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Wedding at the Eastern & Oriental Hotel, Penang

In a Nutshell
British colonial historical value, old school grandeur, by the beach.

Review
I had been wanting to go to the Eastern & Oriental Hotel in Penang for a while. The colonial design and architecture of the building made an excellent, romantic backdrop for pre-wedding photo shoots and wedding day photography. Plus, I’ve made a booking for their famous English afternoon tea that I was looking forward to.

The E&O Hotel, Penang was established in 1885 and is 127 years of age, making it the oldest hotel in Penang. It started out as two separate hotels – the Eastern Hotel and the Oriental, catering to the likes of merchants, writers, actors, playwrights and other affluent travellers. At its peak in 1927, the hotel was announced in advertisements as “The Premier Hotel East of the Suez”, with more than 100 rooms and a 842-foot seafront. It has hosted colonial administrators, planters, famous personalities and those in elite circles, including Noel Coward, Douglas Fairbanks, Rudyard Kipling, Somerset Maugham and Herman Hesse as its guests. Today, the hotel is fully owned and managed by the Eastern & Oriental Berhad Group and had its latest major refurbishment in 2001. It is a 5-star establishment with British colonial architecture, Moorish minarets and a generous seafront. Each of its 100 suites comes with a 24-hour butler service to cater to you.

As a city mouse, I had imagined the E&O Hotel in Penang to be much bigger and grander, although I have since come to the realisation that this a good hotel size for the Island of Penang. The car park capacity appeared limited to me but I have been told that it can hold up to [200] vehicles. After driving up the spiralling entrance ramps and parking successfully, I walked to the newly refurbished car park lifts to find out that they were not working. So I walked down two flights of stairs to find the hotel lobby. On the way to the reception I had an interesting incident, which you can read more about in our blog.

I found the lobby to be spacious, with a round wooden table and complementary flower arrangement placed in the center. This must be a Colonial decoration because I saw the same type of display when considering a Wedding at 32 Mansion. Somehow I felt the table to be disproportionately small for the size of the lobby hall (maybe it’s just me), but the rest of the hotel was full of charm and very well preserved. There were sections with old leather chairs and photos of the hotel’s founders (the Sarkies brothers) being hung on walls in frames. The porter / security guard dressed in Colonial safari uniform was also a nice touch to keep with the theme.

Mr. Singh (Events Manager) and I sat down at Sarkies Corner, a colonial coffee shop with retro flooring. We got to talking about wedding packages and he brought me to have a look at the grand ballroom. When we were near the entrance, I was immediately attracted to the glass doors opposite which opens up to a garden…and the sea. No award-winning views here (it being the Penang sea, after all) but it was equally breathtaking to see greens and feel the breeze. This is where evening cocktail receptions are held before guests walk into the grand ballroom for dinner. I could easily imagine family and friends holding their drinks and catching up with each other in the sea breeze. You can also have a romantic sunset reception or exchange of vows in this area.

As I walked into the two storey grand ballroom, a conference was being set up with stationery placed on the long tables. This reminded me very much of exam halls in my university in England. The chandeliers were large and glamourous. I was taken upstairs to look at the royal boxes and gallery. The floorboards creaked as I walked. When I looked down at the lower floor and the ballroom stage, I can almost hear the audience clap in my imagination of theatrical performances or musical recitals that were once hosted here. The upstairs area can seat a few tables, but I am told that this option is rarely taken up by wedding couples.

Overall, the E&O Hotel, Penang feels authentically old, but grand and charming. Pick this for your wedding if you like the old-school feel and a building with history.

Other photos of E&O Hotel Penang:

The ballroom in its full glory

A Wedding at E&O Hotel

Banquet wedding dinner at the grand ballroom

View of the outdoor cocktail area outside the Grand Ballroom

Colonial pillars that make great photo opportunities

The hotel hallway

Other Details:
Venue Type and Capacity
(i) Grand Ballroom – min. 300 to max. 600 persons
(ii) Arshak Suite – min. 80 to max. 120 persons

The garden area can only be hired in the evening and can seat up to [100] persons.

Cuisine and Price
(i) Chinese Set Menu Packages (Table of 10)
E&O Classical RM988++
E&O Elegance RM1,188++
E&O Imperial RM1,488++

*Do contact the wedding department at E&O Hotel for the latest prices*

(ii) Malay Hidang Style Menu – RM888++ for table of 10.

(iii) International Buffet Menu – RM98++ per person. Up to a maximum of 500 persons.

(iv) Western Set Menu – RM138++ per person. 4 course meal.

Cocktail Reception
From 6pm to 7.30pm at the garden outside the grand ballroom. Beers costs approximately RM980++ per barrel (Tiger Beer) and wine costs approximately RM108++ per bottle.

Corkage
Approximately RM900++ unlimited package.

Audio System and Projector
Are quiet old. It’s probably a good idea to rent a sound and projector system.

Ballroom Hours
From 7.30pm to 11.00pm. Extensions costs RM800++ per hour but loud music can only be played up to 11.30pm.

Famous People Who Got Married Here?
Rafidah Aziz, former Minister of International Trade and Industry

After Party Venues
The E&O Hotel is located right opposite Upper Penang Road, which hosts a street of bars, including Mois (touted as the Zouk equivalent, for KL-lites) and the frequently suggested Slippery Senorita.

Contact the E&O Hotel

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Contact Details
Eastern & Oriental Hotel, Penang
10 Lebuh Farquhar, 10200, Penang, Malaysia
Tel: +604 – 222 2000 Fax: +604 – 261 6333

You can also find a map to the E&O Hotel in our wedding directory by clicking here: E&O Hotel Penang Contact

Alternatives
If you like heritage venues like this, you may also wish to consider having a wedding at Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion or a wedding at 32 Mansion, Penang.

Appreciation
Jesvinder Singh, Events Manager, Eastern & Oriental Hotel
Milan Teh, leading Penang photographer
Wen Zhao, Seasonsed Traveller, Intrepid Explorer, Diving Addict and Swimmer of Open Waters

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