It’s rare for us to write whole posts about a place that we’ve stayed but Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion Penang deserves a full run down!
As per usual, we didn’t have much planning time before we head to Malaysia but we did put the feelers out and ask around our tribe (that’s you guys!) for Penang recommendations as we knew that was going to be our first stop in Malaysia. You know us, little to no plans when it comes to our travelling style. 😉
Big thanks to Paula, aka Sydney Expert, who recommended Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion Penang, or The Blue Mansion as it’s commonly know, in Georgetown, Penang. She should change her name to Penang Expert as she was definitely on the money with this one!
Why Stay At Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion Penang
We LOVE unique accommodation, especially when it comes with Instagram worthy blue walls and a king size bed.
Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion has only 18 rooms and suites so if you love staying in boutique accommodation like we do, then you need to hit this place up. From the moment you step foot into the grand entrance hall, you get the feeling that a stay here will be super special. It’s easy to see why this place was voted one of the greatest mansions in the world by Lonely Planet.
The mansion is bursting with history and has been lovingly restored to it’s original condition after it was taken on by local architect Laurence Loh in the 90’s. It took over 10 years to restore this incredible building and even recently has undergone further renovation and updating of the hotel rooms.
A Unesco World Heritage Site, ‘La Maison Bleu’ is a pretty damn awesome place to stay…and here’s why!
The Rooms at Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
We stayed in a double room called Scholar on the ground floor. This room is a tribute to Cheong Fatt Tze’s commitment to knowledge and learning.
The room was huge! As we stepped in through the heavy wooden door (which you have to open with a cool old fashioned brass key!) we were totally wowed by the size and spaciousness of the room. The ceilings are high and even without the aircon on it felt nice and cool…the best feeling when you step out of the 30 degree heat.
The furniture in each of the rooms in the mansion is all original and in fitting with the period of the house (late 19th century…read: very old!). The addition of mod cons like a gorgeous bathroom with rainfall shower head add an extra special touch that makes staying here feel super luxurious but at the same time completely unique.
Food in Penang
Penang is famous for it’s food. In fact, eating is the number one pastime of those who live here. People come from far and wide to eat in Penang. There are huge hawker centres all over Georgetown serving a veritable smorgasbord of dishes and cuisines that you’ll be completely spoilt for choice…that is, as long as you’re not vegetarian like us!
If you do get the chance to stay at the mansion, you’ll be treated to breakfast over looking one of the 5 courtyards in the mansion. The coffee is pretty good here too!
The hotel also has a restaurant that serves up traditional Cantonese and Sichuan dishes as well as modern Chinese. The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner, make a reservation if you can.
HOT TIP: If like us, you love to eat where the locals eat, then there is a hawker centre called the Red Garden Food Paradise & Night Market right next door to The Blue Mansion so you don’t have to go far to try the authentic street food!
Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion History
You’ve seen one hotel, you’ve seen them all right?! In our book, staying somewhere that has a story behind it is always more interesting than a standard hotel. Cheong Fatt Tze himself was described as The Rockefeller of the East and chose to build a whopping mansion for his family in Penang, The Blue Mansion.
The house has some amazing features and was meticulously designed by Cheong Fatt Tze along with the help of a Feng Shui master. The main hall of the house is designed in such a way that you can actually feel the ‘chi’ if you stand in the centre of the hall in the middle of the mansion (might be a bit woo woo for some!).
Guided Tours of The Blue Mansion
If you want to learn about the story of this historic home in more detail and you’re staying at the mansion, you can take a guided tour of the house for free as part of your stay, which we did.
If you’re not able to stay here, you can still come and take a tour of the house which runs three times daily at 11am, 2pm and 3.30pm and costs RM16 for adults, and RM8 for kids.
To be perfectly honest, I can’t imagine that kids would find this tour very interesting but I could be wrong! It’s hot and humid and there’s quite a bit of standing around and listening…I found it challenging to keep Elaina entertained the whole time. Lol.
That said, it was well worth going on the tour to learn about how the restoration took place and what it takes to get somewhere like this listed as a Unesco World Heritage site. The team behind this mansion has done it the right way and the staff are so passionate about what it stands for, but not all Unesco sites are like that!
Things to do in Georgetown
Whilst our accommodation was totally badass and definitely a highlight of our trip, Georgetown itself is pretty cool and there’s a couple of must dos.
The street art is a big deal in this place so grab yourself a street art guide and head off on an adventure around town to find all the pieces. We loved doing this and did most of it on foot however we did take a trishaw on one of the days to get home as we’d walked so far!
Obviously we’ve mentioned the food and there are so many places to eat in Georgetown. We hit up Little India for some amazing vegetarian eats and the hawker centres are a must too.
We’re currently compiling our Ultimate Penang Travel Guide so stay tuned for the full run down on what to do, where to stay, where to eat and the best spots to snap an IG photo or two.
Have you been to Malaysia? Where was your favourite place and why? Hit us up and let us know as we’re here for a bit longer and are busting to explore more.