Penaga Hotel takes the shape of a horseshoe, bordering the streets of Jalan Hutton, Jalan Clarke and Jalan Transfer. Made up of over ten traditional Chinese shop-houses, Penaga makes use of its size to create a peaceful enclave in the heart of George Town. Despite being surrounded by busy streets and Mamak cafes the hotel exudes a calm and quiet environment creating a silent oasis a world away.
As the first ‘Green Hotel’ in Penang, it also boasts 99 solar panels used to heat bathing water and a saline swimming pool, which is comparable to swimming in a fresh water lake (despite the feeling of being in an aquarium as the glass walled sides are flanked by an outdoor seating area and the hotel’s restaurant). The three blocks – taking their names from the respective roads they traverse – each cater for different guests and their needs. Hutton Lodge, also containing the hotel reception, houses double-bed rooms for visiting couples and is the only block with a lift to aid those who find stairs difficult.
Transfer is composed of double-bed rooms and come with a spacious balcony just high enough to look out onto a panorama of the east of George Town. In keeping with the hotels generally considerate feel, Clarke has rooms that are more catered for families with five, two-storey suites complete with kitchenette and a large living room. The décor is tastefully respectful of the historic buildings making up the hotel.
Each of the rooms’ layout, furnishings and decoration is different, making sure that they complement the architecture rather than the other way around. Antique wardrobes and dressers have been installed in perfect harmony with modern bathrooms and flat screen television screens; each room throughout the hotel coming with a Jacuzzi bath and multi-nozzle shower cubicle.
The care taken to create a memorably historic experience is evident in the details – most notably the restoration of traditional stained glass windows and floor tiles inside and outside the hotel. The service is delivered with calm professionalism mixed with homely affection.
Also, the local Malaysian and Australian owners have succeeded in offering an artistic experience, the walls being festooned with artwork donated to the hotel by artists who have participated in their artists-in- residence programme. This, and the gift shop selling memorabilia and antique furniture, creates a ‘real’ environment to stay within a working city.