Holiday Inn is one of the few hotels located at the northern side of Penang called Batu Ferringhi. It is famous for its beaches making it a nice place to stay for relaxation. Few other hotels located along the stretch are Shangri La and Park Royal – making Holiday Inn Resort the poorer sibling. At only RM 885 (inclusive of tax) for 4 persons with breakfast, it certainly makes this resort a very budget getaway (while it cost almost RM 3000 for the same dates in Park Royal!)
The hotel comprises 2 blocks, the Ferringhi Tower and Seaside Tower. When coming on Grab, do specify which tower you are going to. Even if you are dropped at the wrong side, both towers are connected by an overhead bridge and check ins can be handled both sides.
Check in was fast, but unfortunately, I was not able to get any early check in (check in time is 2pm). As the guaranteed early check in benefit of Ambassador only applies to Intercontinental Hotel, we had to wait for our rooms to be ready. While waiting, one can enjoy the complimentary drinks being given, the little ones can have fun at the Playlab (there are 2 Playlabs, one at each tower) or have a game of table soccer, pool or table tennis at the Ferringhi Tower.
I booked a children’s suite situated in the Ferringhi Tower and it is a large room partitioned into 2 sections. On one side is a King bed and on the other, 2 single beds. Being catered for children, the room comes with a Playstation 3 and 2 giant teddy bears!
The room is well stocked with daily replenished bottled water, tea and coffee. We had welcome fruits on our arrival day too!
Bathrobes and slippers are provided (but only 2).
The room looked a little dated, but it was more than enough for us and the kids were happy with the room too!
There is a balcony overlooking the hills (my wife was lamenting not having a sea view) and it has a clothes rack installed, much needed given that this is a beach resort!
The Playstation in the room is equipped with 2 wireless controllers (one of which seemed to be slightly malfunctioned). 5-6 games were given but the one drawback was the lack of HDMI connection (it was connected only using RCA cable!). Come on guys, this is 2019 and who still uses RCA cables?! This results in lousy display quality.
Although the room comes with a large screen LCD TV, it is still connected to over-the-air channels resulting in very lousy reception.
After checking in, we helped ourselves with the table games in level 1. 3 table games are available:
- Table tennis (with only 2 bats)
- Pool table (with spoilt sticks and missing triangle)
- Table soccer (which the kids had great fun with)
There is Playlab there too and a Playstation 4 which one needs to register with the staff at the Playlab to get the controllers and game title (limited to 1-hour usage per guest). There is a gym too with both machines and free weights.
The pool is located at the Seaside Tower and it is deep (deepest being 3 meters!). Parents will certainly need to be careful with the kids as there is no lifeguard on duty.
There is a small baby pool next to it (with another ping pong table next to it).
The main restaurant is located at the Seaside tower. Indoor and outdoor seating are available and for those seated outdoors, you may have ‘special guests’ flying in eyeing your food on the table.
Food spread is pretty good with a mixture of local and international fares. There is an egg station, a self-cooked noodle station and pre-prepared Nasi Lemak and Roti Canai stalls (in addition to the usual items one would find in a hotel breakfast buffet).
There is a small café located at ground floor of Ferringhi Tower, but we did not try it during our stay there.
Batu Ferringhi is quite a distance from Georgetown and Gurney, but there is food available near the hotel. Walking down, there is a Golden Thai restaurant which serves seafood (but rather pricey). There is Ship, an old western restaurant that I have known from my childhood days. About 400 to 500m further, there is Long Beach food center where one can try different type of local fares at a reasonable price.
For RM 885 (not even SGD 300) for 4 people for 2 nights, this is a very reasonable amount to pay for a short budget getaway. It may not be a 5-star hotel unlike its neighbor (Park Royal and Shangri La), it is certainly adequate for those not looking for a luxurious stay.
One issue I had though with my room was the cigarette smell I had on my second night after we came back from our dinner despite us being on a non-smoking floor and the balcony doors closed. We had to air the room and after calling the front desk, all they did was to send someone up and spray the room with ……… insecticides?!!! I had to stop him before he sprays more of it!