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Go Beyond Luxury With Penang's Coolest Hotels

Picture of Jessica Dawdy
Jessica Dawdy
Updated: 3 November 2016
With diverse influences from the British, Chinese, Arabs, Indians and Malays, Penang’s culture is a compelling mix of East and West. These multicultural influences are particularly visible in the island’s city center, Georgetown, which is filled with gorgeous colonial buildings and shophouses. Hoteliers have artistically restored these historic properties to create designs that are distinctly modern, yet also pay homage to the city’s rich cultural heritage. Culture Trip takes a look at the coolest hotels in Penang.
Argus Apartment and Chamber. Courtesy of Seven Terraces
Argus Apartment and Chamber. Courtesy of Seven Terraces

Seven Terraces

Seven Terraces is a boutique hotel set in a row of 19th-century Anglo-Chinese terraces. Designed by hoteliers Karl Steinberg and Christopher Ong, winners of the 2006 UNESCO Award of Distinction for heritage conservation, the hotel gracefully balances contemporary flourishes with traditional Peranakan architecture. The suites encircle a rectangular granite courtyard, which is brightened by beds of frangipani. Guests enter through a grand gilded door inlaid with mother-of-pearl, stepping into a lobby decorated with antique furniture and blue-and-white porcelain pieces. Rooms feature carved Chinese beds, recycled timber flooring, and lavish embroidered silks.

Seven Terraces, 2-16 Stewart Lane, George Town, Penang Island, Malaysia, + 60 4 264 2333

 

The Lone Pine Hotel

The Lone Pine Hotel offers an attractive blend of traditional charm and contemporary elegance. The hotel originally opened in 1948 as a small family-run hotel consisting of ten rooms. The hotel takes its name from a single casuarina tree found on the property, which Australian owner Dr. Albert S. McKern initially mistook for a pine tree. Expanded in the 1950s, the hotel was completely renovated in 2010 and a new building was added to supplement the original rooms. The result is simple, understated and modern, while still evoking a nostalgic appeal. Located on Batu Ferringhi Beach, all rooms face the Andaman Sea. Deluxe rooms include plunge baths located on private balconies, while premier rooms feature a secluded patio or courtyard.

The Lone Pine Hotel, 97 Batu Ferringhi, Batu Feringgi, Malaysia, +60 4 886 8686

Muntri Mews

Muntri Mews is a sophisticated hotel set in formers mews, which were once used as accommodation for horses and their grooms. The mews were later used as garages for cars during the Edwardian era, before being converted into guestrooms in 2009. The hotel’s design aims to maintain the building’s clean lines and simple functionality, while also incorporating comfortable, modern touches. Inspired by Georgetown’s unique heritage, the rooms blend Chinese, Malay, and European influences. The antique furniture and quirky decorations compliment the views of the hotel’s private garden to create a bright and inviting ambiance.

Muntri Mews, No. 77, Muntri Street, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia, +60 4 263 5125

Malihom Private Estate

Malihom Private Estate’s eight rustic villa-style rooms are actually repurposed rice barns brought from Chiang Mai, Thailand. Each barn’s private gardens and decks are made from unused wooden railway ties and several rooms feature open bathrooms with views of the surrounding gardens. Aside from the hotel’s creative use of reclaimed materials, the barns are set 1,500 feet above sea level with each offering views across to the mainland or out towards the ocean. Trails wind through the hotel’s 40-acre estate, perfect places for strolling or bird watching.

Malihom Private Estate, Kiri N/t 168 Bukit Penara Mukim 6, Balik Pulau, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia, +60 4 261 0190

 

The Blue Mansion

One of Penang’s finest heritage buildings, The Blue Mansion is set in a two-story courtyard house that once belonged to Cheong Fatt Tze. Built in the 19th century, the building’s bright blue exterior makes it impossible to miss. Blending Eastern and Western designs, Cheong Fatt Tze chose to construct his residence on this specific spot because of its excellent feng shui. The interior is a beguiling mix of art nouveau stained glass panels, russet brick walls and Gothic louvre windows, not to mention a collection of carvings, sculptures and tapestries. Each of the guesthouse rooms feature a distinct style, such as the Tang Room, which is located in an area that once served as the residence’s kitchen.

