Penang, Malaysia

Clove Hall

Rates from (ex tax)$137.05

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (MYR609.50), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Pared-back Peranakan

Setting

Gentrifying Georgetown

A restored plantation home from the Edwardian era, Clove Hall hotel in Penang is an elegant heritage house near the Unesco-listed melting pot of Georgetown. This boutique – with its tiled black-and-white floors, exquisite artwork, chic pool and residential comforts – marries sophistication with an authentic sense of history.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A free departure transfer to the airport

Facilities

Photos Clove Hall facilities

Need to know

Rooms

Six suites.

Check–Out

12pm, but flexible. Check-in, 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $137.05 (MYR575), excluding tax at 6 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (MYR609.50), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates include breakfast.

Also

Though there's no day spa as such, you can order a poolside massage or in-suite mani-pedi.

At the hotel

Free WiFi throughout, gardens. In rooms: flatscreen TV with satellite channels, free bottled water, Thann toiletries.

Our favourite rooms

For an opulent yet refined sense of space and privacy, we love outlying Clove Suite (complete with its own grove of clove trees) and the double-storeyed, outdoor-showered Star Anise Suite. In the main house, the Cinnamon Suite commands centre stage, with a view to the pool and the street, and surround-sound shutters.

Poolside

The lush tropical gardens, chirruping crickets and water cascading from clay urns lend Clove Hall's large pool a rarified rainforest setting, but a cooling G&T is never far away.

Packing tips

Discover your inner colonial rubber baron, with a Panama hat and gold-tipped walking cane for a leisurely stroll around downtown Georgetown. Ear plugs won't go amiss if the local stray dogs act up late at night.

Also

There's a two-night minimum stay. Please note: dogs are not allowed on the property.

Children

Children aged six and above are welcome to bunk down in the Garden Suites: Clove, Star Anise or Ginger. Baby cots (free), day-beds (RM20 a night for kids aged 3–6, including breakfast), or extra beds (RM100 a night for over-7s) can be added to rooms.

Overview

Children aged six and above are welcome to bunk down in Clove Hall.

Best for

Kids aged six and above.

Recommended rooms

The Clove Suite and Ginger Suite are both private villas, which can accommodate extra beds easily.

Swimming pool

There's no dedicated children's pool, but kids can enjoy the main hotel pool.

No need to pack

Baby cots can be provided at no extra cost; extra beds cost MYR100 a night. Be sure to book them in advance.

Food and Drink

Photos Clove Hall food and drink

Hotel restaurant

Although there isn't a restaurant at Clove Hall, cooked breakfast (plus local options) is served between 8am and 10am in the hall, on the porch or in the gardens, and there's a free afternoon tea served daily between 4pm and 5pm.

Room service

Drinks can be served until midnight (or later, if guests are still thirsty). Staff live on the premises, so there's always someone on hand if you need a refreshing tea or night-cap.

Location

Photos Clove Hall location
Address
Clove Hall
11 Clove Hall Road
Georgetown
10050
Georgetown
Malaysia

Planes

Penang's Bayan Lepas International Airport is a 45-minute drive from Clove Hall on surprisingly busy roads. Flights are frequent from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Bangkok, with some European carriers also flying direct.

Trains

Just across the water on the mainland, Butterworth Railway Station connects with the Malaysian regional railway system (www.ktmb.com.my) and capital KL. Travel from there to the hotel is by car via a road bridge, and takes 40 minutes. You can also head across by ferry in 30 minutes and get a quick cab from the nearby ferry terminal.

Automobiles

Most of the major international hirers are represented at Penang airport, and having your own set of wheels would certainly give you independence to explore the hills and beaches of compact Penang (parking is free at the hotel). However, Georgetown remains the jewel in the otherwise slightly faded crown and the driver at Clove Hall is always on hand if off-campus adventure calls.

Worth getting out of bed for

Georgetown is Penang's Alpha and Omega – there's little need to do anything more than soak up its quaint yet dynamic vibe; it was built for the happy flaneur. Ricochet gently from Daoist temple, to Little India cake shop, to colonial cathedral, to throbbing Bollywood cinema. Clove Hall can provide a guide for almost every occasion: heritage walking tours, visits to local artisan outlets, antique hunting, even dinner guides to restaurants off the eaten track. For those wanting a broader canvas, ask for the Pulau Payar Marine Park and Penang Hill guides.

