Guesthouse in Penang – Secret Garden Guesthouse Penang with backpackies

On recent backpacking trip around Penang, we decided to try out the newest guesthouse in Georgetown.

Just to get you up to speed, lately there have been a lot of guesthouses and budget hotels mushrooming up along the likes of Love Lane, Muntri Street and Chulia Street Penang. That is why we always advice our friends to  take a walk around these roads, go in and inquire before you decide on which one to stay in. Almost all the guesthouses in Penang are compacted around this area. So don’t worry, you don’t have to walk very far.

Secret Garden is a new guesthouse in Georgetown Penang. Recently featured in the news papers for being the best guesthouse in the neighborhood. We decided to see what was the big deal.

This guesthouse is located on Love Lane, just opposite Saint Xavier’s school.  The frontage spots a heritage straits eclectic outlook, and occasionally you can see guests sitting outside enjoying a drink or a meal while they watch people pass by.

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Heritage shop lot nicely restored and converted to a guesthouse

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Inside - lounge, reception, and information kiosk

The interior of the guesthouse was really spacious. It was tastefully designed with a mix and match of tribal, modern, heritage and straits collection.

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The lounge has comfortable sofas and an LCD tv that shows satellite channels

The lofty high ceilings made the place feel cooling and quiet. Because of the expansive space, as guests we didn’t feel like it was claustrophobic, unlike other guesthouses in Chulia Street.

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2 dining tables here are for guests to sit, talk, chill or have breakfast in the morning

Of course there were some guys playing poker till late in the night. The spacious lounge literally soaked up the noise. They were also playing some music here, which didn’t disturb the rooms at the back at all. The rooms were quiet all night. Good Stuff!

The lounge or cozy corner as we normally called it, had a good Hi Fi sound system and LCD tv showing some DVD’s and cable tv.

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The entire lobby + lounge + eating place is huge!

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antique looking china are used here. Creates contrast against the wooden stairs

The guesthouse used a lot of wood and ceramic to their design.

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Their shop lot is 2 floors high

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this guesthouse is very lofty

One downside is that the rooms were divided by “cheap office dividers” which made it easy for the person in the room to hear what was going on outside. Plus i think it is a fire hazard as well, as these things are easy to catch fire.

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Art filled corridor. Pity that the pictures aren't lighted up with spot lights

The walkways are filled with art. A great way to make the place feel lively. Instead of just leaving the walkways empty.

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Chinese art on the walls of the second floor

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Safety lockers available here

If you are renting an individual room, there is no need for you to get a locker. But just on the safe side, there are lockers here, just to keep your personal items safe. (not sure if they are rented out or if you need to bring your own lock and key)

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Shared toilets

The toilets are clean, but we found it to be a bit small and cramp. The showers come with hot water but no free soap. Toilet paper you can get it from here for free.So help your self (Some guesthouses in Penang insist you buy them)! We asked for some soap but apparently you have to buy it yourself.

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Nicely decorated dining area. You can make your coffee, tea or get your free drinking water here

Free drinking water here. Feel free to find your self a cup to use. You just need to wash it after use.

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fancy drinking water dispenser

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Double room at secret garden guesthouse penang

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Single bed

The rooms are clean and simple but tastefully designed. The beds are clean and comfortable we must admit.

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single room with a fan

The single room was a bit small. Reminds us of the “toilet sized” single rooms we stayed in, just opposite Pudu Bus Station KL. There was a fan inside the room. On normal hot days, literally this room can be a sauna oven!

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Walk way downstairs connecting all the rooms

They installed CCTV’s on the walkways. So guests can feel safe while staying here.

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A small garden out back of the guesthouse to chill

There was a garden out back. Something like this. We found out that some guests like to sit here and chit chat. Be careful of the mozzies (mosquitoes), as you wouldn’t want to be down with dengue fever. (A lot of dengue cases nowadays)

“Buffet” Breakfast is included with the room rates. They should probably enforce  a “take what you can only eat policy” ! We must have missed the refill.  😀

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Buffet breakfast that only starts when the "worker" wakes up

Last but not least, we hope you enjoy your stay in Penang. And this is our review of Secret Garden Guesthouse Penang. We hope this information was useful to you, to make a decision on where to stay.

For more wacky budget information visit us at or join our travel community at Backpackies is now on facebook..


Filed under backpacking, budget hotels penang, Guesthouses Penang, Penang, Penang hostels

21 responses to “Guesthouse in Penang – Secret Garden Guesthouse Penang with backpackies

  1. rajahbrooke

    I’m just living for 10 Days at the “Secret Garden” now and feel very good and relaxed and safe here.
    Met a lot of friendly people, stuff and guests, and decided to stay much longer as planed!

    • Hi there rajah brooke. Yes we loved the airy living room which was big and played acoustic music throughout the night.
      Great place to put up!

      Have a great trip in Penang! Dont hesitate to holler if you got any travel questions in Asia. Add us on facebook if you can. @ Backpackies! 😀

  2. maik

    Hi all,
    we stayed there for a week, then headed of for 10 days Koh Lipe, came back and it was not open any more. So we had to look for something else. Hopefully things get sorted there and it can open again.

  3. Annonymous

    Yes, all true, except for the fact that the owner, Mark Seth & his wife Mandy; amongst others, took a guests money up front, didn’t pay his workers, didn’t pay for anything that he bought on credit; the place had its water supply cut off on the 25th of November & sealed off a few days later, while debtors are on the lookout for the pair on con-artists

    • Oh dear. We did not know of this. Thanks for bringing this up.
      During the opening, the owners were interviewed by the local Chinese news papers. And the last we were there, we did not see the owners. Only some of the guests who agreed to help out.

