Georgetown is known for being a backpacker’s destination. Its streets are full of hostels, the food is dirt cheap, and there are plenty of free things to do. Accommodation in Georgetown can be roughly divided into three sections: hotels, hostels and bed and breakfasts. Most accommodations are filled with history; hostels occupy old shophouses, while other places play on Georgetown’s colonial history. Whether you’re out to conquer the world on a shoestring budget, or you’re looking to pamper yourself with a luxurious stay, there’re no shortages of roofs to put over your head in Georgetown.
Georgetown’s hotels range from huge and grand to small, homey inns. Most play on Georgetown’s heritage, and it’s harder to find one that isn’t housed in a historical location.
The name Eastern & Oriental is almost synonymous with Penang. Built in 1885, this five-star hotel has played host to generations of travelers, celebrities and heads of states. It harks back to the grand elegance of the British colonial era, and you can expect a luxurious stay, an excellent breakfast buffet, and great service
The hotel is full of olde-worlde charm, with a quiet and dignified air about it. It’s especially popular with couples. Built along the promenade, some rooms offer a lovely sea view, while others face the heritage streets of Georgetown. The rooms, like the rest of the hotel, are grand and full of the luxurious trappings of the colonial era. You can expect all the amenities that you’ll need for a comfortable stay. Free Wi-Fi is available, but the connection is not strong, especially in older parts of the hotel like the Heritage Wing.
The hotel is located at the intersection of Farquhar Street and Penang Road. It’s within walking distance of attractions such as Fort Cornwallis. Upper Penang Road, a popular nightlife spot, is located just outside the hotel.
Eastern & Oriental
Address: 10, Lebuh Farquhar, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Price: from 207 USD upwards
Contact: +60 4-222 2000
The Chulia Mansion is a small, boutique hotel. It occupies a five-story shophouse along Chulia Street, and is right in the heart of Georgetown. Chulia Street was one of the first four streets in Georgetown (the other three are Beach Street, Light Street, and Pitt Street), so you know you’ll be staying in one of the most historically significant areas. From Chulia Street, you can easily walk about the other heritage streets and find attractions such as the street-art murals.
It might not look like much from the outside, but the interior of Chulia Mansion is bright and modern. This theme follows into the rooms, which are cheery and cozy, and have all the comforts of home. Free Wi-Fi is available, and for every night that you stay, you are entitled to up to 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of free laundry services. Their complimentary breakfast buffet also has a lot of fun options such as eggs benedict and mini seafood burgers. You will also have a complimentary drink, which you can claim at their rooftop bar. It’s a great place to drink, relax, and enjoy the views of Georgetown.
This is great for an affordable stay that also gives you a fantastic experience.
Address: 413, Lebuh Chulia, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Price: from 39 USD upwards
Contact: +60 4-261 8788
With a great location at an affordable price, the Evergreen Laurel Hotel Penang is a good choice for families. It’s just minutes away from Gurney Drive. Guests can just take a short stroll and enjoy all the shopping and hawker food there. It’s also near to Georgetown’s UNESCO Heritage Zone, where you can find museums and street food galore.
The Evergreen Laurel offers great value for money. It’s a lot less pricey compared to other hotels along Gurney Drive, and you don’t compromise on facilities. It has a gym and a pool, so you can stay in shape or cool off easily.
The rooms are spacious and comfortable, but they may feel a bit weathered because the hotel was built in 1997. At least you know that the regular traffic means the hotel is a popular choice! Amenities such as an in-room safe, tea and coffee making facilities, and a television are all available. The hotel also provides a complimentary buffet breakfast and free Wi-Fi.
Evergreen Laurel Hotel Penang
Address: 53 Persiaran Gurney, 10250 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Price: from 57 USD upwards
Contact: +60 4-226 9988
G Hotel is a great choice for travelers who are looking for a bit more luxury during their Penang stay. It’s located along Gurney Drive, and it’s even connected to Gurney Plaza. You’ll be right in the middle of some of the best food and shopping in Penang. Guests can easily walk out to the hawker stalls lining Gurney Drive, or to other malls such as the Gurney Paragon.
G Hotel has a classy and romantic feel to it, and the staff go out of their way to ensure that you have a comfortable stay. Aside from the usual amenities that you’d expect from a hotel room, you can also loan mountain bikes from the front desk. Free Wi-Fi is available for guests throughout the hotel. There is an also an infinity pool for you to cool off.
Although the hotel is well-known for its dinner buffets, there is no complimentary breakfast. Then again, who needs that when you’re next to Gurney Drive!