Local restaurants

 Mrs Koo has been perfecting her Peranakan dishes for almost 30 years at Nyonya Baba (+60 (0) 227 8035). The restaurant is simple, but the delicious authentic dishes, such as hong bak (pork in thick gravy) and colourful nyonya cakes, are well worth a visit. If you fancy some fine dining, head straight to Kebaya Dining Room (+60 (0) 11 1403 3310) in the Seven Terraces hotel. Take a table in the elegant dining room and enjoy an evening of sampling the chefs’ innovative take on traditional Nyonyan cuisine, such as hong bak New Zealand lamb cooked in a fusion of Indian and Chinese spices, and otak otak, which is red snapper cooked in garlic and turmeric and baked in puff pastry.

Reviews

Photos Clove Hall reviews
Helen Dalley

Anonymous review

Georgetown’s ancient streets – where red and gold Chinese lanterns flutter in the breeze over lush tropical plants – are lined with shabbily gorgeous pastel buildings housing inviting cafés and cute boutiques. Its imposing mosques, temples and churches grandly collide in a spiritual celebration of Penang’s diverse heritage. Inspired by intense blue November skies, my camera goes into overdrive as I attempt to capture this glorious Unesco-listed jumble of architecture and culture, where signs in English, Malay and Arabic hint at the island’s social melting pot.

Keen to live out our Edwardian fantasies in a colonial heritage home, Mr Smith and I are visiting this historic Malaysian isle to reside at Clove Hall. Hidden away down a quiet, residential street on the fringes of Georgetown, the Tudor-inspired roof of this Anglo-Malay boutique hotel peeps out from behind a tall, white gate and fence that skillfully separate the property from the outside world. As we are buzzed in and the automatic gate pulls back, the splendour of this whitewashed former plantation is revealed. Black and white blinds frame the shady terrace, which overlooks a perfectly manicured lawn, and open shutters let the sunshine stream in. This monochrome dream is reflected in the waters of the aquamarine pool – a rare nod to modernity – surrounded by tropical foliage and banana trees.

Stepping out of the dazzling afternoon rays, we’re met with a sunny welcome in the living/dining area from Brit owner Jo Lim, who manages the property with her Penang-born husband Jim. Settling us down on a pair of antique chairs with views of the garden, Jo delivers savvy nuggets of advice over a generously sized cafetiere. This includes the best hawker markets – 10 minutes’ walk away is the Old Green House, which serves up Malaysian streetfare classics such as spicy meat broth bak kut teh – as well as taxi prices. A ride into Georgetown’s hub should cost no more than 15 ringgit, she says.

As Mr Smith gets directions to the nearest mall so he can snap up some sunglasses (Gurney Plaza boasts everything from an Apple Centre to a Valentino boutique), I admire the effortlessly elegant vibe of this classy six-suite sanctuary. A weathered Edwardian dresser stocked with ancient Dickens, Eliot and Tolstoy hardbacks enlivens one corner while an antique cupboard displaying Ming-style blue and white vases vies for attention in another. Shady seating outside, meanwhile, proffers the perfect spot for a cup of Ahmad Earl Grey and a Portuguese custard tart at Clove Hall’s complimentary daily afternoon tea.

After abandoning our shoes on the black and white tiles at the foot of the staircase (guests are asked to go barefoot upstairs to preserve the antique wooden flooring), we cast open the door of the Cinnamon Suite, where an enveloping four-poster draped in white cotton sets the scene for a weekend of romance. To the left is a cosy wicker sofa and chairs cooled by a ceiling fan whirring lazily ahead. It’s the ideal location for a mid-afternoon nap, as Mr Smith quickly discovers after remarking that I should take up position at the splendidly retro writing bureau and make a start on that novel I’ve been going on about. Instead, I disturb the pristine white sheets of the freshly made bed and doze. Later, I pick up a book from the sitting room, Heritage Houses of Penang, to marvel over the contrasting architectural styles of this former British colony. Long shafts of sunlight filter through the shutters onto the pristine white walls. With some reluctance, I eventually rouse myself from this Edwardian reverie and cool off under the rainforest shower in the spacious bathroom. As something of a toiletries junkie, I also delightedly note the shampoo and bath gel from sumptuous Thai brand Thann.

