The Great Room, Penang Marriott Hotel Smoke & Mex Cocktail with smoke bubble

The Great Room, Penang Marriott Hotel

The Great Room – Penang Marriott Hotel

Monica Tindall

The Great Room serves as Penang Marriott Hotel’s lobby lounge and bar. With full service from 9 am until 1 am, international guests can get a drink regardless of their time zone. 

The long marble bar is complemented by a shiny back bar with mirror doors reflecting the soft lighting. The lobby has various nooks. My favourite is a single seat by the window. It’s curved and self-contained, with cushioned seating, a personal table, a charging station, and a reading light. It’s a cosy, private space, perfect for enjoying a beverage and a good book.

The Great Room, Penang Marriott Hotel - long marble bar with pendant lights
The Great Room, Penang Marriott Hotel

The Great Room, Penang Marriott Hotel

However, we’re a little more social today and eager to hear bartender Ewan’s stories behind each cocktail and observe his enthusiasm for preparing drinks. We learn he’s participating in some upcoming cocktail competitions and is keen to continuously hone his craft.

Bartender Ewan Delivering the Goods at The Great Room, Penang Marriott Hotel
Bartender Ewan Delivering the Goods

The Great Room Menu & Prices


The Melony (RM 39) is an elegant-looking cocktail, sitting pretty in hand in a Champagne flute and garnished with skewered melon balls. It turns out to be our favourite, with gin, dill-infused clarified watermelon juice, lemon, sugar syrup, and soda. This refreshing and light beverage is ideal as an afternoon thirst-quencher.

The Great Room, Penang Marriott Hotel - Melony Cocktail in Champagne Flute
Melony – The Great Room Artisanal Cocktail

Mojito Express (RM 42) is another excellent porch sipper. It starts in a highball glass with mint leaves, muddled lime wedges, white rum, and mint liqueur (Menthe-Pastille). After being garnished with dehydrated lime and fresh mint leaves, the magic happens—a compressed tablet is dropped in the top, adding effervescence, similar to a soluble Vit C tablet. While Hubby, our mojito aficionado, is not yet ready to give up the classic, we appreciate the fun in the fizz.

The Great Room, Penang Marriott Hotel Mojito Express
Mojito Express

Sierra Tequila bases the Smoke & Mex (RM 45). It’s shaken with mezcal, fresh grapefruit juice and syrup, Cynar (an Italian bitter apéritif) and balsamic vinegar. The vinegar is used for acidity instead of traditional citrus to add more complexity. Ewan rims the coupe glass with house-made orange and sour plum powder. The final display of showmanship is a smoke bubble from apple wood, which holds its form for a good while, allowing a healthy round of photography before bursting with a final puff of smoke. It’s a little on the sweet side for me, but I like those smokey mezcal flavours.

Smoke & Mex
Smoke & Mex

I’m not a fan of complicated drinks, creams, or flavoured syrups, so I’ve long been a fan of the classics—Negroni (RM 42), in particular. Ewan’s recipe is 45-25-15 of Broker’s gin, Campari, and sweet Cinzano vermouth. He stirs it in a tumbler before pouring it over ice in a rocks glass and garnishing it with a twist of orange peel. It’s an excellent rendition.


Snacks Menu & Prices

“0” Oil Duck Crackers (RM 40) are healthier than they look. The smoked duck breast slices have been dehydrated, not deep-fried. They’re super crisp and tasty, with a slightly sweet finish. It’s hard to stop once we start but at the same time, they’re highly satisfying because they’re protein-rich. 

"0" Oil Duck Crackers
“0” Oil Duck Crackers – The Great Room

If you prefer a more traditional snack, the Parmesan Fries (RM 20) are done to a high standard. The stick fries are crisp outside with a fluffy middle and topped with a light sprinkling of finely shaved Parmesan. Tomato and chilli sauces come on the side for your dipping pleasure. 

Parmesan Fries
Parmesan Fries

A Cut Above (RM 42) offers a duo of bites for something a little more substantial. On one miniature toasted brioche bun, a beef patty with balsamic mushrooms and sliced cheese is served, and on the other comes a lobster shrimp cake with caramelized onions. 

A Cut Above
A Cut Above

I balance the booze and Hubby’s less healthy choices with Sprouting Up (RM 22). The roasted Brussels sprouts are sprinkled with almonds, pine nuts, mustard, and smoked chilli – although the last two ingredients are subtle. Although I’d like to see them roasted a bit longer for a good char, it feels great to eat some greens. 

Sprouting Up
Sprouting Up

The Great Room Review

The Great Room at Penang Marriott Hotel is an easy place to meet friends or colleagues. However, the lobby also offers cosy, singular nooks just right for settling in with a book or your laptop and a drink of your choice. The bar team whips up some creative cocktails but also makes the classics well, so there’s something for all preferences.

The Great Room, Penang Marriott Hotel menu and prices
The Great Room Cocktail Menu & Prices
The Great Room, Penang Marriott Hotel menu and prieces
The Great Room Snack Menu & Prices

Reasons to visit The Great Room, Penang Marriott Hotel: casual setting with spots for groups or individuals; small but tasty snack menu; I’d return for the Negroni and a cosy, individual window seat.

The Great Room
Penang Marriott Hotel
55 Gurney Dr, Georgetown
10250 Penang, Malaysia

The Great Room Opening Hours
Daily: 9 am – 1 am

Find more recommendations for travel to Penang here and stay up to date with the latest gourmet happenings around Malaysia here and here.

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