Olive Tree Hotel

Special thanks to Olive Tree Hotel for extending this hotel review invitation.

Olive Tree Hotel is a 4-star hotel in Bayan Baru. Thanks to its proximity to Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone, the hotel is a popular choice of accommodation for business travelers and expatriates. Another advantage that Olive Tree Hotel enjoys is its strategic location near Setia SPICE Convention Centre.
The hotel's facade is decorated with metal leaves which seem to ripple in unison with the wind. The main entrance leads to a large lobby with a mezzanine floor above. Suspended from the ceiling are colorful lights that resemble a flock of sparrows.
Olive Tree Hotel is a certified green building. To minimize its impact to the environment, the building was constructed using sustainable and recyclable materials. Most lighting and escalators are activated by motion sensors. It is also important to note that Olive Tree Hotel is a 100% smoke-free hotel. Smoking is strictly prohibited in guestrooms and all common areas.
In total, Olive Tree Hotel has 240 guestrooms across 5 different categories. For this review, I am staying in a Deluxe room. The room comes with a king-size bed with a Chiro-Tech Coil mattress. In-room conveniences are 40-inch LED television, high-speed Internet access, a writing table, a safe, a clothes iron, an electric boiler and a minibar.
The Executive Deluxe is slightly larger than Deluxe room and offers a better view as there are more windows. Its bathroom is furnished with a bathtub in addition to a shower stall. Basic toiletries like dental kit are provided.
Finally, the Executive Suite offers a premium class of accommodation. Spanning twice the size of a Deluxe room, the Executive Suite has partitions for the bedroom and living room. This is particularly convenient for business travelers who need to conduct some work in the comfort of their own rooms.
At the living room, the suite is furnished with sofa chairs, a large office desk and a small kitchen. Speaking of kitchen, guests who do not wish to leave their rooms can always order food from the 24-hour room service menu.
Olive Tree Hotel's fitness center is located at Level 8. The gym is open from 5:00am to 12:00am and requires a keycard to access. There are over a dozen pieces of exercise equipment including treadmills, stationary bicycles and weight machines. Clean towels are provided for guests' convenience.
The hotel's swimming pool is also located at Level 8. It is open from 7:00am to 8:00pm. There are no lifeguards on duty, therefore children should be supervised at all times. On the wooden deck next to the swimming pool are several sunloungers where guests can enjoy some fresh air.
Olive Tree Hotel's Grand Ballroom has two levels. The mezzanine level is an ideal venue for cocktail receptions. Combined, the ballroom can accommodate up to 60 tables in a banquet setting. Wedding packages start from RM888.00+ per table. The hotel also has several smaller function rooms on Level 6.
The business center is equipped with a computer terminal for guests to browse the Internet. There is also a printer where guests can print airline tickets. Speaking of transportation, Olive Tree Hotel provides complimentary shuttle service to popular destinations like Queensbay Mall and Beach Street (Lebuh Pantai). Check with the concierge for the shuttle's schedule.
Open daily from 5:00pm to 12:00am, 7 Lounge is a nice place for guests to mingle. The sports bar serves both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. A roaster of music bands performs here every Saturday evening.
7 Lounge has a large projection screen where guests can catch the latest sporting events around the world. Other forms of entertainment are air hockey and arcade games. In addition, 7 Lounge has several board and card games for guests to pass the time.
As for quick bites and coffee, Selah is a casual eatery next to the lobby. This is also where the Brazilian BBQ is served every Friday evening. By the way, Selah is named after the Hebrew word "סֶלָה‬", which means "to pause" or "to reflect".
Directly above Selah is Sukkah Coffee House. This is the hotel's all-day dining restaurant. Breakfast is served here from 6:00am to 10:30am every morning.
It is good to start the morning with breakfast cereals. Familiar brands like Corn Flakes, Frosties, Froot Loops and Coco Pops should appeal to most people. Fresh milk is also provided.
As for Nasi Lemak, the rice is cooked with coconut milk to attain a lovely aroma. The succulent chicken rendang goes well with it. Other ingredients for Nasi Lemak are sambal tumis (chili paste), fried anchovies, roasted peanuts, cucumber and hard-boiled eggs.
Congee comes in 2 versions: plain and corn. Condiments to go with the rice porridges are preserved vegetable (榨菜), picked lettuce (香菜心), peanuts, soy sauce and sesame oil. Meanwhile, other Chinese dishes are dim sum (点心), steamed bun (包子), spring rolls (春卷), braised vegetable and fried rice.
As for something Western, Pasta Aglio-Olio is prepared this morning. Other popular Western breakfast items are fried eggs, cold cuts, sausages, hash browns and baked beans.
Penang Prawn Noodle (槟城福建面) is prepared using shrimp-flavored broth. Other key ingredients for this popular hawker dish are yellow noodle, rice vermicelli, shrimps, shredded chicken, fishcake, hard-boiled egg and fried shallots. A spoonful of chili paste may be added for the extra spiciness.
Moving on, the pastry section presents a variety of Danish pastries, croissants and muffins. Bread is also available in loaf and sliced forms. A conveyor toaster and a toaster oven are conveniently placed nearby.
At the desserts counter, fruit cocktail and low-fat yogurt are served over ice so that they remain chilled. Also included are cut fruits such as banana, honeydew and watermelon.
The drinks dispensers contain thirst-quenching orange, pineapple and guava juices. As for hot drinks, guests can help themselves with black coffee and tea. There is also an espresso machine for guests who need caffeine shots.
Olive Tree Hotel provides a commendable level of hospitality for a 4-star hotel. As the hotel is relatively new, its amenities are in good shape. Would-be guests should make room reservations through the hotel's website to enjoy the most attractive rates. The check-in and check-out times are 3:00pm and 12:00pm respectively.
Name: Olive Tree Hotel
Address: 76, Jalan Mahsuri, 11950 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-637-7777
Business hours: 24 hours
Website: http://olivetreehotel.com.my
Coordinates: 5.32706 N, 100.27941 E
Directions: Olive Tree Hotel is located at Bayan Baru, just across the street from SPICE Arena. The hotel provides complimentary parking for hotel guests.

