Deciding where to stay in Penang can be difficult as the island is bigger than it seems and there is so much to see and do. There are also endless accommodation options from budget backpackers to high-class resorts and finding the best places to stay in Penang can take a lot of research - we know, we’ve been there!
So I got together with some other amazing bloggers to bring you this guide to where to stay in Penang. It includes options for all budgets and styles as well as giving you an overview of what’s nearby and what kind of facilities to expect.
Which areas of Penang to stay in?
By far the most popular area of Penang is George Town and this is the best place to stay in Penang if you want to be in the heart of the action. This is where the famous street art is as well as an abundance of cafes, restaurants and street food. From here you’ll be within walking distance of all the main tourist attractions as well as the bus station to get to anywhere further away. Read our 3 day Penang itinerary for more information about what to do in Penang.
The ferry stops just outside the town, connecting you to the mainland and other public transport options for getting around the country. In the winding alleys of George Town you’ll find backpacker dorms as well as beautifully restored heritage hotels.
This is the popular beach area of Penang and is a great area to stay if you want to be close to the beach and enjoy a bit more space. There are budget guest-houses and luxury beach front resorts which are great for families or those wanting a relaxing getaway but still be close to the bustle of Georgetown.
There is a huge night market along the main road of Batu Ferringhi every night which sells everything from street food to tacky souvenirs. There are regular buses to George Town which takes about 20 minutes, meaning a day of exploring is easily possible.
Location: Corner of Jalan Hutton & Lebuh Clarke, George Town
by Carine & Derek of We Did it our Way
Our stay at Hotel Penaga was like a dream come true. Located in George Town, it’s a heritage building that has kept the beauty of yesteryear. The hotel has kept its original layout and decor but has updated facilities. The owners were an architect and an artist/environmentalist, so you feel the love they have put into it. They have been awarded by being the first restored heritage building in Malaysia with a green rating.
The decor is stunning. The furniture is different from one room to the next. The art hanging on the walls are from resident artists. The lights were replaced by efficient LEDs. The roof tiles and wood for the structures and floors were salvaged from demolished buildings throughout the peninsula. Anything new was handmade, which shows the importance given to support the local economy and artists.
With such a beautiful setting, it’s only fitting that the staff is so friendly and attentive to the smallest detail. They even offer a midday snack and happy hour cocktails which were perfect bookends for a refreshing dip in their lap pool. A perfect way to get out of the heat in the city. More than a hotel room, our stay at Hotel Penaga felt like a retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the city, while still being at the heart of it all.
Location: 269 Lebuh Pantai, George Town
by Rohan of Travels of a Bookpacker
If you’re wanting to stay in a traditional long house at an affordable price you can’t go past Lang Hoose. The rooms are large and comfortable with private bathrooms and comfortable beds.
But the real attraction of the place is the building it is in, which really is long! There are plenty of places to chill out including a seating and games area, a library and a balcony. The decorations are quirky and interesting and there is even a fish pond in the light shaft.
Staff are friendly and helpful and the hotel is located right in the middle of the old town. You can walk to most of the major tourist attractions and there are all kinds of cafes and restaurants right on the doorstep.
Ren i Tang Heritage Inn
Location: 82A Lebuh Penang, George Town
by Emily of Wander-Lush
Ren i Tang Heritage Inn is one of the most atmospheric places to stay in Penang. The building, which dates back to 1885, served as a Chinese medical hall for over a century before it was converted into a boutique hotel.
Located on Lebuh Penang in the heart of George Town’s UNESCO zone, the hotel is just steps from Sri Mahamariamman Temple and Peranakan Mansion. Ren i Tang retains all the hallmarks of a Malay shophouse: Five-foot ways, internal courtyards and Chinese roof tiles, decorated with wood and rattan furniture, and batiks. The smallest details have been preserved by the inn’s owners, who also added extra air wells to make the hotel lighter on the environment.
Ren i Tang boasts 17 rooms, ranging from a spacious studio flat with kitchenette to more petite courtyard rooms. Some have a private balcony. The bottom level of the hotel has been set aside for a cafe, Bistro Tang (also open to walk-ins), Macam-Macam souvenir shop, and a small museum that displays artefacts left behind by the original tenants.
Location: 20 & 22 Queen Street, George Town
by Anna of Hostelgeeks
Travelling as a female solo-traveller to George Town? I recommend staying at Queens Hostel. This small hostel is located in the heart of George Town, just a short walk away from Little India and the 3D Trick Art Museum. Both places are worth checking out. You are also just a 10-minute walk away from many of the famous street art works in Georgetown such as ‘the swing’, ‘the basketball court’ and ‘the boy on the motorbike’.
Queens Hostel is a female-only hostel with no-bunk beds, but stylish dorms with privacy curtains. That is always a plus, right? The two ladies running this place are so friendly and know the city really well. They shared their favorite cafés with us, and great restaurants in the area. I have also met lots of fellow travelers, so it's a good place to meet an greet too. After all, it's a hostel. Seriously, Queens Hostel is one of the best hostels in Georgetown, no doubt!
Location: 106, Lebuh Campbell, George Town
by Michela of Rocky Travel Blog
On my solo trip to Penang I stayed at the Campbell House, a small boutique hotel, located in the heart of George Town, in the corner between two main roads in the city, the Cintra Road and the Campbell Road. Its ideal location makes it to a spot-on place for solo travellers like myself. You can walk to all main Georgetown attractions on foot, and also at night, you will feel safe.
