If you’re looking for a slightly different heritage restoration building to stay in during your Georgetown visit then Hotel Penaga may well be where your search ends. Environmentally conscious travellers will be interested to hear that it was the first heritage building to get the top Gold rating by the Green Building Index. This boutique heritage-arts hotel has solar panels, gardens planted with indigenous plants that are watered by runoff from the roof and was built using recycled and salvaged products where possible.
The previously rundown buildings, in an area just outside of the UNESCO Heritage Zone, were turned into a small friendly boutique hotel. There is art on display throughout the hotel and guest rooms, created by resident artists from the owners’ private arts centre just outside of Kuala Lumpur where artists can take up residency.
There is a pool, spa, library and business centre for guests to use, all centred around lush gardens giving peaceful place to relax and cool down away from the hot, busy streets outside.
We stayed in one of the Clarke Terrace houses, a two storey, two bedroom terraced house with huge living space downstairs, including a kitchen area and outdoor jacuzzi bath and dining area. Upstairs, there was a balcony which overlooked the hotel gardens, offering a private space to relax in the sun. Each day the complimentary mini-bar was stocked with peanuts, soft drinks and beer. We loved the design and feel of the rooms which were a well balanced mix of modern and traditional.
Georgetown itself is a paradise for vegan travellers. Alongside a long list of places of interest to see in the heritage zone, there are a huge range of places to eat local and international vegan food, some of which are just around the corner from The Penaga.
The Vegan Food:
Breakfast was served in The Cinnamon, the hotel’s main restaurant, where a small buffet was available each morning. We were able to eat freshly prepared fruit and select from some western breakfast options (hash browns, grilled tomatoes and baked beans). But each morning, the chef would also make us a more local offering, either noodles or rice, to give us another option. The food was tasty and fresh and made an easy vegan start to each day.
We didn’t eat in The Cinnamon at other times because any trip to Georgetown inevitably involves a lot of eating outside; this famous foodie destination has so many great options for vegans.
The Vegan Essentials:
There were already feather free pillows on our bed so we were able to settle down to sleep without having to ask for anything extra.
The in-room amenities were the hotel’s own brand. They had the cruelty-free ‘bunny stamp’ on them to show that they hadn’t been tested on animals which was great but we were unsure as to whether they contained any animal ingredients inside, so we used our own.
The spa uses products by Ainhoa, we have contacted them to ask whether any of their products are suitable for vegans but haven’t heard back. However, massages in the spa come highly recommended by us; after an hour and a half with the excellent therapists, our aching and exhausted muscles, gained from hours of sightseeing and exploring the streets of Georgetown were more soothed than ever before. A massage at The Penaga is a must.
The Vegan Food Quest Verdict:
Check-in to The Penaga for an excellent base to explore the historic UNESCO Heritage Zone of Georgetown, where you’ll be provided with beautiful accommodation and a tasty vegan breakfast to start your day.
Don’t forget to treat yourself to an afternoon in the spa (you won’t be disappointed), it was one of the best massages we’ve had in a long time.
Corner of Jalan Hutton & Lebuh Clarke,
10050 George Town,
Telephone: +60 04 291 3039
Cost From: Rooms from £80 / $120 (March 2016)