Grand Dame of Heritage Hotels in Penang: The Eastern & Oriental Hotel

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I first set foot into The Eastern & Oriental (E&O) Hotel way back in the mid 1970’s (I can’t recall which exact year though).  I remember I was really in awe of it… well, understandably, it was the very first time I had been into such a big grand building!  Yes, even back then, The E&O Hotel was a very imposing structure and at that young age, I thought I had entered some palatial mansion that stretched endlessly.  Until now, the memory of sitting at the balcony eating roasted chestnuts and admiring the night sea view is still very vivid in my mind – it’s one of those things that are stuck forever in my memory bank.

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Fast-forward 35 years… that same feeling prevailed in me when I stepped foot into The E&O Hotel recently.  But this time I entered the Victory Annexe, the hotel’s newest wing which opened its doors in mid March this year.  Unlike the sweeping curved driveway leading to the main entrance of the Heritage Wing, the wide entrance to the Victory Annexe is a bit more understated.  Nevertheless, upon entering through the glass doors, I can’t help but be impressed by how immensely spacious the building is.  The super high ceilings, with its luxurious-looking light fittings, the polished marble floor, the elegant chairs by the windows – they all add up to the breath-taking old-world elegance of the lobby.

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This new Victory Annexe is named after the original Victory Annexe, a magnificent 40-room addition unveiled by Arshak Sarkies in 1923.  The hotel was established way back in 1884 by the Armenian Sarkies brothers – started off as just The Eastern.  Due to its popularity, The Oriental was added in 1885 and then combined to become The Eastern & Oriental Hotel.

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The hotel is now fully owned and managed by the Eastern & Oriental Berhad Group.  After a major refurbishment, the E&O Hotel reopened its doors to the public in April 2001.

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The oldest Java Tree – planted before 1885

The new Victory Annexe houses a total of 122 sea-view and sea-facing suites… 118 Studio Suites and 4 Corner Suites.  Exiting the lift, we walk through a long and wide corridor to our Studio Suite.

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The charming colonial deco of the suite evokes the 1900’s style.  Dark timber floor matches the warm autumnal colours of the walls and a Victorian-style floral armchair sits in one corner.  That armchair is just perfect for me to curl up with my book.  Sheer white drapes flutter gently against the glass doors of the private balcony, giving the whole room a soft romantic touch.  I like it that the room is not entirely carpeted – the carpet only covers the area around the bed, leaving the rest of the timber floor bare.  There’s a strong and solid feel to wooden floors, something that’s warm and homey.

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The bathroom takes up almost half of the 55 square meters of the suite.  The claw-footed long bath stands in the middle of the bathroom, anchored on the typical colonial-style black & white tiles on the floor.  There are two pedestal ceramic basins, one on each side of the bathroom which is really cool – no sharing of basins with your sleeping partner!  The shower cubicle is separated from the basins, bath tub and WC and I love the super strong jets of water from the shower.

Suite Collage

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The view from our room!

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The well-equipped ultra-modern gym in The Victory Annexe

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Swimming pool in The Victory Annexe

Terrace Collage

The Poolside Terrace

One little grouse on my part is that the writing desk is a wee bit too narrow – but I guess that’s how a desk looks like during Victorian times.  And I think guests who stay here are not expected to work much!  Oh yes, high-speed internet with broadband connection is available.

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Complimentary non-alcoholic beverages from the mini bar are provided for guests staying at the Victory Annexe.  Also included in the room rate are daily breakfast, complimentary coffee & tea with refreshments throughout the day and evening cocktails with canapés at The Planters Lounge from 5pm to 7pm.  Guests can also opt to have their complimentary breakfast at Sarkies on the lobby floor, where the selection is much wider to cater to a larger crowd.

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The Planters Lounge

The Victory Annexe also houses a fully-equipped gym, swimming pool, a large ballroom and 5 meeting rooms with state-of-the-art audio visual installations.  The Poolside Terrace is connected to the Planters Lounge and the tables placed outside are always popular with guests who just want to chill out there facing the sea and watching sunsets in the evening.

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All the 100 suites in the Heritage Wing of the E&O Hotel are magnificently furnished, very spacious with either city or sea views.  The hotel’s round-the-clock impeccable butler service ensures that guests are taken care of the moment they arrive.  Personalized attentive service  wrapped with old-world charm – that’s precisely what the E&O Hotel stands for.

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The E&O Hotel is a popular venue for weddings

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Wedding in progress

Guests staying in both the Heritage Wing and the Victory Annexe get to savour the hotel’s F&B outlets seamlessly.  1885 is their elegant colonial style dining outlet where classical and contemporary cuisines are served.  Traditional English Afternoon Tea is also served in this graceful restaurant – more about our Afternoon Tea experience in an upcoming post.

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Reception at The Heritage Wing

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Long spacious corridors

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Portraits of the Sarkies Brothers

Heritage Suite Collage

Suites in The Heritage Wing

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Swimming pool at The Heritage Wing

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Gym at The Heritage Wing

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Gift Shop

Farquhar Bar is quintessentially an old English-style bar.  Its name is from Robert Townsend Farquhar who served briefly as Penang’s Lieutenant-Governor in 1804-1805.  I love the deep armchairs and the long dark wood bar – just perfect to chill-out and sip some ales.

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Farquhar Bar

Sarkies Corner is a casual colonial coffee shop which offers a selection of local and international fares.  We didn’t have time to dine here though.

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Sarkies Corner

Sarkies, as mentioned earlier, is the hotel’s spacious all-day dining restaurant.  It offers a wide selection of local and international dishes for its breakfast and dinner buffets.

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Buffet spreads at Sarkies

Buffet Collage

Standing majestically along Farquhar Street intersecting with Penang Road, this grand dame of heritage hotels is located conveniently near food havens, shopping and entertainment areas of downtown Georgetown.  The financial district of Beach Street is not too far away.  The E&O Hotel is a mere 20km away from Penang International Airport.

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The Eastern & Oriental Hotel
10 Lebuh Farquhar
10200 Penang
Tel: +604-222-2000  Fax: +604-261-6333

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2 Responses to “Grand Dame of Heritage Hotels in Penang: The Eastern & Oriental Hotel”

  1. November 18, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

    great shots, i’ve only ever come here to eat, but i’d love to have a stay here someday too! :D

    • Pureglutton
      November 21, 2013 at 9:01 pm #

      Go take a break and indulge la!

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