Noordin Street House
Tel: 604-262 7173 Fax: 604-2627172
Email: [email protected]
Penang is a beautiful town with rich history and culture. Awareness to preserve the heritage of Penang started to spread, resulting in continuous efforts done by the people to restore dilapidated buildings into glorious new buildings.
Noordin Street House is a story as such. Situated in Lebuh Noordin, the street was famous for steel and hardware works back in the 1960’s. The two corner shop lots were 120 years old, being once owned by rich Chinese families who left it behind. The abandoned houses soon faded away into the age of globalization. Thankfully, restoration work under Mr. John Teoh began in the late 2000’s when he acquired these old shop houses. In October of 2013, Noordin Street House opened officially, welcoming visitors locally and internationally.
Lebuh Noordin is the name of the street. Locals would know the name as ‘Jee Teow lor’ , ‘Noordin’ or even ‘Jalan Dua’.
Noordin Street House is a combination of two huge colonial houses. Consisting of a café, swimming pool, reading room and a comfortable resting area, this boutique hotel is definitely a must go if you are in Penang.
You will notice upon arrival a sign welcoming the guests who stumbles upon the humble shop. Some comfortable chairs are prepared for an outdoor laze. A high table with a few high chairs are available as well, giving some comfort for those who fancy a drink. The walls are painted, one side being a scenic waterfall while another is a classic wood finish. There are two entrances, the one on the left leading to the main office table while the right side door leads to the café.
Upon entering, you can notice a separation of compartments. The lounge was on the left, where there was a bar and beautiful retro setting laid before you. The café was on the right side, a room with more tables and chairs for the visitors and customers alike. There was a staircase in the middle, leading to the rooms and rooftop garden.
I am greeted warmly by the staff, Mr. Lorenzo. As he gets me my room key and confirms my reservation, he gives a pleasant personality. This is a rather happy moment as a friendly staff gives much assurance and welcome. He also introduces to me the popular spots and locations, a great and important tip for any visitor coming to Penang. Such assistance and hospitality is lacking in today’s hotel management.
Indeed, it was as if I was a guest and he is informing me of the many wonderful surprises installed. He leads me to my room, slowly explaining the many rooms, facilities and available services at my disposal. So much awaits me and I have not even reached my room yet! What a marvelous place this was.
This boutique hotel has only 8 rooms, although small and few, the experience is worth it.
My room was Satin, a small room right beside the swimming pool. The sound from the swimming pool doesn’t affect the room tranquility, ensuring one does get that quality relaxation. It was a comfy and cozy air conditioned room just nice for two. Upon entering, you get this lovely vintage Peranakan style which echoes through the room. The wooden floor and retro like settings gives you a peaceful feeling. Combined with the ultra-dim lighting, one could hibernate for weeks in that room without any disturbance!
Besides that, it has the proper facilities and items necessary for a home. A king sized bed, a couch, a small table, a small bench, a mini fridge, a television are at your disposal. A menu with food listing and important numbers is prepared neatly on the table with complimentary bottle from the hotel. The bathroom is relatively large, being equipped with a heater and an array of toiletries.
For me, the downside to this room was the dim lighting. It makes the room rather dark and sometimes I had to strain my eyes to even read the menu on the table. Nevertheless, I could not find much faults with this ideal room. For those who wants WiFi connectivity, the hotel does provide WiFi and yes it is fast.
Outside my room was a mini swimming pool. Now this mini pool was 4 ½ meters deep. Just nice for a couple of people to just kick back, relax and laze in water. To me, it feels satisfying when you get your own mini pool. The cool evening breeze is felt and you have privacy there (unless the other guests come in but there’s room for everybody). You can order drinks and even read a book for some R&R. The surrounding is filled with potted green plans, livening up the place for those who come by. The pool is partially sheltered, so you will have no worries when there is rain.
Now, the swimming pool area has this staircase that leads up to the roof garden. The roof garden is one of the areas you must visit when you are in Noordin Street House. For me, it was definitely a good moment as I am able to see a wonderful view of the neighbourhood. We must first remember that this is Penang and Noordin Street House is a combined shop lots in a suburban area. When you are on the roof garden, you get to see vintage houses in the vicinity, giving you a spectacular view of history. Although you can see a huge 1st Avenue shopping mall in the background as well, one has this sense of satisfaction when viewing the outside world.
Due to the distance between the Street House and the busy city, one can escape the hustle and bustle of the city life. It might be a the ideal getaway place for those who do not like city atmospheres such as smoky vehicles and noise pollution but also want to be near the city for the convenience.
The rooftop garden is also a wonderful place for travelers to get some relaxation as well. The garden has this mini green patch and dozens of potted plants surrounding the premises. It gives one that tranquil feel as you will notice the neat and clean environment complements the scenic background. Fresh air and fresh greenery will give you that dose of clean energy for your body and spirit.
As you travel along the corridors, you will notice the historical photos of Penang in its yesteryears. The images of Old Penang will leave you in awe and wonder of what life was previously back in the early 19th and 20th century.
Noordin Street House management has placed importance on the customer’s desires to relax and rest. Many chairs and unique settings are prepared for visitors and guests to just relax and enjoy. In addition to the rooftop garden and mini swimming pool, travelers will have an option to just lounge around in the reading room.
