Clove Hall, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

UPDATE - July 2020 - Clove Hall has now closed.

Our stay in Georgetown was only brief, though we seemed to fit an awful lot in, but of course we also wanted to stay somewhere memorable too. As I've mentioned previously we were quite last minute in booking this part of our holiday and our stay in Singapore and Penang coincided with Chinese New Year. We deliberately did this as we had always enjoyed this time of year in Singapore and all the festivities associated with it. Whilst it wasn't the actual public holiday part of the CNY celebrations when we were in Penang it was only a few days after and as anyone familiar with this part of the world will tell you it's a popular time to travel and as a result hotels can be hard to come by or else very expensive. In the end this luckily didn't prove too much of a problem and we struck gold with our choice of Clove Hall.

First things first Clove Hall isn't a hotel, it describes itself as a private residence and with only six suites is a far more personalised and unique experience. Clove Hall is an Edwardian Anglo-Malay bungalow, one of just many dotted all over Penang. I was told by many before we travelled that they imagined Georgetown to be like Singapore once was. Whilst Singapore still has many conserved shophouses and some of the old style bungalows too there does seem to be far more of these bungalows left in Penang. Admittedly not all of them are in the best of condition but I was frequently reminded of the photos of a long gone Singapore that I'd seen on many occasions. Having always harboured dreams of living in one of these bungalows I pretty much fell in love with Clove Hall from the moment we arrived, despite that being pretty late at night and when I saw it in daylight the next morning it was a complete no brainer.

Clove Hall completely embraces its colonial heritage with wonderful d├ęcor throughout, there is more than a hint of Peranakan about it too, take a look at this post for a little more insight into Peranakan culture in this part of the world. That vase on the table in the first photo above is very reminiscent of Peranakan design. I just couldn't help but wonder about the people who originally lived in this house when it was built and as usual would love to know more about them. The grounds are intimate and completely enclosed from the other houses in the vicinity. There are verandahs for relaxing on, taking breakfast or an afternoon drink on and a swimming pool too should you wish to take a dip. Quite simply it's gorgeous!

Our suite for our stay was the Ginger Suite, one of the garden suites. All the garden suites are separate from the main house giving you the advantage of your own entrance to your suite and a seating area outside of it. Having this made it feel almost like it was our own home and gave us complete privacy. I can't comment on any of the other suites because I didn't see them but the Ginger suite was perfect for us and incredibly spacious. Being a suite, as well as your bed it also has a living area with day bed's etc. and included a space with a desk, useful for my husband as he needed to do a little work whilst we were away, and plenty of wardrobe space. The bathroom was another huge room in itself with a fabulously large rain shower. As you'd hope in Penang's climate there was also air con and a ceiling fan in the room, plus a TV (not that we used it), wifi and filtered water for drinking.

Inside our suite - The Ginger Suite

As it's not a hotel there is no restaurant or evening meals available but when you're in Penang that really doesn't matter! Breakfast is included in the price however and both a Western and a couple of local options are available. If you want to choose a local option it needs to be ordered the day before as it is got for you that morning from one of the local hawkers. If you choose the Western option the good news too, if like me you're not a chicken sausage fan, is that they offer pork sausages. As well as your Western or local choice you'll also be able to enjoy fresh fruit, toast, fruit juices, tea and coffee. Although we didn't have this they do also offer a light afternoon tea and you can get drinks easily enough whenever you want.

The owners, who are a really lovely couple, seemed to always be there at breakfast time and during the day but if they weren't there was usually someone around, though they don't have a 24 hour reception. I think on the night we arrived the poor member of staff was probably waiting to go home (we did get there late as I said) but he was still incredibly welcoming and gave us a good overview of the place and most importantly told us what time breakfast was served from the next day!

Western and one of the local breakfast options

Location wise Clove Hall is very well placed. We were happy to walk around, even in the heat and humidity of Penang's climate, we used to do it a lot in Singapore after all, and from there it doesn't take long to walk to the centre of Georgetown. Once you are there it is very easy to walk everywhere there, though at times footpaths do just disappear or get swallowed up by overflowing stores etc, but at the heart of Georgetown nothing is too far away. Besides that I think walking is often the best way to discover a place or stumble upon a little gem of a shop or eatery you could have easily missed otherwise. Alternatively though the staff will be happy to order a taxi for you to wherever you wish to go should you need it. 

If you don't want to stay in a large chain hotel then an option like Clove Hall would be perfect. With only six suites you can enjoy your time there with as much or as little contact with any other guests as you want whilst completely relaxing and unwinding. It was a perfect choice for our mini break and I'd certainly recommend it to you.


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