Since my last visit to Penang was way back in 2009, I decided it was high time I visit again, when a couple of seat sales came up last January. I remember telling myself that the next time I come back to Pulau Pinang, I’ll stay in Batu Ferringhi.
Thanks to the lovely people at Shangri-La, they made my plans come into fruitition. I reached out to my contacts, and was offered a two night’s stay at Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa at the start of my trip. It was the perfect timing, as the resort was a beautiful welcome to the island after a long night of traveling.
The Rasa Sayang Resort is the first Shangri-La property in Malaysia, and it’s also the first 5-star resort. Built in 1973, the resort was designed around the eight majestic rain trees that was already in the property.
Like other Shangri-La properties, the Rasa Sayang Resort incorporates the ethnic architectural style of the region. The resorts has the distinct minangkabau roof, and Malaysian arts and crafts are visible all around the resort, and in the rooms.
The Rasa Wing and the Garden Wing
The resort has two wings: the Rasa Wing and the Garden Wing. While the two wings are interconnected, make sure to tell your driver which wing you’ll be staying at, so you can be dropped off at the correct lobby.
The Rasa Wing offers elegant and spacious accommodations for its guests. If you love soaking in the bath as much as I do, go for the Rasa Premier room, which has a private balcony with a soaking tub overlooking the garden or the pool.
The Rasa Wing can be likened to the Horizon Club — guests have an exclusive lounge where they can have afternoon tea and cocktails, and have breakfast at the Ferringhi Grill, away from the crowds. The wing also have an exclusive pool for guests staying at the Rasa Wing, and it is for ages 16 and up only.
The Garden Wing is also quite elegant, but it is more fitting for families with kids in tow. It was recently renovated, and all rooms are now equipped with energy saving features.
We we billeted in a Garden Wing Deluxe Seaview Room, with a balcony that looks out to the Andaman Sea. The balcony is the perfect place to watch the sunset, or to hang out after taking a dip in the pool while you’re waiting for your friend to finish in the shower. Since swimming and watersports are the prime activities in Batu Ferringhi, each balcony is fitted with a retractable clothesline.
The room itself is spacious — more than enough space for two adults. The beds, as always, were very comfortable, and the pillows for each bed has both the very soft and fluffy variety and the soft-yet-firm kind.
One thing I really love about Shangri-La is the separate shower and bath tub. While I’m a very big fan of relaxing in hot water, I’m not too keen on showering while standing inside a tub. In Malaysia, it’s common to have see a hand spray bidet in the toilets. In the renovated Garden Wing Rooms, the bidet are now built into the toilet seat, similar to the Japanese kind, but without the extra functions. It’s something this this Filipino is happy to find in any toilet.
Instead of a desk, there is a small dining table. Since many of the resort’s guests are there on a holiday, this makes much better sense, as it’s easier for them to eat together or use their laptops at the same time. There’s also a universal socket right by the table, so no need to bring your adaptor (though there are a couple of type G plugs).
Aside from the welcome fruits, there were also some Spicy Treats waiting for us in the room. These chocolate treats were not spicy hot, but has hints of spice, probably as a tribute to Penang being known as the “Spice Island.” There were also local snacks delivered to the room daily, and put under the tujung saji in the room.
This may seem really silly, but what made me really happy with our room are the glass bottles of water. More than just the size of the bottles (because they’re 1 liter, instead of the usual 500ml or less), I’m happy that Shangri-La has opted for this green alternative. The bottles are sealed with the date it was bottled, so you’d know that the bottle you’re getting is fresh, and they are replenished daily. Since we both have our own water bottles, we just refilled them whenever we are headed out of the room.
Still to come: What to eat and do at Rasa Sayang Resort
Much love and gratitude goes to Bonnie Ang of Shangri-La, and Suleiman Tunku Abdul Rahman and Fiona Lee of Rasa Sayang Resort.