. Included breakfast to kick-start your day is served in Bistro Tang by the charming and professional staff who are willing to offer all sorts of suggestions of things to do in Penang.

Possibly some hoarding has taken place! : Sally Arnold.
Possibly some hoarding has taken place! Photo: Sally Arnold

Ren I Tang is an excellent mid range choice, bang in the centre of the action, however if you’d prefer quieter location or a little more breathing space, 23 Love Lane is another beautifully restored heritage property, and if a swimming pool appeals, Noordin Mews also successfully balances the old with the new. Be sure to check out the delightful studio-shop of local artist Foo May Lyn, Chop Kongsi sharing the same premises as Ren I Tang.

Contact details for Ren i Tang

Address: 82A Lebuh Penang, Georgetown
T: (0425) 08 383;  
Coordinates (for GPS): 100º20'24.7" E, 5º25'2.54" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: 250 to 500 ringgit

Room rates

What we were quoted as a walk-in.

Standard double room 260 ringgit 260 ringgit
Superior double room 330 ringgit 330 ringgit
Deluxe double room 390 ringgit 390 ringgit
Family room
Queen plus two singles
480 ringgit 480 ringgit

Reviewed by

Sally spent twelve years leading tourists around Indonesia and Malaysia where she collected a lot of stuff. She once carried a 40kg rug overland across Java. Her house has been described as a cross between a museum and a library. Fuelled by coffee, she can often be found riding her bike or petting stray cats. Sally believes travel is the key to world peace.

From US$56

Provided by Travelfish partner Agoda.

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