Eastern & Oriental Hotel, Penang, Malaysia

Hubby and I spent two days in Penang during our recent visit to Malaysia.  I had booked us into the Eastern & Oriental Hotel in Georgetown having read positive reviews on Tripadvisor. 

We arrived at the hotel just after midday on Boxing Day, 3 hours ahead of check-in.  Fortunately, they had rooms available – ours was a Double Delux suite with a seaview.  We were assigned a butler, Dixon, upon check-in.  Dixon walked us to our room, which was almost at the end of a long corridor on the 3rd floor. 

Our suite had a separate living room (tv, sofa, desk), bedroom (double bed, dressing table, wardrobe, air-conditioning, and a large bathroom (separate wc, monsoon shower, bath,  2 separate basins – (1 for me, 1 for Hubby), bathrobes, slippers and bathroom scales to help us monitor our holiday weight.

There was a butler call button as well as room service which I made a note of.

Rather than lunch, both of us fancied afternoon tea at the hotel.  We had no reservations but decided to chance it.  Tea was served at the 1886 restaurant.  Unfortunately, they were fully booked for the afternoon but directed us to the Farquhar Bar where we’d still be able to order the full afternoon tea menu.

The tea experience at the Farquhar Bar was extremely underwhelming.

Our tea of choice was Earl Grey (for me) and Assam.  Both were served in massive tea pots in tea bags (which I found hard to swallow considering the 1886 is deemed a fine dining restaurant) and the teas were extremely weak.  We asked for extra tea bags, but frankly, they made very little difference to the tea and I might as well have ordered hot water to drink instead.

We waited over 25 minutes for our sandwiches.  The waiter carried them on a plate and plonked it in front of us and left without explaining what we were being served.  We hazarded a guess – the sandwiches were roast beef, cucumber and cream cheese, smoked salmon and chicken/turkey ham (no pork in Malaysian hotels). 

Another 20 minutes later, the scones and cakes/pastries were served – again, with no explanation of the fare on the plate.  We had to wave to a waitress to ask for 2 side plates.

The scones were tasty, however we gave the cream (which tasted like spray-can variety) and jam (odd-taste) a miss. 

At this stage, we were keen to get through the pastries and leave.   Hubby had half a taste of everything but he wasn’t impressed with anything.

The bill came to RM120 for two teas which is a bit of a joke for the lacklustre food and service. 

Food, aside, the hotel offered very comfortable accommodation.  Check-in staff were very polite as were the porters.  The hotel is across the road from numerous bars and within walking distance to Little India.  A 5 minute taxi ride to Guerney Drive costs a flat rate of RM15 which prompted me to ask in Malay ‘ini flat rate kah, tourist rate’?

The big question is would we return to the E&O? I’d probably have another look-around at other hotels beforehand…..

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