Penang is undoubtedly one of Malaysia’s most important historical sites, considering its colonial past. The city is filled with heritage buildings and palaces, some of which have been converted into charming boutique hotels. Booking your stay at the right hotel in the heart of George Town may also serve as the ideal starting point to your explorations. It’s here where you can discover Penang‘s never-ending street art, try its famous food, and experience the nightlife.
So, how does one discover the best location that offers the right blend of stunning history and fantastic comfort? We say it’s with something that combines a sense of colonial splendour with modern conveniences. Below, we’ve rounded up the best boutique hotels for a picture-perfect vacation!
1. Cheong Fatt Tze – The Blue Mansion
This UNESCO-awarded property, Cheong Fatt Tze – Blue Mansion, was constructed in the 1800s and offers magnificent architecture along with antique furnishings. The home, which has a tranquil garden, louvred panels, gold-carved shields, and lofty pillars and ceilings, gained heightened fame after its debut in Crazy Rich Asians. Their rooms feature original 19th-century furnishings and modern conveniences such as an HD television, lightning-fast internet access, and a rain shower.
Address: 14, Lebuh Leith, 10200 George Town, Penang
Contact: +604 262 0006
2. Areca Hotel
Areca Hotel is a boutique stay in the heart of George Town that is made up of 12 shophouses and is located within a short walk from KOMTAR. After years of refurbishment, it has finally been methodically rebuilt to its former splendour, with its ancient structure properly preserved.
The boutique hotel’s main room boasts beautiful natural sunlight and is adorned with potted greenery, plenty of seating, and Earth-toned tiles. Oozing with Old World charm, guests will find it hard not to snap pictures! The hotel’s 48 rooms are equally beautiful thanks to the mixture of old and modern furnishings married together with various vibrant flooring.
Address: 5, Jalan Khoo Sian Ewe, George Town, 10050 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: +604 261 0050
3. Ren i Tang Heritage Inn
Ren i Tang is truly a one-of-a-kind boutique hotel, and this Early Straits eclectic-styled building took over two years to restore. A glance at the outer façade of the structure may not indicate the hotel’s true identity, but once inside, your eyes are in for a treat. The majority of the structure’s elements have been maintained from when it was converted into a Chinese medicine hall.
Ren i Tang’s suites are also beautifully decorated, with comfy bedding and antique furniture to complement the wooden shutters. Persian carpets, whimsical shelves, and trendy light fixtures in the rooms demonstrate how the hotel’s contemporary and traditional elements are tastefully combined.
Address: 82A, Lebuh Penang, George Town, 10200 George Town, Penang
Contact: +604 250 8383
4. 23 LoveLane
Strategically located in George Town and set in a restored building, 23 LoveLane is charming and made up of 10 boutique-style rooms. It’s also only 3km from notable locations like Cheong Fatt Tze (The Blue Mansion) and the Goddess of Mercy Temple.
Each room at this boutique hotel is decked out with classic teak furniture and adorned with local artwork, making every single one distinctive. They also come with a seating area, modern amenities, and spacious bathrooms. There are even babysitting services upon request here!
Address: 23, Lorong Love, George Town, 10200 George Town, Penang
Contact: +604 262 1323
5. Muntri Mews
Muntri Mews has a unique history — it once served as a parking lot for horse carriages! Now, it is a group of cottages transformed into a sophisticated boutique hotel in Penang while retaining much of its traditional design and architecture.
The hotel is located on Muntri Street, close to prominent places such as Little India, Chulia Street, and others. You’ll also find that the suites here are large and comfortable, and each room can accommodate between two to six people. The mixture of modern designs with antique furnishings truly makes Muntri Mews a stylish stay.
Address: 77, Muntri Street, 10200 Georgetown, Penang
Contact: +604 263 5125
6. Carnarvon House
Located in a 19th-century Straits Chinese house, Carnarvon House is close to all of the major historical sights. This 2-star guesthouse provides a stay in a magnificently renovated property at a lower cost than other historical hotels in Penang. Guests can enjoy the little terrace while waiting for their express check-in or check-out, and there’s even luggage storage.
The rooms are modestly yet elegantly designed, equipped with comfortable beds, and are all non-smoking rooms. Things to keep in mind are: only some rooms have adjoining showers, and the guesthouse doesn’t have an elevator, so be prepared to climb some steps!
Address: 28 Lorong Carnarvon, 10100 George Town, Penang
Contact: +6012 520 3304
7. The Museum Hotel
Expect to stay in traditionally decorated rooms during your time at The Museum Hotel, located in the nicest section of a secret alley just off Transfer Road and adjacent to Chulia Street. It’s been said that the owner is an avid collector of anything in relation to the Peranakan/Baba Nyonya culture, so expect this humble hotel to be decorated with items from that era.
While this hotel may have limited facilities, it’s hard to deny how pretty every corner looks, making the entire place a massive photo opportunity spot. Serene, quaint, yet near Penang’s bustle, guests will love the historical motif of calm, white-washed walls with hardwood partitions, horizontal blinds, and four-poster beds.
Address: No 72 Jalan A.S. Mansor, off Transfer Road, Jalan Ariffin, 10050 George Town, Penang
Contact: +604 226 6668
8. East Indies Mansion
Guests will find themselves being transported back in time at the East Indies Mansion, a former residence of the founding father of Penang, Koh Lay Huan. Steeped in history, this stunning boutique hotel has a courtyard that will wow any guest and also have them snap that camera button.
The rooms here are spacious and feature high ceilings with plenty of natural sunlight seeping into the space. Guests can expect a high level of hospitality at affordable room costs. The common areas and hallways give East Indies Mansion a charming air of a rural house buried in the bustling life of George Town.
Address: 25, Lebuh China, George Town, 10200 George Town, Penang
Contact: +604 217 0825
9. The Edison
Step into a world of Old World charm that is opulent and chic when you’re at The Edison. Located just across Cheong Fatt Tze’s Blue Mansion, this renovated Anglo-Colonial palace combines the traditional and modern with flair. Retro-vintage tiles create soothing blue-hued designs on the floors that are decorated with soft couches and low tables.
The rooms and suites are adorned with mainly neutral white walls with a splash of turquoise or blue to give each one its distinct personality. The guest rooms are also elegantly furnished and spacious, with amenities that exceed any visitor’s expectations.
Address: 15 Lebuh Leith, 10200 George Town, Penang
Contact: +604 262 2990