Review: The Edison Hotel George Town Penang

Filed Under: Hotels, Hyatt
In the interest of full disclosure, OMAAT earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers (terms apply) that we have found for each product or service. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, hotel chain, or product manufacturer/service provider, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Please check out our advertiser policy for further details about our partners, and thanks for your support!

Here’s an instance of a hotel that I found to be absolutely lovely, but that I wouldn’t stay at again, because it just isn’t for me.

Booking The Edison George Town Penang

I had about 24 hours in Penang, so I needed a hotel for one night. Based on feedback from readers and my own research, I had narrowed it down to three options:

  • The Edison, which is a Small Luxury Hotels of the World property that is affiliated with Hyatt; I liked this option because I could earn Hyatt elite nights, and because World of Hyatt members receive some benefits, like complimentary continental breakfast
  • Macalister Mansion, which is a Design Hotels property that is affiliated with Marriott; this property looked the most charming, though readers mentioned it had the worst location of the three options
  • Eastern & Oriental, which is independent and is generally regarded as the best hotel in the city; I would have booked this in a heartbeat if it were part of Virtuoso or a similar program, but it isn’t

All hotels were in a similar price range, so in the end I booked The Edison for 680MYR (~164USD). This came most highly recommended from readers, would allow me to earn a Hyatt elite night, and would offer me complimentary breakfast.

Eastern & Oriental Hotel, which I checked out during my time in Penang

Redeeming Hyatt Points At The Edison

Since The Edison is affiliated with World of Hyatt, you could redeem World of Hyatt points here. This is a Category 3 World of Hyatt property, meaning that a free night redemption costs 12,000 points.

I value World of Hyatt points at 1.5 cents each, so I thought paying cash was the better deal here, though others will disagree.

Even if you’re not a Hyatt loyalist, earning points with them can be pretty easy. In addition to being able to earn World of Hyatt points with The World of Hyatt Credit Card (review), you can also transfer over points from Ultimate Rewards.

Earn Hyatt points

See this post for everything you need to know about earning Hyatt points with credit cards.

The Edison Penang Review

The Edison has a long history. It was built in 1906 as a private mansion, and in the mid-1940s was converted into a hotel. Over time many updates were made to the hotel, and finally in 2014 a comprehensive transformation was started, to turn the hotel into what it is today.

The hotel opened in its current form in mid-2016, after a restoration and renovation. It has a total of only 35 rooms, so is boutique.

As mentioned above, I thought the hotel was beautiful and so charming, but I just wouldn’t stay here again.

The Edison Arrival, Check-In, And Lobby

I took a taxi from Penang Airport to The Edison, which took about 30 minutes, and cost 40MYR (~10USD).

Funny enough there’s a Waldorf Hotel immediately next to The Edison, though I doubt it’s the type of Waldorf you can redeem Hilton Honors points at. 😉

Waldorf Hotel Penang

How cute is The Edison’s exterior?!

The Edison George Town exterior

The Edison George Town entrance

The interior was equally pretty, with reception being just inside the lobby.

The Edison George Town lobby

The associate checking me in was really friendly. Once I was checked in he gave me a quick tour of the hotel, and also explained that the hotel has an all-day lounge that guests have access to, with snacks and soft drinks. There’s also a wine hour there in the evenings, and then it’s where continental breakfast is served.

I was then brought to my room. This is one of those hotels with unnecessarily massive keys — I get if they want to maintain traditional keys and want to put them on the end of something so that people don’t accidentally take them, but this thing was massive.

The Edison Hotel key

The 35 rooms are spread across two floors, all along the center courtyard.

The Edison Hotel courtyard

The Edison Hotel courtyard

The Edison Deluxe Room

I had booked an entry level deluxe room, and that’s exactly what I received. Given the unique design of the building, there are slight variations between many of the rooms, even within the same category.

I was assigned room 105, located immediately next to the reception desk.

The Edison George Town Penang floorplan

It’s not often you’ll find a standard room with double doors, so that was kind of cool.

The Edison George Town deluxe room exterior

The room itself was large, and I loved how it felt updated and spacious while still feeling modern. The tiles, room finishes, etc., were all great.

The room featured a king size bed, then there was a couch near the door, and then there was a desk across from the bed by the TV.

The Edison George Town deluxe room

The Edison George Town deluxe room

The Edison George Town deluxe room

The bed was on the firm side for my preferences, though I liked the pillows, which were large and soft.

The Edison George Town deluxe room

The room did feel a bit sparsely furnished, as you can see in the below picture. For example, it totally seems like they should have put a small dining table with two chairs in the corner, as it’s otherwise just an empty space (then again, there’s nothing to dine on in the hotel, so maybe not?).

The Edison George Town deluxe room

At the far end of the room was the bathroom, which had a sink, a small closet, and then the toilet and walk-in shower next to one another. This was separated from the rest of the room by a curtain.

The Edison George Town bathroom

The Edison George Town shower & toilet

Toiletries were all from Appelles.

The Edison George Town toiletries

Wifi in the room (and throughout the hotel) was free, and was fast enough.

I do have two (somewhat) significant complaints about the room.

First of all there’s the lack of views. The room just had frosted windows, as the pool was on the other side of it. That wasn’t a huge deal, though having a room without any views outside isn’t ideal.

Furthermore, the room had bad noise insulation. Personally it didn’t bother me too much since I’m someone who likes background noise, but if you’re more sensitive to that, I’d request a room further from the pool and the front desk.

I could hear kids playing in the pool, and I could hear most things going on at reception.

The Edison Lounge & Cabanas

The Edison has a complimentary lounge that all guests have access to. This is where continental breakfast is served daily from 7AM until 10:30AM, and then there’s an evening wine hour from 6PM until 7PM.

