Macalister Mansion – a five-star boutique hotel, fine-dining restaurant, cafe, wine lounge and cigar den combo – is a subtle tribute to Penang’s rich colonial past and its colourful present. Resembling Gatsby’s mansion, the extensively-repurposed manor is the first Malaysian member of Design Hotel and was named after Colonel Norman Macalister, British Governor of Penang from 1808 to 1810.
A stunner in so many ways, this concept venue with a keen focus on dashing design is set inside a refurbished 1900s colonial-style mansion, with a facade of white Greek revival pillars, intricate trellises and a giant bust of Sir Macalister. One of our favourite places to spend an evening, Singapore's renowned Ministry of Design helmed the project to transform the 100 year-old manor and no expense was spared to polish up the place.
The Cellar & The Den
Macalister Mansion is divided into several sections, with The Cellar catching our attention first: a bar that stocks over 300 Old and New World wine labels, it is a great space to enjoy a glass of port, cognac or even a fruity cocktail. It is done up in masculine style, with leather Chesterfield sofas, elk heads on the walls, a fake ‘fireplace’, plush furnishings in velvet upholstery, dark wood panelling and floors, warm lighting, ornate trunks and bookshelves holding classic titles.
In a similar vein The Den has been styled to resemble a high-end men’s club – but don’t fret though, as the fairer sex are allowed entry too. Think black leather circular settees, art deco floor tiles and elaborate chandeliers and you’ll be right on the money when it comes to its interior design. Its cigar offerings include the eponymous Cuban and Dominican varieties, with a menu of single malt scotches from all over the world.
Dining Room & Living Room
When it comes to food Macalister Mansion does not disappoint, whether you are looking for a full course meal or just light snacks. The kitchen at the Dining Room is headed by Chef Lance U’ren (who has trained in a Michelin-starred restaurant) and his menu of French haute cuisine (which changes every two months) is just so tasty and his humble, friendly manner makes the meal a relaxed one. The decor is pure colonial couture with all-white furniture accented by a giant faux white tree in the centre of the room, flanked by a sky-blue stag and soft pink deer.
Meanwhile the less formal Living Room is Macalister Mansion’s onsite cafe, serving up light snacks. There are wall stencils of cats, clocks and a fireplace, hanging greens and chequered tile floors, and chairs in every conceivable material (wood, plastic, metal etc.), colour and shape: put it all together and you have a quirky space that looks like it has come straight out of the pages of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’.
Eight Rooms & The Lawn
If you are the type to be impressed with ultra cool boutique style, then have a word with reception and see if you can sneak a peek at one of Macalister Mansion’s hotel rooms. Simply called Eight Rooms, they are spread out over the upper floors and are furnished with bespoke furniture and privately commissioned art pieces to accent its contemporary theme. Quirky room features include a Shakespearean-inspired love sonnet by Arron Lee in the bridal suite, a wrought-iron balcony in Room 1, spiral staircase, turret and alcove in Room 4, and a glass-enclosed bathroom and study in Room 7.
Besides the wine lounge, cigar den, restaurant, café and hotel, visitors should also take a stroll around the garden, a romantic well-manicured lawn with trimmed hedges and a mosaic lap pool with a swim-up bar that has submerged seating and mesh sun loungers.
More to discover in this hotel! Take a look...
- Opening Hours: The Den & The Cellar 17:00 – 01:00 Monday – Thursday & Sunday: 17:00 – 02:00 Friday & Saturday; Dining Room 19:00 – 23:00; Living Room 08:00 – 24:00
- Address: 228 Macalister Road, 10400 George Town, Penang
- Tel: +604 2283 888 0r +6012 632 7729