A beautiful piece of history in Penang, which was created by four Armenian brothers in 1884. Originally named the Eastern Hotel, which soon became known as ‘The Premier Hotel East of Suez.’
Hotel de l’Europe, also in Penang, was run by one of the brothers who changed the name to The Oriental Hotel in 1885, and in 1889 the Oriental Hotel was sold and the Eastern Hotel was renamed The Eastern and Oriental.
The brothers also created Raffles Hotel in Singapore, and The Strand in Rangoon, Burma.
Over the years the Eastern and Oriental became the place to stay for the ‘rich and famous’. Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Noel Coward, Rudyard Kipling, Somerset Maugham, Charlie Chaplin, Lee Kuan Yew, Sultan of Brunei and Hermann Hesse (German author). Many have their photograph displayed in a special glass case in the foyer of the hotel.
Eight of us (four couples), first visited the E & O in 2005 just for a beer in the Farquhar Bar.
Entrance to the hotel is behind the car on the right.
As we approached the hotel we were met by a pith-helmeted doorman who greeted us and opened the main door. A real touch of yesteryear as we stepped in to the main foyer of the hotel.
Reception is in the foyer.
But on this day we were looking for a cold drink.
The bar had a ‘Colonial’ feel – which is very un pc to say so, but for me it was a touch of ‘yesterday’.
English cold draft beer – what more could I want?
My new best friends . . .service was very good, they were friendly and helpful, so we stayed and had lunch.
The following year we booked in to the hotel as guests. All the mod cons that you could want – each bedroom had a sitting room attached and very large bathroom with his & her sinks. Total area is 52 to 54 sq mtrs, with sea views.
The same sitting room.
A choice of shower or bath.
Swimming pool below our window
Sunset from our bedroom.
Drinks around the pool?
A year or so later a friend of ours from the UK came out to Australia to stay with us. We had arranged our holiday in Malaysia to coincide with our friend’s return to the UK so that we could have a few days with her in the E & O.
Instead of booking two rooms I found it cheaper to book a suite with two full bedrooms, (both en-suite), lounge, kitchen and sitting room etc.
This is our bedroom as part of the suite. We also had a walk-in dressing room attached with his and her wardrobes.
Sitting room and dining area can just be seen – TV in each bedroom and in the living room.
Part of the kitchen. Of course, we were not in to home cooking, and breakfast was always downstairs in the main dining room.
Or we’d eat outside if the temperature was not too hot.
A few years later we planned a transit stop through Penang and of course wanted to stay at the E & O. This time when I checked the rates I found that their new ‘extension’ had been refurbished and was now part of the hotel.
The extension had been bought some years ago, but during our previous visit the hotel had not completed the refurbishment to compliment the colonial feel of the original area of the hotel. They had now.
We booked in the ‘new’ part which is called the Victory Annex and the original area is now called the Heritage Wing.
The Victory Annex rate included access to The Planter Lounge (in other hotels it would be known as the club floor). You could have breakfast in this lounge as well as taking part in the cocktail hour in the evening. Overall we always preferred the main dining room for breakfast because the choice of food was huge and you could have any fruit or vegetable or any mixture of both that you fancied turned in to a smoothy.
Lounge area, which had a small library & quiet reading area.
The Planters Lounge has its own balcony and to sit outside with a glass of wine and a few nibbles was very pleasant.
Our room in the Victory Annex was slightly smaller than our room in the Heritage area – we didn’t have a sitting room, but we did have a small balcony that overlooked the sea.
View from the balcony, which felt as if we were on a cruise ship.
Once again the bathroom had his & hers sink & wardrobes, as well as the separate bath & shower.
On the same level as the balcony of the Planter’s Lounge is the horizon pool. It is ‘L’ shaped so that those who wish can swim for exercise can do so, and those who just wish to play can also do so, without interfering with each other.
The smaller enclosed pool is for children.
An evening meal outside while watching the ships leave port or perhaps just coffee and a final glass of wine before bed. At the right time of the year the weather in Penang can be magic.
At the rear of the hotel you have a choice of lawn or just sitting on the sea wall.
Is it any wonder that we return as often as our cash flow allows us?
Not all of the above photographs are mine, some are from the friends with whom we travel.