Lemongrass Restaurant

Special thanks to Hotel NEO+ for extending this food review invitation.

Hotel NEO+ is located at the corner of Jalan Gurdwara and Lebuh Presgrave, just within a stone's throw from Hin Bus Depot. Managed by Archipelago International, this 3-star hotel is known for its hipster-style hospitality. At the front desk, male staff members wear black trilby hats while their female counterparts don their iconic silver wigs.
There are 2 restaurants in the hotel, namely Art & Soul Cafe and Lemongrass Restaurant. The latter is where in-house guests are served buffet breakfast. From 19 May 2018 to 10 June 2018, Lemongrass Restaurant is hosting a Malay-style dinner themed "Mustika Rasa Buffet Dinner".
Starting at the carvery, the Roasted Lamb is seasoned reasonably well. Mint sauce and raita (yogurt sauce) are prepared as condiments. In addition, fried potato wedges are served on the side.
Nasi Beriani Kambing is flavored with mutton stock and various spices, making the rice dish quite appetizing. I also love the fluffy texture that the rice presents. The dish is garnished with tomato and orange slices along its circumference.
Meanwhile, Fried Noodle uses a type of egg noodle called yi mein (伊面). The noodle has a chewy texture which I find most appealing. It is cooked with vegetables. Next to it is a poultry dish, Ayam Masak Kurma.
As for Ikan Tiga Rasa, fish fillets are fried with a coating of flour batter, and then dressed in sweet and sour sauce. I feel that the fish's texture is not as delicate as I hoped it should be. Should diners prefer, Ikan Bakar (grilled fish) is also available at the action counter.
Gulai Daging Ubi contains beef slices and potato chunks in red curry. The curry is rich in coconut milk, making it creamy and rather appetizing. On the other hand, I feel that the beef slices are too tough for me.
Hotel NEO+'s Bubur Lambuk gives a good balance between savory, salty and sweet tastes. I feel that the rice porridge is appetizing down to the last morsel. As for soups, Sup Ayam (chicken soup) and Chicken Tom Yam Soup are prepared today.
Chicken and beef satay are marinated with spices such as turmeric. Satay is typically served with shallots and sweet-and-spicy peanut sauce. While the chicken satay is quite appealing, I feel that the beef version ought to be tenderer.
Pasembur is a mixture of cucur udang (prawn fritters), hard-boiled eggs, tofu, sengkuang (jicama) and cucumber. This local salad is dressed with sweet-and-spicy peanut sauce.
The pastry section provides a modest choice of butter cakes, chocolate cakes, red velvet cakes and cheesecakes. There are also several types of flavored jelly.
Malay kuih includes karipap (curry puffs), seri muka (glutinous rice with pandan custard), kuih ketayap (pandan crêpes rolled with coconut butter), kuih lapis (layered cake) and kuih keria (glazed doughnuts).
Chilled drinks like air soya (soy milk), air jagung (corn juice) and teh bunga kekwa (chrysanthemum tea) are served in dispensers. Instant coffee and tea are provided too. Upon request, Cendol is also available.
The Mustika Rasa Buffet Dinner is priced at RM58.00 net per adult. Children and senior citizens enjoy discounted prices of RM28.00 and RM38.00 respectively.
Name: Lemongrass Restaurant
Address: 68, Jalan Gurdwara, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-255-1000
Business hours: 6:30pm-10:30pm
Website: Click here
Coordinates: 5.41226 N, 100.32853 E
Directions: Hotel NEO+ is located at the junction of Jalan Gurdwara and Lebuh Presgrave of George Town. Lemongrass Restaurant is located on Level 1, just above three flights of stairs from the lobby. Multi-level parking is available. Guests of the restaurant can get their parking tickets validated at the front desk for flat rate of RM6.00 per entry.

