The latest in an ever-increasing number of heritage hotels to grace George Town has a more infamous history than most. The stark white Anglo-Indian mansion on Leith Street, opposite Cheong Fatt Tzeâ€™s iconic Blue Mansion, was built by local tycoon Yeo Wee Gark in 1906 as a sumptuous and very extensive family residence. Inherited by Yeoâ€™s son, the building was later gambled into the hands of a local drug cartel and turned into an opium den. Seized during the Japanese occupation in World War II, it was then converted into an administration office and gentlemanâ€™s club before becoming the Cathay Hotel, a scruffy budget inn that doubled as a brothel. Scrubbed, buffed, and finished in tones of charcoal and fern green, the mansionâ€™s latest incarnation has returned it to its original level of luxury. There are 35 elegant guest rooms, all fanning off from a two-story central hall studded with original ironwork, stained glass, and hand-painted tiles. But itâ€™s the generous communal spaces that give the property an edge, including a charming upstairs library, outdoor cabanas, and The Lounge, a self-service all-inclusive cafĂ© offering breakfast and all-day snacks of old-school Penang favorites like pineapple biscuits and iced gems. (60-4/262-2990; theedisonhotels.com;Â â€¨doubles from US$125).