Travelling to Penang and wondering where to stay in Penang Island?
We can help you out. We have not only lived in Penang but visit regularly. It’s one of our favourite places in the world and we want to make sure you have the best vacation possible and love it as much as us.
Penang Island may be bigger than you think – it has an area of 293km2. And with a mountainous and jungle clad interior, you can’t always take the most direct route between places.
It’s also one of the most populated places in the country which means there can be a lot of traffic. This makes picking the best place to stay even more important!
In this where to stay in Penang blog, we will tell you the pros and cons of each Penang area and then list the best place to stay in Penang, Malaysia for each. There’s also a handy map at the end so you can see the exact location of everything.
So all you have to do is work out which area meets your trip requirements best then pick the recommended hotel in Penang for that area that suits your budgets and needs.
And if you have any further questions, just comment below and we’ll help you out!
Table of Contents
Where To Stay In Penang Island –The Best Areas
Note that Penang is a state in Malaysia which includes the island of Penang as well as a small section of the mainland of peninsular Malaysia. The vast majority of tourist attractions and services are on the island and this is definitely where I recommend you look for the best area to stay in Penang. For this reason, you will only find the top hotels in Penang Island below.
George Town is the capital of Penang and the central part is UNESCO listed thanks to its unique architecture, culture, and townscape. It was first settled by the British in the 1700s where it became a melting pot of people and cultures which it still is today.
There’s Little India, Chinese shopfronts and colonial architecture. It’s a great mix with some great food to go along with it.
It’s a nice place with some interesting historical sites and the shops fronts that make it famous. It’s also somewhat centrally located on this island with the population sprawling in all directions from here. If you are arriving by bus or train to Butterworth or Penang, it’s also the most convenient of the places to stay in Penang, Malaysia especially for getting around by local bus.
However, it’s also somewhat dead at night and lacking in atmosphere and you aren’t near a beach. The better resorts are elsewhere but there are some good business style hotels and cheap hotels in Penang, Malaysia in George Town as well as perhaps the best hotel to stay in Penang.
There are some great options of where to stay in George Town, Penang detailed below.
Best Place To Stay In George Town, Penang
Below are the best places to stay in George Town, Penang.
Bayview Hotel George Town Penang
There are a range of facilities including a pool, gym and revolving restaurant. We have particularly liked staying here because of the night market across the road which is perfect for dinner.
There are a range of room types including suites and family rooms making this one of the options for the best hotel in Penang town.
Eastern And Oriental Hotel
The historic Eastern and Oriental Hotel is a top contender for the best luxury hotel in Penang and is in a convenient location on the waterfront not far from Fort Cornwallis and some of George Town’s other top attractions.
This 19th century heritage option has a pool, gym, six dining options, bar and 24-hour butler service.
The rooms are simply stunning and come with large bathrooms, lounge and working areas. You will love them!
Hotel Jen Penang By Shangri-La
This 4 star hotel in Penang has many facilities including a pool, sauna and steam room, gym, day spa, hairdressers, restaurant and bar. There is also a free shuttle to enjoy Batu Ferringhi and the facilities at the Golden Sands Resort.
There are a range of room types including family rooms and apartments.
Sunway Hotel George Town Penang
The Sunway has a pool, restaurant and gym and is a solid mid-range option.
There are a range of room types including family rooms and ones with special Club Lounge access where you get access to special food and drinks.
Chulia Heritage Hotel
All rooms a good standard with air conditioning, tea and coffee making facilities and flat screen TVs. You can choose whether to have a private or shared bathroom depending on your budget. There are family rooms as well as twins, doubles and triples.
Batu Ferringhi is the main beach area of Penang. It’s located on the north coast about a 20 minute drive from George Town. It’s more like a small beach town than a big city and feels removed from the sprawl of Penang.
This choice of the Penang places to stay has a great atmosphere and is the most touristy part of the island, although it’s not really that touristy. This is where you will find the best resorts and water sports and definitely the place to be if you want a beach.
