The Luxe List 2013: Macalister Mansion, George Town

  • Macalister Mansion was named after a former British governor of Penang.

    Macalister Mansion was named after a former British governor of Penang.

  • Macalister Mansion's minimalist reception area.

    Macalister Mansion's minimalist reception area.

  • The Dining Room at Macalister Mansion.

    The Dining Room at Macalister Mansion.

  • The 100-year-old property was given a facelift by the Ministry of Design.

    The 100-year-old property was given a facelift by the Ministry of Design.

  • One of just eight rooms at Macalister Mansion.

    One of just eight rooms at Macalister Mansion.

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A 20-minute walk from George Town’s heritage district, this grand 100-year-old mansion has been given the facelift of the century: gutted and refitted by Singapore-based Ministry of Design, it is now among the most stylish hotels in Malaysia. The name Macalister comes from one of Penang’s earliest British governors, and the property’s design references the colonial administrator through various art installations, including a two-and-a-half-meter-tall bust in the driveway. There are only eight guest rooms, each with pale oak floors, bespoke furniture, and a Bisazza-tiled bathroom fitted with a deep soaking tub; other welcome touches include plush robes, superfine bed linens, and a complimentary nonalcoholic minibar. On the ground floor, guests have their choice of fine dining in the mostly white Dining Room (a pair of pink and blue Plexiglass deer being one of the few concessions to color); a café accented with hanging plants and wall murals; a well-stocked wine bar; and The Den, a smart gentleman’s-club-style lounge with a range of premium single-cask whiskies. The grounds also boast a lawn-fringed swimming pool—the perfect spot to cool off after a tour of the UNESCO-listed old town.

228 Macalister Rd.; 60-4/228-3888; Macalister Mansion website; doubles from US$212

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