Since one of my new year resolutions is to keep my blog alive, I shall start by writing about why Hard Rock Hotel Penang sucks and I wouldn't recommend anyone (sane) to go there.
First of all, the name of the hotel is just plain deceiving. I mean, “Hard Rock”, what would be the first thing that came to your mind? Rock music right? In order to make sure I am not sounding like I am persecuting the hotel unjustly, I searched for the definition of the phrase “hard rock”, which includes garage rock, punk rock, metal etc. with heavy use of electric guitars, bass and drums. (ie. not just any popular music). I myself would think of Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Def Leppard, GnR etc. Then I searched for the theme of this “Hard Rock Cafe” chain, and I realised that it is a “rock and roll” theme, which is different form “hard rock”, which means it is deceiving from the start, if you know some rock and are following my string of thoughts. Alright, lets settle for rock and roll then. Then I started looking for anything associated with this theme, which baffles me.
Yes, there is a lot of guitars around. A huge guitar outside, guitars on display and guitars printed on the cushion cover, on the pillow case, on the blanket etc. Yes, there are some used guitars and clothes by famous musicians on display, as well as portraits of the Beatles (on top of your bed) and Elvis (in your bathroom). But it is going to take much more than some decoration to convince people that this is a rock-themed place. Where is the spirit man? It just ain't there. And whoever that did those decoration had no idea about rock. At all. There was this display near the entrance with portraits of Elvis surrounded by busts of two Beatles on each side. One would have thought the Beatles to be Elvis's band-member if they didn't know better. What is the rationale of that display? I would wonder. Another thing that makes me feel so disappointed to see a huge statue of Michael Jackson sitting outside the hotel's main entrance. Don't get me wrong, I love that guy! But he is the King of Pop. He really got nothing to do with “hard rock” or “rock and roll”. And that is the only statue in the hotel! Its like going to a “Football Hotel” to see a huge statue of Michael Jordan out there. As much as I like MJ (pun intended), I don't see any business of him being there. In other words, if you are a rock fan, you probably don't want to go there. It is meant for people who feels “shyiok” taking photos with famous musicians' guitars or portraits. That's all.
Such a luxurious hotel, you would probably think that even if you are not a rock fan, you can enjoy a good stay in a good hotel right? Nope, it just ain't worth it. The hotel's location is at Batu Ferringhi, which is kind of far from town and it is surrounded by fancy restaurants. So if you are in Penang looking for good signature hawker food like most Malaysians, you are in the wrong area. They do have a clean beach thanks to their effort of cleaning it up, but the sand isn't particularly fine for one to go there on purpose just because of the beach. The beach faces North, which means one can neither see sunrise nor sunset from the beach, which is another minus point if you are there for the beach. They also have a local band which performs live 6 nights a week. Yes, the same band which doesn't sound good at all. Sigh. The television in the room lags like crazy, due to their usage of a very laggy software. There isn't a bathtub in the bathroom, which is another surprise if you think luxurious hotel should have one without doubt. I would give compliments to their showers though, which is really strong and powerful and relaxing, which reminds me of Tune Hotels. (This is really a compliment. Tune Hotels' showers are really good.)
The buffet breakfast in the morning was totally chaotic, and horrible. There was no one at the counter to check whether you were a guest at the hotel or you just sneaked in for free food. It was totally messed up, as people would just walk in and try to find seats in a over-crowded place. The venue was a open area and smoking was allowed. I could accept separate smoking and non-smoking zones, but the whole area being a smoking area? Dude, you must be kidding me. I thought this is Malaysia we are talking about here. The food wise, is even worse. The choices were few. They have a tray labelled “scrambled eggs” which turns out to be hard-boiled eggs with sambal. The pastry was dry, cold and hard. The fruit juices taste like they are made from concentrates. Their hash browns made me miss Mc'Donalds. You get my point.
All in all, this is a hotel which is well known because of the famous chain of various “Hard Rock Cafe” in the world, but comparing the price and the experience overall, it is just plain not worth it. In other words, if you are going there for the hotel experience, don't go there. If you are going there for the music experience, don't go there. If you are going there for the food experience, don't go there. If you are going there for the beach experience, don't go there. So far the only reasons that I can think of to persuade anyone to go there is that they are a huge fan of branded hotel chains, not a fan of music, don't believe my taste and has tons of money to waste. Well, maybe then you should to go Hard Rock Hotel Penang.