G Hotel has two different hotels in Penang. Is there any difference in style between the Gurney and Kelawai hotels?
G Hotel has added another five-star property, with the former G Hotel Gurney and newly opened G Hotel Kelawai as the urban oases in Penang that cater for discerning business and leisure travelers.
G Hotel Gurney comes with 312 rooms, emerging as an urban icon in the hustling and busy Gurney Drive of Penang. Adjacent to the shopper’s paradise – Gurney Plaza and Gurney Paragon – G Hotel Gurney has the highest foot traffic at its lobby. Friends and family that travel together usually prefer to stay in this hotel. They enjoy how open it is and the spacious rooms.
On the other hand, the 208-room G Hotel Kelawai is where iconic design and cutting-edge lifestyle set the stage for exclusive and extraordinary experiences. The hotel’s appeal is more based around its privacy and exclusivity in comparison with G Hotel Gurney. Guests can enjoy the most precious of modern-day luxuries – peace and quiet – even in the bustling city of Penang.
Both G Hotels are a business hotel in the city which suffuse modernity in terms of their bold and innovative approach and design. Visitors will find designer furniture everywhere, from the lobby to the function rooms and hotel rooms.
What are the drawbacks and the most exciting parts of the hotel industry?
We consider ourselves to be a vibrant hotel that is always responding to its guests’ demands and delivering the best hospitality services we can. However, for us, the drawback would be receiving daily comments from guests about dissatisfactory hotel services and facilities. The complaints are generally about slow internet or serving the coffee five minutes late, etc. We understand that our guests are about 70 percent corporate clients and businessmen; they are always on the go and slightly impatient. Nevertheless, we see the constant demands from our guests as a way to help us improve and provide top-notch hospitality instead. The hotel industry is constantly evolving. With the growth of millennial corporate travelers in recent years, we are learning to cope by providing express check-in and check-out, complimentary high speed Wifi and easy access to the 24-hour gym, as well as the latest technologies and sleek amenities to meet their needs. We always make sure that we give our guests a hospitality experience that’s second to none.
While all these challenges can be overcome by learning the traveler’s needs, the exciting part of the hotel industry is that you will get to meet new people from different walks of life every day. You never know who you’re going to meet next month, particularly in G Hotel where we have a good mix of guests ranging from holidaymakers, honeymooners and corporate clients even to royal families and international celebrities.
Design and lifestyle are very important elements of your hotels. Where did this passion originate from and how do these aesthetics make your hotels more successful?
The owner and designer (K2LD Architects) of the hotel are both well-heeled individuals who share a mutual passion for good design. From the outset, the hotel’s aim was to create a refreshing approach at G Hotel Gurney to complement its superb locale and make the entrance and lobby area distinctively different from other hotels. It has no ostentatious reception desk, but one that blends into the long bar. The furniture layout in the lobby is immediately inviting and draws you into the youthful energy of the lounge area. It is intended to make one feel at home.
Whose designs find their place in G Hotel?
The reception area of G Hotel Gurney has furniture pieces from Living Divani designed by Piero Lissoni, Shell Chair by Hans J. Wegner, Wrapp Chair from Viccarbe by Marc Krusin and Felt Chair from Cappelini by Marc Newson. At the G Lounge, the bar chairs are Spoon Stool from Kartell by Antonio Citterio. The standing lamps and table lamps are called ‘InOut’ from Metalarte Spain. The display shelf and the metal benches are from Thailand, designed by Paphop Wongpanich. Poolside furniture is from Dedon Italy, and the al fresco dining furniture at Taste Café is from Jati and Kebon, Belgium.
Is there a signature dish or drink that you can recommend from your hotel restaurants and bars?
We have a total of three F&B outlets in G Hotel Gurney. The hotel housing G Lounge has acoustic live band performances to accompany some of the must-try relaxing drinks in the evening, including the Chocolate Martini (Absolut vanilla vodka shaken with crème cacao brown and finished with a chocolate kiss) and Sri Pinang (a blend of soursop, Calamansi juice, Longan and topped up with ice-cream soda), to go with some delicious bar bites. Taste Café, the all-day dining in-house restaurant featuring Penang’s first ever lava stone from Indonesia for the BBQ grill and lavish spread of daily themed buffet, is set to fulfill guests’ gastronomic appetites. Meanwhile, Tree Bar is hotly tipped as Penang’s largest al fresco bar under the majestic 80-year-old ‘Albizia Saman’ rain tree, offering the lowest price of beer in town. The bar’s menu also includes wines, traditional cocktails and specialty cocktails that are personally curated by in-house mixologists, accompanied by yummy bites that will satisfy that hunger. Some of the bites include Juicy Chicken Schnitzel Strips, Mexican Beef Nachos, Garlic & Lime Marinated Baby Octopus and many others.
