The Best of NileGuide
Penang Island has two main areas of interest for the visitor. Georgetown, the capital, has many quaint pre-World War II houses, as well as 19th-century churches, temples, mosques and colonial buildings. Batu Ferringhi on the north coast has white sandy beaches and luxurious hotels and restaurants. Many of Penang's fancier accommodations are in the form of beach resorts at Batu Ferringhi. More backpacker-friendly options, as well as a few classical luxury hotels, can be found in Georgetown.
If you are into sightseeing, restaurants and culture, stay in Georgetown. The top pick in town is the grand old colonial Eastern & Oriental Hotel Penang on Farquhar Street, which was founded in 1884 by legendary hoteliers the Sarkies brothers. A contrast is the G Hotel on Gurney Drive, which is a new, post-modern luxury hotel in town with direct sea views. It is comfortable, hip and funky.
Three other upmarket options here are Hotel Royal Penang, in Larut Road, a short drive from KOMTAR and the food hub of Macalister Road; Northam Hotel All Suite, with its 142 air-conditioned suites; and Traders Hotel Penang next to KOMTAR and Prangin Mall, in the heart of Georgetown.
Mid-market options include the PP island Hotel, Penang, a new boutique hotel with three-star qualities, and Cititel Penang, a 451-room property with good facilities. Cathay Hotel, at 15 Leith Street, is famous among Western backpackers. Oriental Guest House is in a charming two-story shop house building and is recommended.
Batu Ferringhi is probably the single most heavily developed stretch of tourist resorts in the entire country. If this is what you want, and you want the best, then either Shangri-La's Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa, the Holiday Inn Resort Penang, Shangri-La's Golden Sands Resort or the Park Royal Penang will suffice. The Bayview Beach Resort Penang is an upper mid-market property, while the EQ Ferringhi Hotel is a good budget option. Backpacker accommodation, in the form of local guest houses, can be found opposite the beach past the Park Royal Resort.