Penang is one of our favourite places in Malaysia. We adore the energy of vibrant George Town - from the street satays and the shophouse restaurants, to riding around viewing the fabulous street art and taking the funicular to Penang Hill and escaping from gangs of marauding monkeys.
A visit to Penang is not complete without a trip up the coast to beautiful Batu Ferringhi. It's only 30 minutes away and is a gorgeous beachside oasis with so much for families and kids to do from watching spectacular sunsets, chowing down on seafood at the hawker markets, to water sports on the beach and visiting the adventure parks, spice gardens and butterfly park. But if you're staying at these resorts you won’t want to leave - and even better, you don’t need to.
Our two favourites sit side by side on the beach front - the Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa and the Golden Sands Resort. Both are Shangri-La resorts so you know straight away that they are super family friendly with awesome swimming pools and caring, attentive staff - but they differ slightly to meet the different needs of families traveling to this fabulous Malaysian coastline.
As I am watching the Crown on Netflix at the moment I shall explain these two resorts by referring to them Elizabeth and Margaret as they are the resort equivalents of The Queen and the Princess.
Elizabeth, the Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa, is the refined luxury offering with beautiful stately rooms and gorgeous swimming pools curving through leafy gardens. It's a little more formal, especially if you're a guest of the Rasa Wing and is just gorgeously fancy. While next door, Margaret is just as regal but with a more cheeky, fun-loving attitude as evidenced by her waterpark, waterslides and pool games, and her indoor kids centre with climbing activities and drop slides. Margaret is definitely the more exuberant option for families, but Elizabath still has kids and family covered.
What resort would you choose?
You’ll be blown away when you experience the Shangri-La Rasa Sayang. We were so lucky to stay here as it is the most gorgeous resort and is made for relaxing. It boasts an upscale timelessness with an old school charm and the most beautiful design inside and outdoors. You'll love the landscaped gardens, winding pathways lined with colourful flowers, and beautiful swimming pools shaded by massive old rain trees - one is the oldest rain tree in all of Batu Ferringhi.
If you're staying in the beautiful Rasa Wing you be treated to daily afternoon tea served in the lounge, and canapés and cocktails from 5.30pm - 7.00pm each evening. There is a strict dress code and it is a beautiful way to step into the evening.
Our Rasa Wing guestroom was so spacious with big comfy beds, a lounge area, huge bathroom and gorgeous balcony overlooking the beach and the gardens. You can find out more about the premier room here.
The show-stopper though was the most incredible balcony bathtub that I have ever seen. It was like a small pool!
The attention to detail is fabulous with a remote controlled privacy blind on the balcony to ensure seclusion as you relax in the bath. It is so amazing.
If you want a bath you must call housekeeping to prepare the bath for you - selecting the preferred temperature, bath salts and bubbles, and ensuing your bath is drawn to perfection. We loved this bath! We each had one while we stayed and we really could have - and should have - had more!
Of course the views from the balconies along the gardens and coastline are beautiful and really encourage you to slow down, relax and enjoy the serenity. It feels like a resort from back in the day when people would travel to the coast to rest, recuperate and rebuild their energy, it’s just that relaxing.
The grounds and gardens here are stunning, with so many kinds of birds and squirrels in the trees, and natives and other colourful flowers growing down onto the beachfront where you’re met with white sand and sun lounges and water sports options from friendly locals. There are 10 gardeners working here to keep the grounds impeccable and they really are beautiful.
We loved the family pool at the Rasa Sayang. It combined a real natural fit with the leafy environment with many little private areas to relax in, with child-friendly elements like balls and pool toys to play with and games like table tennis scattered around the area. There are rocky ledges to perch on and curved edges and lounges to relax on. It's just so beautiful.
There’s also an adults only pool should you wish to have adult time, plus a par 3 golf course with putting range.
The food is amazing, from breakfast to lunch and dinner with fresh seafood and every kind of cuisine you could wish for. Emmie was taken with the lolly bar at dinner of course while I enjoyed plates of prawns and fresh fruit.
Everything about this resort is luxurious, detailed and beautiful and we absolutely loved our time here. You can greta great deals on weekday stays, and check our the Resort's Stay for Less deals here.
Guests staying at the Shangri-La Rasa Sayang have the luxury of being able to use their own resort pool and facilities as well as those just next door at the Golden Sands Resort. And of course, you may choose to stay at the Golden Sands and spend your days with the kids having an energetic fun time around the pool and just never stopping the family fun.
This resort is the epitome of family resort fun with the Kids Zones families expect from the Shangri-La, open air cafes and poolside bars, frozen slurpies (YES!) and lots of organised fun.
The Splash Zone has a water park with tipping bucket and two water slides, plus a water play areas. There's hours of fun to be had here for all the family (even though parents aren’t really supposed to go down the slide - I found out later!).
The swimming pools here are awesome. You can hire tyres to float around and play on and there are organised games and activities each day for the whole family to take part in.
There is a real holiday vibe with music, games and fun and you can choose sun lounges or round picnic tables to spend time at. Just keep an eye out for the birds when you're eating lunch as they will try to swoop in and grab your chips!
Adventure Zone is an awesome place to cool off when the heat gets a bit too much, kids have had enough sun but still want to run off some energy. It is indoor and air conditioned with climbing, sliding and big drop-slides. These zones are one of the best Shangri-La family offerings - perfect for kids to enjoy themselves while mum and dad get a rest!
Emmie met a bunch of kids at Adventure Zone and they had a ball running around together. There is a little canteen inside that sells drinks and snacks. You can check kids in here as there is staff on-hand to watch them, or you can sit at the chairs and tables and watch and do work like I did. It’s the perfect time to get a bit done, while kids are doing kid stuff and not needing you at all!
There's also a pool table, lots of grass to run around on and rooftop lounge areas to sit and have a wine in the afternoon and watch the sun set.
Take a look at all the family fun at the Golden Sands Resort here.
Both these resorts are fabulous for a stay of around three to four days as part of your Penang adventure. We loved them both and as usual we adore the Shangri-La’s family focus and ability to make everyone have a super happy family holiday.
Thank you for hosting us Shangri-La Rasa Sayang, we love you! Although we remain completely objective when writing these reviews :)