Royale Chulan Penang

Special thanks to Royale Chulan Penang for extending this hotel review invitation.

Royale Chulan Penang is one of the 8 properties under Royale Chulan Hotels & Resorts. Formerly known as The Royale Bintang Penang, this hotel at Weld Quay (Pengkalan Weld) has recently been renamed as part of a corporate-wide rebranding strategy. Although Royale Chulan Penang retains its 4-star rating as before, its management strives to achieve the level of prestige on par with 5-star hotels.
The most visible part of Royale Chulan Penang is the Boustead Building, the structure which faces Weld Quay. Built in 1892, this building is the remnant of a merchant warehouse that was once occupied by Boustead & Co. In line with building regulations under the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 3-floor cultural heritage retains its original architecture during restoration.
At present, the Boustead Building is used as Sri Tanjung Cafe, the Tea Room and several function rooms. Interpretive displays on both sides of Boustead Heritage Tunnel gives a historical background of this heritage building.

The remaining section of Royale Chulan Penang is built from ground. The hotel's main entrance faces a courtyard between Weld Quay and Beach Street (Lebuh Pantai), which means that the lobby is not visible from the main road. This new building has 5 floors plus an attic level, and is where all hotel rooms are located. Rooms at upper floors enjoy scenic views of the Penang Strait.
Royale Chulan Penang's check-in and check-out times are 2:00pm and 12:00pm respectively. Upon check-in, a welcome drink voucher is given to each guest. The welcome drink, typically fruit punch, is served at the Heritage Lounge. During busier times, a beverage dispenser is placed next to the reception counter and guests are asked to help themselves.
My room this weekend is the Deluxe Room, which is the next category above Superior Room. All the remaining rooms are suites. It is evident that this room exceeds the level of luxury that one expects in a 4-star hotel. Light music from the television provides a charming sense of tranquility.
An adorable "dog" awaits patiently on my king-size bed. Beyond the sliding doors is a small balcony which oversees the hotel's swimming pool; some rooms provide city view instead. Several hotel rooms are interconnected in between - much to the convenience of large families. Hotel guests enjoy high-speed Internet connection in the rooms and all common areas.
The attached bathroom has distinct sections for the sink, shower and toilet. Unfortunately for me, bathtubs are only available in larger room categories. Hair dryer and essential toiletries are provided. Next to the dressing table is a sliding door which leads to a safe, ironing board and bathrobes.
Coffee and tea are provided on the house. While snacks and soft drinks in the minibar are generally chargeable, bottled drinking water is complementary. Of course, one can always pick up the phone and take advantage of the hotel's 24-hour room service.
As Royale Chulan Penang is located within the heritage zone of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, smoking strictly prohibited in all hotel rooms. The same restriction applies to the restaurants, lounge, function rooms, restrooms and all other common areas. The nearest designated smoking area is across the hotel's main entrance.
The swimming pool is located on a raised wooden deck on Level 2. The pool is admittedly not as large as many other hotels'; guests have to contend with the fact that Royale Chulan Penang is located in the heart of George Town.
Just across the pool is The Spice, an upscale restaurant which serves fusion cuisine. The Friday Night Poolside BBQ is held here.
Also next to the swimming pool is the hotel's fitness center. The gym is equipped with around a dozen pieces of exercise equipment. For security reasons, access to the fitness center requires a keycard and passcode, which are given to guests upon check-in. Clean towels are provided and changing rooms are conveniently located nearby.
The Heritage Lounge is a great place to relax and mingle around with other guests. Bar stools are arranged neatly next to the bar. The lounge serves alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, as well as light snacks such as finger food, cakes and pies. A music band performs live from 8:00pm to 12:00am every day except on Sundays. There is also a grand piano where a professional pianist performs on Thursdays and Fridays between 3:00pm and 4:00pm.
Right next to the Heritage Lounge is a Mini Theatre where a movie is screened at 8:30pm every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. While enjoying the movie, guests can order snacks and drinks from the lounge's menu. Furnished with cozy lounge chairs, the Heritage Lounge is also great for having private gatherings.
Next to the Boustead Heritage Tunnel is another eatery simply called "Tea Room". This English-style tea house has wood flooring and a posh appearance reminiscent of the colonial past. TWG Tea is served here. The Delightful English Afternoon Tea, meant for 2 persons, is offered from 2:00pm to 5:00pm daily.
Sri Tanjung Cafe is the hotel's main restaurant. The all-day menu has a variety of local and Western dishes. Apart from the à la carte menu, the Saturday Night Hawker's Fare and Sunday High Tea are crafted to appeal to the weekend clientele. In-house guests enjoy 20% discount on all à la carte orders and buffet prices.
