26 Nov 2007
Desa Pelangi, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia
A$40/£17 night
5°25'10.05"N 100°19'11.42"E
3 Bedrooms
Full Kitchen


We saw a classified ad for these apartments, and it seemed cheap enough to warrant checking it out. It was a special promotional deal - being school holidays I imagine they'd be even cheaper out of season.

To say we were amazed is an understatement. Desa Pelangi is a low density 11 story block of 66 (40-odd were privately owned or rented) 3 bedroom apartments, about 1200 square feet - about 110 square meters or about 12½ squares in Australia, not overly large for 3 bedrooms, but with more than enough room and very clean. We opted for the Superior apartments which worked out at A$40/£17 a night over 2 nights (the minimum stay for this promotional price) There were also standard apartments - identical layout but more basic, with nothing in the kitchen but a fridge and kettle and no satellite tv for A$33/£14 per night and deluxe apartments, same as superior but nicer for A$46/20 night. As the superior apartment was fully booked for the Saturday (Penang is a popular weekend retreat for Malaysians) we were there, we had to move into the better deluxe unit for one night.

The furnishings in the superior apartment were great - modern and comfortable. The master bedroom was huge with an en-suite including a bathtub, one other fair sized and one smaller bedroom, all with built in wardrobes and plenty of drawers. There is also a real full sized kitchen (most full kitchens in Malaysia are a bit on the small size with limited cabinets and bench space), and had all the appliances and utensils you could ask for, including a full size fridge/freezer and cutlery and crockery for 5 people (the maximum occupancy as the small bedroom only had a single bed). There was a huge balcony along the width of the lounge and second bedroom, a narrow one in the main bedroom and another about 3 meters by 3 meters off the kitchen which was the equivalent of a laundry room with an automatic the washing machine and various brushes, mops and buckets. The bed was very comfortable as were the pillows. All rooms had air conditioners and the lounge also had a ceiling fan. Not that they were necessary - being on the seventh floor meant mozzies and flies weren't a problem, and opening all doors and windows allowed a really good cool breeze to go through the apartment. Helpful in this was a lockable security door which meant we were literally open all hours.


The satellite TV was beyond expectations too - usually you only get a couple of channels, but here we had everything except the premium Chinese channels, Disney and pay per view. Free wireless internet was available in the office on the 3rd floor, but there were plenty of signals floating around. It never ceases to amaze me how many people - especially commercial entities - are too lazy to take the simple step of putting a password on their network.

There was an OK gym - no free weights or air conditioning, but good (little used) equipment and a nice pool, surrounded by shaded areas with tables and chairs, although few people seemed to use this.

The Deluxe apartment, which we only spent one night in, was very good. Being on the same floor as the office it meant we could access the wireless internet. The furnishings were just as comfortable the only real differences being net curtains at the windows and a breakfast bar instead of a dining table. The kitchen had been renovated - looked beautiful with loads of cabinets and a massive fridge-freezer. The bedrooms also had a lot more storage space, although you'd need to be carrying several large trunks to fill them all.

Being on a lower floor meant the mozzies got in if we left the windows open, and the breeze wasn't cool - presumably because we were closer to the concrete on the ground. The kitchen balcony was more closed in, facing walls on three sides with no gap to let the breeze through, and very hot as that is the spot where everyone puts their air conditioner units. We both preferred the cheaper apartment and were glad to move back.

The location for us was really good. On the edge of the Central Business District, where there is a lot of greenery and mature trees, there was some lovely peace and quiet. Desa Pelangi is a 5-10 minute walk to a large supermarket and small shopping mall and about 20-25 minutes walk to Komtar, where there is a large shopping mall and the bus station. From Komtar you can get the Georgetown free shuttle bus which takes in all the tourist sites and shopping malls, although probably another 15 minute walk would get you to the end of route and you see a lot more on foot.

Countless Hawker food stalls and Hawker centres (food courts of a sort) lined the road from the apartment to Komtar - the only problem was deciding where to eat. Being in a residential rather than tourist area, the prices were as they should be and the quality superb as the Hawkers want their almost exclusively local customers to keep on coming back for more.

The staff at Desa Pelangi were great, especially Yusnita - really friendly and helpful on where was best to eat.

We will doubtless return to Penang - our chosen air hub between England and Australia is Singapore and as we are avoiding planes as much as possible, Penang is a nice stop on the road journey to Thailand and beyond. We will, without the slightest hesitation, come back here.