The beach is nice but there are jellyfish. I waded in the water the first time I went, no deeper than to my knees and managed to get stung by a jellyfish!
It’s an easy place to be with great food, a night market (perfect for souvenirs) and everything you need to make your stay a success. I highly recommend eating at the hawker centre, Long Beach Kafe, in the evenings.
It’s easy to get here on a bus from George Town.
Best Place To Stay In Batu Ferringhi, Penang
Below are our choices for the best hotel in Batu Ferringhi, Penang.
Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa Penang
There are multiple pools, restaurants, a gym, kids club, golf course and more.
There are a range of room types from doubles to options for families. For a treat, consider a room in the Rasa Wing which includes breakfast, afternoon tea, cocktails and pre-dinner canapes and coffee, tea and soft drinks throughout the day. It may be the best beach resort in Penang.
Holiday Inn Resort
There are a range of facilities including a big pool, two kids clubs, restaurant, bars, tennis court and games room.
There are many room types including some fabulous options for families. We love the kids suites.
Bayview Beach Resort
This is a great value option in the list of hotel in Batu Ferringhi Penang. It is a much cheaper option than other hotels on the beach while still having a big range of facilities including pools, water playground, gym, tennis court and kids club.
There are a range of room types including for families. They come with sitting areas and some have a seaview.
Hard Rock Hotel Penang
The only downside is that it is a bit out of the action next to the Bayview above.
There are a range of rock ‘n roll themed rooms including for families.
Rasa Motel Penang
For being part of the Penang budget hotel list, the Rasa does offer a few services including laundry, massages and it has a restaurant on site.
All rooms have their own bathroom and there is a variety of bedding configurations.
Tanjung Bungah is located between Batu Ferringhi and George Town and is convenient if you want to spend time in both of these places. It’s just a short bus, taxi or drive away from each.
Part of Penang’s urban sprawl stretching from George Town, you won’t feel like you have escaped it all here but there are some ok beaches as well as water sports to get you in the holiday mood.
There are also some great restaurants (go to Sri Ananda Bahwan for the best Indian in the world) and a shopping centre with Tesco, the main supermarket chain, for your supplies. However, there are no real attractions in Tanjung Bungah so you will probably spend most your time going elsewhere.
There’s a reasonable range of hotels here and they tend to be the best value on the island.
Best Place To Stay In Tanjung Bungah, Penang
Below are our choices for the best hotel in Tanjung Bungah, Penang
Lost Paradise Resort
There is a great infinity pool, day spa and in-house restaurant.
The suites are fabulously presented and it feels very special staying here. There are a range of suites including for families as well as a regular room type which is nowhere near as nice.
DoubleTree Resort By Hilton Hotel Penang
There are a range of facilities here including a pool, gym, walkway to the beach, restaurant, bar and an indoor play area for kids.
The rooms are all of a great standard and range from king rooms to two room suites for families. This is a great choice if you don’t mind hopping in a bus, car or taxi to go places.
Rainbow Paradise Beach Resort
Facilities include a pool, tennis court, gym, day spa, bar and restaurant
Rooms are a good size with minibars and balconies and there’s also the option of an apartment stay in Penang or family room. This hotel is a great choice for bargain seekers with all the facilities available and the decent room standard in a handy spot.
Copthorne Orchid Hotel Penang
This is also a very good value resort with a swimming pool, gym and a restaurant.
Standard hotel rooms and suites are available with tea and coffee making facilties, minibar, balconies, flat screen TVs and private bathrooms.
Gurney Drive (also known as Persiaran Gurney) is located just north of George Town before Tanjung Bungah and is a popular seafront promenade.
This Penang best place to stay is the place to be for shopping! It’s home to two big shopping centres, Gurney Paragon Mall and Gurney Plaza – which is the second largest shopping centre on the island. The latter also has a big cinema, children’s playcentre and some other entertainment options.
It’s also popular for its night hawker market which is the place to be to try out all of Penang’s delicacies, especially its seafood.
