The Blue Mansion, with its blue facade and Chinese architecture, catches your attention straight away. Built by the merchant Cheong Fatt Tze at the end of the 19th century, it was his home and the base from where he ran his empire. It is located within the Unesco world heritage site of George Town and listed by Lonely Planet as one of the ten best mansions in the world.
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This five-star boutique heritage hotel offers luxury and grandeur while keeping the charm and elegance of its bygone era intact. It was the perfect place to stay for three nights in Penang.
Entering the building, I felt transported back in time; such was the splendour of my surroundings. The reception area is awash with valuable antiques and precious objects from the 19th century collected from around the world. Marble, floor tiles and stained glass windows were shipped to Penang from as far afield as the UK and Scotland as the craftsmanship at that time was believed to be the best there was to offer.
Over the years the Blue Mansion has been painstakingly restored to its former glory under the guidance of Unesco. A tour of the mansion is an enjoyable way to spend a few hours to learn about Cheong Fatt Tze and the Blue Mansion.
Blue painted walls offset tranquil lotus ponds with relaxing seating areas positioned to allow enjoyment of the open courtyards. A place to read, relax and just take time to absorb the decadence and grandeur of this heritage hotel.
The 18 rooms are each uniquely furnished with precious heirlooms and authentic furniture. Arranged in four categories, you can choose from the Liang, Tang, Han and Ming collections (with direct pool access). The balmy air and birdsong allow you to drift away with your thoughts, forgetting the hustle and bustle of the town outside the walls of the Blue Mansion.
We stayed in the Ming Collection twin room which was named Sinkeh, meaning ‘newly off the boats’ and represented the arduous and gruelling journey that was embarked by the courageous Cheong Fatt Tze in the hopes to make a name for himself in Southeast Asia. The room contained antiquities from the family treasure trove. A private back entrance took us to the small communal garden and pool, which was a fabulous place to spend a few hours to escape the heat of the day.
Leading from the reception area is the open-air central courtyard. Breakfast is a combination of self-service and waiter service, offering a good range of breakfast choices accompanied by fresh fruit juices and hot beverages. Service is friendly, and you the welcome is very genuine.
If you have watched the film, Crazy Rich Asians, this is where the mah-jong scene was set-up. A small bar area is adjacent to the courtyard if you should fancy a drink later in the day.
The fine-dining restaurant Indigo is located upstairs at the Blue Mansion and is known locally as a high standard establishment. Our waiter was very knowledgeable, advising us of menu choices he thought would appeal to us. The quality of the food is perfect, but booking is advisable as the restaurant is always in demand.
Don’t leave without trying one of Indigo’s cocktails, they are delicious!
What month did I travel?
I travelled in February, which is one of the best times to visit Penang. Sunny days, lower rainfall and fewer tourists mean you’ll find better deals on flights and hotels. I was lucky to not encounter any rainy days on my three day trip to Penang.
Is a Visa required?
Check the requirements with IVisa the one-stop online visa website.
How was the weather?
It was hot and humid.
What should I pack for the Blue Mansion?
Light, breathable cotton dresses, shirts, shorts and skirts. Swimsuits and sarongs. Open-toed sandals for around the hotel and trainers for sightseeing. A hat to keep the mid-day sun off your head and face.
Would I recommend Blue Mansion?
Absolutely. The Blue Mansion is a heritage 5* boutique hotel with amenities to match. The room was spacious and traditionally decorated. The back door led to a courtyard, garden and outdoor swimming pool.
The buffet breakfast provided a vast selection of European and Asian food choices, and the restaurant, Indigo; offered a first-class dining experience.
How far is the airport from Blue Mansion?
Penang International airport is 20 minutes by car transfer which can be organised independently or with the Blue Mansion.