Built in 1880, the mansion was owned by an Indian moneylender (known as ‘chettiar’).
China-born Hokkien property tycoon Choong Lye Hock bought the mansion (No. 228 Macalister
Road) where he lived with his family and mother, along with a retinue of staff including gardeners,
cooks and 20 servants from China. The mansion had 41 rooms, with approximately five stairways
including an ornate spiral staircase that led to a watchtower on the third floor.
Choong Lye Hock installed four gold-plated eagle statues that loyally stood guard at the gates. There
are only 10 such eagles in Penang.
In year 1960, Choong Lye Hock passed away and left the mansion to his two sons. Eng Hye bought
over Eng Kim’s share. They leased it out as an oce to the Consumers Association of Penang for
about 10 years, followed by the Arredo furniture showroom and Crystal Brides, a bridal house.
A local businessman Datuk Sean H’ng and his wife Datin Karen H’ng undertook the restoration
project measuring 48,943 sq ft as part of their corporate responsibility initiative project to demonstrate that old colonial buildings can be regenerated into functional and practical spaces with a
contemporary feel. The planning and restoration work for the 17,286 sq ft mansion took about 20
The launch of Macalister Mansion was in the works. H’ng appointed architect Colin Seah from
Ministry of Design (MOD), a Singapore-based interior design company to produce breathtaking
interior designs. The design process spanned eight months, followed by a 12-month period to
restore and reinforce the original columns, staircase and archways, original brick walls and wall
Macalister Mansion was opened to the public in April 2012. It is proud to be the first hotel in
Malaysia to make the cut and be part of Design Hotels. Its name honours Sir Norman Macalister,
one of Penang’s first British Governors from 1808 to 1810. The mansion comprises eight delicately
designed guest rooms, Living Room, Dining Room, Bagan Bar, The Den, and The Lawn.
The refurbishment and upgrading of the eight rooms were constantly carried out to enhance the
guests’ experience and ensure their comfort as well as keeping the amenities and facilities well
The new facelift of the Dining Room involved rebranding. The Restaurant Blanc Penang was
launched in mid-June, flaunting a hint of captivating sapphire blue for the interior. The iconic white
foliage centrepiece and the deep blue velvet banquette still remained to encapsulate the elegance
of the setting. The restaurant stepped up to raise the bar for Penang’s fine dining scene with its
contemporary French cuisine as well as the wine it offers for food pairing and cooking.
This year marked the remarkable facelift of the eight rooms and lobby, along with the unveiling of the new function room and poolside garden.
Upholding Our Principles
At Macalister Mansion, we steadfastly adhere to our core principles in our day-to-day operations while going above and beyond to ensure our guests' satisfaction.
Preserving the heritage elements of the mansion lies at the heart of our sustainability efforts. In line with this, we support local artisans and trades as well as exercising various recycling and upcycling initiatives which include using sustainably sourced materials for our room services and F&B outlets.
From the moment guests step in, they will be on the receiving end of efficient and exceptional services. Our highly trained and friendly staff are dedicated to ensuring all their needs, preferences and queries are taken care of.
Every guest matters to us. That's why we take pride in warmly greeting our guests by name to make them feel welcome.
Preserving Heritage With Care
Since George Town gained UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS) status in 2008, more than RM46.3mil has been allocated to restoration work in four major heritage projects. Situated at Macalister Road, the Choong Lye Hock mansion restoration project was undertaken by local businessman Datuk Sean H’ng and his wife Datin Karen H’ng.
He collaborated with architect Colin Seah from the Ministry of Design, a Singapore-based architectural firm to rehabilitate this building to its former glory by conserving significant architectural details whilst incorporating contemporary design elements.
Various renovation and reparation works were carried out, along with the soundproofing of the windows. Specially commissioned artworks from Malaysia and Southeast Asia were brought in.