  4. annonymous

    i stayed there in September i though Mark was really nice person not a con-artists.

  5. rajahbrooke

    Is this true, are they still closed????
    I just have booked a bus to Penang and I still have some luggage left there in the storey! Tell me, that this is a bad joke!

    • Angela….
      Yes its true. The doors are all locked up. The front is a mess. The last we peeked in, there was a pile of bed sheets where the lobby was, and the furniture was stacked up on one corner.
      You need to report this to the police if you still have stuff in the place. We tried ringging the bell, but no one answered. 😦 Sorry. If you have more luck then us, please let us know.
      If you need help, let us know also. At least we can point you to the right direction.

  6. Cedric

    A con artist of the highest order, affable, polite, helpful and very, very convincing. Mark persuaded a couple of guests to forfeit their tickets to Parhentian Islands to wire up and install the lights in the back garden as on of them was an electrical engineer.

    Additionally he promised to pay them a day rate and re buy their tickets. They hung all the pictures as well as building beds and laying floors. After 3 days he said he had no money to pay them or buy the tickets! Frankly they were too nice and didn’t even snip all the wiring after this nor did they resort to physical violence.

    Prior to this he spun me some yarn about needing to return a former guest a pair of Okaleys and could I collect them from where they had been left as I was passing in that direction. I did so and returned them to Mark. He then admitted that he didn’t have a forwarding address and had always wanted a pair of real Oakleys! Unbelievable.

    Pair of utter charlatans.

    • Anonymous

      Mark is a con artist of the highest order, an absolute bastard of a thief, he promised a very polite & respectable guest from the UK a very reasonable room rate for long term occupancy, but insisted on having money up front – for “2 MONTHS RENT”; that guest paid every penny in one lump sum, and Mark took the money & shut the place down.
      Mark is also highly sought after by a list of debtors who are on the lookout for him, all the furniture & electrical items which he purchased was bought on installments which he never paid up. He hasn’t paid Im, the Chinese cleaning lady, nor has he paid Matt & Jenny, the French couple who managed his place.
      Don’t ever trust a single word that comes out of that con artists mouth

    • Anonymous

      Latest update,
      I just visited Penang once again yesterday, i met up with the folk who were looking for Mark (for their money). He was hiding in the guest house and was refusing to answer anyone who rang the doorbell. The new owners of the building, to whom Mark recently sold it to, had to get the police to forcibly evacuate him out of there. He has sold off that property for 1.8Million ringgit – this information was provided by the real estate agent whom Mark owes RM 15,000 commission fees for having found him that building in the first place when Mark initially purchased secret garden. When i was standing outside the shut building, the air-conditioning supplier turned up to collect his debt, thinking that Mark might turn for some reason.
      Mark – you’re an absolute bastard of a thief, so many people took your word for granted and now have their luggage in that place, their laptops in your lockers and money owed to them. Rot in hell you skunk!!

  7. Karma is a bitch Mark

    I remember reading this blog entry not long ago and remembered thinking that it must have been written by Mark himself. Nobody in their right mind that ever met the dude would have anything positive to say about him or the dump he ran. What a joke. Anyway. I hope we take Mark and this blog with a grain of salt now.

    • Hi Marisa. We at backpackies only write what we see and experience during our review of Secret Garden.
      We are not in any way related to Mark or Secret Garden.

      Please take whatever you read here with a grain of salt.
      Last week, we revisited the place. And it seems that they were renovating it. All the furniture has already been sold off.
      There were some workers from bangladesh inside during the day.

  8. Anonymous

    Does any one know if the Guest house has re opened, is Mark still running it or is their new management???

  9. huey ming

    My friend and I stayed in Penang last Sat, 5 Mar 2011. After a full day of cycling, we were too tired to check out more than 5 or 6 guesthouses. We decided on Secret Garden Inn simply because they had one air-coniditioned double-room available, while the others were fully booked or only had vacancies in dormitories.
    Someone named Shirley was running the front desk. Besides the bathrooms being upgraded, I can’t see what else was under renovation. But because the guesthouse was not entirely ready and the owner (don’t know who) wanted to begin taking in guests, the rates were lower.
    It is so new that we had to wait till after dinner for the towels to arrive from the supplier. We were also supposed to RM5 per BLANKET per stay (regardless of number of days) for the laundry cost because they don’t have washing machines.
    We stayed in the first room downstairs, next to the staircase and dining area. I could hear people walking on wooden floorboards upstairs and some noisy guests downstairs.

    • Thanks for sharing this Huey Ming.
      If you have a facebook account, please do join our travel group at backpackies!

      The last we past, it looked which was last week. It looked like it was operational. But inside was still chaotic.

  10. Richard

    an you tell me the internet address for the Newly opened
    “Secret Garden Restaurant” Is it a secret?
    Is it fully funtional now?

  11. rajahbrooke

    Hello Friends,
    I cecked in today, it’s quite ok. but not complete renovated, there’s still something to do, more in the backyard and outside.
    Rooms are very good, all new, beds, pillows and so on. It’s different, I liked it more before, but may be, it’s just a question of time. It appeares a little bit cold at the moment.
    More Informations on the Website:
    greetings from Penang

    • Hi buddy.
      Did you manage to take any pictures of the place?
      If you are on facebook, please join our group – backpackies! 😀
      Would love to have you there. (and see the pictures of the guesthouse of course)

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