Usually when you're researching hotels on holiday you'd ignore a place with crumbling buildings, algae covered swimming pools and light fittings falling from the ceiling, that is unless you're interested seeing the buildings that time has forgotten. The Penang Mutiara Beach Resort saw its last guest back in 2006, and despite frequent reports that it's finally being renovated and brought back to life, taking a look at the hotel in its current state tells a very different story.
You can spot the hotel from the beach, and while exploring the grounds are off limit, the fences aren't too high and you can get a good view of the hotel by peering over the perimeter fence. It's a spectacular building. The 'W' shaped building features an open balcony on every level, while they were covered with greenery when the hotel was open they're even more overgrown now. It's like something out of an apocalypse movie, where nature takes over the concrete landscapes after everything else is dead and gone.
You can also spot the old swimming pools and cabanas and it becomes easy to imagine a time when the place was considered a luxurious getaway filled with guests. There are ornate features, like a statue of dolphins leaping out of the swimming pool, and they seem strange amongst the overgrown jungle. Occasionally the silence is broken by the crash of giant branch falling from an untamed palm tree.
Unless you're a keen fan of abandoned buildings, catching a glimpse of the Penang Mutiara Beach Resort from behind a fence might not be worth the trip. From Georgetown, it's almost a 1 hour drive, and even longer in peak traffic. But if you're already in the area it's worth stopping by to grab a look. If you're planning a day trip to Monkey Beach, just stop a little further away near the Sri Singamuga Kaliamman Temple and Teluk Bahang Beach. From here you can get a good view of the hotel, and then walk down the beach and through the Teluk Bahang Fishing Village to the area where the boats for Monkey Beach depart. It's a scenic route where you'll pass some interesting houses and many cats.
Despite being closed for over 10 years, the Penang Mutiara Beach Resort clearly made a big impression on many people back in its heyday. A Penang Mutiara Beach Resort Fan Page on Facebook is regularly updated and relives the good old days at the resort. Compare this drone footage from 2017 below with this 1996 advertisement for the hotel, it's clear things have changed.