This old colonial house was transformed into a hotel in 2010 when a Malaysian-Italian couple discovered it and fell in love with the place. Twelve rooms kept the original dimension, were individually designed with the right mix of modern and antique furniture. If you love the design and comfy hotels, the Campbell House is the place for you. I loved the wooden floor and the exposed beams of the ceiling. The Peranakan tiles in the bathrooms are also a highlight of the interior decor.
Moreover, the great benefit of staying here is the excellent familiar service of the manager and their staff and the superb food that you can have in the on-site restaurant: Il Bacaro. As much as I like Penang food, I had to try their delicious woodfired pizza. Furthermore, their energy breakfast with fresh local fruits and juices was one of the best I have ever had in South-East Asia. I can highly recommend staying at the Campbell House, alone or as a couple, I hope you will love this hotel in Penang.
Location: 47-55, Lorong Stewart, George Town
by Sue of Travel for Life Now
Interested in staying in a traditional Chinese shophouse in Penang and not blowing your budget? Coffee Atelier is located in George Town and just a short walk from some of the major tourist attractions. The boutique hotel is made up of 5 restored shophouses originally built in the 1920s. A coffee roaster inhabited one of these shop houses—you can still see the roaster.
Our downstairs room was large and nicely appointed. It included an open-air courtyard with seating and a bathroom area. We also had a study/dressing room. There is a small art gallery in one of the shop houses. Our room included breakfast in the café and the food was plentiful and tasty. The staff is very attentive, friendly and helpful.
Eastern & Oriental Hotel
Location: 10 Farquhar Street, George Town
by Claire of The Adventurous Flashpacker
The Eastern & Oriental Hotel Penang, known as the ‘E&O’, is a beautifully restored colonial hotel in the heart of George Town. She’s a grand old dame, dating back to 1885, with a stunning harbour front location to match. The hotel has a traditional style Heritage Wing (closed for refurbishment during 2019) and a modern Victory Annex to suit all accommodation tastes.
The E&O boasts ground floor and rooftop swimming pools with harbour views, several bars and restaurants, and a day spa, all complete with impeccable service. The E&O is in the perfect location if you want to stay in vibrant George Town, but prefer to be slightly outside the main hustle and bustle. After exploring the nearby Penang street art and sampling hawker centre food, you can retreat to the E&O’s rooftop bar for a tranquil sunset cocktail.
While the E&O isn’t cheap by local standards, you’d be hard pressed to find luxury for such good value elsewhere in the world.
Wassup Youth Hostel
Location: 495E, Jalan Penang, George Town, Penang
by Bec of Wyld Family Travel
As budget travellers finding a cheap hotel in Penang seemed like mission impossible so we decided that we'd take a chance on a hostel. Have you ever had a blessing and a fail in the one place? We had this at the Wassup Youth Hostel in Penang during our stay.
It seemed the good, the bad and the ugly all resided in this place. We had the rudest, most unhelpful front counter staff that you could imagine but those two women aside the place was awesome.
Located in an excellent part of town close to shops and fantastic restaurants, it was clean and tidy for the whole time we were there.
We could walk to Georgetown and see the street art easily and then have enough time for a swim before heading to the streets filled with the best Penang street food around. The best bit was that even though it was all walking distance from Georgetown we were far enough away to get fantastic prices with us all (family of 4) eating for around $20AUD with drinks!)
If you are looking for a budget nights accommodation in Penang we can recommend Wassup Youth Hostel, we just hope you get better front counter service!
Lone Pine Hotel
Location: 97, Batu Ferringhi, Batu Ferringhi
by Lydia of Lydiascapes
Situated in the pristine and quieter part of Penang, this hotel in Batu Ferringhi has a lovely all sea view facing villa, meaning you would not get disappointed if you did not get a higher category room type, and end up with a room with a terrible view. I especially liked this beach resort as it is just a few steps to the beach right in front of the pool, and this resort is also a great place to spot a lot of Malaysian's beautiful wildlife like parrots and interesting animals. Just a few minutes away is the turtle sanctuary where you can carry and play with baby turtles.
One last great thing about this resort is the awesome Batu Ferringhi Night Market and food street, which is just outside the hotel a few steps away. So if you want to get a taste of the street food of Penang, you don't have to go all the way to George Town, but it is available right at the doorstep.
Lastly, if you are into rock climbing and would like to do a workout, visit the nearby rock climbing gym called Project Rock just 15 minutes away from the hotel or George town. So if you worry about not having enough activities during your stay at Lone Pine Hotel in Batu Ferringhi, worry not!
Location: Jalan Batu Feringgi, Batu Ferringhi
by Sharon of Dive Into Malaysia
The Golden Sands is one of the best hotels in Penang and it is definitely one of the best located! Backed by the legendary Shangri La brand, everything about this hotel is of a high standard, but, unlike its posh big brother the Rasa Sayang next door, this hotel has more of a fun family vibe.
Located on the beach in Batu Ferringhi just minutes walk from the night market and the excellent hawker centre at Long Beach Kafe, you aren’t stuck in a resort here and can easily get out and about – assuming you can tear yourself away from the great facilities at the Golden Sands.
This hotel has a great outdoor area with multiple pools and a water play area for kids with water slides. It’s easy to spend as much time as you want chilling here. There is also the Adventure Zone where kids can hang out – a big indoor play area complete with some very scary slides!
For adults, there is a gym and lots of dining and drinking options. If you are looking for a comfortable place with great facilities in an unbeatable location – stay at the Golden Sands!
Have a look on Airbnb if you prefer to stay in an apartment, there are plenty of beautiful options! If you sign up with this link you get $50 NZD off your first booking on Airbnb.