What’s the most bizarre request you’ve ever received from a guest?
We had one bizarre request by one of our top corporate companies that held a leadership training program in our function room. The event organizer requested our banquet team to set up the function room in theatre seating with different types of chairs ranging from heights and sizes, catering for 150 people. To prepare for the event, we lent them every chair we could find in the hotel, including the long couches from the hotel rooms, low stools, bar stools, banquet chairs, designer chairs from the lobby, one seater and two seaters sofas and some dining chairs from F&B outlets. The training required the participants to change from one chair to another every alternate hour with the purpose of building leaders that adapt to situation changes. It was challenging for us to accord to their request; however, we managed to pull this through with proper planning.
What can we expect from G Hotel in the future?
Business and leisure travelers can now expect a brand new G Hotel Gurney in 2016, from the ground to the highest floor of the building. Starting from the lobby, the flooring has been refurbished with a brighter wooden floor that evokes a sense of grandeur.
With an increasingly significant MICE sector, the hotel has extended five additional function rooms at Level 1, which are perfect for hosting private meetings or throwing a party. The Grand Ballroom has also been enhanced with new carpet, refined linens, a BOSE sound system, LED screen and mood lighting.
Moving up the floors: the 312 tastefully designed rooms have now been re-categorized. The hotel now features 179 units of Deluxe Rooms at 38 square meters, 74 units of Executive Rooms at 38 square meters, 22 units of L Suites at 67 square meters, eight units of XL Suites (two bedrooms) at 113 square meters, 23 units of Executive Suites at 78 square meters, four units of Duplexes at 88 square meters and two units of the highest category, G Suite at 187 square meters. All rooms are given a new dimension of style from the carpet to the wall, with the latest sleek amenities to cater for discerning work and leisure travelers.
The new rooms feature comfortable touches such as Serta World’s best mattresses, 300-thread count linens, Herman Miller designer work chairs and eco-friendly Appelles toiletries. Staying guests also get to enjoy 55-inch smart HD LED TVs and a free non-alcoholic minibar.
How has tourism evolved in Malaysia in the last decade?
In recent years, we have seen a soaring number of international and domestic travelers in Malaysia. The country has yielded an increasing demand of MICE sector and homestay programs. Malaysia also underwent some improvements to better reflect the global tourism landscape.
What cultural attraction is a must-see for Penang visitors?
Being in Penang, the must-see cultural attractions includes UNESCO World Heritage Sites the Sleeping Buddha Temple (Wat Chayamangkalaram), Kek Lok Si Temple, Little India, Penang Hill and Botanical Garden. Both hotels are located in the prime area of the city that is in close proximity to these attractions.
Tell us about the nightlife in Penang. Are there any particular spots or areas that you would recommend?
Penang has a happening nightlife scene with many bars and nightclubs, including our very own Tree Bar in G Hotel Gurney and Gravity in G Hotel Kelawai.
Tree Bar is a hangout spot under a tree for many in-house guests, nearby shoppers and travelers. The bar’s presentation is an interplay of innovation and tradition. The space offers comfortable bar-top seating and also conventional dining tables.
Gravity is the latest addition to Penang’s rooftop bars, featuring a stunning 360-degree view of the island and the iconic Penang Bridge. It offers specially curated signature cocktails, by in-house mixologists, such as Gravity Fizz, pomegranate mojito and JK Jam. Ladies’ night is on every Wednesday and Thursday – we welcome ladies with a free flow of drinks from 8pm–10pm.
Complemented by the best music to dance the night away, Tree Bar and Gravity are the best places to hang out.
What is the local cuisine like in Penang, and which local dish would you advise food lovers to try?
G Hotel Gurney and G Hotel Kelawai are located in a prominent location next to upscale shopping malls Gurney Plaza and Gurney Paragon – just about everything Penang has to offer is right at your doorstep for unimaginable convenience. Within mere minutes is also Gurney Drive, home to the congregation of roadside iron chefs, open for 24 hours for round-the-clock stomach stuffing. More than 200 F&B outlets within the hotel’s area offer a wide variety of local and international cuisine. Our recommended local dishes are Char Koay Teow, Laksa, Satay, Hokkien Mee, Nasi Kandar, Pasembur and Cendol.
G Hotel is one of the winners of The Culture Trip’s Florida Local Favorite 2015 Award. The Local Favorite badge is awarded to our favorite local towns, restaurants, artists, galleries, and everything in between. We are passionate about showcasing popular local talents on a global scale, so we have cultivated a carefully selected, but growing community.