Hotel Equatorial Penang to cease operations by 31st March 2021

Many businesses – both veterans and rookies across a myraid of industries – had been forced to shut down as a result of the economy being severely impacted by COVID-19. Those in the travel and tourism industry particularly, were one of those which have had to bear the brunt, given the restrictions on travelling the whole of last year.

Another business to bite the dust most recently is Hotel Equatorial Penang, much to the dismay of Penangites who have seen the hotel thrive and flourish for the past 30 years.

Hotel shutting down from huge losses

The news of Hotel Equatorial closing down was revealed when a Facebook user, Chandan Sidhu shared an internal memo released by general manager Alan Ong, in the Penang Walkabouts Facebook group – a private community group for Penangites to highlight interesting places, events, businesses, and services on the island. The news conveyed by the memo dated 25th January has since been picked up by various news outlets.

exterior view of hotel equatorial penang
Image credit: Hotel Equatorial Penang

Ong disclosed that the unfavourable business conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic made the hotel suffer huge losses. Despite their financial difficulties, the management will adhere to severance benefits and other obligations towards their employees.

The official last day of business hasn’t been confirmed yet, but it will likely be before 31st March 2021.

hotel equatorial penang poolside
Image credit: Hotel Equatorial Penang

Netizens recall their favourite spots in the hotel

Hotel Equatorial is a five-star resort located near the Penang International Airport. They have housed many great memories for Penangites, tourists, and local visitors from other parts of Malaysia throughout the past 30 years that they have been in operation.

hotel equatorial penang room
Image credit: Agoda

Several members in the Penang Walkabouts group were quick to comment on the closing down post, expressing their sadness upon hearing the news and recalling fond memories from their time spent in the hotel.

One of those comments include June Poon, who shared that Hotel Equatorial is her favourite hotel in Penang as their rooms’ cleanliness are always consistent. She also sent her well wishes to the staff who are affected by the closure.

june poon facebook comment
Image credit: June Poon

Meanwhile, Khairul Anuar had a longer list of things he’d miss from the hotel. He detailed the many good memories the hotel had provided him, including the gym, pool, Ramadan buffet, and halal dim sum at their Golden Phoenix restaurant. He too, wished the staff well, as he knew of  some who have been working there for a good number of years.

khairul anuar facebook comment
Image credit: Khairul Anuar

Netizen Francis Chuah also noted down the things he’ll miss such as the newly renovated The View Japanese restaurant, and the poolside live band, among other things.

francis chuah facebook comment
Image credit: Francis Chuah

Hotel Equatorial Penang closing down after 30 years

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many businesses, big and small. And Hotel Equatorial Penang is just another name in that very long list. As case numbers continue to climb in Malaysia, and vaccine roll-outs are scheduled, we hope that the pandemic will get under control soon and that surviving businesses will be able to eventually recover from this. We wish all the staff at Hotel Equatorial Penang well and hopefully, the aftermath wouldn’t be too devastating to them.

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Cover image adapted from: Hotel Equatorial Penang and Agoda

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