“Feel the colonial splendour of old Penang in a beautifully restored, tranquil guesthouse”
The six gorgeous suites are spread across the Main House (Hall Suites) and various converted outbuildings (Garden Suites).
In the Main House, Hall Suites Saffron and Cardamom are mirror images of each other at the hotel of the stairs. Both have four-posters, handsome old rolltop desks from India, and airy balconies with space for a table and colonial planter’s chairs. One overlooks the drive and a big tree, the other the pool. Hall Suite Cinnamon is larger, but lacks a balcony. Instead, it gets the master view over the front.
Despite being innocuous from the outside, Garden Suite Clove is in fact the largest of this group, at 800 sq.ft. Surrounded by a stone veranda, it is divided into a living area and sleeping space by an Edwardian partition; at the end lays a vast bathroom.
Second largest is Garden Suite Ginger, a single airy studio space under exposed rafters. Its best feature is a sprawling built-in seating area. It also has its own little garden, making it by far the most private realm.
Garden Suite Star Anise boasts a drawing room with an old display cabinet full of blue-and-white china and a silk-covered Chinese daybed. Steep stairs lead to the cosy bedroom and generous four-poster bed.
Breakfast is taken in the airy ground-floor hall, in the gardens, or on the terrace of the Main House (8-10am). Dishes include French toast, scrambled eggs and cereal, but their full cooked breakfast is famous (and for good reason). All is made to order, accompanied by coffee or tea, and served on delicate blue and white china. A delicious Asian breakfast can be ordered in advance; any requests can be catered for.
Complimentary afternoon tea is available daily from 4-5pm, which is a welcome treat after a day's exploring, and a range of drinks are available whenever you’d like.
Jo and Jim have created a map of their favourite surrounding restaurants, none more than 10 minutes’ walk away, and can make helpful recommendations. While the neighbourhood lies well beyond the Heritage Site and the buffer zone, it still has plenty of lanes of pre-war shophouses. There are interesting places to eat in almost every other one, many catering to the local middle class and therefore the best in town.
Children are welcome; they will enjoy splashing in the pool and exploring the grounds, but it worth bearing in mind that there are lots of antiques around and the ambiance is fairly tranquil.
Clove Halls has 2 extra beds and 2 baby cots which can be used in any of the rooms. The Garden Suites provide families with added space and privacy. Clove is the largest and has a huge bathtub; Ginger is the most private, with its own little garden.
Baby cots are available on request.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking