The Eastern & Oriental, popularly known as the ‘E&O’, is an all-suite luxury hotel and the only one with a seafront in the George Town UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Widely revered as the grande dame of heritage hotels, the E&O was established in 1885 by the famed Sarkies Brothers whose architectural landmarks include the Raffles Hotel in Singapore and The Strand in Rangoon.
In the days well before World War II, travelling enthusiasts put into motion an adventurous ‘Grand Tour’ of Asia, where only one hotel in any one destination can make the grade as the accommodation of choice for worldly travellers of means and breeding. Not unlike a precursor to the five-star rating, the names on the list included the finest of Asia at the time: the Taj in Bombay, the Galle Face in Colombo, the Oriental in Bangkok and the Peninsula in Hong Kong. And for Penang, the hotel of choice was always the E&O.
In many ways, the E&O has also come to represent Penang itself – its story inextricably woven into the island’s history, its traditions an indelible part of many a traveller’s treasured memory, its name synonymous with the magical island once known as the Pearl of the Orient.
With the completion of the restoration and refurbishment of the E&O’s iconic Heritage Wing in December 2019, the hotel has come full circle, reassuming the mantle as a leading destination in classic hospitality with new facilities and a host of exclusive privileges – making it an even more delightful experience for guests staying here.
The Heritage Wing is the original site and historical heart of the hotel, characterised by its Moorish minarets and a soaring echo-dome lobby that provide the backdrop for khaki-clad doormen and pith-helmeted bellmen to welcome guests to its 100 elegant suites.
In December 2019, the Heritage Wing re-opened after a 9-month comprehensive restoration and refurbishment programme, unveiling fully refreshed suites with luxurious amenities and upgraded hotel facilities that include new restaurants and bar, an art colonnade and an exclusive lounge.
From personalised butler assistance on arrival for in-suite check-in to complimentary unpacking and packing services as well as laundry and pressing provisions, guests are continuously feted during their stay at the Heritage Wing.
While the suites have maintained their original layout, the transformation is clearly seen and felt; the rejuvenated interiors and corridors let in more natural light, creating an airy and brighter ambience, as new colours, textures and oriental artworks combine gracefully to bring hints of the tropical East into the living space.
It is however, only when one becomes acquainted with the bespoke amenities within the suite that the sense of true luxury becomes even more apparent – exceptional creature comforts and thoughtful conveniences that attend to the guests’ every need in sumptuous fashion. They include:
Barista-quality coffee from an in-suite Nespresso machine and a fine tea selection by Harney & Sons, with authentic bone china teacups crafted by Narumi
A complimentary minibar with a premium selection of gin, vodka and single malt whisky as well as soft drinks, juices and beer
A rotating menu of savoury and sweet snacks that is replenished daily
Exclusive toiletries by Panpuri and Indochine for in-room bathroom luxuries
Plush Egyptian cotton bathroom towels
Luxuriant 400-thread-count bedroom linen with satin finish
Ensuring further privacy and exclusivity, the Heritage Wing’s sea lawn swimming pool is reserved for Heritage Wing and Corner Suite guests only, as is The Cornwallis, the dedicated lounge for breakfast and daily evening canapes and cocktails.
The Victory Annexe is an extended wing that opened in 2013, marking a significant milestone in the E&O’s history. Named after the original Victory Annexe, a magnificent 40-room addition unveiled by Arshak Sarkies in 1923, the new Victory Annexe features 118 Studio Suites and 14 Corner Suites.
In line with the hotel’s DNA, the Victory Annexe is designed with the needs and comforts of the modern traveller in mind, while retaining the old-world ambience and charm that are synonymous with the E&O.
Its modern-classic design retains the essence of E&O’s rich heritage yet offers the modern business traveller state-of-the-art conveniences including high-speed wifi broadband connection, a fully-equipped gym, an infinity pool with an extensive view of the Andaman sea and the E&O Gallery.
An original oasis for early travellers in the East, the E&O remains the ideal place from which to explore George Town, the UNESCO World Heritage Site and Penang’s capital city. Standing at the intersection of Farquhar Street and Penang Road, the hotel is 20 kilometres from the Penang International Airport and within walking distance from the food havens, shopping complexes and entertainment outlets of downtown George Town.