Hotel Review: Penang Shangri-La Golden Sands Resort, Batu Ferringhi/Feringgi Beach/ George Town Malaysia
We have just been back from tropical Penang, Malaysia, the place which is only 5 degrees north of the Equator. This family holiday, with 4 adults and 2 kids, was very relaxing although bit too warm. But yeh, the purpose of the trip was also to escape freezing weather in Europe so mission achieved.
We stayed in Shangri-La Golden Sands Resort, located in Batu Ferringi region of Penang. The experience in general is very nice. I hope the below review can help you in making hotel selection decisions.
Satisfaction level: 5 out of 10
We were not 100% happy with the location of the resort, mainly due to some differences in expectations.
The resort is located in Batu Ferringi Beach region in Penang, which is around 20 minutes away from the main city center - George Town. We picked this hotel for one, the beach, and for two, the shuttle bus services that it offers.
According to my online research, the hotel claimed to offer frequent shuttle bus services. However, in reality, they only provide shuttle buses 4 times 1 day, from 10:30am - 5pm only. Although going to George Town by taxi right from the hotel is around MYR30 (around USD9.66/EUR7 ), and bus 101 is also right outside the hotel, it still made it less convenient to get to George Town than we have imagined, especially when we were travelling with kids.
The beach is not at all suitable for swimming (at all!) due to large amount of jellyfish (warning boards are everywhere). There are also way too many hawkers trying to sell you all kinds of water activities. Yet, I must say that the view is beautiful as you only see the sea and no land or islands are in front of you.
Useful Travel Guides for Penang, Malaysia
Satisfaction level: 9 out of 10
We are quite happy with the customer service in the hotel. Staffs are very nice and they tried their best to fulfill all requests. We are most impressed by the very helpful chef in the Chinese breakfast session, who is very polite and keen on introduction different sorts of dim sums and dishes available there. Breakfast session has wide variety of food, from Indian, Chinese, Malay to Western, which looks very attractive although we can't eat much in the morning.
The resort also provides money exchange service and its rate is not bad at all compared with other money exchange shops in George Town.
One disappointing thing is that we requested adjoining rooms in our booking but when we arrived (at 4:30pm), they told us that they can't make it. It was bit disappointing but we got rooms on the same floor just a few steps away, we were fine with that.
One of the onsite restaurants
Satisfaction level: 8 out of 10
We stayed in hill-view superior rooms, which are rooms facing hill and street, while the other type of rooms are facing ocean, inner garden and swimming pools. Rooms are quite modern, spacious, clean and with nice bedding.
One down side is that my parents are not particularly happy about the absence of toiletories like hair conditioner, razor and other personal care stuff in room, which they expect to be provided in 5-star Shangri-La hotels.
Satisfaction level: 9 out of 10
We are quite pleased with the resort facilities. The 2 swimming pools are pretty quiet before noon and after 6pm, while the remaining time is quite popular with families. The 'cool lounge' is air-conditioned and provides 2 computers with internet access, which is a nice place to chill after staying outside in bright sun.
The resort offers some daily activities, like morning tai chi class, water aerobic class etc, where most of them do not incur extra charges. You can also use the facility in the sister hotel, Rasa Sayang situated right next to Golden Sands. We went there through a lane getting across their gardens with our swimming suits on. It was very convenience to do that in sunny days. Kids also have plenty of activities to participant in.
We have also tried the grilling restaurant in the hotel and all of us were very happy about it. The price is around 6-7 times more expensive than the hawker food right outside of the hotel though.
Some people complained about the noise from night market, we were lucky that both rooms are not affected by that. Only that the morning prayers did wake me up around 5am...
Overall we are quite happy with this resort. Its typical tropical decoration, with palm trees and little huts, sun beds next to swimming pools are very relaxing for us. The only thing that irritated us are the hawkers on beach and indeed the hustle in waiting for bus or taxi to get out of the hotel under a burning sun.
I would recommend this hotel for families who would like to enjoy hotel facilities and do not require frequent sight-seeing in the city. I hope all these info can help you in finding the right hotel for your Penang vacation.