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.
This room comprises of bedroom and living space with adjoining bathroom suite. Also affectionately known as our Bridal Suite, it has a separate dressing area with floor to ceiling mirror and generous wardrobe space. The room has a privately commissioned Love Sonnet above the bed by Arron Lee. This sonnet done in old English, influenced by the writings for Shakespeare to depict a rendition of true love found between 2 people. Size: 53 sqm
This room comprises of bedroom with a four poster King sized bed and living space with adjoining bathroom suite. This room faces the front of Macalister Mansion with a view of the swimming pool and The Lawn. The room has a privately commissioned photograph that captures the majestic sculpture of the eagle situated at the entrance to Macalister Mansion. Size: 52 sqm
This spacious room comprises of bedroom and living space with adjoining bathroom suite. It boasts of the original wrought-iron balcony with an expansive view of the front of Macalister Mansion. It has a privately commissioned art-piece, a fabric collage of the façade of Macalister Mansion. Size: 60 sqm
This room comprises of bedroom and living space with adjoining bathroom suite. This turret room has an alcove with the original wrought-iron spiral staircase which leads to the top. It can be combined with the adjoining room 5. It has a privately commissioned wire sculpture of Sir Norman Macalister and his wife. Size: 49 sqm
This room comprises of bedroom with twin beds and living space with an adjoining bathroom suite and a separate study area. It can be combined with the adjoining Room 4. This room is furnished with art pieces sourced from different parts of the world. Size: 46 sqm
This room comprises of bedroom and living space with an adjoining bathroom suite with views of the swimming pool and The Lawn. The privately commissioned artpiece named ‘Sailing the Celestial Sea’ is made with hand casted porcelain ships, inspired by the sea voyages of Sir Norman Macalister. Size: 40 sqm
This room comprises of bedroom and living space with an adjoining bathroom suite and a separate study area and views of the swimming pool and main entrance. The privately commissioned textile piece is called the Tartan Cube, and comprises a contemporary take on the original tartan colours from the Macalister clan in Scotland. Size: 51 sqm
This room comprises of bedroom and living space with an adjoining bathroom suite. It features exposed original truss beams from the time when the building was constructed circa 1900s. The privately commissioned artpiece combines key events from the life of Sir Norman Macalister. Size: 41 sqm
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Marine Park Take a day trip and explore the colourful underwater world of the Pulau Payar Marine Park in Penang. Spend the day snorkelling and swimming, plus enjoy a scenic ferry ride between Penang and Pulau Payar. Day tour include all equipment, a savory buffet lunch of Dominican fare, and round-trip transport from your hotel!
Monkey Beach Escape the urban landscapes and make your way to sandy shores on this Monkey Beach excursion including BBQ lunch from Penang. You’ll enjoy a quick boat ride over calm and clear waters to an uninhabited Malaysian island for a day of sun, sand and ultimate relaxation. Choose to fish, trek through the jungle or just lounge on the beach before tucking into a delicious BBQ lunch cooked on the beach.
Orangutan Island See Orangutans up close in a small island. Take a day tour to Orangutan Island, Mangrove Forest, and Charcoal Factory with your own private guide. Visit Taiping Lake Gardens, one of the oldest lake gardens in Malaysia. Study different species of mangrove and diverse wildlife at Kuala Sepetang Mangrove Forest. Not to be missed for nature lovers! Witness the process of transforming mangrove wood into charcoal at charcoal factory.
Nature Walk Explore one of only two remaining virgin forest areas on the island of Penang during this 5-hour nature walk excursion at The Habitat Penang Hill. Take a stroll along the 1-mile (1.6-kilometer) nature trail through this ecotourism park, marveling at the habitat’s unique range of plants and animals. An included lunch at a British colonial-style restaurant and great island views add to the experience.
Art Hunting Go street art ‘hunting’ in George Town. There’s a lot of very cool street art scattered across Penang, especially in George Town and it is a great way to explore the city. There’s a famous collection by Ernest Zacharevic, a young artist from Lithuania, who was commissioned to create six works in the streets of George Town. The result was stunning and quickly gained worldwide fame.
When to go The rainy season on the west coast of Peninsula Malaysia typically comes between April and October but often the rains don't really arrive until June or July. Even during the monsoon, the rains tend to come in sharp bursts, usually during the afternoon, with sunshine for the rest of the day. Penang, however, does get heavy rains in September and October.
The east coast monsoon, which falls between mid-November and February, is more marked, churning up the seas and making some of the island destinations inaccessible. These rains also affect the interior of Peninsula Malaysia, and the whole of Malaysian Borneo.
Visa & Customs Malaysia tourist visa is not required for citizens of United Kingdom for a stay up to 90 days. However, all travelers will need a passport valid for at least 90 days following your departure date from Malaysia. However, we strongly recommend traveling with 6 months validity on your passport at all times.
Most destinations, including Malaysia, require that you have adequate un-used pages in your passport. We recommend that you have at least two free pages in Visas section of your passport before any international travel.