Macalister Mansion, Boutique Design Hotel, Penang

Macalister Mansion, Malaysia’s Only Design Hotel, Penang

Macalister Mansion Penang

Monica Tindall

There’s no doubt that Penang is filled with beautiful boutique hotels, each with their own character and charm. With so much choice, you could easily stay in a different property on every visit. We have a special fondness, however, for Macalister Mansion. It feels like home (a home we could only dream of having ourselves) and is a place we are always happy to return to.

The only member of Design Hotels in Malaysia, a stay here is just as inspirational as the art you’ll find on the streets of Penang itself – only boosted with all the conveniences of contemporary living.

Escaping from the haze in KL, we’re happy to be welcomed by the green and peaceful setting. Frangipani and jasmine waft their elegant fragrances as aromatherapy as we arrive. We’re greeted at reception with a welcome drink and, formalities taken care of, we’re up to our room minutes later.

Macalister Mansion, Boutique Design Hotel, Penang
Entrance to Macalister Mansion
Macalister Mansion Boutique Hotel Penang
Macalister Mansion at Night

Macalister Mansion Penang Rooms

Eight rooms are all this hotel contains and we’ve stayed in a number of them. Our favourite lodgings, however, are found in Room 4. Featuring its own spiral staircase leading up to the mansion’s turret, we feel like royalty here. Room 2 and Room 7 have also kept us happy on previous visits.

Macalister Mansion, Boutique Design Hotel, Penang
Room 2
Macalister Mansion, Boutique Design Hotel, Penang
Bathroom, Room 2

Light, bright and cheery, all rooms are spacious with separate bathrooms featuring dual sinks and a generously-sized bathtub. Clever design allows the glass-walled bathrooms to be privatised with automated curtains, or left open making rooms to feel even larger. Open cupboards give a sense of further capacity and high ceilings play their part too.

An espresso machine is a welcome benefit, and so too is the complimentary mini-bar. Local snacks fill a glass jar and additional treats are left during turn-down service. Other much-appreciated details include quality bath products by Apelles Apothecary & Lab, instant hot, high-pressure water in the shower, and a bed that we literally fall into feeling cocooned and snug in a sound sleep until morning.

Boutique Hotel Georgetown
Room 4 – Our Favourite Room in the House
Boutique Hotel Georgetown
Room 4 Bathroom
Boutique Hotel Georgetown
Room 7 Macalister Mansion Penang
Boutique Hotel Georgetown
Room 7 Bathroom

The Living Room

Breakfast essentials of quality coffee, freshly squeezed juice, and eggs made-to-order, fulfill our simple morning desires. It’s enough to fill our tummies before setting out to catch up with the latest boutiques and galleries in Georgetown.

Boutique Hotel Georgetown
The Living Room
Boutique Hotel Georgetown
The Living Room
Macalister Mansion, Boutique Design Hotel, Penang
Afternoon Tea in a Very Pretty Setting at Macalister Mansion


Returning late afternoon, we’re convinced that some relaxation time by the pool is in order. Sun chairs on The Lawn amongst the frangipani garden provide the ideal spot. The pool is long enough to do laps if you like to get in a bit of fitness. Macalister Mansion also has a few cardio machines in a small room indoors – treadmill and cross-trainer.

Macalister Mansion, Boutique Design Hotel, Penang
Pool Side
Macalister Mansion, Boutique Design Hotel, Penang
By The Pool at Macalister Mansion

The Cellar

And, before we know it the sun has set and The Cellar seems to call our names for an aperitif. The barman shakes up the hotel’s signature cocktail, Sir Macalister, a colonial twist on sangria, and hubby can’t resist a flute of Champagne.

Macalister Mansion, Boutique Design Hotel, Penang
Aperitif from The Cellar
Macalister Mansion, Boutique Design Hotel, Penang
The Cellar

The Den – Macalister Mansion

Alternatively, whiskey lovers would do well to have a drink at The Den. The cosy space not only provides an intimate place to enjoy a drink with friends but a fine collection of whiskies – perhaps even the largest on the island.

Boutique Hotel Georgetown
The Den

BLANC Restaurant

Excited for the evening, it’s time we effectuated the reason we’ve actually come to Penang: to try the newly launched BLANC Restaurant. (I think our host country culture has rubbed off on us – Malaysians are the only citizens I know that wouldn’t bat an eyelid at the thought of four-hours of travel to eat).

Chef Alfred Wee heads the kitchen at BLANC and showcases contemporary French cuisine with gracious service in an exquisite setting. We delight in course after course of cleverly crafted quality ingredients, matched with fine wine, and feel that the trip up here has been well-justified. It truly is an experience not to be missed, so gourmands should put it high on their to-dine lists. Follow this link to find photos, prices and menus.

BLANC, Macalister Mansion, Penang
BLANC Restaurant at Macalister Mansion
Macalister Mansion, Boutique Design Hotel, Penang
Entrance to Living Room
Macalister Mansion, Boutique Design Hotel, Penang
Sir Macalister
Macalister Mansion, Boutique Design Hotel, Penang
Macalister Mansion as Viewed from the Pool

Macalister Mansion Review

Macalister Mansion Georgetown is a boutique hotel offering a luxurious and unique experience. While there is plenty of beautiful heritage stays on the island, there is none quite so inspiring as this hotel’s contemporary honouring of Penang’s history and culture.

Reasons to visit Macalister Mansion: the only Design Hotel in Malaysia; dream-inducing beds; on-site parking; quality bath products; rooms that are not only comfortable places to stay but inspiring in their design; a fantastic degustation menu at BLANC with the option of fine-wine pairing AND an enormous discount for in-house guests.

Macalister Mansion
228 Jalan Macalister
11400 George Town
Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
+6 04 228 3888

Read more about gourmet and luxury travel to Penang here.


  1. The ambiance is warming and soothing, and the big breakfast would be too big for me…however, I absolutely love my eggs sunny side up, just like in the photo, and of course the lamb would be something I would definitely want for a dinner. And I love the tea and all the delights that come with it! 🙂

  2. The mansion looks so magical at night!
    Having a pool in front of your house is a good fengshui practice, ha ha!

  3. We really are spoiled for choice in Penang, but looks like you are right: this is a top one! Would love to stay here next time!

  4. Been there once, for their afternoon tea but it seems like they have changed the menu again. I’d love to revisit.

  5. the living room is a feast for the eyes! 😀

  6. Wow, this is living the high life for sure! ^_^ With just 8 rooms of guests to fuss over, I’m sure the service will be exemplary since they’ll be at your beck and call ^_~

  7. Hello, this place is just amazing. Everything is just beautiful ! Thanks for sharing your review.
    Have a happy day and new week!

  8. Everything looks wonderful. The beautiful mansion, food, drinks and scenery.

  9. So beautiful and cosy!

  10. This looks like the perfect place to stay and eat 🙂

  11. I love the colonial architecture. Beautiful!

  12. Stunning! Love that colonial building, like E & O also in Penang. They are renovating Raffles in Singapore and I read that day that they ran into some problem, did not bother to read the details.

  13. What a grand place to escape to with its pristine white facades! That cellar is so warm and inviting

  14. So grand and beautiful! It would be a dream to stay there for a few days!

  15. The haze has become a recurrent nightmare for us.
    I don’t think we should blame who’s right or who’s wrong, instead let’s work together to solve this issue.

  16. Caning Alexis Jaramillo

    This is one of my favorite places to stay in Penang. Divine!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.