Review of Hotel Jen Penang – Friendly Service with Unique Guest Perks9 December, 2015
To explore the street art and yummy food scene in Georgetown – Penang, we knew we need a base (read: hotel) in the heart of Georgetown from which to make quick trips to the best char kway teow in town and then retreat back for a quick rest from the sweltering heat (and sometimes heavy rain at this time of the year – December). We decided on Hotel Jen Penang as we knew we can’t go wrong with one of Shangri-La’s hotel brands (well known for its excellent service and comfort). Talking about street art, you can find one right at Hotel Jen Penang. The 100-metre hotel façade was impressively painted by internationally acclaimed artist Jesus Moreno (Y.E.S) with a colourful abstract piece, a play of colours and lines – the longest wall mural art in Penang.
What caught our attention when we checked into our room are the small notes from “Jen” e.g. the one you see in the picture below which informs us of a “special treat” in the mini-fridge – a cup of fresh cut fruits. The mini-fridge itself is clear of the usual paid minibar items e.g. chocolates, alcohol so that there is space for guests to keep their own drinks refrigerated. “Jen” is a virtual persona created by Hotel Jen – she is a professional hotelier who takes care of guests with efficiency and care, while also giving them informed access to the best a particular destination has to offer.
Hotel Jen Penang Club Room Amenities
Our Club room at Hotel Jen Penang was spacious with all the necessary amenities e.g. iron, ironing board, workdesk, sofa, coffee-and tea-making facilities and lots of hangers. Our room also came with large bay windows showcasing stunning panoramic views of historical Georgetown.
We requested for a baby cot and it was already setup and ready for our baby to use – perfect especially since we landed in Penang on an evening flight and it was bedtime for our baby already. The cot also doubles up as a playpen – just put the right toy in with the baby and we have about 10 minutes of uninterrupted time to unpack our luggage!
Complimentary in-room WiFi was available and we were able to get in contact via Whatsapp and WeChat upon arrival in our room. What delighted us – the bookworm in us – was the access to PressReader via Hotel Jen Penang’s Wi-Fi network where we were able to download and save for offline reading over 2,500 online newspapers and magazines including our Today and Straits Times newspapers from back home.
The bathroom was also well-equipped with magnifying mirror and a large vanity desk for the wife to put all her makeup and cosmetic amenities :-p The only downside was that the showerhead was fixed to the wall – the bathtub was however quite spacious and water pressure was good.
Hotel Jen Penang’s toiletries were neatly packed in a handy little bag – at a glance, you can see what’s available as part of the amenity pack and you will find that it is equipped with everything that you need e.g. shampoo, bath gel, moisturiser, toothbrush and toothpaste, shower cap etc.
We decided to leave our strollers at home and borrow Hotel Jen Penang’s stroller in case we need it to bring our baby around Georgetown – do reserve in advance as there is only one stroller available for free rental at Hotel Jen Penang. This is a very “solid” stroller and I think it is able to withstand pushing around the streets of Georgetown and an active toddler trying to pull apart every stroller parts. Do note that this stroller is quite heavy so if the route you are taking involves a bit of climbing stairs/bridges (where you will have to fold the stroller up and lug it up the stairs) then you might want to consider just babywearing instead.
Hotel Jen Penang Club Lounge Dining Experience
Our Club room at Hotel Jen Penang comes with access to the Club Lounge where there are free drinks and snacks all day long, with a special exclusive breakfast buffet. Don’t miss out on the evening cocktails and canapes too. An additional perk of Club Lounge access is you enjoy dedicated check-in/check-out service at the lounge, thus skipping the queues at the ground floor reception.
We preferred dining at the Club Lounge because it is at the same floor (16th floor) as our room with great views over Georgetown. It is also quieter and you can avoid the morning “rush hour” crowd for breakfast at the ground floor The Islander restaurant. I like the egg-cellent morning menu (another fun Jen pun) where you have the choice of how you want your eggs freshly prepared and customise the side orders that you need. The breakfast selection at the Club Lounge is comparable to The Islander restaurant.
Hotel Jen Penang Perk – Breakfast-To-Go
If you are in a rush to catch an early flight or tour, you can tabao all that you need e.g. muffins, bread and coffee as this is a perk for Hotel Jen guests – Breakfast-To-Go for guests to enjoy free take away breakfast and coffee after dine in or for busy travellers with early meetings or leaving for airport. Takeaway (or tabao) boxes are readily available at the bread station.