The lounge is located on the first floor, at the very end of the hall past the courtyard.

The Edison Hotel courtyard

The Edison Hotel lounge exterior

The lounge was a cute space, though it only had three small tables, and then a communal table with 10 seats.

The Edison Hotel lounge interior

The Edison Hotel lounge interior

The Edison Hotel lounge interior

In addition to the interior seating, there’s outdoor seating, which they refer to as the cabanas. There are several dining tables, and while there are fans and shade, keep in mind that it’s incredibly humid in Penang.

The Edison Hotel cabanas

The Edison Hotel cabanas

The Edison Hotel cabanas

There were complimentary snacks available in the lounge all day and night, though mostly just packaged and other junk food, from cookies to candy. There were also instant noodles.

The Edison Hotel lounge snacks

The Edison Hotel lounge snacks

The Edison Hotel lounge snacks

Then there was a fridge with juice, water, soft drinks, and yogurt.

The Edison Hotel complimentary drinks

In the afternoon they had some additional snacks.

The Edison Hotel lounge afternoon snacks

I didn’t make it to the happy hour, though that’s the only time there’s complimentary alcohol.

The Edison Continental Breakfast

The only breakfast option at the hotel is the complimentary continental breakfast offered in the lounge. The selection consisted of cheese, fresh fruit, cereal, pastries, bread, and scrambled eggs.

The Edison Hotel breakfast

The Edison Hotel breakfast

The Edison Hotel breakfast

The Edison Hotel breakfast

This is nice as a complimentary feature for all guests, but it was hardly an impressive breakfast.

The Edison Pool

Just outside the lounge and cabanas is the hotel’s pool. The pool was essentially a narrow lap pool — I’m not much of a pool person to begin with, and this one certainly didn’t tempt me much.

The Edison pool deck

The Edison pool

The Edison’s Lack Of Gym, Spa, And Restaurants

This gets at the crux of my issue with the hotel, and why I wouldn’t return. I thought the property was charming and the staff all friendly and accommodating.

But the hotel completely lacks amenities. The Edison doesn’t have a gym or a spa. Fine, I can get it not having a spa, but I was surprised they didn’t even have a basic gym.

As such, neither of those would prevent me from returning, though.

My real issue is that the hotel doesn’t have any sort of bar or dining outlet. There are the complimentary snacks available in the lounge all day, and there’s the continental breakfast, but there’s not a single option to buy anything to eat or drink at the hotel.

Want to have dinner at a reasonable hour? You’ll have to go somewhere else. What a more extensive breakfast? You’ll have to go somewhere else. Want a glass of wine not from 6-7PM? You’ll have to go somewhere else.

In fairness, I should have known this coming in. I checked the hotel’s website and was confused by their lack of mention of any restaurant, spa, or gym. I figured at least the restaurant part was an oversight, because I don’t think I’ve ever stayed at a hotel that simply won’t sell you anything. Even a limited service hotel sells at least some things.

Of course I should also acknowledge that Penang is a foodie city, and most people probably want to leave the hotel for all their meals. I have a unique schedule when I travel, since I’m still working and trying to maintain at least partly a US schedule.

Presumably this lack of amenities works fine for most guests. This hotel gets amazing reviews online — on TripAdvisor it has five stars and is rated the best hotel in the city. But it’s simply not for me…

Overall Thoughts On Penang

This was my first time in Penang, and I really only had a morning to explore (I desperately needed a nap in the afternoon and then worked most of the night).

Penang, Malaysia

Overall I enjoyed walking around Penang. The variety of architecture was cool to look at, the food was exceptional, and the city has a nice setting right on the water.

Penang, Malaysia

It’s also clear there’s a lot of development happening in the city. Even though the airport is a ways from the city, there’s a huge amount of construction in that area.

All that being said, I’m not sure I’d vacation here in the future based on my visit. I could get coming here if you live in Singapore, but it’s still a relatively sleepy city, and I couldn’t imagine flying halfway around the world to visit it. Then again, I’m not much of a city person nowadays, with few exceptions.

The Edison Penang Bottom Line

The Edison is a charming, historic hotel. I loved the design of the rooms and public areas, and the fact that they have a complimentary lounge for all guests with food and drinks is nice. The staff were also nice across the board.

That being said, I wouldn’t return to this hotel, because I value amenities like a restaurant and gym. Clearly these shortcomings don’t bother others, based on the reviews the hotel gets online, which are borderline perfect (and seem to be legitimate, since there are nearly 800 of them).

If I were to return to Penang I’d probably stay at the Eastern & Oriental, even though it’s the only one of the three properties I was considering where I couldn’t have earned or redeemed any points. The hotel looks charming, it has a good location, and it has several dining options, and a lot more amenities as well.

What do you make of The Edison — does the complimentary lounge make up for the lack of other amenities? Would you consider staying here?

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
  1. Definitely a case where your individual mode of travel is in opposition to what most other people are traveling for. I can see someone who’s there for business having similar needs but for people who are there for the purpose of actually visiting Penang that hotel has a great location close to some of the best eating in the world, as well as some notable cocktail bars. I stayed in the Blue Mansion, directly across the street and, save for moving it perhaps a block or two towards the action, I found the similar conditions of stay ideal.

    BTW, when I was there (this time last year), the Waldorf was missing one of the letters from its name.

  2. From your pictures, I get the general sense of a lack of windows/natural light throughout most of the property.

  3. Good review. I stayed at the McAlister Mansion last November. Only eight rooms and they are very nice. The WiFi kept disconnecting and it not within walking distance from downtown George Town. They do have great breakfast available when paying, but not on award stays. They have a bar and dinner menu and a fine dining restaurant.

