It doesn’t get much more colonial than this – Macalister Mansion is about as archetypal an example of far-flung Imperial influence as you are likely to see. Named after its founder Colonel Norman Macalister, former governor of the Malaysian island of Penang, the mansion on the road to George Town is a monument to the opulence of a bygone age.
Built around 100 years ago, the house has been restored by current owners Dato Sean and Datin Karen in partnership with Colin Seah of Singapore’s Ministry of Design, and has been adopted by the Design Hotels group. While the century-old aesthetic was something to treasure, amenities have come a long way since the Colonel’s day, and the challenge to modernise while preserve has been met admirably.
In fact the interior is a bit of a triumph in that aspect; an extremely contemporary, even futuristic feel flows through Macalister Mansion – a surprising juxtaposition with its designer fixtures and fittings, and unorthodox sculptural interventions, all whilst remaining unmistakably period. The external impact is equally impressive, the towering white façade shining in the daytime sun and seeming almost glass-like when lit at night. Imposing, curious and drenched in blistering aesthetic.