Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hanging out at the Hard Rock Hotel Penang

One of the popular places on the island for hanging out and having fun is the Hard Rock Hotel Penang along Batu Ferringhi beach. Take a dip in the pool, order yummy food and drinks, and meet up with friends, whether by accident or design. With easy beach access, both a Kids and Teen Club, and The Rock Spa, how can you go wrong? Many families who live here buy the annual Stage Pass so that they can enjoy the resort without having to book a hotel room.

Cool off in the pool at the Hard Rock Hotel Penang

Splashing Around
This pool is BIG, but its sinuous, free-form style keeps it feeling relaxed and not too overwhelming. Some parts are the perfect depth for adults while the shallow, children's area has a sandy bottom for squishing between your toes. Bring along buckets and shovels for playing in the sand lying along the edges, too. Guests in the Lagoon Rooms have individual, poolside decks right outside the door. If you need a drink but don't want to climb out, just swim up to the bar. For those of you who don't want to get wet, belly up to the Sand Bar on dry land for your drink order.

There's lots of other watery fun to be had. Kids (and some adults) are eager to slip down the two water slides. Take turns blasting each other on the cushioned sprayground. Sometimes, a volleyball game in the wading area keeps the older kids entertained. And at least once a day, employees lead a little poolside dance party. Since this is the Hard Rock, you can be sure that good music is always blasting from the speakers.

The pool isn't just for swimming. It's for spraying, dancing, bumping and splashing.

Foam Party
The Hard Rock Hotel Foam Party takes place the first Saturday of every month, plus other special occasions like the White Foamy Christmas Eve Party. It's kids only for the first couple hours, and then it's the adults' turn to party in foam until late at night. (Note that parents are not allowed to accompany their kids into the foam.) This event is open to the public, not just hotel guests and Stage Pass members.

Want a few tips?
  • Keep your mouth closed because the foam tastes vile.
  • Have a drink ready in case if you forget to keep your mouth closed.
  • Don't dive or belly flop onto the foam. (This mistake only seems to happen after a few too many trips to the bar.)
  • RM20 for kids and RM30 for adults; includes use of pool
Foam Fight!

Kids Club and Teen Club
If your kids start getting bored of hanging out by the pool (such a difficult life they lead), you can send them to the Kids Club or Teen Club at no extra charge. Some moms even put their children in the Club while getting their hair done at the on-site salon. (Ask for the Billy Ray Cyrus cut and watch the magic happen.)

This Kids Club makes me think of Arkansas.

The Lil' Rock Kids Club is for ages 4 to 12 years old, but to be honest, the club seemed best suited for kids under 7 years old. A toddler playscape and a TV showing movies are the main entertainment. Older kids may be interested in organized activities like the daily cooking class.

The Teen Club is for ages 12-18 years and is located at the front of the building, facing the parking lot. A pool table (small charge for playing), foosball table, Wii and computer games are the big draw. My 9-year-old desperately wishes he was a teen.

Hip and trendy Teen Club

Best Pizza in Penang
If you start getting a little hungry, you can order from the Pizzeria and dine at the restaurant or have it delivered to you poolside. Waiters will deliver drinks from the Sand Bar, too. Watching them make the wood oven pizzas is quite fun. I, along with many of my friends, have deemed it the best pizza on the island.

Top: Pepperoni pizza in the making; Bottom: Yummy satay

Hard Rock Cafe
The Cafe is usually the first thing that comes to mind when you mention the Hard Rock to anyone around the world. For at least a decade, my parents brought me back Hard Rock Cafe T-shirts from wherever they traveled. With a menu of American cuisine like burgers, ribs, and salads along with Malay favorites, you'll be sure to find something you like. There's an extensive drinks menu, too. A live band performs every night, although this family hasn't ever been there late enough to experience it.

The Hard Rock Cafe is a very cool place to celebrate turning 13-years-old.

The Rock Spa
Is all that relaxing by the pool and eating wearing you out? Time to try The Rock Spa. A couple years ago, Harper's Bazaar named it one of the Top 30 Spas in Malaysia for "Relaxing Ritual." I went in for a back massage as my back-to-school treat in August. As I lay on the table in the private spa villa set away from the hustle and bustle of the pool area, I could hear the waves washing ashore during the massage. Such a relaxing sound! After your treatment, sit by the pool sipping a cup of herbal tea while you unwind a little more.

Private spa villa with room enough for a couples massage.

The funny thing is that at the end, I heard the receptionist tell me, "Have a rotten day."

"Excuse me?" I said incredulously. (Had my tip really been that bad?)

She replied, speaking slowly and ennunciating every word, "Have a ROCKIN' day."

Oh, that makes much more sense.

Hit the Beach
If all this isn't enough to keep you entertained, you can always go off property and hit Batu Ferringhi beach on the other side of the hedges. Friends have done everything from riding jetskis to parasailing to riding horses.