    The E & O looks nice. Good location and good views, but need to accept a ton of tourists in the lobby area and out front on a regular basis.

    We will go back in a heartbeat to Penang and Singapore. If you aren’t a foodie then I can see it being a boring or sleeping place. When we go back there is a high speed boat ferry that will take one to a nearby island that had a Marriott resort.

  4. I appreciate most of your reviews but this was just all kinds of wrong.

    Penang is a foodie mecca with fascinating culture and wonderful people. I have and will continue to travel around the world to visit. Dreaming of kuih…

    Your hotel looks fresh and brand new, has a wonderful location, and there’s a fantastic huge hawker center quite literally across the street is open until super late. Most quality hotels in George Town with good locations are small due to heritage regulations. Most won’t have a gym and few have a pool due to space constraints or renovation rules.

    FYI the E&O really needed a refresh about 15 years ago and in terms of amenities has a sad bar that feels like you’re in Applebees.

  5. I lived in Singapore and never went there. Langkawi and DaNang (Hoi An beach area) were my go to spots. As for restaurants I don’t think they would be financially viable given the cheap and good quality food around. Not my favourite city but a lot of friends love it and have been several times.

  6. I stayed at the Penang doubletree last month (cheap on points) and liked the hotel, although the location was pretty isolated. The problem is, Penang doesn’t have any good well located points hotels.
    Penang itself is ok but not as interesting as Kota Kinabalu or Kuala Lumpur. Kota Kinabalu has a solid Hyatt with a great breakfast and a lovely club lounge. Add in some great snorkeling, decent markets, and good excursions and you have a good place to visit.

  7. @ B …. totally agree. Foodie mecca. The Hyatt and E&O have good locations, but Ben was just in George Town which is mainly chinese. There’s more to Penang than just George Town especially if you want to try the Malay/Muslim food. (The island is majority ethnic Malay and the city is majority ethnic chinese.) Plus there is stuff to do across the straight in Butterworth.

    @ Christian…. not sure where the points hotels on Penang island should be located to be well located. Either on Batu Faranghi beach like the Double Tree or in George Town. We used Grab for rides and was great. Within George Town a ride was there within minutes of requesting thru app. There is no hotel location that with allow one to just be able to walk somewhere unless one is just limiting themselves to a certain area of George Town. A Grab or taxi are inevitable.

  8. We stayed at the Seven Terraces and it was wonderful; small, historical and great location.
    If ever there again give it a look.

  9. The concept of boutique hotels are still foreign to the local market. Hence, locals will know of the low- and high-end hotels. The middle market is still in its infancy in Penang. I should know because my relatives are still scattered all over the island.

    Penang is a destination, not a stopover. It will take a few days for foreigners to warm up to the island’s pace. Penang has a lousy public transport system (bus) and you will need you own car to get around town. That being said, you’ll need local friends to show you around, or head to the northern part of the island to camp out by the beaches. The festivals and good food are worthy returning to, but you really need a local to show you around.

  10. You clearly missed the point of Penang. You go there to enjoy the amazing local food, but I doubt you’d eat much of it, as you’re so picky and that comes from someone that’s being called a picky eater. The hotels are “rustic” by design and they’re in general small. Don’t expect them to be like hotels in the US, as you’re not back home. Penang is a fantastic place if you know why you’re the, but it’s not for luxury hotels with gyms or sandy beaches for sure. We’ve been back several times and always discover something new.

  11. Sad. Lucky does not go out to enjoy the local stuff. I guess I know which character he would be in the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

  12. Georgetown is great but there is pretty aggressive prostitution at night. Mostly African trafficked girls or Asian transsexuals. Go figure.

    Georgetown has lots of historic architecture. I’m told Singapore looked like it before the 1960s.

    Eastern and Oriental is disappointing. It doesn’t live up the hype, not least because the two separate wings basically function as two separate hotels with vastly different levels of service. The tower is also kind of hideous and overshadows the old part.

  13. I shake my head and wonder. So typically American expecting everything to be like America. If you did your research and actually spent adequate time other than a “morning” to explore not just the “Food Capital of Malaysia” but a tropical island with so much to offer, not just the “quaint, cute” Old Georgetown which BTW is a UNESCO World Heritage site, you might have had a more positive experience. If you understood the local culture, the historic architectural background of your hotel and the immediate area which is full of food and bars, you might have understood why there was no restaurant. Maybe you should have asked the hotel “why” and also who they cater to? I bet you didn’t even venture to try the Nasi Lemak I saw wrapped in banana leaves at your breakfast lounge; a very common breakfast item throughout Malaysia and Singapore. There is even a “High Tea” culture of savory and sweets that explains the extra food in the lounge that you missed in the afternoon. I am sorry, but you need to “stop and smell the roses” and actually understand the cultures and explore the destinations, and taste and smell the local cuisine BEFORE you pass judgement on a destination. You might travel to a lot of places but you seem to miss out on so much at the same time other than First Class & J Class airline seats and hotels. What a gem of a destination you missed out on in Penang!

  14. @ Steve — You’re a bit all over the place, so I’m not sure which part of my decision making process you’re criticizing most, so let me address a few points.

    Why was I only in Penang for a day? Because this blog is my job, and this was a business trip. I review airlines for a living, in part. I had other priorities in this case — before the trip I was spending time with my mom (who continues to battle very serious cancer), and afterwards I immediately had an in-person business meeting with colleagues. I didn’t not spend more time in Penang because I have no interest, but rather because that was realistically all of the time I could spend there.

    Next, I’m not in any way passing judgment on the destination. I said I enjoyed my time there.

