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An Australian connection in Malaysia - the Lone Pine Penang.

It’s always fabulous to find a property you love, especially when traveling with kids. At the Lone Pine in Batu Ferringhi, Penang, we found more than a luxury boutique resort, we also found an intriguing history that connects Malaysia and Australia.

Just 30 minutes north of Penang’s capital, George Town, the relaxed beachside town of Batu Ferringhi and the Lone Pine provide the antidote to the energy and bustle of the city. The colonial style resort is built for relaxation with stunning grounds fronting the beach and the evening sunset. It’s old school glamour with a particularly Australian history.

Australian connection ...

While I pieced together the story of the hotels original owner, Australian Dr Albert McKern, Emmie used her imagination to recreate the past in the halls and stairways of this beautiful colonial property.

Australian Dr McKern who lived and worked in Penang was captured whilst fleeing Malaysia during World War II. Interned in an island prison camp, he sadly died just days before the end of the war after writing a will stipulating that the funds from the sale of the Hotel would, amongst other uses, benefit medical research. As a result, more than AU$4 million from Dr McKern’s legacy was donated to Sydney University to use in scholarships that continue today.

Learning this incredible story created a strong connection for us to the Lone Pine Hotel, Penang and Malaysia - and Dr McKern was never far from our thoughts during our stay.

“Just a few metres away is the beach with locals offering banana boat rides and parasailing, huge sand dunes to run up and down, beachside restaurants and twilight loveliness to enjoy.”

Family luxury

We spent our days in sparkling swimming pools set in generous grounds overlooking the beach. Surrounded by lounges, colourful children’s tables and chairs, little shady tepees and tall white flowering trees, the pool radiates calmness from its sparkling green water. The childrens’ pool runs parallel to the deeper pool, with fountains and bubbling jets to play in. Just a few metres away is the beach with locals offering banana boat rides and parasailing, huge sand dunes to run up and down, beachside restaurants and twilight loveliness to enjoy.

Hammocks, green grass and banana lounges, a traditional hut cubby house, the white sandy beach and a games rooms equipped with PS3 and board games will keep the little ones happy (should they ever wish to leave the pool), and there is a butterfly farm and childrens' adventure centre close-by should they need to run off any extra energy.

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In our rooms and on our plate

Our room overlooked the pools and beach, with a day bed and plunge bath on the balcony and super comfortable pillows and mattress. Plantation shutters shielded the room from the sun and the bathroom, with its rainforest shower, was spacious - especially handy when traveling with kids.

Breakfast at the hotel’s Bungalow restaurant featured an incredible amount of tastes from curried chicken and rice, fresh fruit and juices, cheese, cereals, yogurt and noodles. In the evening if you’re keen to get out for a local dinner just head down the road to the hawker markets. Inside a large bustling, vibrant open hall, local vendors sell juices, sweets and meals from $3 AU. After feasting on prawns and noodles, fresh lime and apple juice we walked back to the hotel, stopping for an hour-long foot massage for just $7 AU each.

Owned by the E&O company, the Lone Pine Hotel has a shuttle three times a day to its sister property, the opulent Eastern and Oriental in George Town. If you’re not staying there during your time in Penang it’s definitely worth the trip for high tea, served each day from 2pm - 5pm in the Heritage Wing.

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After three days of relaxation at the Lone Pine Hotel we left feeling content and happy to have discovered an inspiring connection with Australia, and a place to call home when we next visit this beautiful part of Malaysia.

+++ We stayed at the Lone Pine Hotel, Penang for two nights as guests of the hotel.

Evie and seven-year-old Emmie left Sydney, Australia in February 2016 with one backpack and flights to the Philippines. They've been traveling together ever since and sharing their adventures through their blog Mumpack Travel. Spending this precious time together is the best fun they've ever had.

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