Monday, 14 September 2015

Hotel Review: The Chambers Hotel, Penang

In August this year, I went to Penang on my own under #MyFascinatingPenang2015 blogging programme for 5 days and stayed at 4 different hotels. Two of them are chain hotels, i.e. St. Giles Wembley, Penang and Evergreen Laurel Hotel, Penang; while the other two are independent hotels, i.e. The Chambers Hotel and Ren i Tang Heritage Inn, Penang.

Below is my review of The Chambers Hotel following my overnight stay at the hotel.

1. The Hotel

The Chambers Hotel is a small independent boutique hotel that has 12 rooms to offer to its guests. It is a relatively new hotel that has just been officially opened a few months back. It is located in the Core Heritage Zone of George Town’s UNESCO World Heritage site, just across the road from Padang Kota/ the Esplanade and historic Fort Cornwallis.

The hotel is housed in a refurbished Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce (PCCC) that was originally constructed back in 1917. Part of the original building was destroyed during the World War II but it was rebuilt to its full glory again in 1954.

1a. The Reception

The reception area of the hotel is located on the first floor of the PCCC Building. I totally missed the entrance that lead to the staircase and direct to the reception area when I got there despite walking past it as it didn’t have any signage that says The Chambers Hotel. (It actually does but the signage is on the outside wall of the building (see photo above) and thus cannot be seen from the building sidewalk.) To make sure you get the right entrance, just enter the building (and walk right up the staircase) using the entrance on Lebuh Light that is located right across the road from Padang Kota. As mentioned, I missed this and walked ahead until I found the signage to The Chambers Restaurant on a door just around the corner (on Penang Street) and took the lift to second floor to the restaurant. Luckily there is an access to the hotel from the restaurant through a backdoor staircase from where I landed at the hotel reception area.

Ventilated Bench
The reception area is small and is manned by just one person, reflective of the hotel’s status as a small boutique hotel. Check-in process was smooth and I was assigned Room 102, a Premier Room. While the building has been refurbished to accommodate the hotel, the hotel still retains the original and colourful tiles in its corridors on the first floor and second floor. Along the corridor and just around the corner from the reception, there's a tiled bench, also an original feature of the building, that is always colder than then rest of the other areas in the building. 

1b. The Room

The room, with its wood panelling and flooring, looks luxurious and is very spacious for 2 people. I must say I was taken by surprise with the room. It has plenty of space for luggage and stuff, and comes complete with two bedside tables, a work/dressing table, 2 sofas, a bedroom bench, and a wardrobe.

The room also has a tea/ coffee making facility (and a Dolce Gusto maker!) and a 48-inch LCD TV (I repeat, 48-inch TV, ha-ha! And with your own Astro’s decoder to boot as well!) apart from an electronic safe, a minibar, and iron & ironing board.

A packet of biscuits (Oreos, during my stay) and a few cans of soft drinks in the minibar along with the usual bottled water are complimentary with the room. All guests are greeted with a fruit platter too upon checking into their room.

The mattress and bed are very comfortable. Linens and towels, embroidered with the hotel’s logo, feel luxurious. The bathroom (shower only) is not bad either, and comes with a hairdryer as well. There is a separate sink outside of the bathroom near the bed, which is reminiscent of British colonial era room style.

As the hotel is located right across Padang Kota where loud music might play in the evening, all the windows are “double-glazed”, although not in the strictest sense. The external windows are made of wood that reflect the heritage status of the building while on the inside, there are glass windows. This has reduced the noise considerably although it might not eliminate the noise altogether. At the time of stay, there was an exhibition at Padang Kota and loud music was played until midnight. However, I didn’t have any problem with the minimal noise pollution and it didn’t affect my sleep.

Overall, the room is well furnished with a combined touch of modern and old days feel. The room should be good for both business travellers and for a leisure stay.

Tips: If possible, request for a room with a low room number, e.g. 102, 103, 105 or 202, 203, 205 and so on as these are bigger. Having said that, even the smallest room is big at 30 sq meters. :)

1c. Breakfast 

Hotel Rooftop
Breakfast is not included in the room rate. The Chambers Restaurant that is located in the same building provides meals options either at the restaurant itself or at the rooftop of the hotel in a beautiful setting overlooking Padang Kota. It however serves non-halal meals.

1d. Internet Access

Internet access is available for free via Wi-Fi at the hotel. You can get the password from the reception.

1e. Other Facilities

Being a small independent boutique hotel, The Chambers only offer rooms and a connecting restaurant for their guests. There is a convenience store (7-11) located at the corner of the building on Lebuh King.

2. Where to Eat

As mentioned, The Chambers Restaurant is attached to the hotel in the same building. Just across the road in Padang Kota there is a food court with a few popular stalls including Hameed ‘Pata’ Mee Sotong. Sri Weld Food Court, another food court that’s popular with Ali’s Nasi Lemak, is less than 5 minutes’ walk from the hotel.