Kopi Tiam

Special thanks to Bayview Hotel Georgetown Penang for extending this food review invitation.

While Bayview Hotel Georgetown Penang served Thai dishes for its Ramadan buffet dinner last year, the hotel is serving Malay food this round. This year's theme is "Selera Ceria Kampung". Held at Kopi Tiam, the buffet features several signature dishes that are inspired by famous recipes around Penang and throughout Malaysia.
Kambing Kampung Panggang is served at the carvery. The mutton is grilled well as its natural juices are kept intact. The Chicken Meatloaf is pretty appetizing too. Grilled vegetables and black pepper sauce are provided. Other delicacies from the grilling station are Satay Ayam (skewered chicken) and Satay Seafood (skewered seafood).
Today's noodle station serves Chef Sahool Mee Rebus. This dish uses yellow noodle with sweet and sour gravy. Other ingredients for Mee Rebus are cucur udang (prawn fritters), hard-boiled eggs, potatoes, tofu, lettuce, bean sprouts and red chili peppers. Should diners prefer something spicier, Tom Yam Kung (ต้มยำกุ้ง, Thai-style prawn curry) is also prepared today.
Gurney Drive Sotong Kangkung is another appealing delicacy today. The salad comprises of cuttlefish, water spinach, crab sticks and sweet-savory dressing. Ground peanuts and sesame seeds are sprinkled on top. Other delectable local favorites are Rojak Padang Kota Lama and Padang Kota Baru Mua Chee.
Ulam-ulaman consists of assorted vegetables like kacang botol (winged beans), daun selom (selom leaves), tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce. The raw vegetables are usually consumed with condiments like sambal belacan (spicy shrimp paste), sambal kicap (spicy soy sauce), cincalok (fermented shrimps) and sos cili Thai (Thai chili sauce).
Other dishes worth trying are Kerabu Taugeh Dengan Sotong (squid and bean sprout salad), Acar Mentah Mat Gebu (pickled cucumber, carrot and onion salad), Salad Telur Dengan Epal Ala Thai (Thai-style omelette with apples), Cucur Udang Dengan Kuah Kacang (prawn fritters with peanut sauce), Nasi Impit Dengan Serunding Daging Lembu (pressed rice with beef floss) and Timun Raita (cucumber with yogurt dressing).
Bayview Nasi Ayam Briyani is the hotel's signature rice dish. Unlike many restaurants, Kopi Tiam prepares it by cooking the rice with chicken broth and chicken chunks. This results in a lovely aroma that induces appetite. The rice tastes good too. I also enjoy intermittent sweetness from raisins.
As for Daging Merah Ala Paprik, the beef slices are cooked with flavorful spices. As the beef is quite pungent, it pairs well with briyani rice. The dish's red color comes from red chili peppers. Another equally spicy dish is Gulai Nangka Muda Dengan Nenas Kuala Muda (jackfruit curry with pineapples).
Dalca Sayur Lorong Madrasah is one of my favorite dishes here. The vegetable curry is loaded with carrots, potatoes, cabbage and other vegetables. As the spiciness level is relatively mild, the curry can be can be eaten directly even without rice. Another vegetarian dish is Sayur Goreng Broccoli Dengan Tofu Dan Cendawan Brinchang (fried broccoli with tofu and mushrooms).
