Why you’ll want to go: Staying here gives guests a taste of Penang’s history. Built in 1906, it first served as the family home of a local tycoon named Yeo Wee Gark. Designed by a then-prominent architect named David Nathaniel, it was later gambled away by Yeo’s son to a drug lord, who turned it into his illicit warehouse. In World War II, it served as the Japanese forces’ office, then later became a gentleman’s club, and finally a budget hotel cum brothel. More than its gorgeous façade, hospitable staff, or the beauty of the town where it is located, the property’s backstory is its main draw.
The rooms: Starting from 19 square meters, the deluxe rooms come with leather headboards, and art deco tiles that provide a nice contrast to the off-white walls. Four-poster beds dominate the 58-square-meter suites, which come with wood-paneled floors and a massive desk. Tufted rugs and plush furniture round up the mod furnishings.
Things you can do: Spend a day lounging at the Courtyard, a prime example of colonial architecture marked by cast-iron columns. Read a book inside the Lounge, a green-and-white space where unlimited snacks are available. Don’t stay cooped up in the property all day however. The UNESCO-listed George Town, with its dining destinations, intricately made temples, and colorful street art, deserves to be discovered.