If there is one tip I will given you when in Penang, is stay in a heritage hotel. Trust me. It's quite an experience being able to appreciate the architecture and design of these old shoplots or house turned accommodation. These hotels are also often more affordable and strategically located within proximity of the good food that Penang is known for.
Case in point: my recent stay at OYO RG Heritage Boutique Hotel.
The RG in the name stands for Rain Garden which is the name of the cafe that the hotel is atop of. As such, the hotel shares the entrance with the cafe and a Nyonya restaurant, Richard Rivalee. While the hotel was located on the corner of Jalan Burma and Jalan Cantonment, its entrance was accessible by an alley along Lorong Bangkok. I quite like the hidden element of finding the entrance and that it leads into a nice open courtyard of greenery that links the cafe and restaurant.
It's like a secret garden in someone's grandmother's house in the middle of a town. If you're a plant lover like me, you can appreciate the foliage plants in the courtyard.
Before entering, we had to scan the MySejahtera QR code and had our temperatures taken by the staff. Check in was quick. Guests are required to put a RM100 deposit for the room key which will be returned upon check out. They have about 7 rooms of a similar layout. Upon entering it was easy to fall back in time to wooden flooring and stain glass doors. Each room has a queen size bed and even a second floor bedroom with another queen size bed. If you're doing the maths, this means that groups of four can enjoy a comfortable spacious stay at RG Heritage Boutique Hotel.
If you're concerned that the rooms will be hot, don't be because each room has a fan and an aircon for you to enjoy a chill room after a hot day out exploring Penang. The upper bedroom even comes with its own personal fan in case it gets too hot. The hotel also has a water dispenser where we could refill the water jug and store it in the room's fridge everyday for chilled refreshing water when we get back. Perfect to beat the Malaysian heat and to stay hydrated.
Amenities such as a hairdryer, towels and toothbrushes were also included. The bathroom was nicely designed too with pretty tiles on the floor and wall (I notice weird stuff okay). The door was the traditional double-panel type of olden days back when houses were smaller. The bathroom also comes equipped with a heated shower with shampoo and body wash provided.
Unfortunately, the room do not come with a window looking down on to Jalan Burma. It does have a window and a second door (locked from inside) but when my kepohchi self opened the door, it simply led out to another hallway with furniture stored along it. Frankly it was quite creepy and not a very nice look for the hotel, given that the hallway was probably added later as a buffer from the road noises. Long story short, don't open the back door and window.
Another thing to take note of is that parking was really limited and up to your luck as the only parking spots were along Lorong Bangkok (a one way road). Just to try not to come back to the hotel around lunch time as you will be competing for parking with patrons of the kopitiam and mamak nearby. Also street parking is RM0.40 for 30 minutes or RM0.80 per hour, from 8am to 6pm. Outside of those hours, it's free. I would suggest planning your returns to the hotel to avoid peak hours for a better chance of getting parking.
All in all, OYO RG Heritage Boutique Hotel in Penang was adequate for my short trip. The bed and pillows were really cozy and there were times leaving the bed was a challenge. The hotel didn't have its own gym but I managed to slot in a morning workout on the main balcony overlooking the courtyard. As for accessibility, there was no lift, only a flight of steps to the rooms from the courtyard which might be a challenge for older guests or those with mobility issues.
As for food (the main reason to visit Penang), it was within walking distance to many eateries in Pulau Tikus, one of which being Raffee Nasi Kandar. I actually found the nasi kandar at Raffee nicer and more reasonable than Hameediyah Georgetown and the queue shorter. No breakfast is provided by the hotel but who needs that when you have a great meal at Pulau Tikus Hawker Center 5 minutes away, just across the road.
By car, the hotel was only a 10 minutes drive to the Georgetown UNESCO site and a 30 minutes drive to Batu Ferringhi for sunset views by the beach. It's pretty much in the center of many Penang attractions and if shared in a group of four, the price for a room was actually dirt cheap. Plus, there are a lot of Instagrammable corners to explore in this heritage building that aren't usually seen by the masses.
To book with OYO RG Heritage Boutique Hotel in Penang, go to OYO Rooms.
Disclaimer: My stay at OYO RG Heritage Boutique Hotel, Penang was sponsored by OYO but all thoughts and opinions are my own.