For a unique heritage hotel stay in the heart of Georgetown, we highly recommend the Museum Hotel, Penang.
The Museum Hotel, Penang, is something special – a boutique city hotel that takes you back to a bygone era.
Found just outside Georgetown’s UNESCO World Heritage zone, it offers guests a unique stay in a restored historic Peranakan-style building. The owner is a collector of anything related to Peranakan/Baba-Nonya heritage (Chinese immigrants that settled in Penang, and their descendents) and all the furniture and art around the hotel comes from this culture particularly focusing on items from the late 1800s and early 1900s.
I discovered (after my trip, sadly) that there is actually a private museum in the hotel that guests can visit, where the owner will show you around and explain the history behind the hotel and the pieces on display. But even having missed this, I loved the historic feel of the whole hotel.
As you walk through the door straight away you’re whisked back to an era of sophistication and romance. Head up the classic staircase (or use the lift if like me if you’ve got big suitcases!) to the first floor where you’ll find the guestrooms, all uniquely decorated.
Heading to Penang? We recommend you check out our guide to everything there is to see and do on the island…
We decided to splash out on this trip and treated ourselves to the Museum Hotel’s one and only suite, and wow, we were so glad that we did.
Even though we’d seen images online prior to arriving, our jaws dropped when we took in our enormous room – it’s about 60 foot long.
Not only was it huge, it was beautifully decorated. Throughout the hotel you’ll find antique furniture dating back as far as the 18th century, and our room included an antique wooden screen with mother-of-pearl inlay and a massive ceramic-tiled desk.
As well as large pieces like these, and the impressive four poster bed, there were also beautiful features like the wooden shuttered windows, and lots of little design touches that we really loved, such as the old GEC fan unit and light switches. It actually inspired us to make some décor changes of our own when we got back home.
For some time we explored our room, taking pictures of each other at opposite ends of the suite and chuckling at the fact that we even had our own ‘gym’ thanks to the addition of an exercise bike and weights – I guess they were just trying to find a way to fill all that space!
We had a lovely antique sofa to lounge on and watch our flat screen TV, some chairs by the bed and behind the screen another sitting area, with table, to enjoy our morning cuppa.
We then checked out our bathroom, which I’m pretty sure was bigger than my bedroom at home. Alongside the expected amenities there was a massive (bigger than double) shower and a beautiful corner jacuzzi bath with waterfall tap. I’m usually only a bath person in winter, but I made an exception for this beaut, and was not disappointed!
Again there were pretty design touches here – I loved the gorgeous large mirror, but the piece de resistance was the stained glass overlooking the bath. When the sun hit it, it would create colourful rainbows on our bathroom floor.
There was only one downside to our suite – it was so massive that it was actually hard to keep cool. Even with the air conditioning on and three massive fans going it did feel quite stuffy. This was frustrating for someone with a health condition aggravated by heat, but still far from a deal breaker.
Check out some other reviews of Georgetown’s Museum Hotel on Tripadvisor.
Facilities at the Museum Hotel
The Museum hotel is a 3-star hotel, and as it’s small its facilities are limited. Even so, I found it had everything we needed from a city hotel – and more – as it’s not really designed as a place to lounge all day, but more a base to explore Penang island.
One of the great facilities it offers, for example, is free bike hire – as an aside there’s also free parking for those guests who’ve hired a car for their stay in Penang.
Behind reception you’ll find the restaurant/courtyard, where there’s a mix of tables and chairs and cosy sofas. In the morning this is where breakfast is served, but during the rest of the day guests can come here to relax or have a drink.
There’s no real pool at this hotel sadly, just a ‘lap pool’ which is really just something you can cool your feet in or use as a paddling pool for toddlers. At each end of the ‘pool’ is a little space for lounging or having a drink – after a long day out we’d often grab a drink and play a game or two out here.
The hotel’s small bar, the Georgetown Sake Bar, offers a restricted range of drinks and snacks, which you can enjoy in the courtyard, but we often liked to escape to the small rooftop garden terrace, where you could enjoy your drink while looking over the city. I loved watching the dramatic lightning storms dance across the sky on our first night!
It might not be the best hotel for those on a work trip, however. Yes there is free wi-fi, but it isn’t the most reliable.
Penang street art is a highlight of any trip to Georgetown. Here’s our introduction to the amazing art you can see in Penang Island’s capital city and where you can find it…
Food at The Museum Hotel
Snacks are available at the Museum Hotel, but the main meal served here is breakfast. Every afternoon/evening, when you’re back from your travels and come to pick up your room key at reception (they ask you leave the keys there before you head out each day), you’re asked to pick your breakfast for the next day. The selection is small; six dishes ranging from local dishes like nasi kandar through to western brekkies like eggs benedict and scrambled eggs.
Then when you come down for breakfast the next morning, they’ll start freshly cooking your chosen dishes while you enjoy a fresh cup of tea or coffee and fruit juice.
While you wait for your cooked food, they bring you out a platter of fresh fruit and a small sweet each, and by the time you’ve worked your way through these they’ll magically appear with the rest of your meal. The food always set us up for a big day of exploring Penang, and it was always lovely to be waved on our way by the staff when we dropped off our key on the way out.
Insider tip – just a minute walk away from the Museum Hotel is the best place to eat roti canai on the whole of Penang Island. Just head up to the hawker stall on Transfer Road before 11am.
Thoughts on the Museum Hotel in Penang
As George Town hotels go, you can’t beat the Museum Hotel; I would definitely stay here again. I found the service great – we saw regular faces at breakfast and in reception, so it appears to be run by quite a small team.
It’s really well situated on a quiet side street, meaning noise really isn’t an issue while you’re still close to all the action of Georgetown.
You can always find good deals on sites like Hotels.com but it may also be worth a quick check to see what the hotel offers if you book directly. They had some great deals when we booked – our package included a bath bomb of our choice for the jacuzzi bath and free use of a Nintendo Switch.
Our January stay in the Museum Hotel’s suite cost approximately £40 a night.
Want to see more of the Museum Hotel? Then check out this video, which includes our epic suite!