Batu Ferringhi Beach next to the Hard Rock Hotel Penang

And as you head out to the beach, you'll pass one of my favorite signs on the island.

Parasailing horses are hazardous indeed.

Stage Pass Membership
In some ways, having a Stage Pass Membership has made my life difficult. Do boring errands or hang out at the Hard Rock? Decisions, decisions. It also seems to have raised the bar for what hubby expects on vacation. When we went to a Thailand beach resort, I claimed that we could just relax by the hotel pool and have drinks. "Isn't that what you did on Wednesday at the Hard Rock?" he asked. Ummm... yeah. So what if the line between vacation and real life is beginning to blur?

The Stage Pass Membership is RM750 per year and is available to Malaysian residents and expatriates. Included in the membership are:

  • Complimentary pool entry for 2 adults and 2 children below 12 years old.
  • Pool entry of RM30 for additional guests including children
  • Complimentary use of the Lil' Rock Kids Club and Teen Club
  • Complimentary 1 night stay in a Hillview Deluxe Room with buffet breakfast for 2 adults and 2 children below 12 years old which can be upgraded to a Seaview Deluxe room with balcony if you stay between Sundays till Thursdays.
  • Complimentary 30-minute back massage for 1 person
  • RM50 dining voucher for Starz Diner or Pizzeria
  • 10% off total Food and Beverage bill at the Hard Rock Cafe (with exceptions)
  • 20% discount on food at hotel food outlets other than the Cafe (with exceptions)
  • 10% discount on beverages at hotel food and beverage outlets other than the Cafe (with exceptions)
  • 10% off selected Hard Rock Hotel and Cafe merchandise
  • 25% off a la carte Rock Spa Treatments and poolside cabana rentals
  • Jump the "Q" privileges at the Hard Rock Cafe for member and 3 guests
  • 10% off best promotional room rates at the Hard Rock Hotels in Penang, Bali and Pattaya
For more information, see the Hard Rock Hotel Penang website.

Related Posts:
Swim Parties at the ParkRoyal Resort
ESCAPE: Penang's New Eco-Adventure Park
Kids Top Picks for Indoor Fun in Penang

This post is part of Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Traveler's Sandbox. Check it out for more around-the-world travel inspiration.


  1. Replies
    1. The only thing that we haven't done at the Hard Rock is actually stay in a hotel room.

  2. If I was a kid I would love a foam party. And what a beautiful looking beach. Getting a pass and hanging out for a day sounds pretty darned relaxing.

  3. The pool area looks like it's a lot of fun but I expect both of my girls would give the foam party a miss - neither are too fond of getting messy!

  4. That foam pit looks like fun! I love their outdoor spa too. :-)

  5. What a fun place to visit especially when you can buy a day pass. I bet the kids love the foam party

  6. "When pigs can fly, can parasailing horses be far behind (in the sky)?"

    1. Funny. And on that note, the Malay version of "When pigs fly" is "when cats grow horns."

  7. Looks like a great place for adults and kids. So did you have a rocking day???

  8. When I come back to Penang I know where I'm going to hang out! "Have a rotten day"...hehe............I can imagine the look on your face :)

  9. I've not been to a Hard Rock Hotel yet - but my kids love the restaurants, so this would be a fun experience.

  10. This is an amazing place. I love the blurred lines and the parasalailing horses! The year pass seems to be the way to go.

  11. This Hard Rock sure gets a lot of love from family travel bloggers who go to Penang. :) I've read posts on the foam party which sounds so much fun. What an awesome hotel full of amenities for everyone in the family. Wow on that beach too. I wondr what kinds of services you get for staying there. My husband loves Hard Rock Cafes and we seek one out everywhere we go too to get a shirt. Is that a Filipino thing? :)

  12. You know I didn't realise that Hard Rock had hotels as well as restaurants. We always visit Hard Rock Cafes when we travel as my kids love the music and dance their way through their meals. Love the look of the pool and especially the foam party at this hotel though.

  13. I agree, great place to spend the weekend or afternoons when schools out. All children love it. Only bad point is the free night with your stage pass. They say it is for 2 adults and 2 children, but when you get there you all have to sleep in the same bed! If you require an extra bed you have to pay 120++. The room they give you is only suited for 2 adults and one child in the same bed as you. So you can imagine how exhusted we all were the next day. We left early instead of staying by the pool with friends.

  14. Hey Julie,

    Great post! Don't you just enjoy the fine sandy beach (comparable to surfer's paradise Gold Coast) right next to Hard Rock Hotel Penang?

    We've since visited its seaview suite! Do check out our post as well!

    Happy Travels Everyone!


  15. Yes I've heard that this is one of the nicest hotel for families in Penang, and it sure does look good! i am always torn between staying at the beach of in Georgetown when in Penang..!


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