Friday, October 11, 2019

Review: Cheong Fatt Tze - The Blue Mansion, Penang

Boasting UNESCO World Heritage Site status since 2008, George Town in Penang is a hotspot for architectural gems and culturally-rich attractions. We fully immersed ourselves in the splendour and history of George Town during our visit. One of the must-visit attractions here is Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, also known as The Blue Mansion which gets its name from the vibrant colour.

The Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion is a 100-year old mansion steeped in history and tradition, beautifully restored to its former glory by the current owners who are passionate heritage conservationists. It has been awarded "Most Excellent Project" at the Heritage Conservation Award 2000 by UNESCO and also named as one of the "10 Greatest Mansions in the World" by Lonely Planet in 2011. You might also know this mansion from the famed mahjong scene in the recent Crazy Rich Asians movie.

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion

The mansion is open for daily guided tours in English (and Mandarin on weekends) where trained guides will take you on a journey of the Mansion's unique history, outstanding craftsmanship and of Cheong Fatt Tze, the man. The 45-minute tour will give you a better understanding of the history and appreciation of the mansion which is home to many architectural wonders such as Victorian stained glass windows, Staffordshire floor tiles, Scottish cast iron columns and spiral staircases, splendidly carved Szechuan screens and magnificent Teochew porcelain cut and paste shard works (chien nien) on gables and roof ridges. Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion served to demonstrate the man's fascination with Western artisanship and his rising stature as a Chinese official.

One of the owners, Lin Lee Loh-Lim conducts the 11am tours on Fridays.
Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion tour

Did you know that you can also stay in The Blue Mansion and experience the grandeur and old-world charm of the mansion firsthand? Make your stay in George Town extra special by booking a stay in one of 18 beautifully conserved and restored rooms available in this boutique heritage hotel. For us, it was truly the icing on the cake to be able to stay in this insanely beautiful mansion on the last leg of our Penang trip.

There are four room categories to choose from- the Liang Collection, Ming Collection (with direct pool access), Tang Suites, and Han Suites - each uniquely special and decorated with precious family heirlooms and authentic furniture of the 19th century.

We stayed in the largest room category, the Han Suites, which is extra spacious and ideal for our family of four. All their rooms carry names with significance to Cheong Fatt Tze; for instance, our suite was called Mandarin, in honour of Cheong Fatt Tze who was recognised as the last Mandarin of the Highest Order by Empress Dowager.

The grand chambers is appointed with a comfortable king-sized bed, as well as a separate sitting room with a day bed (which converts into a bed for the kids at night) and a dining table. We loved the modern bathroom, equipped with a shower and a gorgeous clawfoot bathtub. You will also find various other contemporary comforts and amenities such as a coffee machine, complimentary mini-bar, air-conditioning and complimentary WiFi for your comfort. The traditional sarong provided is a nice touch, where guests are invited to relax like a local. Every evening, local kuih is delivered to your room as part of their turndown service.

View from our room, through the shutters

Enjoy an al fresco breakfast in the central Courtyard; choose from the mini buffet spread such as dim sum, congee, bread with locally sourced homemade jam and yogurts or order a cooked breakfast from the menu (Fry-Up, Salmon Stack, Penang-style Hokkien Mee). The Courtyard is the heart of the home and where you can experience the strongest natural energy flow. On weekend evenings, you can also catch the resident guzheng player here.

Located on the first floor of the mansion is Indigo Restaurant, a charming fine dining restaurant serving contemporary Asian cuisine using premium ingredients. The restaurant offers a three-course set lunch for RM65++; some of the highlights here are the Cold Laksa (deconstructed version of Penang's famous assam laksa) and Duck Schnitzel. The restaurant is open for dinner and private events.

Decorative mosaic porcelain works called chien nien

The Bar, a newly refurbished space to enjoy signature cocktails, wine, coffee, tea and and all-day dining menu.

There is also a lap pool and Oriental water garden.

We loved exploring and discovering the mansion, filled with so much history and wonderful craftsmanship. Hotel guests get access to all parts of the mansion and can explore at a leisurely pace.

Decorative tiles imported from Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, England.

The fine Scottish iron spiral staircase from the foundry of Macfarlane's in Glasgow was one of my favourite features of the mansion.

The dark blue dye for the walls are obtained from processing soaked and fermented leaves of the Indigofera tinctoria.

The Blue Mansion is centrally located at 4km from the Gurney Drive seafront promenade, 9km from Kek Lok Si Buddhist temple, and just a 5-minute walk to China Town and other significant heritage spots in Penang.

*Daily tours price: RM18 per adult; RM9.50 per child under 12 years old.
** Room rates start from RM440 per night.

Check-in time 2pm; check out time 12pm.
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Location: Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, The Blue Mansion, 14 Leith Street, George Town, Penang, Malaysia. (On-site complimentary parking available for hotel guests).

Tel: 04- 262 0006

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1 comment:

  1. Oooo...I love your breakfast, scrambled eggs look perfegg!!


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