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Family-friendly hotels in Penang

Apart from its rich heritage, wealth of street food and cultural excursions, Penang offers a multitude of family-friendly hotels for a comfortable stay. By Cheng Sim


Hard Rock Hotel Penang

Kids rule at this family-friendly, American-style resort which the Hard Rock brand is known for. Doting parents with kids can check out two rooms namely, Lil Rock Suite and Lil Rock Suite Courtyard. Both rooms are furnished with music posters, a set of Playstation 3, special kids in-room dining menu and well-stocked mini bar of snacks. If you're looking for a more spatial stay, reserve the Lil Rock Suite Courtyard that comes with a sliding door that opens to an outdoor mini playground. Keep the staff informed if you have a toddler in tow and they'll set up a crib in a jiffy and for free.

If you're planning a rejuvenating retreat at Rock Spa, the Lil Rock Kids Club will keep your kids (9-12 years old) busy with free arts and crafts pursuits. The older kids (13-18 years old) are welcome to mingle over a game of pool, foosball and free movie screening. If it happens to be the first Saturday of the month, Hard Rock Hotel will set up a massive foam party for the adults and children.

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Batu Ferringhi

Shangri-La Golden Sands Resort

There's a brilliant child-friendly itinerary at the Golden Sand's Resort's spacious green sanctuary. Adventure Zone (a top favourite among in-house kids and Penangites on staycation) is a multi-storey family entertainment centre. Get ready for high-pitch, kiddy screams at their three huge slides - try the 24-feet Drop Slide - as well as children and toddlers area packed with games and toys. Long sleeve shirts are a must for slide plays. It's best to pack one or risk spending a few ringgit for a new one at their souvenir shop. Slides too kiddy for the older kids? Lead them to Game Zone where they'll find Nintendo Wii, board games (free to use), foosball and an arcade (token alert!) to play.

Their Golden Sands rooms are largely catered to individual travellers and holiday couples but a family stay is not to be missed. If you're travelling with kids in tow, your safest bet is to arrange connecting rooms for maximise comfort or splurge more on an Executive Suite. Each room is kitted out with a king-sized bed or two single beds, so snap up a rollaway bed (charge with a third occupant rate).

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Batu Ferringhi

Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa

The crystal waters of Batu Ferringhi is a paradise for beachcombers and locals looking for a lazy day by the sea. Therefore, the range of seaside activities are limitless to you and your family. Aside from a day of beach volleyball and Adventure Zone (a shared attraction with sister resort, Golden Sands Resort), kids get to sign up for free daily activities at several designated meeting points (check the concierge). They'll get to jungle walk, do circuit training, heritage walk and also, pilates (all with a fee). If you're on a budget-conscious side, activities like water volleyball, visit to Eco Centre, cooking demo, mahjong class and dart competition are free of charge.

Ideal for families, Rasa Sayang's interior and wooden furnishing are entirely Minangkabau-inspired and complements the resort's surrounding greenery to a tee. Families have three rooms to debate over namely, Superior Family, Family and Executive Family rooms. Whichever room you choose, you can enjoy the fresh air from your own private balcony that overlooks a garden or the resort's landscape before whisking away to the sandy beach of Batu Ferringhi.

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Batu Ferringhi

Holiday Inn Resort

The Holiday Inn brand means you know what you're getting - nicely furnished rooms, service and one that comes recommended for a family-friendly stay. If your kids have time on their hands, channel their creativity towards t-shirt painting (shirt and colouring paint provided) or a colouring session (colour pencils, crayons and drawing sketch provided). Before you and your missus whisk off to the nearby bar, holler a babysitter for a small fee and keep the kids occupied with free board games like snakes and ladders, chess, checkers and Monopoly. Did we also mention that kids get to eat for free?

Tucked away at the Beach Wing is the Kids Suite fitted with a king-sized bed, two bunk beds and a pull out bed. Let your kids have their say with their preferred themes like Treasure Island, Jungle or Space. The little ones can also score free access to the in-room Playstation 3 for friendly sibling rivalry.

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Batu Ferringhi

PARKROYAL Penang Resort

Imagine a poolside cafe with banana soft toys placed on light yellow-green tables. These are the things you'll find at Cool Bananas Poolside Cafe, a cosy hideout for adult and children alike. There's a Playstation 2 for a father and son duel as well as a mini library and internet facilities (at a minimum fee) for kids who prefers Solitaire over Star Wars Battlefront II. Kids combo menu is also on offer for a quick refuel or alternatively, grill your own meats at the 'Do-it-yourself poolside barbecue' - get your child to help with plating. If the weather is gloomy, duck out at the Koko-Nuts Kids Club. Supervised by trained staff, the room consists of an indoor playground, a TV and video area as well as a designed carpeted room for toddlers complete with baby cots and soft toys. Activity-wise, events like leaf painting, stick puppets, face painting and movie screenings are free.

Parkroyal's Family Room perfectly fits a family of four (two adults and two kids) and you'll have the view of Malacca Straits from the room's private balcony. Other amenities include a king-sized bed and two twin beds, en suite bathroom, in-room movies and fully-stocked mini bar.

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Batu Ferringhi

Malihom Estate

Balik Pulau is the less travelled corner of Penang and a 40 minute drive away from heritage hotspot George Town. Mostly touted as a honeymoon location, Malihom’s orchards, treks, fish ponds and all-round jungle factor can also serve as an enjoyable family retreat. Opt for a family barn and enjoy the hospitality shown by the hosts at Malihom. The 1.2 metre deep pool will need parental supervision as no lifeguards are available.

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Bayan Lepas

G Hotel

Critics' choice

Stylish and contemporary, the lush G Hotel might not seem like the best place to bring your kids. But from the welcome ice cream upon check in to the Sunday Funday brunch with its sumptuous Kids Corner section, there’s plenty for the youngsters to like about this hotel. G Hotel also faces the sea (albeit without a beach), anf is close to Gurney Plaza Mall and Gurney Drive for some street food grazing.

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Gurney Drive

Mango Tree Place

Off Burma Road, Mango Tree Place is a hotel where ‘happy souls’ can be found. Service is impeccable, the team is especially welcoming to kids, and children will enjoy the unique decor. Free baby cots are available. Their breakfasts lean toward local varieties, so take it as a safe introduction to Penang cuisine. Here’s a tip: book the courtyard suite where there’s a swing in the room.

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George Town

Flamingo by the Beach Penang

Critics' choice

Flamingo Hotel is one of the top choices for Malaysian families, most probably due to its efficient shuttle service to areas like Batu Ferringhi. With a small playground, kiddie pool and an indoor kids’ club for those rainy days, children will be well-entertained. You can also accompany your kids to the beach, separated from the swimming pool by some stairs (younger tots will need help here), where the sand is quite fine and water suitable for play.

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Tanjung Tokong