The Best Hotel Around Siam Road, Penang: SO Hotel vs Ink Hotel

After arriving safely in Penang from Hat Yai in Thailand, despite getting dropped off in the middle of nowhere by the bus driver, I managed to purchase a Malaysian sim card in the nearest convenience store to book a Grab car to Siam Road in Penang. Initially, I booked a room at SO Hotel on Siam Road until a couple of days later I passed by Ink Hotel on the same road that made me extend my stay only to compare which hotel is the best in the area. 

I know, now that I actually mentioned it… My decision was quite impulsive because I did it just to have something to talk about in a blog post. So this time, I want to compare the experience when I stayed at SO Hotel and Ink Hotel. 

So, which hotel is the best around Siam Road in Penang? 

Why You Should Stay Around Siam Road in Penang

Whenever Siam Road comes up on the search engine, chances are you would probably find something about the legendary char koay teaw around the area. And in case you want to know about it… Yes, I'd totally recommend it, and the hotels I'm going to write about are just walking distance from this must-try culinary in Penang. 

While Georgetown is possibly the most popular area to stay in Penang, Siam Road can be an alternative if you're looking for accommodation around the area. There are a few hotels and hostels on Siam Road that you can opt, but most Penangites or tourists go to the area to try the well-known charcoal char kuay teaw

Charcoal char kuay teaw on Siam Road, Penang.
Charcoal char kuay teaw on Siam Road, Penang.

To be fair, Penang is one of the places in Malaysia most known for its signature dishes. From some top-notch places to have breakfast in Penang, Asam Laksa Penang (not trying to be controversial, but I like Laksa Sarawak better! LOL), chendol, to even ais kacangPenang is foodie heaven for sure!

One of the must-try dishes when you're in Penang is on Siam Road. And even if you don't believe the hype, there are still some alternatives to try around the road, so you don't even have to go too far just to grab something to eat if you stay in the area. 

The Best Hotels Around Siam Road

If you're looking for some budget alternatives to stay in Penang, SO Hotel and Ink Hotel might be what you're looking for. Not only are they budget-friendly, but Siam Road is also situated in a strategic location around Georgetown. 

When I stayed there last year, the price range is around 50 to 70 MYR (around $12 to $17 USD) for a single room at these hotels, and I could definitely share my experience of staying in each place to consider which one is the most suitable accommodation on Siam Road according to your traveling style. 

So, which one is the best hotel on Siam Road, Penang?

SO Hotel, Penang

I booked a room at SO Hotel in Penang a day before I left SC Heritage Hotel in Hat Yai. I booked it through Agoda and paid for 69 MYR (around $16.7 USD) per night. I was planning to stay in Penang for three days until I decided to extend for a day and move to Ink Hotel later on my last day.

The hotel is relatively easy to find as it is not far from the intersection that gets you to Siam Road. You need to take the stairs from the entrance to get to the receptionist, but I decided to ask whether I could take the elevator to get to the front desk since I have a big bag with me.

You can take the elevator from the basement, although they only have one elevator that might take a while to wait. When I got to the front desk, the receptionist was super helpful, and the check-in process was fast and easy!

The front desk said that I could pick one of the pillow types available for the guests, which would be delivered to my room later. I requested a swan feather pillow, although I can't, for the love of me, remember the other two types of pillow available there.

The pillow choice at SO Hotel, Penang.
The pillow choice at SO Hotel, Penang.

Single Room at SO Hotel, Penang

There was nothing fancy about the room, but everything works quite well. The bed was not perfect, but I tell you what… They really made a point by offering the pillow choice because I couldn't be more grateful for the pillow. I took a nap for a few hours after I checked into my room at SO Hotel.

The room has almost everything you need for accommodation. While I booked a single room, the bed was actually a queen size, although the room itself was super small. But it has a side lamp around the bed, and there's also a mirror and a small desk in case you need it to work or just putting on your makeup.

The only downside is probably the shower since it was super tiny. It almost felt like I bumped into everything whenever I took a shower. But then again, everything worked properly that I couldn't really complain. After all, I got what I paid for.

The wifi connection also works properly, as I remember I was pretty productive at the hotel since I stayed in the hotel more than I went out. And the room was also equipped with a teapot that allowed me to boil some water to drink tea or cup noodles.

The hotel also has an ironing corner not so far from the elevator that you could DIY ironing for your clothes. They also have a water dispenser for you to refill your tumbler too.

Ink Hotel, Penang

The night rate at Ink Hotel is slightly lower than SO Hotel, so I expected that the property wouldn't be as good as the former. I only paid around 56 MYR (around $13.6 USD) when I stayed there for a night. But to be fair, the way the building looks from the outside, Ink Hotel slightly looks fancier.

Ink Hotel has a wheelchair/trolly bag route to enter the hotel, and the lobby is also bigger with a sofa around the front desk area where you can wait for a taxi or just chilling there. SO Hotel doesn't have this area at their front desk.

An elevator is also available at Ink Hotel, so it can also be a good alternative if you're not exactly a light traveler like me. 😉

The lobby area at Ink Hotel, Penang.
The lobby area at Ink Hotel, Penang.

Single Room at Ink Hotel, Penang

If SO Hotel was a budget-friendly hotel with a room that isn't so fancy but has everything you need in an accommodation, I gotta say when it comes to interior design, Ink Hotel was better than SO Hotel since the interior style was more minimalistic and modern.

Even when I entered the room, yes, the interior design was far better than SO Hotel… But behind the minimalistic design, the room at Ink Room was less spacious than the single room at SO Hotel. It was so small to the point that I was struggling a bit to open my luggage there.

Like the name, a single bed is provided with nothing extra compared to SO Hotel except for a clothes hanger and a mini closet in the room. If television is important for you when you choose accommodation, they also provide a TV in the room.

I don't really watch TV, so I'm not sure if cable networks were available in the facility.

The downside of the facility was that the wifi connection didn't work properly when I was there, so I was forced to use my mobile data to get the internet connection.

I would say the single room is only suitable for a short-term stay, as the room was so small, your big luggage would take almost half of it.

Like at SO Hotel, a teapot was also available in the room, although they didn't provide complimentary tea or coffee.


SO Hotel vs Ink Hotel: Which One is Better?

Based on my experience, I would say the night rate didn't lie since I got more facilities at SO Hotel than Ink Hotel. If I had to choose a single room between the two hotels on Siam Road, I'd definitely stay again at SO Hotel.

Here are some comparisons to outline which part of the property is better than the other.

SO Hotel

  • You can choose the type of pillow to sleep, which can boost the quality of your sleep when you stay there. 
  • It has an ironing corner that could come in handy if you need to iron your clothes. 
  • The receptionist is super accommodating, and he's quite helpful during my stay there. 
  • All the facilities work well, from the air conditioner in the room to the wifi connection. 

Ink Hotel

  • The night rate is cheaper.
  • It's more accessible, with a wheelchair/trolley bag route to get to the lobby. 
  • The interior design is modern and minimalistic. 

Personally, I would say SO Hotel would be the best hotel around Siam Road. I could probably root for Ink Hotel if it wasn't for the wifi connection that didn't work properly. I'd be okay with the super tiny room, but wifi connection is crucial for a semi-digital nomad like me.

Have you stayed in either property when you were in Penang? Share your experience in the comment below, and cheerio! 😉


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