hotel highlight: the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton on Penang Island, Malaysia

Arriving at the DoubleTree Resort in Penang after a 4 AM wake up in Kuala Lumpur for a 5 AM flight, I was more than a little ready to devour pancakes and down copious amounts of coffee. I walked through the stunning front lobby where I was given a warm welcome cookie by the smiling staff. The concierge grabbed my carry-on to escort it to my room and kindly pointed me in the direction of caffeine and carbs.


Here’s the skinny on my stay


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IT’S ALL ABOUT LOCATION

The DoubleTree Resort is located about 40-minutes from Penang International Airport. You can arrange pickup service with the hotel prior to your arrival, but you’ll save yourself a considerable amount of money if you book a car through the free Grab app. Controversially, I recommend you download the Grab app if you’re traveling around Southeast Asia. It’s basically the Uber of the region. You can pay with card or by cash for your rides. My ride from the airport to the hotel was 32 RM {USD $7.70}.

If you use the code ‘SILLYLITTLET’ when you download the app, you’ll help me earn points towards free and reduced rides at no cost to you.

The hotel sits a short ride from the UNESCO Heritage Site of Georgetown, where you’ll find street art, cafes, and Indian street food vendors that will leave you drooling. About the same distance away is the Insta-famous Kek Lok Si Temple that is well worth a visit {and free}. You’re also just a shuttle ride away from Batu Ferringhi, which has a lively night market.I’ll outline all the nearby Penang attractions in upcoming blog posts!

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POOLSIDE BY DAY

We all know my heart belongs to the mountains, but lately I’ve been finding a strange solace by water. At the DoubleTree, I spent my entire first afternoon in Penang lounging in a private cabana, sipping complimentary “detox water”, splashing around intermittently. It’s as if some very luxurious part of myself surfaced for, like, the first time ever. That combined with being sans phone…it was like I was in a far away magical land where my only worry was if I had applied enough sunscreen {turns out I did not…}.

Towels are provided poolside. Each chair and cabana comes with its own buzzer that allows you to order food and beverages without moving an inch. There are also changing rooms and showers at the pool, so you don’t have to come up with a “where-do-I-put-my-bag-with-my-dry-clothes-how-do-i-change-will-there-be-a-bathroom-nearby” strategy plan.

For families or those traveling with little ones, there is a “Splash Pad” complete with a slide, water tunnel, and a shallow paddle pool.

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BEACH BOUND BY NIGHT

The newly-discovered mermaid in me couldn’t be contained to the beautiful blue pool. No, I also had to try out the beach, which is conveniently connected to the DoubleTree by a covered walkway. It takes a total of two minutes to get from the DoubleTree’s pool to the saltwater shores of Miami Beach.

You can check out beach towels from the customer service desk near the pool by writing down your room number. Just bring back the towel to the desk where you checked it out and you’re good to go. If you don’t return your towel, there will be a charge added to your room, so don’t leave it in the sand.

While you’re at Miami Beach, stop by Miami Cafe. A super friendly local family runs the cafe, and it’s the only close option for food outside of the hotel without journeying to Batu Ferringhi or Georgetown. By the time my stay at the DoubleTree ended, the family knew they could count on me to grab a roti or some onion rings after a beach stroll at sunset. Just a word of warning: the cafe is a very affordable, but vegetarian offerings are extremely limited.

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EAT, DRINK, LOUNGE, REPEAT

The DoubleTree’s in-house restaurant, Makan, provides a breakfast buffet complete with Western classics {think omelettes, croissants, and cereals} and local favourites {think rotis, spring rolls, and grilled vegetables}. I ate enough fresh fruit and french toast to feed an army all on my own. Any place that serves up endless CoCo Pebbles and watermelon is alright in my book. Lunch and dinner menus change seasonally. You can read more about Makan’s menu and hours of operations here.

The Axis Lounge, located on the ground floor, has stunning sea views and bar staff happy to let you lounge or serve up some of their signature cocktails. Malaysian bar prices are steep through most of the country {since a majority of its people don’t drink}, but what beats a beer by the pool or a cocktail in a dimly lit lounge with the sound of ocean waves as background noise? Not much.

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SWEET DREAMS

The DoubleTree Resort offers 316 rooms and suites. Each room option comes with fast and free WiFi. Most rooms and suites also feature a private balcony with views of the sea to start your day.

If you aren’t happy with your pillows, you can order ones suited to your comfort off the pillow menu {yeah, it’s a real thing} simply by calling the DoubleTree Careline on the room phone, free of charge. My pillows extra cushy and the mattress in my King Suite was so comfortable that it made it hard to get up in the morning— though, of course, I was up and out exploring by 8 AM every day.

Complimentary tea, coffee, and water is provided in each room. You’re also given complimentary shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and “grooming kits” that are equipped with cotton swabs and facial wipes {which saves their white towels from removing your makeup}.

Honestly, every night at the DoubleTree gave me the kind of stir-free-sleep I haven’t had in ages. Maybe it was the air-conditioning. Maybe it was the sound of the ocean or just being tuckered out from days spent at the pool or exploring Georgetown. I think it was probably the heavenly pillow and mattress combination, but whatever it was, I have the DoubleTree to thank for it.

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CHERRIES ON TOP

When it comes to extras, the DoubleTree offers more than a warm welcome cookie {though they do offer those, and they are delicious}.

Since the DoubleTree is located a short drive or bus ride from many of Penang Island’s main attractions, the hotel offers a free shuttle bus daily to and from the Batu Ferringhi night market {along with plenty of seafood eateries} and the center of Georgetown {where you’ll find amazing cafes and all the coolest street art}.

Other amenities provided by the DoubleTree include a 24-hour concierge desk, baggage storage, foreign currency exchange, laundry service, room service, and a safety deposit box to protect your passport and other valuables.

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WORKING ON MY FITNESS

I’ve been working on eating right and exercising regularly again {body screams: FINALLY}. Serendipitously, the DoubleTree has a full fitness center on-site! Treadmills, elliptical machines, free weights, yoga balls, and skipping ropes were just some of the many ways to work up a sweat at the DoubleTree.

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TREAT YO’SELF

The DoubleTree has a spa, rightfully named Spacation, next to its fitness center so that you can treat yourself to a manicure, pedicure, coffee scrub, and massages post workout {or skip the workout and just head to the spa}. There are often special promotions for spa treatments, so be sure to ask what discounts exist during your visit!

BOOK YOUR STAY

I’ve always been on a budget of some kind when traveling. Even when I’ve had the money to splurge, something about spending it on a swish hotel when I only need a safe place to rest my head at the end of a long day exploring has made me almost always choose to forego posh resorts and opt for a cozy AirBnB find. But, when I was kindly asked to be a lucky guest of the DoubleTree Resort while visiting Penang, I jumped at the chance. It truly is a more affordable luxury resort that offers every amenity you could want, served via high-quality hospitality.

You can book your stay at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton here. 


Disclaimer: I was a guest of the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton, but all my opinions are my own and my experience is expressed authentically.