Situated in George Town, the capital of Penang in Malaysia, the Macalister Mansion is a sophisticated, lifestyle-oriented residence and pioneer hotel project designed by owners Dato Sean and Datin Karen in collaboration with Colin Seah of Singapore’s leading design firm Ministry of Design. Built in the honour of one of the first British governors of Penang Sir Norman Macalister, this 100 year old mansion was renovated and redesigned with the intent of preserving the building’s heritage aspects and original elements while adding modern-day amenities and contemporary design touches.
The Macalister Mansion distinguishes itself from other boutique hotels with it’s unique vision and holistic concept. The magnificent hotel welcomes the guests under a turquoise scalloped canopy through ornate wooden doors into the reception area which has exposed brick walls reminding visitors of the building’s history while also showcasing contemporary art from local artists. From the reception area, the visitors can access to the eight individually designed suite rooms, each one with its own bespoke features and artwork, from the privately commissioned love sonnet in the Bridal Suite, to the spiral staircase and turret room in Room 4, to the Grace Tan textile piece in Room 7 that pays tribute to the tartan colors of the Macalister clan. Room 3, for example, boasts a wrought-iron balcony as well as a fabric collage by Malaysian artist Lee Meiling, while Room 8 features exposed truss beams from the building’s original construction – and art by Malaysia-based UK artist Thomas Powell that commemorates the life and times of hotel namesake Sir Norman Macalister.
The public areas feature two restaurants: The formal Dining Room is designed with colourful chairs and whimsical pastel animal decorations and a casual Living Room features the building’s original filigree window grilles, serves classic Penang dishes with a modern twist. There is a Cellar that showcases some of the more striking aspects of the hotel’s original architecture: an ornate archway divides the room, and two columns frame a bay window nook. It has been designed to create a space to lounge, relax with a glass of fine wine or champagne. There is yet another interesting space named ‘The Den’, which is basically a bar featuring a fascinating mosaic flooring in combinations of gold, purple and red and lounge furniture upholstered in midnight blue and black leather & fabrics…A perfect place to relax and unwind with a glass of quality whisky or cigar.
After 20 months, of which, 8 months were spent in rigorous brainstorming and design meetings between the owners & designer and the next 12 months were spent in the design installation, the Macalister Mansion opened its doors to visitors promising a quirky and sophisticated new lifestyle destination to relax and unwind.