Ornate Chinese entrance, George Town, Penang, Malaysia - 20171221-DSC03077

15 Instagramable George Town, Penang Hotels That Capture The History Of The City


You are looking for instagramable Penang hotels that keep the promise the stunning images on Booking.com et al. make? I’m here to help!

From a former Chinese pharmacy to colonial mansions to Chinese Peranakan opulence - some of the Penang hotels seem to have been picked straight from a photographer's dream. But these Instagram photos by real guests are colorful proof that the heritage accommodations keep the bold promises their marketing imagery makes. #malaysiaitinerary #malaysiaaccommodation #designhotel

When planning your visit to charming George Town Penang, Malaysia, you’ll get to choose between more than 400 hotels, hostels, guesthouses, and apartments on Booking.com alone. So where do you begin? Well, when I recently visited and wandered through the city, I noticed a few hotels that were in heritage buildings – from 19th-century or early 20th-century colonial mansions to regular 19th-century residences to Chinese pharmacies to shophouses. Many of the buildings that helped establish Penang as a UNESCO Heritage city have been lovingly restored and are now welcoming travelers from around the World.

Inspired by the heritage house accommodations in George Town, I spent an afternoon searching through hundreds of Instagram photos and collecting stunning impressions – from real guests! – of some of the best Penang hotels and guesthouses that wowed me on my city walks.

Nightly rates for a double including breakfast at the hotels in this list range between very affordable $40 and still-not-breaking-the-bank $150.

I’ve also created this handy map to show you where these accommodations and other points of interest in Penang are. You can save it for later (just click on the star to the right of the map title “Places in George Town, Malaysia” and the markers will automatically pop up any time you open Penang in Google Maps in the future) so that planning your trip becomes a breeze.

23 Love Lane


23 Love Lane Hotel offers ten boutique-style rooms right in the heart of George Town. Though it sits on historical Love Lane, thanks to a garden in front of the house, it is removed from the street (and the accompanying noise). The rooms are furnished with classic dark teak furniture and local modern art. And during the annual Penang Island Jazz Fest, concerts take place in the garden and the courtyard.

Room rates start at around $120/€100.

The Reunion Heritage House


Reunion Heritage House boasts three serene courtyards and the super-hip on-site dessert cafe Merry Me. Rooms are modern and decorated with a whimsical travel theme with maps and old suitcases along with plush beds. The stunning bathroom design features black and white tiles and colorful, ornately painted sinks.

Room rates start at around $54/€45.

Spices Hotel (Spices Collection)


Among the Penang hotels in this post, the Spices Collection Guesthouses are on the understated side. However, Spices Hotel offers unique features such as a swing in the common area and a wrought-iron staircase entwined with a banyan tree root in the courtyard. And the on-site Urban Spices Caffee offers modern fusion kitchen. Last not least, Spices Hotel sits right next to Armenian Park on the colorful Armenian Road that offers numerous cute coffee shops, restaurants, and shops and boasts some of George Town’s most famous street art.

Room rates start at around $70/€55.

Muntri Mews Residence


Combining modern design with antique furnishings, Muntri Mews offers the sleekest interiors on this list with whites and beiges and simple lines, color accents, and recycled wood furniture in a shabby chic design.

The spacious suites are decorated with artwork by local artists and offer access the hotel’s tropical gardens.

Room rates start at around $90/€75.

Hotel Penaga


The boutique Hotel Penaga combines three rows of two-story shophouses from the 1940s. Art Deco with Chinese touches is infused with modern elements like a pool with glass wall, a spa, freestanding bathtubs and tons of space around the four-poster beds.

Room rates start at around $90/€75.

Yeng Keng Hotel


When I first saw the Yeng Keng Hotel through its massive gate on street-food haven Chulia Street, I thought it was another Chinese temple. The two-story bungalow is painted in bright yellow and decorated with ornate porcelain details. But apparently, it used to be the mansion of a 19th-century Chinese merchant. The rooms with bold accent walls and vintage furniture are just as striking as the exterior promises.

While the pool in the back draws hotel guests, the café/bar/restaurant on the ground floor draws local crowds.

Room rates start at around $80/€65.

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion – The Blue Mansion Hotel


Cheong Fatt Tze – The Blue Mansion is the most striking of the Penang hotels on this list. As the name suggests, the exterior of this former Chinese courtyard-style mansion is painted in a stunning indigo blue reminiscent of Morocco’s Chefchaouen. Add to that a wrought-iron spiral staircase, and you get Instagram perfection.

As a refreshing contrast to the overwhelming exterior and common areas, the rooms are airy and understated with beige walls and ceilings, white linen and selected furniture accents.

The Indigo Restaurant serves “East-West fusion” kitchen and is among the best-rated restaurants in Penang on TripAdvisor.

Room rates start at around $130/€110.

Campbell House


Campbell House is another Penang hotel in a former colonial corner shophouse. On three floors, Campbell House offers rooms picking up the plush luxury theme with heavy curtains and throw pillows, fabric wallpapers, wooden floors with carpets; some rooms even come with mirrors over the bed. There’s an in-house Italian restaurant called Il Bacaro Restaurant with a bar. And for some quiet time indoors, the hotel offers an elegant library.

Room rates start at around $150/€125.

