Macalister Mansion is set back from the busy and historic Jalan Macalister (Macalister Road) and amongst an eclectic variety of new, high-rise apartments and old, local buildings. It is an absolutely gorgeous restored Colonial mansion, massive and pristine with an all-white exterior save for the blue scalloped entrance roof and tanned mansion tiles. The elegant U-shaped driveway takes you past the icy-hued, pastel pool with its inviting clear blue water and pool bar, and ensures that you arrive in style right outside the reception area where the hotel staff eagerly await your arrival.
As a member of the brilliant Design Hotels group, it goes without saying that Macalister Mansion is in a league of its own when it comes to design and style – we have quite simply never seen anything quite like it. Lovingly put together based on the theme of an old and immaculate English mansion, every space in the building exudes an unwavering dedication to unique and quirky design decisions. From the Living Room with its mish-mash of terracotta, green and white, to the dreamy, white Dining Room and the cigar-fragranced and plush, velvet-lined walls of The Cellar, everywhere you look is a feast for the eyes.
Stay There are 8 beautiful, spacious guestrooms each follow a different theme. We stayed in room 8 and loved every moment spent in this absolutely stunning room. Although we attempted to hide our awe on being welcomed into our temporary quarters, it was not easy to do when we first cast our eyes on the squeaky-clean and pristine space, and were then shown all of the extra design details ingeniously executed by the talented team at Singapore’s Ministry of Design. The room is large, and the palette is clean and elegant with tones of ash wood, icy grey and white implemented through soft furnishings, art and a spacious bathroom.
The room features exposed truss beams from the original construction of the building in the early 1900s, which adds some character, while the privately commissioned piece of art by local artist Thomas Powell adds a personal touch and the right amount of warmth. The artwork itself is a modern interpretation of the life events of the hotel’s namesake, Sir Norman Macalister, and so is an ingenious extension of the contemporary-meets-colonial theme of the room and hotel overall.
It’s apparent the owners have gone to considerable length to ensure the comfort of their guests at Macalister Mansion. The beds are oversized and very comfortable, and a pillow menu is offered for those who would prefer something other than the 80% goose down feather pillows on the bed. Every room features a complementary snacks and beverages mini-bar, topped up each day, a nespresso coffee machine, generous-sized designer toiletries and loofah in the bathroom, a perfectly organised and branded stationery draw that is, quite frankly, a writer’s dream, and a futuristic-looking Bang & Olufsen wall-mounted sound system (unfortunately, not compatible with the iphone 5 onwards).
Dine There are three dining options; the fine dining French cuisine of The Dining Room, the breakfast, lunch and high tea options at The Living Room, and the bar menu available at The Cellar and The Den. The Dining Room’s menu is in the degustation style only, with a four-course and an eight-course menu on offer. We enjoyed the four course menu on our first night and the combination of flavours was bold and enjoyable in many of the dishes. The Living Room’s still high-end and elegant a-la-carte breakfast menu is unique and delicious, and doesn’t skimp on luxurious ingredients such as salmon and truffle. We can also recommend trying the delicious local coffee on the menu if you haven’t experienced Malaysian coffee before. Made with condensed milk, it is rich, creamy, sweet and totally addictive as your morning pick-me-up.
The Founders The founders are Penangites, avid art collectors and well-known in the local restaurant scene. After successful dining ventures such as 32 The Mansion, Beach Blanket Babylon, and the original Bagan Bar, the couple decided to make their first foray into the hotel industry with Macalister Mansion.
Malaysia Airlines operates to major International airports worldwide and connects from KL and from Singapore to Langkawi, Penang and Medan. The budget carrier Air Asia connects from KL to all major Malaysian and Indonesian airports, including Langkawi and Penang, plus major southeast Asian airports. From the UK, you can fly Malaysia Airlines from London Heathrow and Air Asia from London Stanstead.
The hotel is located in a non-touristy area of Georgetown, within walking distance of local food eateries such as the popular New Lane evening food market. It is between 15 and 30 minutes by taxi to the main attractions of Kek Lok Si Temple, Batu Ferringhi and the street art of Georgetown, all worth seeing in this buzzing Malaysian city.