There are some nice hotels located here, some with seaviews. There are also some historical and architectural monuments as well as temples including Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram and Dharmikarama Burmese Temple.
However, mostly you will need to travel elsewhere for attractions. Luckily, Gurney Drive is just on the edge of George Town so it’s easy to get around.
Best Place To Stay In Gurney Drive, Penang
Below are our choices for the best hotels in Penang, Malaysia in the Gurney Drive area.
G Hotel Gurney
With facilities ranging from a pool and gym to multiple restarants and bars, this hotel is in the perfect place to shop and eat at some of the best shopping centres and eating establishments in Penang.
Many rooms feature great views over the coastline and are equipped with minibars, tea and coffee making facilities and everything else you would expect in a top hotel. There are also suites available with separate living areas.
G Hotel Kelawai
There is a spectacular infinity pool as well as a gym, restaurants and bars.
Rooms are modern, comfortable and functional and you can’t go wrong here! They feature everything you would expect in a top hotel as well as coffee machines and seating areas.
Evergreen Laurel Hotel Penang
Facilities here include a pool, gym, sauna, two restaurants and bars. Live music is available at the poolside and lobby bars.
Rooms are an older style compared to the G hotels above but comfortable, functional and a great size. There’s also the option of a suite with separate living room.
The Northam All Suite
The Northam has a great infinity pool, gym, day spa and two eating options.
The rooms are all suites with their own living areas and they start at a very good price. They come complete with tea and coffee making facilities (including a coffee machine) and sofas. There is a two bedroom family suite which is very spacious with two bedrooms and a living area with living, dining and study areas.
Our final recommendation of where to stay in Penang, Malaysia is south of George Town, near the airport, at Bayan Lepas.
Bayan Lepas is a good place to stay in Penang for value seekers who want to be near attractions while not breaking the bank. While it is my 5th choice of the best place to stay at Penang and I would pick the above areas first, Bayan Lepas does have some things going in its favour.
For a start, it is just ten minutes from the airport so staying here can be attractive if you are arriving late or after a long journey. There are also some good mid-range, 3 star hotel in Penang choices as well as one of my top picks for the best resort in Penang at the Lexis Suites.
If you choose a hotel to stay in Penang on a bus line in this area, you can access George Town easily.
There are also some nice attractions in Bayan Lepas including the Snake Temple, Aquarium, Penang War Museum and the Bukit Jambul Orchid and Hibiscus Garden. This nice place to stay in Penang is home to the largest shopping mall at Queensbay Mall.
Best Place To Stay In Bayan Lepas, Penang
Below are our choices for the best hotels in Penang Island in the Bayan Lepas area.
Eastin Hotel Penang
The location is great here too – it’s a quick walk from the biggest shopping centre on the island, Queensbay Mall.
There are a range of room types including club floor rooms with extra priviledges. Families will love the duplex style rooms.
Lexis Suites Penang
The resort also has a bigger pool, gym, karaoke rooms and a toddler play area.
However, the real reason to stay here are the fabulous private pools on the balconies that also come with a sauna.
Olive Tree Hotel Penang
There is an outdoor pool, restaurant and gym.
Rooms are modern and comfortable with minibar, flat screen TV and toiletries. Suites are available with more space.
M Qube Hotel
The M Qube Hotel is well located close to the main station and not far from Queensbay Mall and the airport. This is the perfect place when you just want to crash after a late flight or bus ride.
There are also many food stalls nearby.
Map of The Best Place To Stay In Penang Island
Penang is one of our favourite places in the world and we hope that this guide has helped you pick the best accommodation in Penang for you whether you are looking for the the best hotel in Penang for families or the best hotel in Penang for a couple or group.
My top pick is Batu Ferringhi as I love the relaxed and easy atmosphere while still having great eating and drinking options right by the beach.
A close second is George Town for people who prefer city and historical sites nearby.
But wherever you stay, make sure you get out and about and enjoy everything Penang has to offer!
Joshua is an Australian who has fallen in love with Malaysia! He explores Malaysia at least a few times a year and has previously lived in Penang.