Clean and contemporary hostel
If your pursestrings are too tight for a beachfront resort, a short walk to the shore, Roomies offers the best deal for a cheap sleep in Batu Ferringhi.
Opposite Park Royal Resort in an ugly shop lot—don’t be put off by the hostel’s outward appearance—climb (and climb and climb) up to the fourth floor where you will be more-than-pleasantly surprised when you reach the top. To help you up the stairs, the amount of calories expanded are marked on each step.
Styled in cool grey cement, with rough-hewn woods and accents of bright green astroturf—seriously!—the industrial-chic vibe couldn’t be more different to what you might expect from the look of the surrounding building. As you walk into the main area you are greeted by a subtly lit Buddha statue, whose serene presence really sets the tone for the whole place.
This smart modern hostel offers a clean, spacious and comfortable ten-bed mixed dorm along with two private rooms. Roomies makes clever use of the limited space, and the main bright air-con dorm also doubles as a communal area. The dorm is furnished with shake-proof metal beds sporting hotel-grade mattresses and clean white linen complete with individual lighting, power outlets, a small shelf and privacy curtain. Towels and blankets are included and lockers are available to keep your bags safe, BYO padlock or rent one for a ten ringgit deposit.
Inside the dorm a hot and chilled water dispenser and small fridge filled with canned drinks is handy if you have a thirst in the middle of the night, and also saves you a trip up and down the stairs for a cold drink. Share hot-water bathrooms are clean, but of the combo toilet-shower variety, so expect stuff to get wet.
A windowless triple bunk-bed style private room with share bathroom is on offer, but we though it rather cramped and the dorm better value, however the private air-con double with ensuite bathroom is a major step up—bright and spacious with smart contemporary decor, bouncy bed with quality linens, TV with in-house movies, minibar, safe and tea-making facilities. The polished cement-finished ensuite is a decent size and offers hot-water rain shower. However, you’ll have to be quick to bag this room, as only one is available.
If you have the energy to climb more stairs, the rooftop terrace filled with potted plants offers umbrella-shaded tables and chairs and makes a pleasant space to hang out with other travellers (if it’s not raining). Rooftop breakfast is included too, served 09:00—11:00, but if you’re an early riser, plenty of local options are nearby.
About a kilometre up the road, their sister property Roomies Suites offers double rooms (no dorm beds) in another ugly shop lot (with an escalator), but we though the location here was the better choice. If you’d prefer a seaside sleep, a row of underwhelming, basic but friendly guesthouses line the seafront behind Ferringhi Garden Resturant, however all rooms are doubles or twins so is a pricier option for single travellers.
Just over the road from Roomies is the sprawling Park Royal Resort who offer a day pass for 55 ringgit which allows you the use of the pools, waterslides, gym and other facilities and is refundable as credit for food and drinks. This is a great way to have the resort experience without paying the silly prices to stay there, and if you base yourself at Roomies, it is right on the doorstep.
Address: 76C-4 Jalan Batu Ferringhi, Batu Ferringhi
T: (0488) 11 344;
Coordinates (for GPS): 100º14'47.33" E, 5º28'17.33" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: Under 60 ringgit
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Dorm air-con||35 ringgit||35 ringgit|
|Triple air-con share bathroom||140 ringgit||140 ringgit|
|Dbl air-con private bathroom||150 ringgit||150 ringgit|
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.
Our top 10 places to stay in and around Penang