The Blue Mansion, 14, Lebuh Leith, 10200 Georgetown, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia, +60 4-262 0006

 

Macalister Mansion

Macalister Mansion is located in the former home of Sir Norman Macalister, Lieutenant-Governor of Prince of Wales Isle (Penang) during the 19th century. Each of the hotel’s eight rooms is decorated with white tones, leaving the focus on carefully chosen art pieces inspired by the life story of Sir Macalister. Unlike many of Penang’s restored heritage homes, the furnishings at Macalister Mansion are distinctly modern. Room Two features a photograph of the eagle sculpture found at the hotel’s entrance, a commission by local photographer Howard Tan, while Room Seven includes a red and green piece designed to resemble a Scottish tartan with its intersecting vertical and horizontal bands.

Macalister Mansion, 228, Jalan Macalister, Georgetown, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia, +60 4 228 3888

Museum Hotel

Set in a restored early 20th-century building, each room at Museum Hotel features a unique design. For example, the Ba Bao room takes its name from the eight traditional Chinese symbols for good luck and features old English brass light switches and colonial-era furniture, while the Colonial Suite is furnished with blue glass chandeliers, an art deco-inspired bar cooler, and a late 19th-century snooker table. Guests at this hotel also have exclusive access to the owner’s private antique collection, which includes an 18th-century ivory carving depicting Buddha’s head, and a lacquer altar box dating back to the 19th century.

Museum Hotel, No 72 Jalan A.S. Mansor, off Transfer Road, George Town, Penang Island, Jalan Ariffin, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

 

Courtesy of Coffee Atelier
Courtesy of Coffee Atelier

Coffee Atelier

Coffee Atelier has transformed five traditional shophouses into roomy, loft-style guestrooms. Although the antique furniture decorating the carefully restored rooms is worth noting, the real draw of this hotel is the other features found on-site. There’s Gehrig Gallery, where guests can check owner Stefan Gehrig’s collection of Malaysian and South East Asian art. Admission is free and the gallery occasionally hosts exhibitions by local and international artists. The building also encompasses the Kopi Museum, which is dedicated to the site’s former life as the Kim Guan Coffee shop. The museum is home to old-fashioned pulleys, paddles, and wood-fired stoves, once used to roast coffee beans.

Coffee Atelier, 47, Lorong Stewart, Georgetown, 11300 Georgetown, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia, +60 16 464 8118

 

G Hotel

G Hotel is a sleek, design hotel overlooking Penang’s famous Gurney Drive. The hotel’s bright lobby is decorated with designer furniture, including Kartell’s Spoon Chair and Capellini’s lacquered Felt Chairs, both of which combine ergonomic comfort with modern design. The hotel features polished, minimalist décor throughout, with geometric designs and bold blocks of color. The Executive Suites’ thoughtful design subtly separates workspaces from leisure ones, while the Tree Bar softens the atmosphere with Mother Nature motifs and greenery.

G Hotel, Persiaran Gurney, Georgetown, 10250 Pulau Pinang, Malaysia, +60 4 238 0000

Hotel Penaga

Hotel Penaga is a gorgeous fusion of modern luxury and Malay heritage, set in a collection of two-story terraced houses and shophouses dating back to the 1920s. Rooms feature colorful Cambodian bedspreads, deco pendant lamps, floral prints and cowhide rugs. The eye-catching art deco lobby is furnished with stained-glass windows, timber furniture, and smart black-and-white floor tiles. The building centers on a gorgeous garden of hibiscus and jasmine, along with more than 30 other local plants collected by Australian owner Angela Hijjas and her husband. Adding to the already-artistic atmosphere, the owners often temporarily feature pieces by visiting artists around the hotel.

Hotel Penaga, Jalan Hutton, Georgetown, Georgetown, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia, +60 4 261 1891

 

 

By Jessica Dawdy