A friend messaged me the other day. She asked me for hotel recommendations since she would be joining the Penang Bridge Marathon in November. I asked for her budget and she said RM200 / room. I said if you can afford you may want to try the latest craze, Boutique Hotels. It has been sprouting non-stop in Penang thus far. She asked, how much. I said over double of what your budget is. She said, why so high? Aren’t these old buildings converted into hotels? I told her that this is due to the extensive renovations and the valuable decorations.
After some thoughts, I think there are a few valid reasons why the prices are still so high today. In fact even more expensive than 4 Star Hotels there! The location is really prime. Majority of these boutique hotels are situated right with the Georgetown Heritage City! Thus, you can wander around all the old roads, buildings, paintings etc just by leaving your hotel on foot! Think about it, if you stay in hotels elsewhere, you need to take taxi and for your information, taxis in Penang are very expensive! Somehow, this remains a problem unsolved.
The size of the hotels meant that rooms are limited. We are talking about a maximum of 20 rooms? Some have just a few rooms. Thus, charging anything lower meant that maintenance is likely to be poor and soon these hotels may have to shut down. Limited rooms meant also that costs are much higher as it is spread across lesser rooms compared to the 4 Star hotels which may have 150 rooms or higher.
It is still new. As much as I would like to defend the price, I also think that there are rooms for some reduction. However, due to the limitations currently in terms of availability, the prices are climbing up instead of stepping down. There are news that many more of these are in the process of renovation and would soon open within these few years. Hopefully by then, the prices would be more reasonable. It would not be low but a bit more reasonable would help people like me to stay in one. Currently, my first choice would definitely be 3/4 Star hotels instead which costs less than RM200 / night.
Enjoy Georgetown via these boutique hotels.
written on 6th May 2014.
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