Malaysia, Penang – Marina Bay Residences

Our home in Penang for six weeks was an apartment in the Marina Bay Residences complex located on Jalan Tanjung Tokong, Penang. This was booked through the Airbnb platform once again and as we stayed for a long period we managed to negotiate the nightly rate even further down than the 40% advertised discount for stays of a month or more. The complex had three towers containing approximately 150 apartments each. We had a three bedroom, two bathroom apartment located on the 6th floor on the Eastern side of the complex which afforded us views back towards Georgetown and onto the harbour from our small balcony which Paula and I made the most of when enjoying a drink on a Friday or Saturday night.

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One of the positives of living in an apartment is the facilities that they offer for all residents and in the case of Marina Bay this included two pools, a jacuzzi, gym, kids playground as well as a games and reading room amongst other facilities. Also around the pool area ran a water feature which the boys enjoyed exploring and looking for animals such as water monitors, fish, turtles, frogs, and lizards.

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One of the main reasons we booked this apartment was the location, as it was described as being only a short walk to the famous Gurney Drive Hawker Centre, where we ended up eating most nights and each of us having a favourite couple of “go to” stalls.

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Electricity was an extra cost for this apartment, which wasn’t ideal for our daily budgeting, however we managed to last the full six weeks without turning the air conditioning on once, (just using the ceiling fans and having windows and balcony doors open which had screens) this saved us a lot. According to the host, we were one of the cheapest guests he has had for power usage, which was only about $47 NZD for our six-week stay.

The one bugbear we had with this apartment and the host was that although it was listed as having satellite TV (Astro) and WiFi we were told on our second day that the satellite TV was an extra cost and the WiFi was limited and only for sending and receiving messages and emails. After numerous messages back and forth, and a few days with no WiFi, Paula managed to rectify this and had both working with no extra cost. However, to be told by the host that because we had a cheap nightly rate they would cost extra was very frustrating to say the least. To rub salt into the wounds, the host also tried to charge us for water usage upon check-out, despite making no mention of this prior; so always keep or archive all messages/emails/communications with hosts to ensure you have evidence to back you up, as they can be a bit “forgetful” about what they have and have not advised prior to booking. Needless to say, Paula flatly refused causing him to backdown, although telling us he has now put the price up of the apartment to cover these costs.

Despite the above problems we really enjoyed our stay at Marina Bay Residences, the location was brilliant and we also met many great people living at the apartments who came from various parts of the world, including the Netherlands, USA and even Australia and New Zealand. We would recommend staying here, however, if choosing this same apartment, just make sure you are getting exactly what is noted on the Airbnb listing with the host prior, making sure there are no hidden costs!

Distant to:

  • Gurney Drive Hawker Centre – 450m
  • Gurney Plaza – 700m
  • Gurney Paragon Shopping Mall – 900m
  • Tesco Supermarket – 2.2km

For anything a little further a field, we found it very easy (and cheap) to use Uber. They also have another similar option in Malaysia called Grab.

Price – $44.55 NZD per night (included a monthly discount, Airbnb service fees & electricity)