    Lastly, to me eating in a hotel isn’t something I desire because I prefer that to going outside, but rather because it’s practical when I’m busy. I can easily take my laptop to a bar or restaurant in a hotel and work while having a bite to eat, while that’s less practical when out and about.

    Anyway, I understand the confusion, because people seem to assume that this blog is a hobby that takes a few hours a day. That’s not the case, and on days where I travel it means I get very little sleep.

  15. This is an excellent hotel in my book. Charming, unique and with a plethora of snack and cold drink options. Plenty of quality food places nearby, so the fact that there was no hotel restaurant is not an issue. This one checks off all the boxes for me based on the good photos.

  16. As Lucky just mentioned, this was a review trip. Neither the goal of this entire trip nor the goal of this particular installment is to give comprehensive travel advisory about Penang. He was just reviewing the flights and hotels that he tried, and has explicitly explained he had a different travel pattern while pointing out how regular travelers love this place. So don’t be upset when Lucky says he doesn’t like the hotels you enjoyed…

  17. @ Ben,

    You’re right, I think the recently renovated E&O hotel would have better suited your travel needs, but I totally understand why the Edison makes for a better review given the points/maximizing focus of the blog. Thank you for going out of your way to create content for us readers!

    I remember that you enjoyed Crazy Rich Asians – you may be surprised to know that a number of the scenes were actually shot in Penang, including at the E&O hotel and the Blue Mansion. Full disclosure: I actually got married at the E&O hotel and the Blue Mansion…

  18. I never understood your obsession with roomservice. Why would you want to eat room service or in a hotel restaurant. If it’s open at 0300 then I can see that. You have hawker centers all around this hotel. The quality of the food in the hawker center is 10x times better then a hotel restaurant/ room service Plus 75% cheaper

  19. @ Jojo — It’s not an “obsession.” The situations where I order room service are situations where I’m trying to get work done while also hungry. This wasn’t a vacation where I had unlimited leisure time…

  20. I can see the comments on this post exploding.

    Whilst it’s ok to appreciate that Ben reviews airlines and hotels, not cities, it’s a little unforgivable to totally ignore the local cuisine just because you’re reviewing a hotel.

    There are two ends of the spectrum I can describe here.

    I was born and live in London, for context.

    I stayed at the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, and it was like cleansing the soul to leave the hotel and avoid the club sandwiches and eggs Benedict and go eat at Sushizanmai at 3am or have Chicken based ramen with a one hour queue in Ginza for lunch.

    Similarly, it was bliss to leave the W in Taipei, with a disgusting burger, and have some Yakiniku or Din Tai Fung.

    On the other hand, in Innsbruck at the AC hotel, I arrived parched off a flight and they wouldn’t even send a coke or sprite up to my room, i ending up drinking from the bathroom tap.

    Whilst a hotel restaurant is important for a quick sandwich or to quench thirst, relying on it for a proper meal is idiotic.

    I had some lovely Schnitzel and Wurst in Innsbruck.

    On the other hand Cheval Blanc Randheli had French, Italian and Japanese cuisine in various restaurants and I had no desire to visit a local island to eat Maldivian food.

    Nor did I miss a local trattoria when staying at Il Borro in Tuscany.

    It’s really all about context.

    Oh and Lucky, if you’re ‘too busy’ to have a meal, and need your laptop with you, you really need to spend some time in Italy and France, and realise that nothing and I mean nothing comes before mealtimes.

  21. @ K4 — Perhaps it wasn’t clear, but I *did* eat outside the hotel in the morning. I picked up a snack and then also had an early lunch.

  22. @Ben

    I didn’t say you didn’t eat outside the hotel.

    I actually think a hotel not having a restaurant is a right pain. See my comments about AC Innsbruck.

    However, the hotel food (except from a few exceptions like George V in Paris) is always going to be hugely inferior to restaurants outside, unless you’re staying at a highway motel – even then there might be better options.

    I agree with you, a hotel without a restaurant is a nightmare.

    What I don’t agree with is not taking time out to eat and taking your laptop to mealtimes.

    There are enough hours in the day, the working lunch is an Americanism which needs to die. There’s nothing wrong with a glass of wine with your lunch on a working day, you will be sober by the time you’re back in your office.

    I’ve not been to Penang, but I do love Schnitzel and I can tell you, the AC in Innsbruck was a total hassle, no matter how good the food in the city is.

  23. Helpful review. I have been thinking about Penang as I am regularly in Malaysia. From your review I conclude this is not my kind of place.

  24. There’s a reason why Hyatt present as SLH and Marriott present as DH. Most high end hotels in Penang are similar.
    Not saying the criticize are not valid (Hotels should have a restaurant). But I’m surprised you didn’t know what you’re getting into for all the research.
    Penang is indeed foodie mecca, and it’s a shame you didn’t get time to visit Langkawi.

  25. @ Lucky….

    I get you knowing you would not want to vacation there. To say you travel a bit is an understatement and I think you have a good read on what you’ll enjoy even in a 24 hour stay. That said it seemed like your statement that you couldn’t see traveling half way around the world for seemed like a generalization based on a short stay that only had you in one part of the city. George Town is just part of the island. I certainly wouldn’t go just to stay in and only see George Town. There are things around Butterworth to do and see and from near where you stayed you can take a high speed water ferry to Langkawi island where there are 3-4 Cat 6 Marriott resorts. Additionally someone traveling there would likely spend time in KL, Singapore or Taipei as they are the connection points.

    Great reviews from this trip. Besides the South Island of NZ this is my favorite area of the world.

  26. @Lucky– Great review of the hotel. I get that you were busy and it was a work trip, but having ‘thoughts on Penang’ section when there’s no way you could have done the city justice is a possibly a bit misleading for people. Those who haven’t been to Penang are just not going to understand that this is one of the major food destinations of the world.