3. Getting Around

How to get there:
The best way to get to the hotel is probably by taxi although if you’re already in George Town city centre, you probably can just walk there or take a bus. The free shuttle bus stop is outside of the hotel. Pengkalan Raja Uda Bus Terminal (and the ferry terminal) is just 10-15 minutes’ walk. 

Interesting places nearby, if any:
The heritage side of the city is pretty small and can easily be covered on foot or by bicycle/ trishaw so the location of the hotel is quite an advantage if you’re planning to explore the heritage part of the city. Nearest attractions to the hotel include, among others, Padang Kota/ the Esplanade, Fort Cornwallis and Penang Peranakan Mansion.

4. Location

5. Further Information

23 Lebuh Light, 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Website | Facebook

Check in 2 p.m. / Check out 12 noon.

@azuan1880 Hah! You'd be surprised with the room rates! 😀 How much do you guys think? @AnisIbrahim
— RaW (@rambleandwander) August 12, 2015

A Thank You & Disclosure Note

I would like to thank the organiser of My Fascinating Penang, My Amazing Malaysia, as well as the management of The Chambers Hotel for the arrangement to stay at the hotel. The stay was sponsored as part of My Fascinating Penang 2015 programme. The sponsorship however has in no way affected my review of the hotel.

Other official sponsors for the programme include, among others, the following: 
St. Giles Wembley, Ren i Tang Heritage Inn, Evergreen Laurel Hotel
Escape.My, Tropical Spice Garden, The Camera Museum, Made in Penang Interactive Museum
Hop On Hop Off Penang, Easybook.com

For all other blog entries on My Fascinating Penang, click here.

For more photos, please check out Ramble and Wander's Facebook page


Comments and feedback are always appreciated. So do leave one or two if you have the time. Thank you!

  1. For me, a good hotel is all about the look and feel of the room. This place looks very nice and comfortable. I appreciate nice bed linens and a really clean floor above everything else.

    1. Ooh! It's indeed very nice and comfortable. I was really taken by surprise when I first entered my room. And the bed... well, I went out late the next morning because I just didn't want to get out of the bed, haha!

  2. Love the style! This hotel has exactly what I look for, and the complimentary Oreo cookies are right up my alley :) Thanks for taking the time to review. We'll definitely keep it in mind when we visit, and I'm looking forward to trying out Chambers Restaurant.

    1. At first I couldn't believe about the Oreo as well. When I was told that everything in the room is free, I imagined it's just the bottled water, haha! Had to go out to the reception and asked again to confirm if the soft drinks & the Oreo are free too! I know that these drinks & biscuits don't cost much but usually because of these little things, hotels like The Chambers stand out very well. Having spacious & comfortable rooms doesn't hurt either.

  3. The hotel looks very nice I especially like the room that looks so spacious and the bed very confortable. The roof top breakfast area is amazing as well. Thanks for sharing

    1. I love the room and the bed was very comfortable indeeed, I went out late the next morning because I didn't want to get out of the bed.

  4. reviews of boutique hotels are so useful. They range from dismal to really worth trying in my personal experience - and unlike the big chains, you can't predict anything except by reading reviews like this!

    1. Thanks, Fiona. That's why I try to cover everything that matters to most of us (hotel guests/ prospective guests) when I write a hotel review. And this hotel is one which I would have no problem in recommending to others. Definitely worth a consideration!

  5. The entrance looks a bit hidden, ahaha curb appeal? but the room and terrace look lovely, and the mosaic bench in your photo is quite cool

    1. Hahaha! The entrance is not exactly hidden though. I did see and walked past it but I didn't think it's the entrance to the hotel reception as I didn't see any signage. Putting up a signage should easily solve the problem. But yes, I loved my room there! So spacious & the bed's so comfortable!

  6. Great review – this looks like a great find! The rooftop in particular looks lovely.

    1. It is a great find, in my opinion, especially with the room rates that you have to pay for such a beautiful & spacious room! The rooftop apparently is quite a popular spot at night.

  7. One of the best review i have seen. Liked your style.

  8. This hotel is so charming! The location seems pretty good too if it's located near a UNESCO World Heritage site. I could see myself enjoying the hotel after a long day of exploring the town!

    1. It's very charming, I didn't want to get out exploring the town because I just wanted to stay in bed, haha! This hotel actually is located inside a UNESCO World Heritage site, as the old part of George Town in Penang _is_ a heritage site. The building in which the hotel is located is also heritage rated. So it's pretty convenient to explore the heritage site as almost everything is within walking distance.

  9. Great review! The fact that the mattress is comfortable is so important, it's one of my pet peeves! Looks like this hotel has a lot of other great things going for it - oreo cookies included ;)

    1. Thanks! Oreo cookies sure did make a lot of difference, esp. when I needed to munch on something late at night and couldn't be bothered to go out.

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