Built in 1885 by the Sarkies brothers of The Raffles fame, the newly restored and updated Eastern & Oriental brings you back to the days when Georgetown was visited by traders from all corners of the world, the British way of life was the life, and the hotel was the centerpiece of the town's social scene.
The Heritage Wing has been renovated back into its former glory, and gives you a chance to live like the rich of yesteryear.
The Victory Annexe, which opened in 2013, has a modern touch, yet makes you feel like you are living in classic luxury.
High tea at E&O was one of our favorite experiences in Penang. It takes place in 1885, not the year, but the restaurant. You're escorted into the well appointed dining room by one of the professional waiters, who'll pull out your chair and help you get settled. On your table, you'll find a silver spoon-like sifter that makes it easy to pour your tea without letting the tea leaves into your cup and a napkin with a buttonhole. Pinky up, anyone?
You pick your tea from a wide selection of flavors and sit back as the staff brings out a variety of beautiful tea sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, and a whole plate of desserts.
Guests staying in the Victory Annexe are invited to the hotel's nightly inclusive happy hour at the lounge. It was a nice touch and a wonderful way to end the day. If you wanted to, you could even take a dip in the hotel's infinity pool while sipping your wine.
Happy hour is also a great way to meet some of the other guests, and perhaps have them (accidentally) pose for photos.
And if happy hour wasn't enough for you, you could always throw back a stiff one in Farquhar's Bar, housed in the Heritage Wing. It brought me right back to my time in NYC.
So if you're looking to splurge and spread out in Penang we highly recommend the E&O. It's one of the only luxury places right in Georgetown so you can be in the heart of the action but still come back to luxury. With free yoga classes, a breakfast buffet with dim sum and sushi, an infinity pool overlooking the ocean, and the complimentary nightly happy hour, what more could you ask for? And if you think this all sounds completely outside your budget, think again. When I checked the rates on Agoda, the corner suite rooms in the Victory Annexe were going for under US$200!
**E&O was kind enough to host us for two nights and treat us to high tea. Our opinions, however, are always our own.