Island pride

01 Apr 2011, by Tony Goh, Smart Investor April 2011
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Island Pride

Shuttling between cities to meet one deadline after another is tiring. TONY GOH takes a look at an oasis between journeys where he could rest his weary feet.

Right in the heart of Penang Island’s world famous food, shopping and entertainment district, lies the Berjaya Penang Hotel; an icon that forms part of the 1-Stop Midlands Park complex, a strategic building that houses condominiums, offices, shopping arcades, supermarkets, a bowling alley, and food and entertainment outlets.

The Berjaya Penang Hotel opened its doors for business in the mid of 1990’s; catering mainly to the business and leisure traveller crowd. At the time, 1-Midlands was also the island’s first up-market mall and, located in the semi-historical, semi-posh Pulau Tikus suburb.

Some things never change and, upon arriving at the hotel on a hot Thursday afternoon, checking in proved to be a breeze as I received the level of service expected by business travellers or people on a go.

It got even better once I stepped into my room, the junior suite on the 25ft floor. The spacious room, with its modern design, gave one the feeling of comfort; especially when you need a good pause after a long period on the road. Adding allure to the classy feel was the room’s very comfortable king-size bed and the quite complete toiletries in the adjoining bathroom.

Entertainment-wise, the suite came complete with two, yes, two flat screen TVs - complete with Astro channels - and the usual suspects so expected of similar business traveller hotels - coffee/tea facilities, mini bar and safe deposit box, which pretty much completes all the requirements for a comfortable stay.

The Berjaya Penang Hotel has superior rooms located from the ninth to the 25th floors, which offer the option of either king-size or twin beds. These represent the majority of the rooms in the hotel but, if you’re looking to pamper yourself, then the junior suites, which are also available in single twin bed sets, are definitely the preferred choice.

The Foodie Draw

For all the excitement and activities one could find within the 1-Midlands complex, the main attractions is actually found outside the hotel. Located just 10 minutes walk (or five minutes by car/cab) from the Berjaya Penang Hotel is the tourist and local favourite spot - Gurney Drive - that is renowned for its delicious local delicacies.

This is the place that put Penang on the foodie map, what with its myriad of open air stalls that sell local favourites like char koay teow, assam laksa, pasembur and prawn noodles (it’s called Hokkien Mee here) amongst others; all served with a view of the sea just near-by.

Other places to look out for include a fancy little restaurant called Ice Ice Baby, located opposite Bellisa Row, which sells a variety of western food and desserts; Kedai Kopi Sin Hwa, which is famous for its delicious char koay teow; and the Jalan Pasar hawker centre, where you can order local fare like lok lok, rojak and many more.

However, if you don’t fancy walking out from the comforts of the hotel, this is not a major issue as the Berjaya Penang Hotel does have some pretty good dining facilities of its own.

The main dining action has to be The Café, a 24-hour coffeehouse, which serves a la carte cuisine from a mix of international and local culinary delights. It’s also here where continental breakfast is served to the hotel guests.

On the other hand, the Bar at level two is a fantastic place to unwind and enjoy a wide selection of drinks while being entertained by the resident band in the evenings. It’s also a great place to watch live telecasts of football matches and other sporting events.

Supporting Acts

Being positioned as a business hotel, Berjaya Hotel Penang does come equipped with some impressive meeting and conference facilities. The main attraction here is the pillar-less Dewan Berjaya ballroom, which can accommodate up to 1,000 people, and can also be easily divided into three separate function rooms.

Should this option still be too big, there are seven other individual meeting rooms that can cater for smaller groups of between 25 and 100 people.

For those who’ve had too much of all the good food Penang has to offer and have a need to keep in shape, the Berjaya Penang Hotel does offer a modern gymnasium that can offer you a heart-pumping time.

After all that aerobic exercise, taking a cool dip in the hotel pool or simply relaxing on the deck chairs around it can be a very therapeutic experience. Finally, to really work out all the kinks and to refresh yourself, why not slip into the spa for a revitalizing treatment for the whole body.

Life as a business traveller is always one hectic trip after another and, having a pleasant place to crash in-between the long travels, is always a welcome thing. To that extent, the Berjaya Penang Hotel is exactly what the busy traveller needs; comfortable, pleasant, and just a mere stone throws away from a great place for good eats. What more can you ask for?

Interesting Promotions

The Berjaya Penang Hotel is currently running a host of interesting promotions to make a guest’s stay more worthwhile. The Saver Fever, which runs until May 31, 2011 where guests can enjoy a 25% discount from the best available rate with a minimum stay of two nights.

Alternatively, reserve your room under the Book Early 45 promotion that runs until the end of the year. Under this promotion, book your room 45 days in advance and you get to save 25% from the best available rate.