I recently revisited Penang with my girlfriends to watch the International Dance Competition. Prior to going we had the usual big discussion about where to stay since Penang is known for its many gorgeous boutique hotels. This time we chose 23 LoveLane – good reviews, good location and a good price being the decisive factors.
Nestled in the heart of Penang’s historic George Town, this quaint heritage hotel stands as a testament to the rich tapestry of the island’s architecture and offers guests an enchanting journey through time. Originally a private residence, the buildings within its walls were constructed at different times, showcasing the evolution of architectural styles over the years and telling the story of Penang’s past.
Where it all started
The tale of 23 LoveLane began in 2007 when the present owner bought it over and undertook a 3-year restoration project to transform it into a charming boutique hotel. In 2011, the doors of 23 LoveLane opened to guests, welcoming them into a world where tradition and modernity coexist in perfect harmony.
Starting only with 10 rooms, 23 LoveLane is beautifully furnished and stylishly decorated with antiques, vintage furnishings and modern artwork. Over the years, 23 LoveLane expanded its offerings to include Muntri Suites, a charming 3-room pre-war shop house that seamlessly integrates with the original structure and Stewart House, a cozy duplex located just around the corner.
Rooms at 23 LoveLane
On our arrival we were dazzled by the visual feast of colours and distinctive decor. The rooms are all unique. Since there were 4 of us, we opted for the Indian Shop House, a duplex which echoes the spirit of India with bright colours and intricate patterns. Each floor has an en suite bathroom so there were no arguments about anyone hogging the bathroom for too long! Word of warning though, if you are a light sleeper this room is not for you since you can really hear the traffic on the street.
Other highlights in the hotel include the Chinese-Indian terrace where guests can enjoy evening cocktails and the garden. I also enjoyed the library which had a decent selection of books and games, and bursts of retro charm that transports guests to a bygone era, an ideal retreat for those seeking a quiet moment.
One thing I need to mention is that the hotel is starting to show its age and needs freshening up. Also bear in mind that there is no pool or gym so if these are musts on your list of requirements this place is not for you.
Roti canai anyone??
Breakfast is included in the price but is quite limited to toast bread, jam, cereal, tea and coffee. However we were told they can get us roti canai so they scored brownie points with that! There is also afternoon tea served in the lobby but sadly we didn’t have time to try that.
Last but not least there is the resident cat “Mike” who is quite a character and who will undoubtedly come across for some attention during your stay.
Beyond its fascinating architecture, 23 LoveLane is also strategically located in the heart of George Town, allowing guests to explore the vibrant streets, indulge in local cuisine, and immerse themselves in the cultural richness that defines Penang.
Whether you are a history enthusiast, an architecture lover, or a traveler seeking a unique experience, 23 LoveLane invites you to step into the past while enjoying the comforts of the present.
If you’re in Penang with the family, read our article here for things to do while you’re there!