Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rockin in Penang

I was giddy with excitement when a friend texted with a message stating that we’ll be staying at the Hard Rock Hotel Penang (HRH-Pen) for our weekend getaway on the island. Well, it wasn’t actually a getaway; I was planning on being on the lookout for materials to write a feature on. It was a work/fun weekend getaway rolled into one.

Ok so to be fair, HRH-Pen is a colourful and bustling hive of activities for everyone. If you plan on immersing yourself on the Hard Rock culture of rock music and some noise, then this is the place to be. One will never sun short of things to do here. Either jumping into the pool, strolling down the beach, or maybe some pampering moments at their spa, this is one hotel that will keep you on the move.

First, what I love most about the hotel is the pool, a huge free form pool stretching from one end to the other. The best thing areas of the pool are definitely the more secluded and quieter corners where it’s surrounded by lush green garden plants. Kids would love the children’s pool area as it is equipped with water slides and other what nots that I don’t even know the names for it. The pool area is also the perfect place to people watch as the ladies will be in their bikinis and swimsuits and the lifeguards..well, let's just say that I had a good time people watching.  

Fancy a horse ride? No problem, there are independent operators along the beach of Hard Rock that offers horse rides, banana boat rides, jet-ski and paragliding, with a price of course. Only be careful when you decide to go for a swim in the sea as the jet-skiers and island tour boats will be zig-zagging on the waters every now and then. There are no strange looking objects floating on the water but it’s not crystal clear either. I’d rather swim in the pool than the sea.

HRH-Pen's hotel staff or Band Members as they are referred to here are really cool. They’ll greet you at any time of the day, from the top level management to the pakcik gardner. They make you feel like a rock star and  the breakfast spread at the hotel is yummers. I absolutely love their hash browns, golden and crispy to perfection. Their array of pastry is an absolute must try but I gotta warn you, breakfast crowd on a weekend is like rampaging through a warehouse sale. Noisy and overcrowded. So either you come in really early or really late for breakfast. Nonetheless, I loved the dining area as it was decorated in white, and it opened to a sort-of courtyard area where you can go sit under huge shades and enjoy your morning coffee.

The downside of all this, for a published rate of RM1000 or get a 48% discount on their Internet rates, my Seaview Deluxe room was nothing to shout about. Well aware of the fact that it was clearly stated in their brochures that the rooms feature a cutting edge design, I guess I was expecting more from HRH-Pen. My room was spacious, well maybe it is because of the fact that there was less furniture around. For RM500++ a night, I was at least expecting for the bathrooms to be a bit more luxurious. The bathroom was a small, dark, narrow area with no tubs (well actually not that I care but it’s nice to have options, ain’t it?) and they provided me with the very basic complimentary toiletries.

As for the international satellite TV, I have to say that HRP-Pen provides very basic satellite TV. Thank god for the DVD player, I ended up watching a Korean series which a friend brought along. Hotels in Bali and even Cambodia have better satellite channels that Hard Rock Hotel Penang.

And so, if you’re looking for a fun and chic weekend retreat with your girlfriends or a weekend of male bonding that this is the place to be. Families with kids would also love the hotel. But if a quiet, relaxing weekend is what you’re looking for, better head on down to Golden Sands down the road. I think that this hotel is more suitable as a family retreat where kids can scream their head-off without the parents getting dagger like glances from other guests of the hotel.

But then again, it’s all about one’s preference.

Will I ever come back?

Only if it’s free ;-) I’m more of the Golden Sands Hotel and Resort kind of person.

What I will remember most about my time here is the laughs I had with new friends that I made. Running around like kids on a Christmas morning, trying to find the perfect spot for a picture op and posing and pouting and acting all silly and goofy. You're allowed to act all silly and goofy here, to have fun and as they say, to just hang loose.

Like they promise in their brochures, this is the ultimate rock retreat. So Rock On!..With kids in tow.


  1. For RM1000 per night, the hotel must surely rock!

  2. Hi Dr. Sam,
    You're my first! ;-) The hotel definately rocked, just not to my tunes.