Seven Terraces


Seven Terraces’ name is derived from the seven terrace townhouses that were converted into a luxurious hotel showcasing the luxurious Pinang Peranakan style in a mix of Chinese and colonial British elements. During their late 2017 visit, Prince Charles and Camilla popped by to observe the detailed restoration of the buildings. This Penang hotel is a mere 5-minute walk from Harmony Street and the Goddess of Mercy Temple as well as the similarly striking Penang Peranakan Mansion. And if you prefer to stay away from the bustle of the city: there’s a pool in the courtyard.

Room rates start at around $150/€125.

Loke Thye Kee Residences


Loke Thye Kee Residences is located on the outer limit of UNESCO George Town. The Chinese-shophouse-turned-hotel hides an extremely modern design in its storied walls. The interiors play with structures and patterns along walls, floors, and ceiling (sometimes all three), and boast glass-walled bathrooms. A more playful element is the green dinosaurs guests receive as a turndown present on their pillow.

Köpitiam Restaurant is the in-house coffee shop.

Room rates start at around $100/€80.

Clove Hall Residence


Clove Hall is a former colonial residence about 20 minutes on foot from the heart of George Town. This Penang hotel mansion boasts six individually designed suites with vintage furniture, wooden floors, and four-poster beds with mosquito net. Whites and blacks dominate the common areas (small checkered tiles give the hall/dining/common area a cool yet homey appeal). The house is in a quiet residential area and features a garden with outdoor pool.

Room rates start at around $130/€110.

Ren I Tang Heritage Inn


At the Ren I Tang Heritage Inn, every room tells a story of its former use of the building as a Chinese pharmacy. The design is best described as crafty with vintage everyday items turned into decoration and features like the old groceries pulley integrated into the design. Another nod to the building’s history is the herbal courtyard. Oh, and the bathtubs are of the short, two-thirds kind and made from wood.

Room rates start at around $55/€40.

MuseuM Hotel


MuseuM Hotel, the cheapest Penang hotel on this list, occupies a restored colonial shophouse building just outside the northwestern limits of the George Town UNESCO zone. Colonial-era furnishings dominate the design, but all the modern amenities are also there. Note, that the cheapest rooms do not have windows.

Room rates start at around $40/€35.

The Edison George Town


Block colors dominate the room design at stately The Edison George Town – blue and white, turquoise and white,… tastefully add life to muted beiges and charcoals. The Edison boasts a large garden with outdoor pool in short walking distance to Love Lane and the street food on Chulia.

Room rates start at around $140/€125.

Coffee Atelier


Coffee Atelier is located on a side street of Love Lane. The building, which also houses an excellent coffee shop, a gallery and a small museum dedicated to the art of coffee making, used to be coffee roastery.

Room rates start at around $100/€80.

1881 Chong Tian

While the 1881 Chong Tian does, unfortunately, not offer booking via Booking.com, I couldn’t withhold this gem from you. This Penang hotel is Chinese opulence at its finest, housed in a 19th-century mansion with colorful porcelain details and bold wall colors.

Budget options to enjoy Penang’s heritage architecture outside the hotels

If you want all the opulence of a 19th-century mansion without staying in on of the heritage house Penang hotels, visit Pinang Peranakan Mansion – this building is not a hotel but a museum exhibiting the lavish Pinang Peranakan Mansion style.

PS: During my visit to George Town, I stayed at The Frame Guesthouse, a hostel that is also located in a former shop building but has been redesigned with the budget traveler in mind. It’s not spectacular. However, the rough concrete/brick/wood mix along with clean and comfy beds and the vicinity to street food on Chulia Street as well as the culture on Harmony Street make this a perfect pick when your budget is on the low side.

Have you stayed in any stunning Penang hotels? Feel free to add your Instagram pictures or reviews in the comments below!


  • Hannah Denton

    This is such an organised and detailed post! I’d love to visit one day, 23 Love Lane sounds perfect! I live on a Love Lane….It’s meant to be!!

  • EG III

    These are all some really beautiful hotels, each with their own unique flavor and flair. I think if I narrowed it down to my top 2 they would be Hotel Penaga and The Reunion Heritage House.

  • Ana De-Jesus

    I actually think it is amazing that you are able to stay in a double room including breakfast from as little as £40. In the UK you would be very hard pressed to find hotels in the UK that are as cheap as that. I think the cheapest I have found for a hotel of the same caliber was £60. I really like the look of Edison George especially, I think the architecture and rooms are exquisitely crafted.

  • Irena

    Such a detailed post. It’s hard for me to choose my favourite hotel as they all look great. The prices are really amazing for what you get. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Jhoan

    It’s amazing to know you can experience so much while spending less in Malaysia. These hotels seem so nice and beautiful.

  • Laura dove

    Wow what a detailed post! I love how comprehensive this is and what amazing hotels you have chosen. I certainly love an instagrammable hotel!

  • Ali Rost

    Could there be anything more romantic than the Love Lane Hotel? If we’re ever lucky enough to visit George Town, hands down, it’s the place we’d stay. My husband and I would be right at home with its decor of teak furniture and moderan art. Not to mention, jazz it what we have playing everday so a concert in the courtyard would make us feel right at home. x

  • Blake

    Holy! That Love Lane hotel looks awesome. Malaysia has been on my list for quiet some time but it’s been very hard for me to get to. I need embrace the journey. Your post inspires me to do so. Thanks for sharing! Adding as a favorite.

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