For hotel guests, breakfast is served at Sri Tanjung Cafe between 6:30am and 10:30am. Western-style breakfast items include grilled chicken sausage, tomato and zucchini. Boiled potatoes and baked beans are comfort food too.
Omelette and waffles are prepared at the action stall. In addition, there are also local dishes such as nasi lemak, roti canai, fried rice, porridge and koay teow soup (粿条汤).
At the pastry section, guests may enjoy marble cakes, croissants, Danish pastries and muffins - all freshly baked from the oven.
Of course, breakfast is incomplete without bread. Both white bread and wholemeal bread are prepared as slices. There is a conveyor toaster and a toaster oven to reheat bread. Meanwhile, bread spreads are orange marmalade, strawberry jam and butter. Healthier choices like rye bread are present too.
Breakfast cereals include popular types like corn flakes, oatmeal and All-Bran. Fresh milk is meant to go with breakfast cereals. Speaking of dairy products, plain and strawberry yogurts are also available.
The salad bar presents a handful of choices such as garden salad, potato salad and coleslaw. Some people also fancy cold cuts and cheese for breakfast. Black olives, green olives and pickled papaya provide even sharper taste. Last but not least, guests can enjoy cut fruits and fruit juices to their hearts' content.
I am also given a tour of several larger room categories including the largest one that Royale Chulan Penang has to offer - the Royale Suite. Located at Level 5, this suite has a large living room with a television, sofa set and dining table.
The bedroom at the Royale Suite is significantly larger than my Deluxe Room's. It is possible to request for an extra bed; the fee includes breakfast for the extra person. The bathroom here is also more spacious and is furnished with a bathtub. In addition, there is a second living area beyond the dressing table.
Stepping to the balcony, one is greeted by a scenic view of the sea. The historic Swettenham Pier and Church Street Pier can be seen from here. Several sunloungers allow the Royale Suite occupants to bask under the warm tropical sun.
At the Attic Level, the Penang Suite affords a one-of-a-kind vacationing experience for couples. Although significantly smaller than the Royale Suite just below it, the Penang Suite is indeed special in its own right. For instance, the king-size bed is positioned to face the mesmerizing view of the sea. It is particularly uplifting when the morning sun's first rays pour into this east-facing room.
The Penang Suite is also one of the few rooms that have bathtubs in the attached bathrooms. Marble walls in the bathroom present an opulent appearance that befits a room of such prestige.
Guests who are staying in suite rooms have special access to the Executive Lounge at the Attic Level. This exclusive place allows distinguished guests to have breakfast in a more private setting - should they prefer so. Snacks are also served between 4:00pm and 8:00pm. To maintain the relaxed ambience of the Executive Lounge, children under the age of 12 are not allowed here.
Speaking of pampering oneself, The Royale Spa is a nice place to rejuvenate especially after a long day exploring George Town. The spa center has a larger room for couples where they can get their spa treatment together.
Across the hallway from the Boustead Building is The Royale Ballroom. This pillarless hall can accommodate up to 500 people in banquet setting. There is a separate entrance at the back of the ballroom, which also serves as the staging area for VIPs and stage performers. Meanwhile, Royale Chulan Penang also has smaller function rooms for banquet events between 30 and 150 people.
Located in the heart of George Town's UNESCO World Heritage Site, Royale Chulan Penang is within walking distance from popular tourist areas like Fort Cornwallis (Kota Cornwallis) and Chew Jetty (姓周桥).
The hotel also engages in strategic partnerships with local attractions. For instance, hotel guests are given 2 complimentary tickets (worth RM35.00 each) to Made In Penang Interactive Museum, which is conveniently located next door. In addition, hotel guests also enjoy 20% discount on admission tickets at the Camera Museum at Muntri Street (Lebuh Muntri).
Living up to its promise of presenting 5-star hospitality, Royale Chulan Penang greatly exceeds the standards of its nominal 4-star rating. Most significantly, the staff's courtesy is evident at all levels from doormen to housekeepers. Although the hotel rooms can be booked from third party websites, guests are encouraged to book directly from the hotel's website to enjoy the most attractive rates.

Name: Royale Chulan Penang
Address: 1 & 2, Pengkalan Weld, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-259-8888
Business hours: 24 hours
Coordinates: 5.41724 N, 100.34358 E
Directions: From the ferry terminal at George Town, turn right and drive along Weld Quay (Pengkalan Weld). Royale Chulan Penang is located shortly on the left, at the same block as Via Pre and Made in Penang Interactive 3D Museum. There is a small lane right after the hotel, which leads to the main entrance and multi-level car park.

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