We stayed at this property in December 2013 and January 2014.
* The apartment is situated in a complex of high-rise buildings, 500 meters behind the main road, which guarantees quiet surroundings.
* There is a nice beach on a 5 minute walk. On the beach itself, the «Miami Café» is a delicious place to linger, looking at the sea, the seals playing in the water, the eagles fishing, drink a iced coffee or a sundowner, and enjoying the good cuisine of Mary and the friendship of Rajah (the owners). Best of all, it’s incredibly cheap.
* There is parking space in the complex and a bus stop to Batu Ferringhi and Georgetown on the main road.
* The swimming pool area is top class, and the fitness room impressive.
* The complex itself, although dated, is relatively well maintained, the staff (especially Arjun) is very kind and helpful.
* The owners of the apartment are very responsive, answering each of our questions by mail within minutes.
* The architecture of the complex is incredibly mediocre. Priority is absolutely given to cars (a Malaysian obsession indeed), obliging pedestrians to reach the lobby of their place by walking through a maze of grey inhospitable parking lots. Even the lobby is included in the parking structure, so people are able to step from the car into their place! To reach the pool, you have to take the elevator down to the parking lot, walk one level down between parked cars, and take another elevator back up again. It’s complicated, absolutely depressing as surrounding, and it witnesses a vision of urbanism which remembers altogether the 60’s and the good old Soviet-Union days.
* When it is true that the pictures of the apartment are similar as those advertised, we were however disappointed by the general condition of the apartment: one portion of the couch cover was teared off by the sewing edge, the ceiling of the bathroom was in bad shape, the paint of our sleeping room was falling off the walls, we had to totally clean up the dirty wardrobe before we could range our clothes, there was an inch of dust on the top of the fridge, and an inch of grease and dust on the hob, etc. Definitively not clean and not well maintained. The quick reaction of our landlord was to offer an extra complimentary cleaning session. While very much appreciated, it would be better to take care of these things without to wait for a complaint. Moreover, when we saw how the maid has to do the job, we understood why we had allergy problems: as there is no vacuum cleaner involved, we can easily imagine the amount of dust already absorbed by the couch, even when it was explained to us that couch covers are sent to dry cleaning every 2 months. We are used at home to vacuum everything at least 2 times a week...
* The apartment is situated on the 1st level of the building. There is no real view: you see partially the pool area, and the inevitable parking structure.
* There is no hot water provided at the kitchen sink, so you have to wash the dishes by boiling water in advance. The cooker hood is also a curiosity, as it is not plugged to the outside, it is an inside filter type, but we experienced that the "filtering" mainly occurs through a "textile ornament", of which the condition is a disaster after all these years of odd work.
* The connection with internet is definitively complicated, unreliable, not up to date and insufficient. We were provided with 2 devices of which we weren’t aware those still exist. The landlord was explaining to us that there is no good internet connection available in this area. Well, even the previously mentioned café at the beach (not more than a shack really) has fast, free and unlimited wifi (as most public places on the island). Luckily, there is some backup by the connection at the poolside, which is unlimited and free.
What you have to make out for yourself: the location.
The location is, as we said, quiet and convenient if you are looking for a relaxing pool and beach holiday. Be aware though that for food and catering, there is only a very small convenience store in the complex with extremely reduced offering, and the Miami Café at the beach, which has only more of less (excellent) 10 items on the menu. There is also the restaurant of the neighboring Hydro hotel, but this is really an overpriced and inhospitable tourist trap, where you miss out on all the magnificent local food of Penang.
You will find lots of restaurants, hawkers, beach activities and shops at Batu Ferringhi, which is a 5 minutes drive. There is a huge Tesco hypermarket at 20 minutes drive, where you will find absolutely everything. There are 2 giant western-style shopping centers at 30 minutes at Gurney. And the centrum of the city of Georgetown is at 45 minutes.
All of these places, and all the tourist attractions, can be visited by bus. The bus system covers very well the island, is very cheap and reliable, but you sometimes have to wait a long time, and the buses generally get very crowded at times. A car is more flexible of course, but traffic can be very dense, and parking in Georgetown is a struggle. We took the bus all the time, but of course, due to our long stay, we were not particularly hurried.
The overall balance is strongly negative. You have to pay high (European) prices, but you receive cheap service. The maintenance and the cleanness of the apartment were a real disaster. The pool and the quiet surroundings are a real plus of the package, but this cannot balance the general mediocrity of the offering.