The Edison Tugs at Your Heartstrings with Nostalgia

The Edison Penang Lebuh Leith Small Luxury Hotel

The Edison along Lebuh Leith is a paragon of hospitality that only gets better with every stay. From the theatricality of the decor to immaculate staff service, The Edison holds a special place in our books. 

Lebuh Leith is known as one of the earliest affluent parts of Penang as it was where wealthy Chinese tycoons dwelled even before the 1900s. Soon, this particular former residence of a magnate along the street quickly came to thrive as a hotel post-Second World War, before it went on to take another role during the Japanese Occupation in Penang. Due to its grandeur, the mansion was adopted as an administrative edifice during the Japanese Occupation in Penang; thankfully without compromising on the regal aesthetics innate to the structure since conception. Now known as The Edison, the building’s latest reincarnation came alive in mid-2016 and something tells us a luxury hotel is the best role The Edison has played yet.

The Edison Penang Lebuh Leith Small Luxury Hotel
Understated but never devoid of elegance, The Edison’s main entrance leads to the main lobby and the first floor of the two-storey building.

When you turn into Lebuh Leith, it is safe to say that it is almost impossible to miss an opulent white building with teal wooden windows on your left, with “The Edison” engraved on a gold plate to denote the premise. Immediately, we sighted a beautiful fountain right in front of the entrance which would make the perfect photo-op. We hit jackpot when we saw two vintage-looking bikes parked right in front of the foyer for another Insta-worthy click. According to the concierge, hotel guests were welcomed to borrow the bicycle for their tour around the neighborhood, and I immediately regretted all those opportunities I turned down to actually learn to cycle. Oh well, there’s one more reason to take up cycling now.

As we revelled in the pleasure of calling The Edison home for a few nights, here are the three things I observed that other hotels could learn from The Edison:

Stirring Emotions with Sentiments

I have stayed in many hotels around the region and overseas, and never have I come across one that serves local, old-school snacks that were very descriptive of our childhood in Malaysia. At The Edison, The Lounge is a communal area for work and play that can be accessed by all the hotel guests. What makes this lounge special, though, is the free-flow of snacks and beverages that are available all day for guests. If you are a 90’s kid, you would understand our joy of seeing fancy gem cookies in huge jars ready to be devoured. We were also told that The Edison makes it a point to only offer locally made goodies to support the local scene, so much so that even the artisanal bread and pastries are sourced from a local, homegrown maker.

The Edison Penang Lebuh Leith Small Luxury Hotel
The Lounge : Free-flow of local snacks, juices, coffee, and tea at your dispense.
The Edison Penang Lebuh Leith Small Luxury Hotel
Communal area for hotel guests to work and socialise with one another, and also meet other guests.
The Edison Penang Lebuh Leith Small Luxury Hotel
Complimentary breakfast for guests every morning, which is fairly simple but a scrumptious affair. They also offer egg-dishes for those who prefer their eggs scrambled, or poached.
The Edison Penang Lebuh Leith Small Luxury Hotel
Steamy cappuccino with a side of eggs and sausages. A perfect starter before a food trail ahead.

Also, who else thinks there’s nothing better than a nasi lemak bungkus? Even these are sourced from a home enterprise, which is a winner at breakfast time. Speaking of breakfast, The Edison is unique as they don’t have an in-house restaurant. When asked why, they made a valid point by saying eating-in whilst in the heart of Georgetown is almost unheard of. This shows the branding of The Edison is well thought through and really, it isn’t just all for the frills or thrills.

Subtle Schooling about Equality

The Edison Penang Lebuh Leith Small Luxury Hotel
The Pool: 25-meters long, salted chlorine pool which is an oasis on a hot day in Penang.

I observed this by accident, honestly. From the beginning of our stay until the day of checkout, we were serviced by a number of staff members and all of them were in the same uniform. We have also seen some of them taking their time off sitting with other hotel guests, engaged in conversations in the lounge, as well as the same staffs helping other guests checking in and giving room tours. Even upon introduction, they warm up to you by first name basis and this was truly a refreshing feeling.

The Edison Penang Lebuh Leith Small Luxury Hotel
The Cabana: Outdoor area which is also an extension of the lounge if you opt to have your breakfast and tea with the company of sunshine and fresh breeze.
The Edison Penang Lebuh Leith Small Luxury Hotel
The enthralling beauty of the open-air courtyard.

Refreshing because we live in a country where hierarchy dominates your daily life, from your home to workplace. The obsession with hierarchy is so common that one becomes numb to it over time. This subtle sense of equality we observed from our stay came to us in retrospect and we could not but call it “The Edison Effect” because some things are meant to be felt, not told. And trust us, this was fully an intuitive observation and we would like to believe just as that.

Serving Comforts of a Home

The Edison Penang Lebuh Leith Small Luxury Hotel
Absolute decor goal! There are two staircases which lead to the top floor and this is actually one of the original structures from the aforementioned residence.

The Edison hotel is the epitome of comfort as it is a luxury boutique hotel and also the first one in the Small Luxury Hotel membership chain with just under thirty-five rooms. The Edison banks on simplicity—despite being imaginatively decorated, it comes with no gimmicks, no themed restaurants, no cleverly named cocktails, nor artfully distressed furniture. Each room is tastefully decorated with modern touches of tiles and marbles.

The Edison Penang Lebuh Leith Small Luxury Hotel
All the soaps and lotions are of homegrown brands, and you can also buy them at the hotel if interested.
The Edison Penang Lebuh Leith Small Luxury Hotel
Amen to that.
The Edison Penang Lebuh Leith Small Luxury Hotel
Each room’s sizes and layouts are unique following the original layouts. Also, the decor are kept minimal with a twist of luxe.
The Edison Penang Lebuh Leith Small Luxury Hotel
Neutral tones to complement the muted colonial vibe.

The is also a library on the top floor of the hotel which is another gorgeous extension of the hotel. Like the rest of the hotel, guests are welcomed to have a quiet time here as it is decked out with plush sofas for lounging as well as high-rise ceilings which creates an airy ambiance in the room.

The Edison Penang Lebuh Leith Small Luxury Hotel
The Courtyard: Where one can eat, pray and love.
The Edison Penang Lebuh Leith Small Luxury Hotel
Every nook and corner of The Edison is picturesque and functional.

The Courtyard is the focal point of The Edison and it is the original feature of the mansion which dates back decades ago. This open-air space is also decked with outdoor furniture for you to have a lie in, especially during tea time with the free flow of wine and cheese, as well as scrumptious Peranakan Nyonya kuihs.

The Edison Penang Lebuh Leith Small Luxury Hotel
Teatime delectables: Peranakan kuihs, which are also from a local vendor.

In short, one would not feel intruded to lounge wherever one desires whether if it is in the lounge, courtyard or even the poolside because The Edison excels at creating such an environment that makes this hotel feel like home and presses on faultless hospitality to match it.

The Edison Penang Lebuh Leith Small Luxury Hotel
Authentic features which make a sound impact on the tranquility of the hotel.

The Edison Penang would remain as one of my favorite hotel memories and this weighs heavily to myself as a Penangite. Often times, we take what we are used to for granted—however, it does take little experiences like a staycation to bring those memories back to you. Though just several years young in the hotel scene, The Edison comes with a promise to provide an experience that touches on the Penang culture as well as serenades us with the typical Asian hospitality we grew up with and miss whenever we travel overseas.

Be sure to book a stay (or three) at The Edison soon, and here are the details:

The Edison
15 Lebuh Leith,
10200 George Town,
Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Phone: +60 4-262 2990

If you happen to stay in The Edison, be sure to check out Mish Mash here, and also maybe hire a trusty food tour guide from Simply Enak? We have you covered on this and be sure to check out all of our Penang goodies here!

*All images by UPPRE.

Shamrina Rose

Shamrina Rose

Wit sharper than my eyeliner.
Shamrina Rose

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