    An English question: In UK English the expression is “funnily enough”; can anyone tell me is it “funny enough” in American English or is that more likely a mistake?

  27. @Marc: Americans would say “oddly enough” or “strangely enough” where Brits might say “funnily enough”.

  28. All you Penang defenders need to chill. People can actually not like a destination despite it being highlighted by you experts as “foodie town” or whatever cutesy name you come up with.

    Oh and having been there, its really not all that. Went there once, had a decent experience and that’s it. You may think it’s the best place on Earth. Good for you. Some of us can disagree.

  29. @Chatter–Yes, of course. People who don’t like Malaysian or Chinese or Indian food are unlikely to like the place. But it should take longer than a morning to pass judgement on a place. For me the Overall Thoughts section probably shouldn’t be there.

  30. Georgetown is like Kyoto. You need a local insider to show you where the local go to eat, dine and drink. It is probably one of the best street food capitals in the world. There is also a growing fine dining and artisan cafe scene now.

    The real best hotel in Penang, which locals know, is the Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort in Feringghi Beach area. So you completely missed out on not visiting and covering the area.

    Would recommend you give the island a second try, you never really gave it a chance and napping in the afternoon is such a waste.

  31. @malc. Honestly think it’s “funny enough” here in American English. But I have to say I get a kick out of the way you say aluminum and garage lol.

  32. There’s a fabulous, historic, beautiful restaurant right across the street: The Blue Mansion. I was in Penang in August. Penang has terrific durian, if you like durian.

  33. Lucky, my family and I stayed at the E&O for a few nights in 2018. Also stumped with the lack of redemption/earning possibilities – yet desperately wanting to stay at the ‘grandest hotel east of the Suez’ or whatever, I redeemed URs at 1.5¢ apiece and felt like it was a decent deal.

    Yes, there is a big difference among the sections of the E&O. I think we stayed in the historic wing – it was the one with club access by the pool. While my family enjoyed the pool, the 60 minute daily feeding of buzzards at the lounge was appalling. We however loved the extensive breakfast buffet included in our rate and it afforded us the opportunity to get comfortable with many Malaysian foods before heading out to try ‘for real’.

    We thought G-Town was interesting enough for a few days but I’ll not be sad if I never return. With the proximity to Langkawi I don’t know why anyone would come for a beach holiday. But it does retain its former colonial charm and gave me a huge appreciation for the variety and deliciousness of Malaysian food.

  34. Ben, why not take a mobile hotspot w you? Then you can untether yourself from hotel wifi? Been to Penang myself twice for work, stayed at the G and the Equatorial. G is the better choice btw. Georgetown I thought was super charming. We ate seafood at a local restaurant for supper, then bought some char kway teow from a cart on an alley run by an uncle who have been cooking the same thing for 30 yrs then had ais kacang – shaved ice w beans – for dessert.

  35. Laughable review Ben. And frankly this review proves that even though you travel a lot, you’re traveling all sorts of wrong.

    FYI I just stayed at the Edison. Your breakfast review isn’t honest. You didn’t mention the Nasi Lemak served at breakfast which is delicious. Additionally, you can order any type of eggs you want by just asking. It was a great breakfast.

    Of course there is no dining option. You don’t go to Penang to eat at a friggin’ hotel. Are you kidding me? Christ man, get out of your room and go explore. The fact that you only had a morning to explore this mecca is really saddening to me. Frankly, with that little time and effort invested, you simply aren’t qualified to review a hotel, much less the city.

    The best thing I loved about the Edison were the employees. Some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met and always went out of their way to give me advice or dining recommendations.

  36. @Chattee, nobody is saying it’s the best place on Earth. Ben basically put in zero effort to explore the place. Docking the Edison points because they don’t have dining options is a joke. He travels wrong.

  37. I’ve stayed at the E&O several times, mostly in the original building and once in the new part.
    They both have their pros and cons.

    Having now fully done Georgetown and the island sights, next time I go I might have a more leisurely beach/hammock/book stay at Lone Pines, which is further round the coast at Batu Ferringhi. It’s a small hotel not one of the horrid big Hard Rock style places.

  38. I usually find the comment section here at OMAAT useful, interesting and funny, but the rant towards Lucky seems highly unjustified. OMAAT is a site covering flights, hotels and the whole points game – it’s NOT a travel site. I would assume that many of us truly loyal readers visit the site for just that – news and reviews of airlines and hotels. A couple of extra sentences about his first impression of a new place adds a bit of value, at least in my humble opinion, and I can’t see why he should have left it out just because he didn’t spend a full vacation there.

    I travel a lot and I also take a lot of long vacations, but I’m also often faced with 18-24 hrs layovers somewhere and I try to make the most of it, even if it’s just relaxing in a nice hotel or taking a little stroll on the street, as Lucky did. I totally get why he spent his time as he did, why he stayed at that hotel, and why he won’t return.

    Anyway, keep up the good job Lucky 🙂

  39. Thanks for the review – I was at the E&O in December, and really I think this is where miles/points have to take a back seat and just take the best option. E&O was pretty fabulous, and not horrifically expensive. Penang is great as a little respite to HK or Sing, especially in the ‘winter’ (for HK)

  40. @Lukas

    Penang is a destination city not simply a place to “layover” so I don’t really understand that. If Lucky wants to just waste his time there, that’s his prerogative. But don’t dock the Edison because it doesn’t cater to the whims of a travel blogger. GMAFB!

  41. I found interesting not one person asked Ben about the well being of his mom battling cancer valiantly. He answered eloquently the reason he couldn’t devote more time to explore Penang was to show his love and care by being available to her when it counts the most. It’s tone deaf to insist arguing with a person going through a situation for which the only sensible response is to offer prayers and support.