G Hotel Gurney
Address: 168A, Persiaran Gurney, George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Price: from 139 USD upwards
Contact: +60 4-238 0000
Staying in the Hotel Penaga is like staying in an olde-worlde time capsule. It’s a boutique heritage hotel that’s made up of 15 pre-war terraces.
When the hotel was renovated, the owners, an architect and an environmentalist, placed a special emphasis on ensuring that the hotel was redone in a traditional and sustainable way. Now, the hotel is tastefully decorated with Peranakan and Balinese furnishings, which blend culture and history together beautifully, with no shortage on modernity.
What’s interesting about this hotel is that it hosts an artist for a few months. The artists display their work in the hotel’s on-site studio, and at the end of their stay they present the hotel with a piece of their work to display. Over the years, many artists from all over the world have taken part in the program, further adding to the art and culture that this hotel is already drenched in.
All of the rooms are furnished with love and care, and are gorgeous places to stay in – think stained glass, antique furniture, and glossy hardwood floors. You can expect all the standard amenities, such as an in-room safe, a daily newspaper, and toiletries. Wi-Fi is available in the hotel. The mini bar is also complimentary. However, breakfast is not provided. Families or bigger groups have the option to book an entire terrace house.
The Hotel Penaga has a great location that is close to historic sites in Georgetown such as Campbell Street and the Hainan Temple.
Address: Jalan Hutton, George Town, 10050 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Price: from 93 USD upwards
Contact: +60 4-261 1891
At the East Indies Mansion, you’ll find all the comforts of a hotel, but with the homey atmosphere of a homestay. There are only 6 rooms in the hotel, and the close interaction between the owners and the other guests all help to create that welcoming feeling.
The hotel is drenched in culture and heritage. Located in China Street, the building was originally the home of Koh Lay Huan, the first leader of the overseas Chinese enclaves in Southeast Asia. The building was considered one of the most impressive residences in Penang. The mansion has been expertly restored and furnished to reflect its Chinese heritage, and it transports guests back into time.
The six rooms have individual designs, with hand-picked antiques and art pieces. The rooms come with Wi-Fi, a writing desk, and a tub.
From China Street, you can easily walk to the other heritage attractions, and the bus interchange and ferry terminal are a ten-minute walk away. Free breakfast is also provided.
East Indies Mansion
Address: Lebuh China, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Price: from 65 USD upwards
Contact: +60 4-261 8025
For a refreshing, luxurious retreat in busy Georgetown, how about a stay at Clove Hall? Clove Hall is made up of six rooms in a private Edwardian Anglo-Malay Bungalow. It’s a five-minute taxi ride from downtown Georgetown. Tucked away in a residential street, Clove Hall is an intimate escape from real life.
The house is decorated in an Old World colonial style, with classic black and white floor tiles and antique furniture. The house is surrounded by a lush tropical garden, and it has a pool. The suites are furnished with equal care and love. They are spacious, with four poster beds, wooden floors, and mosquito nets. Do note that the rooms do not have a fridge or a kettle, but all you have to do is ask and the staff will assist in any way possible.
The best thing about staying in a small place like Clove Hall is that you can expect personalized service. The owners, Jo and Jim Lim, take the time to get to know their guests and chat with them. Here, you can expect a personalized and welcoming stay as opposed to a more sterile stay at a bigger hotel.
Address: Jalan Clove Hall, George Town, 10050 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Price: from 283 USD upwards
Contact: +60 4-229 0818
Located on the historic Macalister Road, Macalister Mansion is a sprawling colonial building that promises a quirky and sophisticated stay. The mansion offers eight rooms, which are all individually designed. Macalister Mansion places a strong emphasis on the arts, which accents the contemporary theme they try to create. Each room has a specially commissioned art piece. The rooms are modern and sleek, and full of different delights. One room has a delicate spiral staircase that leads up to a turret where guests can relax. Another has a large balcony with a view of the front of the mansion.
Here, you can expect all the usual amenities, such as a fridge, kettle, and in-room safe. Complimentary snacks, water, and Wi-Fi are also provided. This hotel is definitely more suited for couples or business travelers. For a stay that will leave you feeling in sophistication and classiness, stay at Macalister Mansion.
Address: 228, Jalan Macalister, George Town, 11400 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Price: from 244 USD upwards
Contact: +60 4-228 3888
All of the hostels in Georgetown are housed in restored shophouses. While this means an authentic and affordable stay, none have lifts, so they might not be suitable for the elderly or children. A plus side about the hostels, though, is that they all have fantastic locations in the city’s oldest streets.