Moving on to poultry, Ayam Kampung Goreng Ala Sarawak Dan Sambal is served today. The fried chicken has browned skin with white flesh underneath. Since the chicken's taste is quite bland, it is served with spicy chili paste.
If you like the tender texture of catfish, Ikan Keli Goreng Bersambal Jalan Kedah should appeal to your palate. The fish is dressed with sweet and spicy sauce. Other seafood dishes include Ikan Cencaru Sumbat Sambal Tanjung Tokong (fried mackerel stuffed with chili paste), Udang Goreng Dengan Telur Masin Dan Daun Kari (fried prawns with salted eggs and curry leaves) and Siput Mussel Masak Tumis Bercili (mussels with chili paste).
Seafood Wanton is one of the deep-fried items on today's menu. The deep-fried dough skin contains minced seafood and seasonings. Satay Wanton is also prepared today. There are 3 pieces per skewer.
Hailing from Terengganu, Cucur Lekor is made from ground fish and sago flour. The deep-fried snack has a chewy texture and is usually eaten with sweet chili sauce. Other delectable crackers are Keropok Udang (prawn crackers), Papadom (black gram crackers) and Merinjau (belinjo nut crackers).
Kopi Tiam's desserts section contains several types of Kuih Muih Melayu. Shown here are Kuih Cara Berlauk (spicy cupcakes), Kuih Talam Gula Merah (brown sugar layered cake), Karipap (curry puffs) and Onde-Onde (glutinous rice balls with palm sugar syrup). Buah kurma (palm date) is ideal for satiating hunger after fasting for more than 14 hours. In addition, Bubur Kacang Hijau (mung bean soup) is also perfect for breaking fast.
As for Western pastries, the pastry chef has prepared the signature Carrot Cake, Red Velvet Cake and Orange Butter Cake. Other desserts to satisfy everyone's sweet tooth are Crème Caramel, Mango Pudding, Red Bean Pudding and Agar-Agar.
Last but not least, Lebuh Keng Kwee Cendol is inspired by a popular stall near Penang Road (Jalan Penang). The shaved ice is flavored with jelly noodle, kidney beans, gula melaka (palm sugar) and coconut milk.
Bayview Hotel serves Ramadan buffet dinner from 21 May 2018 to 12 June 2018. There are 3 menus on daily rotation. Nearly all dishes are changed every day. The buffet is priced at RM70.75 net for adults, RM43.50 net for children (ages 6 to 12) and RM56.60 net for senior citizens (ages 60 and above).

Name: Kopi Tiam
Address: Bayview Hotel Georgetown Penang, 25-A, Lebuh Farquhar, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-263-3161
Business hours: 6:30am-1:00am
Website: https://bhgp.bayviewhotels.com/dining-drinks/kopitiam
Coordinates: 5.42192 N, 100.33588 E
Directions: Bayview Hotel is located at Leith Street (Lebuh Leith), between Lebuh Farquhar and Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah. Kopi Tiam is located on the Ground Floor and next to the lobby. The hotel's multi-storey parking garage is accessible from Lebuh Farquhar. Street parking is also available in front of the hotel.