Words: R. Rajendra
One of the earliest resorts along Batu Ferringhi on the northwest coast of Penang island, Parkroyal Penang Resort is the kind of place that guests return to time and again to recreate holiday experiences that remain etched in their memories.
The resort is homely and familiar. Staying here feels like visiting a dear friend, who just happens to own a seaside resort!
The warm welcome begins with the wide open space of the lobby that offers fleeting views of the ocean peeping through coconut fronds, accompanied by the sound of waves crashing against the shore. The green lawn, the blue sky and the warm earthy tones of the resort’s lobby all collude to announce that your vacation has officially started.
Parkroyal Penang Resort reminded me more of a stylish home than a resort when I dropped by recently. Having just completed a refurbishment exercise costing over MYR55 (USD13.5) million, timber and earthy tones are the mainstay and evoke a design aesthetic that is minimal, contemporary and almost Scandinavian in style.
From the lobby to the corridors and rooms, the minimalist design amplifies space with light and airiness, echoing the sea and the wide open skies. With 10 room categories ranging from superior to sea view suites, the accommodation options are spacious and come with bespoke toiletries from the resort’s own spa – the renowned St Gregory Spa.
A ubiquitous design element that can be spotted throughout the resort are screens made of thin wood strips interspersed with little wooden globes. These screens reference the areca nut palm (pinang in Malay) that lends its name to the island.
The resort is popular with families and holidaymakers though I spotted a few suit-types staying there. I guess after a day of wheeling and dealing, you’d want to return to a tranquil resort to refresh and rejuvenate. The resort has two pools but thoughtfully, the children’s pool with a water slide is located away from the main lobby, enabling adults to enjoy peace and quiet, soaking up some sun on the lawn. The adults have their own pool with refreshing cocktails and cool drinks supplied by the Sunset Bar.
Dining options abound at Parkroyal Penang Resort. For a romantic dinner, head to Uncle Zack by the Beach for pizzas, steaks and seafood; located in the lobby, Javana Lounge is a spacious spot with day beds and quirky alcove seats – perfect for tea or cocktails; Cool Bananas Poolside Café is all about casual dining; while Cinnamon, the resort’s main F&B outlet, offers breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The spread at Cinnamon features lesser known local dishes that you won’t find easily at hawker stalls such as roti jala (lattice pancakes) with chicken curry, kari kambing (goat curry) and tenggiri masak lemak (wolf mackerel in coconut cream). There was even an unusual jackfruit strudel!
The refurbishment exercise has refreshed this resort in so many ways but it was I who felt rejuvenated after staying at Parkroyal Penang Resort. You will feel the difference too.
In-room delights include complimentary nutmeg juice – a sweet, mildly astringent juice that is refreshingly addictive, and tambun biscuits, a traditional cookie that features a sweet and savoury mungbean filling encased in flaky pastry.
Address: Batu Ferringhi Beach, 111000 Penang, Malaysia