Parkroyal Penang Resort in Batu Ferringhi recently reopened after undergoing a MYR 55 million transformation encompassing the public spaces and guestrooms. The hotel has been around since 1990 and has an enviable position as it faces the Andaman Sea. It is also the only resort being managed by Parkroyal Hotels and offers a good peek at how the city hotel chain does its leisure infrastructure. For the reopening, I was invited to head to the Malaysian island for the weekend to check out the hotel and also some new attractions in Penang.
From Penang International Airport, the resort is almost an hour’s drive as Batu Ferringhi is located near the northern tip of Penang. If you decide to take a ride sharing service such as Uber, the fare is around 35 to 40 Ringgit.
I liked the lobby area of the Parkroyal Penang Resort with its high ceiling, timber furnishings and open concept that look out to the sea. The Javana Lounge in the middle offers refreshments and cocktails in various seating formats – I particularly enjoyed lounging by the day beds while looking out at the sprawling resort grounds.
There are no less than ten room types at the Parkroyal Penang Resort and for this stay, I was billeted at one of the Premier Seaview rooms. At 35 square meters, it’s of modest size and comes with a balcony that looks out to the sea.
This particular room type comes with either a king or twin bed format but it is worth noting that my king room did not use a true king bed but rather had two twin beds joined together to form an over sized bed that’s even larger than your usual king bed. I am not entirely sure if it was just my room or if they do all Premier Seaview rooms like this. I went to look at the other room types and those had more modestly-sized king beds.
Due to the inclusion of a balcony, there is no space to put in a couch. If like me, you don’t have an inclination to lie in bed with your outdoor clothes and prefer a separate space to lounge around – the Deluxe Seaview Room may be more your cup of tea. This room doesn’t come with a balcony but there’s an alcove with a couch spacious enough as a day bed. It also has views of the sea from the inside so you’ll still get to bask in air-conditioned comfort!
The interiors sport a warm beige hue not different from the Parkroyal city hotels elsewhere. The room thoughtfully came with plenty of power outlets to allow for easy charging of gadgets for an entire family. It also came with modern creature comforts. I particularly enjoyed streaming my mobile device on the television which can easily be done by following the on-screen instructions.
There’s no tub inside the bathroom but I liked the soothing wooden accents for a change as compared to the usual marble. The toilet is thoughtfully semi-enclosed which is not very common in 4-star properties. Toiletries come from the in house St. Gregory brand – similar in name to the spa.
Parkroyal Penang Resort has a number of food and drinks establishments within its premises. Aside from Javana Lounge, there’s the new Cinnamon – the breakfast venue as well as the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant. For something truly atmospheric, I recommend heading to the beachside Uncle Zack by the Beach which aptly opens only during dinner. You can watch the sunset while having a satay or one of the delicious seafood dishes.
If you prefer to dine in airconditioned comfort or to try more local dishes, Cinnamon is a better choice. I had the Seafood Hor Fun which came brimming with large prawns and cuttlefish. The towering Chendol is a great choice to end the meal and is good for two.
During my time at the Parkroyal Penang Resort, I also tried the inhouse St. Gregory Spa. The staff numbers here are pretty lean and I left my number at the front desk for a callback to schedule my massage as there was no one attending to the reception. I received a callback in no time. After a short chat with the knowledgeable receptionist, I chose to have the Traditional Malay Urut Massage (MYR 280), a therapeutic 1 hour procedure which involves plenty of twisting and turning to relieve those aching joints. She was also very open in customizing my procedure, as I requested a more relaxing version of the massage.
Aside from the main building, the resort has spacious landscaped grounds where guests can relax by the pool or simply sunbathe. There is also an outdoor massage area (not connected to the spa) where guests can have a 1-hour massage for MYR 100. At the time of my stay, the landscaping was being spruced up as part of continuing efforts to renovate the resort. There are also plans to open a new Italian restaurant here.
The newly-renovated Parkroyal Penang Resort gives holiday-goers a refreshing option where Batu Ferringhi hotels are concerned. The world-renowned stretch of beach may have plenty of hotels and resorts but this property remains to be one of the very few in the 4-star category. In that sense, the property positions itself well against its competition in the area. As the first Parkroyal resort, the place also offers a peek at how future developments of the chain may pan out – namely the Parkroyal A’Famosa Melaka Resort opening in 2018 and the Parkroyal Langkawi Resort opening in 2020.