tropical, sunny and historic are people's usual associations when thinking of penang. but now fantasmagoric has been added to that shortlist, thanks to the recent opening of macalister mansion. this colonial mansion from the early 1900s has been meticulously restored and turned into a boutique hotel of miraculous design proportions. a member of design hotels, the property has been designed by the owners in collab colin seah of singapore-based practice ministry of design. taken on as a holistic project, the building’s heritage aspects and original elements have been preserved while modern amenities and contemporary design touches have been added. each of macalister mansion's eight rooms features unique bespoke features and sophisticated artwork, from the privately commissioned love sonnet in the bridal suite, to the spiral staircase and turret room in room 4. the hotel's public areas are equally thought-out.
there are two tempting restaurants on the premises: as the name implies living room is a casual place, offering all-day dining in a relaxing, cool setting that even includes a pool table. taking it up a few notches in terms of cuisine and service is the fairytale-like dining room. the menu here lists a delectable selection of local cuisine and international flavours, both masterfully paired with fine wines. outside in the sun, the mosaic lap pool has a swim-up bar attached while indoors the cool bagan bar offers signature drinks and jazz music in a sleek urban environment that wouldn't look out of place on new york's upper east side. last but not least, there's the den, another stylishly luxed-up watering hole but with the feel of a gentlemen's club. and accordingly, is the domain of leather sofas, fine whiskeys and cigars. location: 228 jalan macalister [george town].