  42. So thrilled to see my favourite hotel in Penang reviewed on OMAAT, in fact will be there again this weekend! We usually just go out for meals other than breakfast – did you try the packet of Nasi Lemak?

    I hope you also got to hear a bit about seedier bits of the mansion’s history from the staff, and not just the vanilla version from the hotel’s website.

    The staff there are also great with restaurant recommendations and helping to make reservations.

  43. @JoeMart

    Don’t punish Edison/Penang then because of his limited time. That is his choice. And frankly Ben should have known that the Edison didn’t have dining options before he booked if that’s important to him. It’s absurd to punish a hotel for something that is known beforehand.

  44. Do you have the Grab App? You can easily order takeaway to the hotel. Arrives very quickly. Can still eat while working in the hotel plus you have the benefit of eating something that is much better value than hotel food. Pretty sure you can get something most times of the day/night. Not sure why that is not acceptable to you…

  45. Of course I should also acknowledge that Penang is a foodie city, and most people probably want to leave the hotel for all their meals.

    Why would anyone go completely around the world, and then stay inside a hotel and eat hotel food? Nobody travels 18, 000 km and stays for a day and then jets off again. Sometimes, these reviews are nonsensical, as the issues raised would never ever be experienced by anyone.

  46. @ Reginald — I’m not “punishing” the hotel in any way. I acknowledge it’s a beautiful hotel, I state that this hotel clearly works for most people and that it gets excellent reviews. And then I state a few of the hotel amenities that I value, and clearly acknowledge that puts me in the minority, while stating that this is the reason that *I* wouldn’t return (while never suggesting other people shouldn’t stay there.

    And to be clear, the other two hotels I was considering (one of which is significantly smaller) both have restaurants and bars.

  47. @ Fed UP — A lot of people traveling for business *do* go to the other side of the world for a day or two. Again (I’m not sure how many times I can say this), but I *did* eat outside of the hotel. But it’s ridiculous to act as if people traveling for business, who have busy schedules, don’t sometimes value the convenience of a dining option in a hotel.

    This is being blown completely out of proportion…

  48. @ JoeMart — Thanks for the kind words. It’s not easy and things aren’t getting better, but she’s a fighter and I’m grateful for the time I get to spend with her.

  49. @Ben

    It’s not being blown out of proportion. You say you aren’t likely to return to Penang but you barely even scratched the surface. That’s an ignorant thing to say.

  50. @ Reginald — But what’s your point? That I’m incapable of reviewing a hotel in 24 hours (which is a point you make)? Because I guess I can never review an airport hotel or Yotel then. Or that I’m just a piece of crap for choosing to spend time with my mom rather than an extra day in Penang, realizing that Penang will always be there?

    Believe it or not, I’m not here to live my life by your standards, or what you think is worth it or the “right” way to travel.

    But at least have a consistent and logical argument. This site has never been about reviewing destinations, it’s about reviewing airlines and hotels, and other tips for maximizing travel rewards.

  51. The idea that Ben shouldn’t critic a hotel on dining options or lack thereof because he could have read the hotel descriptions or reviews is laughable. He doesn’t “scrub” hotels for their amenities. That’s the point of him going in to review it. And he will review it with his personal perspective in place. People can take what they want out of the review, but it should not include criticism of what he may or may not like with the hotel.

    @ Ben … Glad you have your priorities straight with seeing your mom over an extra day anywhere.

  52. Hmmmm Ben, I think you are letting some of the comments get to you here. You used to just ignore them. I hope it is not because of your mom’s situation at home. As a long time reader, I really enjoyed most of your reviews and learned a lot from them. Unfortunately, many of the commenters above does not understand the perspective of why your are traveling and writing this blog and use very negative tone in the comments! I wish your mom well,

    @Reginald, I don’t understand how can your read that Ben “punishes” Edison and put down Penang. He definitely complements the hotel and explained the reasons why he won’t stay there again. He didn’t say he won’t go back to Penang soon because of the city itself, but he is not going back soon because he is an American based writer and have to travel around half of the world to it. But then you call him being not honest about the breakfast and “travel all wrong”. Guest what, if you have such strong feelings about the Edison and Penang why don’t you create your own blog and promote the place instead of reading Ben’s blog half-assed?

  53. @ alinsfca — Appreciate the comments, and perhaps you’re right. Sometimes I figure I can reason with people and something is just a miscommunication, but I guess I should know better that this rarely accomplishes anything, because people have an agenda.

    For most of last year I didn’t do many review trips because I was prioritizing things at home (particularly spending time with my mom). Many people complained about the lack of reviews (don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the passion), and I’ve hugely increased the number of reviews lately. However, I’ve taken these trips while minimizing the amount of time I’m away from home, given what’s going on.

    I recognize most people appreciate it, it’s just sad what some people choose to take away from my reviews. I fully acknowledged this was a lovely hotel with great staff, and that most people would love staying here. I also shared the reasons this particular hotel doesn’t work for me. All the other hotels I were considering did have one (simple) amenity that I value.

    Anyway, I think I’ve said everything I need to here. Thanks for understanding my perspective. 🙂

  54. Hotels in old buildings built in the Andelucian style—around a central courtyard—are often tricky for both noise and light.

    And furnishing the room… the desk should be in the blank corner, with a dresser or credenza under the TV. Also, the room lacks art on the walls.

  55. @Lucky–I really think you’re being disingenuous when you say the site has never been about reviewing destinations, when you did just that at the end of the review!