House Of Journey has a great location right in the middle of downtown Georgetown. It’s connected to Chulia Street and Love Lane, where you can find street art such as Children On A Swing. The shophouse where House Of Journey is now was built in the 1850s, and the outside still retains its historical façade.
The hostel offers private rooms for two, mixed dorms (six and 16 beds) and female dorms (four beds). The hostel is clean and well-maintained. The staff are well-known for being friendly. People usually make friends with the staff and with other guests during their stay. Guests are allowed to scribble messages on the walls of the hostel, which adds a fun and quirky element.
Free toast and coffee are provided in the mornings. Wi-Fi and lockers are also provided, and towels are available for a fee. One downside of House of Journey is that the walls are thin, so noise from the other rooms might keep you up.
Prices range from 7.81 USD / bed to 32.55 USD / room.
House Of Journey
Address: 45,47, Sek Chuan Street, George Town
Price: from 7.81 USD upwards
Contact: +60 4-262 1399
Also centrally located in the UNESCO Heritage Zone, Couzi Couji Boutique Hostel has created a warm and vibrant atmosphere in a refurbished shophouse. One special thing about Couzi Couji is the emphasis they place on getting to know your fellow travelers – it has one of the biggest hang-out areas compared to the other hostels.
It offers private rooms, mixed dorms (eight beds), and female dorms (six beds). Wi-Fi and lockers are available, and towels are provided for a fee. In the dorms, the beds have curtains for extra privacy. No breakfast is provided. One downside about Couzi Couji is that there are only three bathrooms in the entire hostel. Even if you have a private room, you’ll have to use the shared bathrooms. The waiting times might be a little long during peak hours.
Couzi Couji Boutique Hostel
Address: 84, Lebuh Gereja, 10200, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Price: from 7.55 USD upwards
Contact: +60 4-251 9585
This is a female-only hostel. It’s located along Queen’s Street, in the UNESCO World Heritage Zone. Attractions such as the Masjid Kapitan Keling and First Avenue are a ten-minute walk away. Queen’s Hostel is a bit pricier than other hostels, but it does its best to make the price worthwhile with great facilities and service.
The whole hostel is vibrant and welcoming, with bright colors and cute decorations. The cutest thing about this hostel is that instead of bunk beds, their beds are raised mattresses with colorful canopies. You can pull the curtains to create your own little tent.
Private rooms are also available in the hostel. The bathrooms have vanity and full-length mirrors for the guests’ convenience. Wi-Fi, a security locker, and towels are provided. You can also use the hostel’s bikes free of charge.
Prices range from 14 - 23 USD
Address: 22, Lebuh Queen, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Price: from 14 USD upwards
Contact: +60 13-489 6218
SIOK Hostel is the biggest flashpacker hotel in Penang. It’s located along Love Lane, in the UNESCO Heritage Zone.
Siok means fun or cool in Malay, and that’s the atmosphere that SIOK Hostel aims to create. The main colors throughout the rooms and common areas are orange and white, reflecting the ‘cool’ vibe. They’ve also tried to break away from the norm by positioning their bunk beds differently. One is length-ways, and the other is width-ways. Their lounge area has a giant chalkboard wall where you can answer the question ‘What do I want to do before I die?’. Each week, the board is wiped clean for a new set of travelers to fill in.
SIOK Hostel provides private rooms, mixed dorms (eight beds), and female dorms (six beds and eight beds). Wi-Fi, lockers, and coffee and tea are provided. There are also facilities for you to store your luggage if need be.
Address: 458, Lebuh Chulia, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Price: from 8.88 USD onwards
Contact: +60 4-263 2663
Situated along Love Lane, The 80s Guesthouse is found right in the UNESCO Heritage World Zone. It’s located in a shophouse that is over a hundred years old. As you can probably guess from the name, the 80s Guest House is all about preserving the past – they aim to create an authentic and timeless stay for their guests.
Because of that, minimal renovations have been made to the shophouse; the old walls and ceiling beams have been left as they are. The old flooring has been used to make doors and furniture in the hotel. It might not be the most modern-looking hostel, but it’s full of character, and you won’t find yourself lacking comfort.
The 80s Guesthouse provides private rooms, mixed dorms (six and eight beds), and female dorms (four and six beds). It provides Wi-Fi, towels, breakfast, and security lockers. You can also borrow bicycles free of charge.