Wines and spirits are available should you feel like re-enacting the colonialist expat lifestyle with a sundowner on the terrace, but Clove Hall doesn’t serve evening meals. So, map in hand, we wander up the road for dinner and discover a gorgeous European-style spot, That Little Wine Bar, where our smelly cheese platter is served with a liberally replenished bread basket and a fruity house white.

Our two days at Clove Hall pass by in an enjoyably indulgent haze of lazy laps in the pool and mid-afternoon snoozes, punctuated by pots of Earl Grey and hearty English breakfasts. The scrambled egg is divine, eaten outside with our noses in the papers. Alas, it draws to a close all too soon and the perpetually famished Mr Smith has trouble coming to terms with a life sans afternoon tea and Penang’s hawker markets, whereas I want to move in and compose my historical novel in period style at the writing bureau. Draining our cups for the last time, we bid a fond farewell to this heritage home charmingly untouched by modern influences, a place where afternoon tea on the terrace and luxuriously long naps behind the curtains of four-poster beds are king.
 

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Clove Hall’s Guestbook below.

We loved

The architecture, enchanting modern decor, peaceful atmosphere and garden, relaxing and comfortable bedding, bath/shower facilities. The staff and host of this well maintained and very clean guest house was friendly, helpful and sincere.

Don’t expect

...restaurant, children, social hour.

Rating

Stayed on 2 Apr 2017

We loved

The friendly reception and cool drink on arrival; the smiling faces and thoughtfulness of the wonderful staff; the spacious, stylish suite; chatting with Jim and Jo about where to go in George Town; and relaxing by the beautifully cool swimming pool after a day exploring. George Town really does have so much to offer when you're looking for somewhere to eat: Tek Sen offers incredible Chinese food - well worth waiting in the queue and the plastic stools. We went twice!

Don’t expect

Lively, party atmosphere or noisy neighbours :-)

Rating

Stayed on 2 Feb 2017

We loved

Our room (Clove) was beautiful and perfect for a family - slightly set off from the main house so as not to disturb others but amazingly sumptuous and comfortable. We had our two small kids with us and were so well looked after. The pool area is stunning and breakfast delicious. We also liked that it is slightly outside the hustle and bustle of Georgetown whilst still close enough to spend all your time there. Jim was really friendly (as were his staff) and gave us lots of recommendations of where to go and what to eat. A great hotel and a perfect place to stay in Penang! Ocean Green is a great Chinese restaurant nearby to eat crab and other seafood delicacies

Don’t expect

Lunch / dinner, only caters for breakfast which suited us fine

Rating

Stayed on 19 Aug 2016

We loved

The welcome by Jim to this wonderful Colonial House in the gourmet island of Penang. Jim and Jo's staff could not have been more helpful. As evening meals are not available, they provide a list of several good local restaurants within walking distance. Further into Georgetown you are spoilt for choice, with inexpensive taxis organise by Michael or his colleagues to whisk you there. 10/10

Don’t expect

Not being looked after

Rating

Stayed on 29 Apr 2016

We loved

The gorgeous pool and grounds; the beautiful rooms; lovely relaxed atmosphere; and the wonderful hosts and staff.

Don’t expect

You won't get the same things you get at a big 5 star hotel. This is a different experience.

Rating

Stayed on 28 Dec 2015

We loved

Everything!

Don’t expect

A fridge in the room, however you can get ice for your room and the drinks offered are a good price.

Rating

Stayed on 6 Dec 2015

We loved

generous sized room, good house like pool, and lovely staff. Old style house, well air conditioned. About 10-15 minutes walk from old Georgetown, allowing that Malaysia does not do foot paths.

Don’t expect

Super modern luxury or 5 star snobbery.

Rating

Stayed on 16 Oct 2015

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