    You know I love this blog. It changed my life, and I visit it more than any other website. You’re an extremely professional person. But brook a little criticism: you can’t say you’re not reviewing destinations and then have overviews – especially when you give no time at all to the destination. Absolutely you should prioritise your mom, and I do wish her all the best. But I think there’s been fair criticism on this page.

  56. 1) The lounge at the Eastern & Oriental is horrible, unless it has changed. Basically, everyone in the new wing has access but the food and drinks are only out for 1 hour at night. As someone else said it’s like feeding buzzards. The wine is $5 cheap Chilean wine like every other hotel in Malaysia. The food is barely passable. Very disappointing.

    2) There used to be a great Four Points by Sheraton about 10-12 minutes from Georgetown but it left after the merger of Marriott Rewards, SPG and Ritz-Carlton Rewards. It was very, very nice. Funny enough the full-service restaurant was better than the Eastern & Oriental.

    3) Marriott has opened an AC Hotel, which fills a niche. Unfortunately it’s managed by YTL. YTL does a really poor job with Marriott’s Kuala Lumpur properties, including the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton. They do the basic minimum and aren’t known for good F&B. The hotel is also a category 4, which seems really high given it just opened and given that the YTL-managed JW Marriott in Kuala Lumpur is only a category 3!

  57. @ FNT Delta Diamond

    Saw that AC hotel. At least there is 25k points option. That said you definitely will need to use Grab due to it’s location. When I was there in November I noticed a Courtyard being built within an existing building on Jalan McAlister just down a couple of blocks from the McAlister Mansion. That will offer another option that hopefully will be good.

  58. @Ben: People I know with a similar level of social media engagement (not in the miles-and-points world) generally treat “Never read the comments” as the first commandment of media posting.

    Penang may be something of a special case; I think some people love it so much that they can’t help but be offended by someone who doesn’t. It would be kind of like writing a review of their Aunt Bertha’s house with the conclusion “nice enough for what it was, wouldn’t go back”. A review of an airport hotel (which is how you were using this hotel), or even a downtown hotel in a major transfer city would probably attract much less vitriol.

    That said, despite your attempt to be fair to the hotel, it’s still a negative review — the bottom line is that you wouldn’t go back. Given that you were looking to use the Edison as a business hotel and it is profoundly something else (at least, I assume they don’t market it as a business hotel, I could be wrong), that’s not entirely fair to them. It’s like someone commenting that your blog fails to provide historical and cultural information on the places you visit. The criticism isn’t really relevant to what you’re trying to do.

  59. @Ben

    Couple points here:

    1) I have zero problem with you spending time with your mom. It’s a strawman argument on your part. Put your blog on hiatus and go spend the next year with your mom. We would all understand. And we all know you’re wealthy so it’s not as if you’d be living under a bridge. But what I won’t accept is you using that as a crutch to why you’re giving adequate time to explore a destination but then also say it’s not a place you wouldn’t return to. It simply doesn’t make any sense.

    2) Yes this site is to review hotels and airlines in the context of travel rewards. The Edison isn’t a rewards hotel. There is no points earning or redemptions at the Edison. So it doesn’t fall in that category (i.e. there is no one mile (point) at a time here). I stand by what I said earlier. You’re slighting the hotel for something you knew before you booked it. It would be the same as if you booked a hotel without a pool and then got mad because the hotel didn’t have a pool. Again, just doesn’t make sense to me.

    I like your blog a lot, been reading it for years. On this particular post, I think you missed the mark.

  60. @ Reginald — The Edison *is* a miles & points hotel. See the section about earning and redeeming Hyatt points. 😉

  61. @Lucky

    Thanks for the review. As another traveller who significantly values on-site amenities I appreciate your opinion. Sometimes you go half the way around the world and actually just want to eat where you are staying, or work out down the hall from where your room is, as after an 18hr flight it’s just easier that way.

  62. Ipoh is the place you need to visit when next in Malaysia. Check out these places : mirror lake, Banjaran hot springs, Jeff’s cellar, cave temples, gunung kledang, orang asli kampung, local food scene, old town, Ipoh architecture and so forth

  63. Thanks for the review Lucky. I can’t understand why so many readers are complaining about your review when you made it clear that you were on a work schedule with business meetings and taking care of you Mom.

    My wife and I stayed at the Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort at Feringghi Beach several years ago and took a day trip into Georgetown. We walked around the city, which we really enjoyed, and passed by the Eastern & Oriental Hotel. It was so hot out that we decided to go in. The hotel was beautiful, wonderful colonial design, lots of wood paneling, the bar looked great, and the pool outside had a great view of the Malacca Straits. They also have a wonderful gift shop with a very friendly and engaging staff. I thought that if I ever went back to Georgetown this is where I would want to stay, but after reading the reviews here, I’m having second thoughts.

  64. Dear Mr Schlappig,

    Greetings from The Edison George Town.

    Thank you for staying with us during your recent visit to Penang and for taking the time to write an extensive review of your stay experience.

    We are delighted to learn that our guestroom and amenities had met with your expectations. We are also happy to hear of your appreciation of the aesthetics of this Grand Old Dame, and our award winning personalised service.

    If you don’t mind, we would like to clarify and address some of the comments in your review. Our customised key tag and tassle form part of our unique concept, and differentiates us from the other hotels. Due to the heritage nature of the building, there are numerous limitations and restrictions as to what can be done especially to the building’s structure which generally is deemed untouchable. If a sea view or city view was your preference then perhaps a boutique hotel experience should not have been your first choice. As with all projects in a UNESCO World Heritage city, strict compliance and imposition of restoration guidelines exist hence the extent of enhancements made is limited, all from configuration of the guestrooms to soundproofing just to name a few.

