BY CK Lam
It is unusual to find two brand new hotels under the same management standing back to back; however The Wembley Penang on Magazine Road and Cititel Express Penang on Noordin Street stands grandly together in the heart of Georgetown.
The hotels under Cititel Hotel Management (CHM) was unveiled in April 2015. Both hotels surrounded by colonial shop houses are distance to many Unesco Heritage sites and popular street arts.
The 4 star Wembley Penang brings luxury while the 3 star Cititel Express Penang opens its door for both leisure and business travellers.
Whether you are staying in the luxury Executive Suite in The Wembley Penang, or in one of the modest guestroom in Cititel Express Penang, you will no doubt feel the accessibility to friendly service, comfortable guestrooms and convenient modern facilities.
Our afternoon visit started at The Wembley Penang, with a tour of the hotel facilities, followed by a buffet lunch in the 24-hour Wembley Cafe on Level 2.
The dining space offers theme lunch and dinner buffets featuring selection of Asian and Western cuisine and local favorites. Many have tried the buffets during its launching and the respond was overwhelming and also with couple of minor issues such as slow replenishment of food. With guests feedback and suggestions, the hotel has since worked and improved in the area highlighted.
Patrons can enjoy Spices and Herbs Penang on the first day of the week, Mediterranean on Tuesday, Tantalising Thai on Wednesday and followed by Japanese and International Inspired on Thursday. Friday is dedicated to Italian while Saturday is Wembley Seafood. With Oriental weekend on Sunday, the high tea we had from 12pm to 3.30pm is priced at RM68nett for adult, RM34nett for children and RM48nett for senior citizen.
As with the festive season around, Wembley Cafe also has the Candylicious Christmas Buffet, and is available for lunch and dinner.
The buffet offers variety such as the fresh sashimi spread, sushi rolls, and cold noodles, besides antipasto – smoked duck, marinated baby octopus, beef pepperoni, chicken pepperoni and marinated jelly fish. There is also an array of local snacks such as pasembur and rojak.
Variety of antipasto
Japanese corner with sushi rolls and cold noodles
The cold seafood section comes with large prawns, crabs and mussels. The seafood are truly fresh and it brought us back to the counter filling our plates with another round despite having one full plate.
Next it is onto the array of hot cooked dishes. The best dish to start with is the lamb meatball. I was intrigued by its nicely ground texture and delicious gravy.
Choose from many types of cakes, and among them, the blueberry cheesecake will vie for attention. Nothing goes better with the creamy cheesecake than a cup of coffee. The coffee is better than some hotel cafe outlets in terms of taste.
After the lunch break, we continued to tour the hotel’s function space. Located on Level 9 and 10 are many multi-function rooms which are ideal for events, meetings, and seminars.
The Wembley Grand Ballroom, one of the largest pillar-less ballroom in Penang, with seating capacity of 1,200 persons is a choice to hold a large wedding banquet.
Staffs getting the ballroom ready for the banquet dinner
We moved up to the 30th floor, where the Executive Lounge, DSRT Sky Room and Helipad is located. It will come as a surprise to many, that The Wembley Penang is the only hotel in the Northern region with a helipad.
The Executive Lounge with view overlooking the harbor and Penang bridge, offers complimentary service for those who stay on the Executive Floors. The benefits include breakfast and evening cocktails.
There are 415 sea-facing and heritage-view guestrooms, inclusive of Superior, Deluxe, Executive Deluxe and Executive Suite.
If you enjoy the utmost convenience, gorgeous custom furnishings, and comfort throughout your stay at The Wembley, your choice would be either the Executive Deluxe or the Executive Suite. Exquisitely designed with batik-style motif and complemented with luxurious amenities, the rooms are fitted with king size bed, long bath tub and cosy living room area.
We took a tour to the hotel facilities on level 11, where the salt-water infinity pool and the well-equipped gymnasium is located. One could spend an afternoon swimming and lounging on the side of the pool while taking in the beauty of the Komtar building located right across.
To get to the adjoining Cititel Express Penang, we passed through the shopping arcade at the lobby level. The arcade housed a Japanese restaurant Enoshima – the breakfast dining area for the guests of this hotel. Besides, there are several up-coming eateries and retail shops, expected to be open in Q1, 2016.
The hotel consist of 234 guestrooms, with Standard, Superior and Family Room. The rooms each with its own panoramic city view, tend to be small and basic.
Rooms at The Wembley Penang starts from RM265nett onwards (exclude council fee of RM3) and Cititel Express Penang from RM146nett onwards (excluding council fee of RM2). For more info, click on their website.
The Wembley Penang
183 Jalan Magazine
10300 Pulau Pinang
Cititel Express Penang
123 Lebuh Noordin
10300 Pulau Pinang
* Many thanks to The Wembley Penang for extending this invitation.