Prices range from 7.81 USD / bed to 24.84 USD / room
The 80s Guesthouse
Address: Lorong Love, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Price: from 7.81 USD upwards
Contact: +60 4-263 8806
B&Bs and homestays
Bed and breakfasts are the perfect mix of hostel and hotel. You get all the amenities and comforts of a hotel with the laid-back vibe of hotel, and for a much cheaper price too!
For a healing night’s sleep, book a room at Ren I Tang. It’s a little boutique hotel that occupies what was once Southeast Asia’s largest Chinese medicine hall and warehouse. It’s located in the heart of Little India, but the interior is peaceful, airy, and laid-back. Thoughtful decorative touches such as old medicine bottles and jarred monkey skulls hark back to its past, and you can even consult the resident sinseh (traditional doctor / healer) in the shop at the front of the hotel.
The rooms are simply furnished, but very comfortable. They have most of the amenities of a hotel, but no in-room safe. Valuables can be kept in a safe at the reception. They have 19 kinds of rooms that suit different needs and work around the space of the building differently. Some rooms come with a traditional herbal tub, while others wrap around the building’s courtyard. A simple breakfast is also provided.
Do note that as this is a heritage building there is no lift.
Ren I Tang Heritage Inn
Address: Lebuh Penang, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Price: from 57 USD upwards
Contact: +60 4-250 8383
Sinkeh is an arty, minimalist guesthouse located in Armenian Street. It’s still within the Heritage Zone, but is in a quieter location compared to streets like Chulia Street or Love Lane.
Like the majority of B&Bs in Penang, Sinkeh occupies an old shophouse. Unlike other B&Bs, Sinkeh has added a modern twist to its restoration. Exposed brick, concrete surfaces, and lots of glass create a different offering from other shophouse hotels in Georgetown. The rooms have huge glass windows and are spacious and airy, with tidy white sheets and concrete-brushed balconies. They strike just the right balance between cluttered and minimalist. Wi-Fi is provided, but it cannot reach the rooms. You can access the Wi-Fi from the reading room and the kitchen.
Staying at Sinkeh also supports the Penang art scene – a fifth of the earnings are put back into programming and production for a large studio on the first floor of the hotel, which is a venue for performances or film screenings.
Do note that children under 15 are not allowed, because the balconies might be a safety hazard for them.
Address: 105, Lebuh Melayu, George Town, 10100 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Price: from 72 USD upwards
Contact: +60 4-261 3966
Noordin Mews prides itself on providing boutique accommodation for today’s flashpacker. It provides spacious private rooms for guests and unlike the other heritage hotels, it’s a lot more roomy. The rooms ring an open-air courtyard with a swimming pool and there are chairs and tables for guests to relax.
In the 1950s and 60s, Noordin Street was famous for being the home of Wembley Cinema, an entertainment center full of performances, games, parties, and dances. Noordin Mews aims to celebrate that popular period of cinema, fashion, and stars. The interiors are inspired by Old Shanghai, with delicate screen doors and intricate tiled floors.
It’s a bit out of the way compared to other hotels. Attractions such as Chulia Street or the Street of Harmony are a ten to fifteen minutes away by foot, so it’s good if you need peace and quiet.
The rooms are clean and minimally decorated. They come with free toiletries and a TV, and a free breakfast is provided.
Address: 53, Lebuh Noordin, 10300, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Price: from 96 USD upwards
Contact: +60 4-263 7125
17. 24 Merican Road
This is a proper homestay. You’ll be staying in the home of Peter and Mei, a couple who have lived in Penang for over 20 years. Their home is a converted storefront with 5 cozy rooms. Its just a twenty-minute walk from downtown Georgetown, and you can take the bus to many other attractions as well.
They own a (very friendly) cat, so people with allergies might want to pick another place. The rooms are cozy and comfortable. They don’t come with the amenities and services of a hotel, but the rooms are clean and will leave you feeling at home. Wi-Fi is available, and if you’re lucky you’ll be able to get some freshly-baked snacks from the kitchen.
The best part about a homestay is that you get to talk to the hosts, who are full of tips about where to go and what to do.
For more information, click here.
24 Merican Road
Address: 24 Merican Road, Georgetown
Price: from 20 USD upwards
Contact: +60 17-432 3080
Choices for everyone
No matter what kind of vacation you’re on in Georgetown, you’ll never find yourself wishing for a roof over your head. Oftentimes, with these heritage hotels and hostels, the stay is a big part of your trip as well. If you want the best of both worlds, you could always divide your trip between a hostel for the first few night, and then splurge on a last night in a hotel.