By George! This hotel in Penang is a stunner

A Raffles Hotel-like hotel in George Town, Penang, took my breath away.

It has the same colonial look and colour as the Singapore icon, and made my three-day stay comfortable and memorable.

The George is five regal floors. Built on land which housed an Australian hotel during the War and the Teik Bin Chinese dispensary and the Osakaya Japanese sundry shop thereafter, it sits within Georgetown’s heritage centre.

It is named after King George III, who ruled the British Empire between 1760 and 1801. Penang’s capital George Town too carries his name.

The George is a 5-star boutique hotel which adheres to government regulations. Obviously, luxury knows no bounds.

I had a superb room, 621, with the pillows so soft that you can sleep so well with hardly any sound seeping through the walls.

I got to see some of the rooms too – all of which are adorned with carefully-curated amenities, marrying modern comfort with timeless elegance.

In all, there are 92 nicely-furnished rooms, including 30 suites.

The hotel is surrounded by quaint cafes and restaurants serving local delicacies.

The happening places Chulia Street and Love Lane are just 7 minutes walk away.

Actually, you do not have to step out to taste the local fare. The George’s defining characteristics include a selection of in-room refreshments, such as biscuits and beverages, found in George Town’s coffee shops.

The hotel’s restaurant, Saffron Dining, located adjacent to the lobby, serves delightful Penang-style Nonya dishes, including Jiu Hoo Char, Assam King, Claypot Curry Chicken, Crispy and Golden Brown Egg Omelette and the sweet Bee Koh Moey with coconut cream.

I loved sitting at the restaurant, which can seat 160 people, and looking out as it is at the junction of the busy Penang Road and Argyll Road.

The other facilities at The George include a bar, saltwater swimming pool, gymnasium and steam bath.

Interestingly, each bathroom comes with a heated toilet seat that also dries your derriere with warm air, Japanese style. This is a rarity in Penang, much less Malaysia.

I got to meet the reticent owner and managing director Catherine Teoh, who made a great effort to build the hotel over 10 years. It was reportedly developed at a cost of RM100 million.

The George’s actual construction started in 2018, and on December 12, 2022, it held a grand opening.

A real estate developer, it is Teoh’s first venture into hospitality and hotel business.

Currently, The George hosts mainly guests from China, Middle East, Europe and South-East Asia.

Teoh said future plans include building an annexe building that would house a conference room and a spa.

Many are already queuing up to buy the property. But she won’t sell it.

I also had dinner with the general manager Peter Lo, who lived for 10 years in Singapore. The Penangite had many juicy stories to tell.

Overall I was impressed with the hotel and its excellent personalised service. The staff even lent me their computer after my laptop conked out.

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