If you just have a craving for a quick late night snack e.g. can of milo and Pocky, there is also a vending machine at Hotel Jen Penang for guests to conveniently purchase snacks and personal amenities.
Hotel Jen Penang Cost-Saving and Simple Laundry Wash & Fold Service
Laundry services in hotels are usually very expensive. Instead of offering just per piece laundry rates, Hotel Jen Penang had also introduced a Laundry Wash & Fold service to keep it simple and stress-free for their guests who need to wash a lot of clothes. With the Laundry Wash & Fold service, guests can pack all clothes in one full laundry bag and enjoy estimated 50% savings off laundry charges with a single price of RM 95 per bag. All you have to do is (1) list all the items you need washing in the single wash form (2) pack all the listed laundry into the laundry bag (3) call room services to pickup your laundry and you are done. Do note that you will only get your laundry washed and folded NOT pressed. There are additional charges for pressing.
Getting Around Penang with Hotel Jen Penang Chauffeur Drive package
It is quite convenient to walk around Georgetown and taxis are readily available but to explore other parts of Penang Island, I recommend you rent a car or hire a driver to bring you to other sights on Penang island e.g. Kek Lok Si, Penang Hill as public transportation is not as well developed outside of Georgetown. Thankfully, you can opt for a Hotel Jen Penang room package which includes one 4-hour chauffeur service within Penang Island between 7am and 7pm per stay.
The chauffeur service will start and end at Hotel Jen Penang. A standard air-conditioned car will be used (wth a maximum of 3 persons without luggage). If you have more friends coming along, you can top-up RM 65 net to upgrade to a van which can hold a maximum of 9 persons without luggage.
Other perks of this Hotel Jen Penang Chauffeur Drive package include:
- Free daily buffet breakfast at The Islander for one or two persons (depending on single or double occupancy)
- 20% discount on food & beverage service
- Free late check-out until 4pm (subject to availability)
- Free scheduled shuttle service to Batu Ferringhi
Friendly Service of Hotel Jen Penang Staff
What impressed me a lot about Hotel Jen Penang is the consistency in hotel staff friendliness and helpfulness towards guests – be it at the hotel lobby or the Club Lounge, the staff were always attentive to our needs e.g. sensing that we were looking for our chauffeur for the 4-hour Chauffeur Drive Package, one of the staff immediately approached me to check if I am looking for the driver and then quickly got the driver to get the vehicle over to the front door upon my confirmation.
There were times when it was raining quite heavily and I had intend to walk over to the nearby Prangin Mall – we were offered the hotel umbrellas and we only need to inform them of our hotel room numbers – no form filling and waiting – just a verbal confirmation of room number and he will take care of the rest of the umbrella borrowing procedures.
Not sure where to go, ask one of the Hotel Jen staff and he/she will be able to advise you of recommendations for interesting sights and good food in the area e.g. New Lane food market for good Hokkien Mee (just a 6-8 minutes walk away). As we had been staying at Hotel Jen Penang for 4 nights and frequented the Club Lounge for its good food, the staff even remembered our drink preferences and were very friendly and helpful too.
Convenient Location of Hotel Jen Penang
Hotel Jen Penang is surrounded by the Georgetown’s prime commercial and business venues, shopping malls, an array of cosmopolitan restaurants offering authentic Chinese, Indian, Malay and Thai cuisines as well as Penang’s famous hawker street food. If you want to check out Batu Ferringhi, you can also hop on the complimentary scheduled shuttle service to the hotel’s sister property at the beach area for the nightly Batu Ferringhi night market or just chill out at the beach.
Komtar, Prangin Mall and 1st Avenue are just next to the hotel, within walking distance. 1st Avenue is one of the latest shopping mall in Penang with 7 retail levels that include food & dining e.g. Sakae Sushi, fashion, electronics, cinema, supermarket and one departmental store – Parkson. There is a supermarket at one of the higher levels of 1st Avenue – it is quite big and is run by Aeon – a leading supermarket retailer chain.
Prangin Mall is slightly run down, but it’s a good place for local fashion, accessories, and some F&B outlets. There is also a Parkson at Prangin Mall and if you want to get Malaysian local data SIM card, Prangin Mall is the place to be. Komtar, Prangin Mall and 1st Avenue are all interlinked by walkways so you can shop at all places conveniently. To get to 1st Avenue from Hotel Jen Penang, walk to the back of the hotel where you will reach the Komtar IT mall, go up to Level 3 and you will find a linkbridge to 1st Avenue. See the map below for reference.