The Eastern & Oriental Hotel: Colonial Style in the Heart of Penang

Exclusive, historic and one of a kind, the Eastern & Oriental Hotel exudes colonial style and charm in the heart of George Town, Penang. 


Tucked away on the beautiful coast of Penang, in the heart of George Town sits the historic Eastern & Oriental Hotel, otherwise known as E&O.  The brainchild of four Armenian brothers, the Sarkies, E&O has become the standard of luxury in Penang and a travelers retreat for over 100 years. It’s a property that takes you back to a time of elegance and sophistication…and makes you never want to leave. 

From the moment you walk into the grand lobby being greeted by the khaki-clad doorman and see the perfect blue ocean glistening in the distance, you know you’re somewhere special. The building is a history book, just begging you to turn the pages and explore the stories. It’s no wonder families have been visiting E&O for generations. It’s a place that stays consistent, traditional and where expectations are always far exceeded.  


Colonial Design at Its Best

In 2013 E&O officially opened the second wing of the property, the Victory Annexe. Keeping in line with the architectural detailing of the original Heritage Wing, the Victory Annexe is a modern display of Colonial design with all the classic touches you would expect from a historic hotel. Elegant long corridors full of natural light, lead the way to the suites and public spaces. Along the walls are beautiful photographs representing Penang’s past and present and the large windows give a glimpse of Penang's skyline. 

During our stay we stayed in the Victory Annexe in a studio suite. Our room was incredibly spacious with a large bathroom and balcony giving a very open and airy feeling to the room. The black and white geometric tiles in the bathroom was a fun and modern twist on an otherwise very Victorian styled room.

Our room was the perfect place to come and relax in after a day of sightseeing in the heat of Penang. We were also able to comfortably work in the space with now internet issues - very important if you need to work remotely! 


Whatever You Do -- Don’t Forget Breakfast!

Make sure your reservation includes breakfast at Sarkies, the beachfront restaurant at E&O. The buffet offered is one of the best we’ve had and has such a delicious array of international food. Come hungry and skip the healthy options. Instead go straight for the fresh noodle bar and indulge in Char Kway Teow, a delicious fried noodle dish. Also make sure you save room for the array of curries with fresh roti. The chefs freshly prepare the roti as you order and the result is pure fluffy, doughy goodness. 

Sarkie's is also open for lunch and dinner and although the options do change, you can always expect to get delicious noodles and fresh roti - my personal favorite. It’s also a good way to get a feel for the local food and know what to seek out. 

If you’re able to tear yourself away from the street food inspired dishes of Sarkies and are looking for something a bit more upscale, E&O is home to 1885, a restaurant specializing in gourmet colonial style dining. The ambiance is relaxed yet refined and one quick glance at their wine list, you’ll be looking to make reservations. 


The outdoor patio at Sarkies

Char Kway Teow


A Perfect Base to Explore Penang

You don’t go to Penang to just stay in your hotel room and lounge in the pool (ok maybe you do if the pool is like E&O). You come here to see the architecture, check out cool street art and eat your way around the city. With a central location in the heart of George Town, E&O is a perfect starting point to walk the city and close to all the major sites. There are plenty of restaurants and bars located around the area as well as the famed street food stalls. Ask the concierge for recommendations and every time you’ll be given a different answer but each place will be better than the last!

Even though George Town is a World Heritage Site, there weren't many tourists or annoying tourist trap establishments. The area felt a bit untouched, yet plenty of great boutiques and stores to buy truly authentic souvenirs.

The location of E&O is optimal for exploring George Town, finding great food and even meeting tour groups. We found it best to just walk outside and explore on our own.

The streets of Penang

A typical outdoor street food stall in Penang


Around The E&O Hotel

After a few hours of sightseeing, it was a welcome reprise to come back to the hotel and take advantage of their pool and lounge area. Sightseeing is great, but lounging after a long day is even better. We could be found comfortably sprawled out on lounge chairs with our computers, working away...of course with the occasional dip in the pool. Or for a luxurious spa experience, venture to the 6th floor of the Victory Annexe and book a few treatments at Pañpuri Organic Spa. Originally from Thailand the brand is known for their organic skincare and well-being products.

Make sure to spend some time exploring the grounds of E&O. You’ll find great little shops selling beautiful coffee table books and a very informative mini museum, detailing the history of E&O.

Happy Hour at Planters Lounge

One of the perks of staying in the new Victory Annexe wing, was the nightly happy hours the hotel would host at Planters Lounge. Each evening as the sun was starting to set, guests were invited to enjoy a few hours of cocktails and appetizers. Overlooking the sea and beautiful sunsets, we would nestle ourselves in the plush chairs on the balcony, help ourselves to wine and just let time causally pass. With free flowing wine, cocktails and delicious snacks, this was the perfect way to start the evening. 

If you have the option to staying in either the Victory Annexe of the Heritage Wing, I would definitely choose the Victory Annexe. It's the amenites like happy hour, infinity pools and the elegant atmosphere that make it worth the slightly extra expense. 


Watching the sunset from the balcony of Planters Lounge

For more information about E&O make sure to visit their website: