Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Fun Weekend At Hard Rock Hotel Penang

We review one of the most popular hotels in the region and see how it measures up as a weekend getaway destination for families with small children.

Hotel category: Luxury/5-Star
Will we go again: Yes!
Price per night: About RM900 per night including taxes and service charges for the Roxity Kids Suite

The review:
Just the mention of Hard Rock anything will get most people excited and thinking of fun, music, Rock ‘n’ Roll, glamour and just general coolness. Those are just some of the things that found us booking a stay at the Roxity Kids Suite at the Hard Rock Hotel in Penang recently (other factors include comfort, and kids, obviously!).

Also, it was late October or early November at the time (in 2016), we didn’t have any definite holiday plans for 2017 – we try to book everything in advance as early as possible to get the cheapest rates, and it’s almost impossible to get a room at the Hard Rock Hotel Penang if you didn’t book 6 months in advance (well, it sure felt like it, from the numerous times we have been trying to book in the past).

And, so, we found ourselves checking into the Roxity Kids Suite at Hard Rock Hotel Penang sometime in April 2017. This time is considered the low-season for travelling, but it sure didn’t seem that way when we were there – the main pool was so packed!

Here’s a view of the Roxity Kids Suite we were checked into, on the second floor:-

Since the Roxity Kids Suite has been designed to tailor to families with kids, there are a few extras we got to enjoy that are not necessarily available in other rooms such as the extra TV in the kids’ annexe room (and yes, a bit more privacy with the sliding door!), a Playstation 3, the trundle bed for two kids, and books and soft toys in the cubby holes above the bed.

Then, as we were unwinding after our drive from Kuala Lumpur and a sort-of-shopping session at Penang Design Village earlier, we received a call from reception. They asked if we wanted to switch to the Roxity Kids Suite on the ground floor, which includes a courtyard in the room. Apparently, the first room we were checked into is directly above the Hard Rock Café and the duty manager was concerned that it might get too noisy for us at night, especially as we also have a baby with us.

We checked out the new room, which was slightly smaller than the one on the first floor, but it had that courtyard with the playset for the kids and proper tables and chairs to have meals at, and a bath tub in the bathroom! That was the clincher for me – I need my restful soaks during holidays!

So we moved to the room on the ground floor, and it was awesome because we didn’t have to wait for the lift every time we wanted to go to the pool! This also gave us more motivation to get to the car to get anything we might have forgotten and accidentally left in it!

Speaking of the pool, it has changed A LOT since the last time we came here in 2012. It is definitely a lot more fun to play in/at now, with more slides than before. Enjoy the pics here:-

The Hard Rock Hotel Penang main pool's deck is covered with sand, so it's like you're on the beach!

The pool bar - it's not often that a hotel's in-pool bar is actually open and serving drinks, right? LOL!

Image from the hotel's website because we were so busy having fun, we forgot to take photos like this!

The secluded side of the pool

Pool Cabana - first come, first served

This way to the beach!

Views of the  beach and the ocean

List of watersports available on the beach with pricing for each activity. Watersport activities are conducted by an external company and are not under Hard Rock Hotel themselves.

Breakfast at Starz Diner was as good as can be expected, with a large selection of brunch dishes.

We love ice cream for breakfast!

I love it when there are meat dishes and dim sum for breakfast!

We also made use of the pool table and games console at the Tabu Teens Club (although we also had the playstation 3 in the room as part of the Roxity Kids Suite amenities), and the kids had a good arts and crafts session at the Roxity Kids Club by the pool. By the way, it is totally possible to leave your kids under the care of the Roxity Kids Club staff for a few hours while you go about your business in Penang if you need to. Just order lunch for the kids from the kids menu and have it charged to your room, prepare their swimsuits, and the staff will take care of the kids according to the activities schedule, which also includes cooking classes, movie screenings and playtime at the pool.

We had planned to spend all 3 days 2 nights in Penang at the hotel the whole time (save for the trip to Penang Design Village, since we couldn’t check in yet until 3pm or 4pm anyway, and getting pasemboq at Gurney Drive, of course), but we thought we’d just snip down to Gurney Paragon Mall for some respite from being cooped up in the hotel and lunch at TGI Fridays. Bad move – we should have just enjoyed our time in the pool all day long, enjoy the beach in the evening and just have lunch at the Pizzeria, right next to the pool. It would have cost us just about the same, and we would have fully utilized the hotel’s facilities in line with what we paid for the room. We would definitely do this next time, and you should make sure not to make the same mistake we did!

Here’s a line-up of what’s available for guests to use in the room (direct list from Hard Rock Hotel Penang’s website):-

·      Sleep Like A Rock bedding with 300-thread count bed linen (personal note: one of the comfiest beds I have slept in!)
·      1 x 32-inch LCD TV
·      1 x 50-inch LED TV
·      Free in-room HD blockbuster movies on demand
·      Free wired and wireless Internet access
·      PlayStation 3 plus 2 controllers, and access to a range of PS3 games (need to get these, as well as novels for reading, from the Business Centre during their operating hours, though)
·      Selection of soft toys and kids books in room
·      Complimentary streaming music channels
·      DVD/CD player
·      BOSE sounds system
·      In-room safe
·      Kids-focused mini-bar range (we hid everything the first day we checked in! LOL!)
·      Coffee and tea-making facilities
·      Wardrobe area
·      Hasgermany rain showers
·      Rock Spa bathroom amenities
·      Bathrobes and bedroom slippers (in adult and kid sizes!)
·      Roxity branded kids bathrobes (no more fighting with the kids for the bathrobes!)
·      Iron and ironing board (this is the sign of a good hotel, for me)
·      Hairdryer
·      All-you-can-read digital newsstands with the most popular newspaper and magazines
·      IDD telephone
·      Kiblat directional signage

Kid-sized bathrobes FTW!

As mentioned, we stayed there for 3 days and 2 nights but it wasn’t enough (naturally!). Also, next time we go there, baby Aireen will be bigger, and hopefully we can spend a day at Escape, Penang’s adventure park. So we’ll need more than 2 nights there. If you were planning to stay at the Hard Rock Hotel Penang, hope this article helps you in deciding if it’s worth it or not (hint: it is! Hehehehe).


Travels With My Girls is a family that loves to travel and have fun staying at interesting hotels and checking out attractions and activities at the places they visit, both popular tourist spots and off-the-beaten path locations. Follow their travel and weekend adventures on Instagram to see where they're off to next!

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