There are lots of accommodation choices in Penang. One may choose the B&B types in George Town (capital of Penang) or the business types which are most popular for businessmen here for a short stay. But for people like me who came with my family, it is recommended to stay over in a resort; and the Golden Sands seemed to be the feasible option.
To put my experience at the Shangri-La group in short, it was quite a nice stay but I wouldn't say it was the best. I definitely had a good time enjoying the facilities, mainly the exotic swimming pools where a bunch of herbs, flowers, bushes (with unknowningly nice smell) and man-made pineapple trees surrounded the edges of the pools. I loved it when the tropical fragrance spreaded into my nostrils whenever I came up from the water.. I needed not wait until my trip back to my hometown Hawaii to enjoy such leisure! Oh and of course, nothing beat swimming while the beautiful sun set.
Apart from the swimming, everything else was just slightly above average. My Mum complained about the size and texture of the pillows for three nights in a row (though I found it acceptable, but definitely could be better), and on top of all, the breakfast buffet we had were not satisfying at all. It was catered for the westerners as over half of the choices were American styled. We expected more Oriental choices given that our past visits to hotels in Malaysia provided us endless dishes of Malay food. The best and quickest way to understand a city's culture is perhaps by appreciating the local food - and the hotel's breakfast could definitely achieve that. Unfortunately, Golden Sands failed to do so.
With that being said, everything else in Golden Sands was fine. I particularly enjoyed greeting the foreigners every morning at breakfast, mainly Singaporeans and Europeans, oh and also the friendly Malay and African staff who I learnt from their working schedule. Cultural exchange remains to be the greatest advantage in Shangri-La group.