    Our Continental Breakfast features artisanal breads, local homemade jams, tropical fruit selections, cereals, granola, eggs, cheese and the quintessential Malaysian favourite – Nasi Lemak. In line with our concept of an authentic local experience, the Continental Breakfast is sufficient to kick start the day before one heads out to savour the street food that Penang is so well known for. In regards to catering to one’s hectic work schedule, we have other alcoholic beverages available for sale throughout the day. We are also able to assist guests to order from neighbouring eateries, and which we would have been pleased to assist with the plating even if packed food was brought back to the Hotel. We appreciate and have taken note of your comments on the enhancement suggestions for our Guestroom and guest amenities, and have since begun the studies on how these can further enhance what our guest experience.

    We hope that you will reconsider another visit to Penang in the future and perhaps we suggest to spend a little more time to fully immerse yourself in the abundance of culture, heritage and the street food haven that Penang is so renowned for.

    Till we meet again, safe travels!

    Warmest Regards,

    Ivan Khoo
    Hotel Manager

  65. @Ben

    I stand corrected then. However given the low cash rates at Edison, you’d have to be a clown to want to redeem 12k points a night.

    And FYI, everyone gets complimentary breakfast at the Edison, not just Hyatt members.

  66. Hi Ben! I’m an avid follower of yours, and I happen to be a native son of Penang.. born and raised, and still live/work here. I read your review with mixed feelings… had a huge grin on my face when I saw you made it allllll the way over to my island, but sad that you didn’t have the chance to make it out and sample some truly mind-blowing local delights (including many dishes that others here have offered).

    Here’s my offer: come on back to Penang, and this time, stay a week or so. Bring your fam with you too. Best time of year to visit: anytime is good, but I’d avoid February and December (huge crowds during the Lunar new Year), and would also avoid July, given there’s a huge cultural festival going on that month, when plenty of local street food places close down.

    Drop me a line and let me know when you’re up here, and I’d be more than happy to bring you out in my car, for an authentic local experience. I’d bet my bottom Malaysian Ringgit that you’ll leave my island in a better state of mind than when you arrived 🙂

  67. @Bratty

    Another ignorant comment. Edison is a legit 5* in Penang. Some people just aren’t cut out for international traveling. Stick to New York or Los Angeles.

  68. I stayed in room 105 last December. There’s no food in the hotel, but you’re also right across the street from a hawker center, and walking distance from cocktail bars and other food. The rooms were a bit sparse, but actually preferred that instead of having tables and stuff I would never use. I liked it, I would stay there again.

  69. That Bloody Key looks less like a room key and more like something you’d get at a restaurant that has a shared building bathroom

  70. @Reginald – seriously you need to chill and stop insulting others with your own rude offensive comments. Keep your comments to yourself. Seriously. Just write the good stuff.

    @steve @K4 @All_other_Penang_Defenders – seriously the rest of you need to chill as well and give Ben Lucky a break. This is his blog. He can write whatever he wants. Constructive feedback from readers written in a more positive undertone is very much appreciated. Just stop your own self-rant on his blog comments. I mean, hey we all get it. You peeps like/love Penang and Super like it, but hey, others have their own likes and dislikes too. It is what it is. So let’s all agree to disagree. Maturely.

    @Ben @Lucky – Chill. This is YOUR blog. Keep writing dude and ignore the comments in here. You can read them, just don’t let them, especially the negative comments, get to you. Understand you could be going through a rough patch and trying hard times, and the humidity heat could be getting to you, but Hey! this blog is your passion. This is YOUR blog. You Love doing this man. You celebrated the blog’s birthday recently, didn’t you? So relax. Breathe. Deeply. Exhale. Let all the negativity out. There will always be others who choose to disagree with your perspective. Not because they cared less (hey Ben’s Mom. Get Well Soon!), but because they have their own perspective too. But stop. You don’t need to justify nor reply back to their comments, in order for you to feel better. Really. You don’t have to.

    Let’s all just take a step back. Breathe. Chill out for 5 mins. We all need this space. To just chill. There is no point in shooting out bullets after bullets at one another. We get it. We all have our own personal preferences and perspectives when it comes to traveling, food, hotels, reviews.

    Hey, if it’s any consolation, we are now living in A World Without Borders. But this world without borders still come with a decorum of Respect, Tolerance and Love. For Others. Let’s not forget that. Be mindful to others, as you would be mindful to yourself and your Love ones. Cheers Peeps.

  71. I will be that one guy that says, “Penang is a lovely place for food if you are located in Singapore or Kaula Lumpur. However, Other countries in SEA will agree that Penang isn’t the food capital of the world.”

    Why do people have to get over Lucky’s back? Why do they care so much?

    While this property is great for leisure, I wouldn’t care for it on business. I could manage by ordering delivery, but still, an annoyance compared to options directly at a property.

    Lucky certainly gave his perspective on the property, and I agree it’s accurate. I think it works for several people, but for his travels, it doesn’t. This is why reviews are valuable as each person’s perspective, and the reason for the trip will differ, making readers know what to suspect for different circumstances.

  72. While the public areas seem welcoming enough, the photo with the view to the room’s door from within the room is ruefully grim with that harrowing empty space opposite the couch. The rest of the room’s furnishings appears… spare and sad, as if the region were recovering from a crippling civil war and these items were salvaged from the ruins of many other buildings. Minimal, uninspired art on the cell, er… room, walls… all woefully barren and devoid of cultural personality. Seems like the blew their room decorating wad on the key fob.

    On a personal note: I don’t travel as much as I’d like or as exotically as you, so I wonder if you have to cope with pressure/depressurization headaches/earaches as I do and how are you able to provide the requisite eyerolls when reading some of the comments without collapsing in agonizing pain?

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *