Armenian Street Heritage Hotel in Penang Review is my first hotel review for 2014. Having traveled continuously in the last 12 months and visiting a number of places around Malaysia, this was the only hotel I stayed at twice in two months. You may be wondering why - all because the Armenian Street Hotel is centrally located in the UNESCO core heritage zone here in George Town and it is a lovely place to stay at considering how I love to explore old towns.
Since opening on the 12th November 2013, the hotel has gained much attention from travelers locally and also foreigners due to many factors namely location, price and comfortably.The fact that it is located at the main intersection of Armenian Street or Lebuh Armenian and Lebuh Carnarvon which is right next to the UNESCO World Heritage Building, is one of the key elements why I chose this place.
|Armenian Street Heritage Hotel main lobby|
Overall, the Armenian Street Heritage Hotel offers 92 rooms of various sizes that cater to solo travellers, couples and families. Crafted out in a heritage style, the hotel offers modern amenities to suit the needs and requirements of tourists and visitors to Penang especially those wanting to explore the heritage zone on foot or via trishaw.
The hotel shares the main reception area with a local restaurant cafe, a souvenir shop, convenient shop and a coffee cafe. A crafty looking traditional Penang Trishaw sits in the main lobby as the only decoration, a minimalistic move if you ask me. There is a parking lot located behind but note that the place can only cater up to 13 cars and one handicap bay. On weekends, you should get a parking coupon from the reception as it gets full easily.
|Armenian Street Heritage Hotel Room|
On both occasions, I stayed on the sixth floor which is accessible via two elevators and the rooms here are well thought off. In my honest opinion, when you visit Penang, you will only utilise the hotel for your rest or sleep, therefore it was beyond my expectations. The bed was up to the 4-star hotel standards which was very comfortable, the bathroom is modern, simple and clean with a proper shower system. A 32" LCD television is mounted onto the wall with free satellite channels (not everything) while there is a simple workstation table and cupboard.
|Armenian Street Heritage Hotel bathroom|
The view from my room was equally lovely as I got to see some of the old heritage buildings from a higher level. Each of the rooms uses a traditional wooden window system where you can open it outwards for a glimpse of the city. Because of the heritage styling, it is not fully sound proof so if there are vehicles tooting downstairs at night, you may hear it.
|View of George Town from my room window|
The location of the hotel gave me access to many of the local heritage trails of museums, temples, eateries and one of the most popular attractions which is the world famous "Little Children on a Bicycle" mural hand-painted by renowned artist Ernest Zacharevic. As Penang has a number of Street Art throughout the core heritage zone, it is recommended that you explore the place on foot or by renting a bicycle. Me, I simply took my time to walk around the area.
One of the interesting and unique attractions is also located just outside of the hotel but this is for the curious or those who love markets. It is just behind the UNESCO Heritage Building and if you walk out from the side entrance of the hotel, you will come across the Lebuh Aceh Flea Market or Pasar Karat Lebuh Aceh which takes place daily from 5pm till about 7.30pm where many locals bring their wares here to sell.
Here's the catchy part of the market - It's more like a second hand market or a thieves market. Many traders bring all sorts of stuff and sell them cheap here. You never know if you will find something useful, I know one of my friends did. He was scouting around when he came across an old magazine featuring the late Princess Diana on the cover with a special feature. The price? He paid RM1 for it!
|Aceh Flea Market in Penang|
Walking on further, he found an old vinyl record for the Commodores which was in decent condition minus scratches. He paid RM20 for that which he told me that he has been looking for this album for years now. So, the bottom line, never underestimate markets like these. Personally, whenever I visit Penang, I will make it a point to visit this flea market and apparently it gets really busy on the weekends.
Around the hotel, there are many interesting local coffee shops that serve authentic local hawker Penang food which is unlike the commercialised places like Gurney Drive or Swatow Lane. At these local eateries, you get the real deal here. It's the kind of place where locals come to eat and grab their coffee and if you want to experience the real local Penang food, walk into any one of the old coffee shops to do this.
|Penang Antique Toy Museum|
Just down the road from the flea market, you will come across the Penang Antique Toy Museum which is housed in a shop lot with two floors. A must visit if you love toys from the past and for some reason, after I walked in, it took me down memory lane as some of the toys I had as a child were seen there! The owner is a private collector and everything in that museum, about 2000+ items is his own personal collection.
I was pretty impressed with some of the items in there and one of the items was a 1st edition Superman Action Comic from 1938! Try asking the worker there how much it is worth, or how much the owner bought it for - He refused to say. Anyway, as I am an avid comic fan, there have been only 50-100 of these comics in the world and depending on the grade, it can be anywhere from USD $100,000 to $2 Million! Unless of course it was a replica? I will never know as it was mounted high on the ceiling.
Overall, there are many other interesting places withing walking distance of the hotel therefore if I tell you everything, it will not be any fun for you to explore. I can guarantee this though - You will find lots of interesting shops in the vicinity, provided you enjoy walking around in the Malaysian weather. Remember to wear good walking shoes and drink lots of water.
|Armenian Street Heritage Hotel in Penang|
Armenian Street Heritage Hotel Address;
139, Lebuh Carnarvon,
George Town, Penang
Inquiries: +6 04 262 3888
I have also written another interesting article about Free things to do in Penang if you are headed here anytime and for those planning on a holiday to Penang, you have many accommodation choices to choose from as there are tons of hotels from the city right to Batu Feringgi. However, if you are into exploring Penang on foot and want a convenient place to stay at, I would recommend this hotel as it is strategically located in the core heritage zone. This is not a luxury hotel but more of a heritage themed hotel. It is also managed by Malaysia's Tune Hotel group but the property is owned by an individual person. Thank you for reading my Armenian Street Heritage Hotel in Penang Review.