The Prestige Hotel Penang is an independent bespoke luxury hotel that best portrays the natural urban beauty of Penang’s historic core. A modern-day interpretation of Victorian design, it welcomes the urbane traveller to a contemporized and magical quasi-colonial universe, carefully created and curated by Ministry of Design. The first of its kind in Penang, The Prestige Hotel is a destination in itself offering an authentic travel experience and is part of the prestigious Design Hotels™ portfolio.
The Prestige Hotel Penang – Nestled Within A UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Prestige Hotel Penang is located in the core zone of Georgetown, set amongst the beautiful and intricate 19th-century English colonial buildings found in this UNESCO World Heritage site. Tropical Victorian sounds like a misnomer when you think of England and her weather, but this is what the locals are blessed with in Penang.
Nestled along Church Street, The Prestige Hotel is a new-build, joining many beautiful and intricate Victorian buildings, which still house banking and commercial facilities, in a tropical climate where lush vegetation abounds. Uniquely one of a kind, the hotel draws upon the cultural relevance of its colonial past whilst showcasing the brilliant art of illusion etched in sophisticated architectural and design philosophies to deliver a distinctive hotel stay experience.
The hotel logo takes its reference from Victorian crests to recreate a modern family crest, in this case, also playing with optical illusion by using lines to suggest the presence of negative spaces. The 1st “P” refers to Prestige; the 2nd “P” hinges on the idea of seeing double yet also situates the hotel in Penang.
Located 25 minutes from Penang’s international airport and within walking distance to Penang’s famous cultural landmarks and popular gourmet hotspots, the hotel brings local inspiration to life and is the perfect launching point for intrepid business and leisure travellers seeking to experience local charm at its best.
Prestige Hotel Penang – Visual Animation & Trickery: Smoke & Mirrors
The Prestige Hotel Penang features 162 rooms, an all-day dining restaurant, a rooftop infinity pool, events pavilion and terrace, and a vibrant Victorian dining and retail arcade.
At the Ground Floor drop-off, one subtle intervention to unify the Reception with the Glasshouse Restaurant and retail spaces is the black-and-white floor pattern, which seems to magically “appear and disappear” before your eyes. The Reception, Glasshouse Restaurant and retail spaces are designed as standalone stores, i.e. a shop-in-shop concept to break down the linear scale, resulting in a delightful check-in, eating and shopping area reminiscent of the historical English shopping arcade.
In the reception area, several tongue-in-cheek references to magical illusions were introduced. You can navigate a custom-designed white marble-clad maze with brass trimmings on the floor, to get to the reception. The custom reception desk made of mirrored stainless steel magically appears to balance on chrome spheres, and a cloud wainscot adorns the curved wall behind the reception desk, showing a modern whimsical take on Victorian interiors.
While the colonial Victorian heritage and tropics are key elements of the design concept, the studio considered a particularly difficult condition of the site, i.e. its long narrow proportions which potentially made navigating the hotel’s retail arcade or its long guestroom corridors a monotonous experience. To overcome this, elements of visual trickery and surprise, notions of magic and illusions were introduced with the end goal of creating delightful spaces and memorable experiences.
The Prestige Hotel Penang – Welcome To The Guest Rooms
There are 4 room types in total: the standard room named the Deluxe, the Premier Deluxe Suite, the Loft Suite (designed for travellers on longer business trips or couples, this suite features a generous lounge on the ground floor and a separate bedroom area on the mezzanine level), and a unique Deluxe Trio room which features a smaller bedroom for a child travelling with parents, for additional privacy.
A key feature in the Premier Deluxe Suite is the custom-designed Shower and Wardrobe Enclosure, crafted with champagne bronze-tinted metal and glass; a hero piece which takes aesthetic cues from the elaborate magic props used in performances such as Houdini’s escape box.
Besides featuring hidden pantries that are revealed behind the wainscot wall, the Loft Suite also features a custom-designed clock at the sofa area, which doubles up as a wall feature, making a fractal pattern out of the angular wainscot lines.
Named “The Prestige” to conjure brand imagery of elegance and sophistication, it also takes cues from the movie The Prestige starring Christian Bale, which was set in the Victorian era, (similar to the area’s context) about the illusory art of magic.
The Prestige Hotel Penang – Modern Victorian layered with Local Botany
The inspiration for The Glasshouse came from the English Victorian conservatory (a sunroom with glass walls and intricate wrought metal lattice patterns). The studio applied the lattice pattern to the metal-framed walls and glazing of the Glasshouse restaurant (seats 110 diners), presenting it as a delightful garden conservatory for breakfasts, lunches and dinners. A mix of real plants and tropical prints were used for the sofa cushions to add to the allure of being in a “Tropical Eden”.
The mirror, a ubiquitous tool for the magician, is deliberately used to clad the end walls to create the optical illusion of multiple rooms. Uniquely planned to be experienced in 2 zones, the Glasshouse offers a variety of seating areas, either on forest-green leather banquettes, facing the street for people-watching, or on white wicker chairs facing the lush landscaped alfresco areas at the back.
The Head Chef, Mr Shafiq Rizhar Rozali, formerly from Sheraton Hotel and China House (Penang), specializes in modernizing local favourites with international flavours. His recommended “must-haves” are: “Nyonya Ulam Rice”, featuring roasted chicken with local spices, salted egg, poppadum, cucumber, eggplant, anchovy crumb and chili shrimp paste on the side, and “Crispy Chicken Gochujang”, crispy deep-fried chicken with honey Gochujang paste, mashed potato, butter broccoli and scallions.
Taking the lift to the room levels on L2-3, and to the Event spaces on L4, is a confluence of modern Victorian layered with local botany. The lift lobby surprises with a champagne bronze-tinted feature wall with etched patterning inspired by Victorian grilles and a window portal which frames the lush plants outside.
In the lift car, the studio custom-designed a floor-to-ceiling polished tinted metal wall, graphically presenting the unique features of Penang in an aesthetic that is reminiscent of Victorian-like wallpaper. The graphic pattern comprises etched outlines of heritage buildings, famous landmarks (e.g. clock tower and statues) and the local botany of Penang (e.g. coconut trees, birds of paradise, hibiscus and Pinang palm trees.
The top floor, Level 4, houses a fully equipped gym, amidst chandeliers and mirrored ceiling panels to create the optical illusion of infinite space and a generous events area. Named after the lead characters in The Prestige movie, the Angier & Borden Function Rooms can host indoor events for 110 guests, and the Olivia & Julia outdoor gazebos feature lounge settings. The Angier & Borden Function Rooms feature mullions with fluted glass, providing privacy while maintaining light and porosity.
The infinity-edge rooftop pool is an excellent place to watch the sunset with a cocktail in hand, as it fronts Church Street Pier and overlooks the water. The studio not only designed the boundary walls and raised them, for greater privacy, it also designed landscaping to shield sunbathers from those having drinks at the gazebo lounge.
The Prestige Hotel Penang – Book Your Stay
Carefully created and curated by Ministry of Design, the hotel is a destination in itself. The studio is responsible for the holistic brand strategy, interior design, landscape design, signage design, installation art, and graphic design throughout the entire Prestige Hotel. To book your stay, check out the hotel information: