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.
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.
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
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.
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 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 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 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.
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 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:
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.