The reading room is a large area that has a unique Chinese settings. As one can glimpse around, the furniture are those old retro Chinese antiques. Combined with the dim lighting, this gives you a relaxing vibe as the place is specifically for you to roam freely. There is a whole cupboard filled with books for those who just want to indulge in some reading. Many novels are available, including brochures and information booklets on Penang. Even a laptop is provided there for those who wish to use it. One can spend their leisure time snoozing and chilling around this room if they want some quiet time alone.
There is a staircase which leads down to the lounge and the front entrance of the boutique hotel. The lounge is the face for the entire Noordin Street House. While inside, you can feel the rush of relaxation and tranquility with the 1960’s retro settings. When you look around this place, you will notice that many items are antiquities from the early 1960’s and 1970’s.
The fusion of Peranakan design and Western 1970’s design feels like a time leap back into that era. Montages of great artists up on the wall, the usual gramophone and old discs the size of plates are proudly displayed on the wall.
You can feel the historic vibe the café has, creating such a classic taste in it. There is a bar in the lounge, ready to accept any coffee order you wish. There is also a flat screen TV hung on the front side of the café, giving a good view for all customers there.
Some board games are prepared for those who wants to have fun with friends and family. Even books and magazines are available. I like how this boutique hotel stretches and defines the term relaxation as they have prepared many items and services to fulfill your every need.
Another notable thing to mention about Noordin is that the music played is so smooth and relaxing. Usually, they play a variety of music ranging from jazz to latest club remixes and even famous Youtube covers. They update themselves with the latest to ensure customer sustainability.
The decoration overall is impressive. The management was meticulous in bringing out that unique identity local Malaysians can relate to during the yesteryears. All in all, this boutique hotel made a lasting impression.
A good boutique hotel stay is not complete if one has not tried the menu. Noordin Street House has a famous little café. They serve a variety of dishes from coffee, cakes, western dishes and even local cuisine. The main chef, Mr. Asri is a friendly young man who takes passion into his cooking.
Occasionally when the days are slow, the local Penangnite will come out and have chats among the customers and staff. Now, the café here is Halal. No Muslim travelers or customers should shy away from this opportunity to try out some great coffee and desserts. Despite serving wine and alcoholic beverages, the baristas and chefs here are well trained. They have strictly applied the rules set out to ensure no breach of quality and no contamination.
We have covered more details of Noor & Dean’s Cafe here.
I managed to have a short interview with the caretaker and main manager of the place, Miss Chona. Being a foreigner, she came to Malaysia to work in the F&B Industry for almost 20 years.
She gave a detailed explanation of the history of Noordin Street House, telling me the rich history this house has. Stories of how it used to be owned by gangsters to family squabbles finally led this once beautiful house to become dilapidated. Working together with Mr. John Teoh, she has restored this place to become a magnificent hotel.
When asked on the most memorable event that occurred, Miss Chona recalled back the Georgetown Festival where Noordin Street House was chosen by the Eurasian people of Penang to show off their pride and identity. The Eurasian Fiesta made a lasting impression, having to attract many far and wide to join in the celebration. Cooking classes, performances and special events have created many memories. The crowds were able to feel the connection between the hotel, Eurasians and the staff. A picture montage of the Eurasian history was proudly displayed on the wall, a sign of respect for those who came to the Street House.
Noordin Street House rose to be one of those famous boutique hotels in Penang. Miss Chona proudly described this as a blessing as she and her team have been working hard to strive for the best. She said that the team prioritises the comfort of all the guests and travelers, ensuring that they receive the absolute best. “We had to discuss everything down to the minute detail. Everything here is done to ensure customers feel at home and could experience comfort. We want to create sweet and beautiful memories for them, not bitter and ugly regrets. That is why I am so particular about this.
For example, the orange and yellow lighting here was purposely dimmed to invoke that relaxation feel.” Miss Chona explained. She also mentioned that to achieve guest satisfaction, one must know the guests well. “I am close to my customers. Usually when they go out for sightseeing early in the morning, they spend hours and will come back tired. Noticing this pattern, we have taken the opportunity and created a system to properly receive them. In the mornings, we provide free breakfast and in the evenings, we provide them with free tea. This way, they can always fill refresh and ready for the next adventure.”
This led me to another question on how is this place able to sustain with such strict competition and how they are able to sustain. “We do not really care about our ratings here. Even bookings.com had to send an email informing us about our excellence! What we care here is the way we treat our guests. Many are international guests and they want to feel at home. We prioritise comfort first and maintain strict cleanliness. We have made this boutique hotel in such a way that everyone here is a winner. If we ourselves take care of the customer, there would be no problem. They will come back and be regulars even. As long as we do our utmost best, I am certain they will love it here. The continuous networking among guests and friends helped boost the hotel’s popularity and we have no worry at all. Because if its good, you will always come back here.”
Asking her on how she and the staffs are able to handle the stressful benchmark of excellence, she proudly smiled and said, “Although most of the staffs here are foreigners, we have maintained quality service because we all have passion. We all here really want to make a difference and enable our people here to feel welcomed. I make sure my staff is always ready and prepared to do the best they can. They are always learning and enjoying what they do. Many of them are foreigners and are away from home. So I make them feel like family, ensuring that we pull through together at the end of the day.”
Holding true to the name of Noordin, Miss Chona has done a remarkable job and lived up to the principles of Noordin Street House!