Sometime in December last year, we decided to take a short trip up north to Penang to enjoy a weekend away. And as we were searching for accommodation in Penang that would let us bring our own bicycles up, Ren I Tang popped up. This hipster boutique hotel and bistro is a popular staycation spot for many Malaysians and foreigners alike because of its central location right in the heart of Georgetown and of course, its classic decor.
It is the perfect hotel for cycling enthusiasts because there is a lovely little back room where even the owners of the hotel keep their bicycles. Just bring your own lock and you can be sure that your bicycle will be safe. While it can be pretty noisy/rowdy at night here at Ren I Tang, being in the heart of Little India and all, having a space to park your bicycle is a huge plus point.
And since we had planned on cycling everywhere in Penang (due to the lack of parking around the busier parts of the island - and also being cheapskates who didn't want to fork out too much paying for parking), this made it the perfect boutique hotel for us to stay at for the two nights we would be in Penang.
Once you step into Ren I Tang, you will feel like you have been transported to a different era - an older era, a time where things were much simpler, where people rode bicycles and read books with actual paper and perhaps, smoked opium. A lot of Penang has still retained its heritage and original structures - like Chinahouse.
So staying two nights here simply wasn't enough!
Do take note, this boutique hotel may not be one that appeals to the older folk as there are no lifts to access the high floors. You will have to take the only narrow staircase in the hotel. Huge suitcases are not recommended as you will have to carry it up the wooden staircase and it can be pretty dangerous. But the hotel does offer a pretty special "bellboy service" in which they utilise a pulley system. They load your bags into a huge basket, much like the one pictured below as a lampshade and use the old method of transportation to bring your baggage up.
The hotel functions much like a hostel or a homestay, where there are communal areas for you to lounge at. While at modern hotels, this might be places like the dining hall or the lobby, Ren I Tang's "lounge" areas are much quainter and carry more personality to it. Enjoy a smoke in the outdoor garden area, or curl up on the wooden platform (below) with a book and a cup of coffee.
The service at Ren I Tang is spectacular and beyond my expectations. We called in advance to ask about where we could park our car and we were very patiently led to a nearby multistorey carpark over the phone by their staff member. They also made sure to assure us that there would be a place to park our bicycles.
Once we got there, check in was smooth and since we wanted as much of a relaxing holiday as possible, we got a tub room to soak all our worries away!
Overall, Ren I Tang is a beautiful hotel that I would definitely recommend to anyone visiting Penang Island. Rates start from RM220 per night and you can visit their website at http://www.renitang.com/.