Tycoon’s mansion with a modern twist
Opposite Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, The Edison, dating from 1906, was once the residence of Yeoh Wee Gark, another of Penang’s Hakka tycoons who made their home in this affluent enclave.
Post WWII it was transformed into a hotel and until the restoration completed in mid 2016, operated as a somewhat seedy budget hotel, The Cathay. Like the proverbial phoenix, The Edison has a new life as a small luxury hotel, artfully restored to retain its heritage charm, but unmistakably modern.
Original marble floors and patterned Peranakan tiles mix with a contemporary palette of cool neutrals with striking pops of jade as a running theme. The spaces are vast and light filled and the restrained decor allows the bones of the original architecture to shine with features such as the impressive sweeping central staircase and shuttered lightwell.
Guest rooms too, are enormous with plush and luxurious modern “deco-inspired” furnishings, equipped with a gamut of mod cons including large flatscreen TV, coffee pod machine and safe. What is rather odd though, is the layout of the room we viewed—the open-style bathroom is positioned alongside the outer wall with the only window in the room. A floor to ceiling curtain can be drawn to close off the bathroom from the main part of the room, but this then blocks all natural light.
At the back of the hotel which in the past served as an (ahem) men’s health club, a spacious open kitchen offers all sorts of help-yourself treats 24-7. For a bit of quiet time, head upstairs to the library and sprawl out on a couch or cosy up in a rocking chair.
Outside a long narrow swimming pool entices, and as well as a handful of shaded sun lounges, large family sized “cabanas” afford couches and tables and chairs, with curtains that can be drawn for privacy. A complementary pre-dinner wine tasting is offered daily as well as a breakfast buffet with local and western choices served in the kitchen/lounge.
The Edison is certainly a luxurious heritage property, but to our taste seems a little too squeaky clean, which is sure to suit some folk. Staff are bend-over-backwards helpful and friendly and inject a lot of warmth into this somewhat cool hotel.
Check booking sites for deals as after a quick check, we found better prices than the walk-in rates we were quoted. Alternatively for a bit of authentic old-world heritage charm, head across the road to Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion or for a more colonial feel, the Eastern and Oriental.
If you’d like to experience The Edison without coughing up the big bucks, they offer a day pass so you can hang out, eat snacks and surf the internet on their WiFi (but it doesn’t include a swim, as the pool is reserved for in-house guests) for 35 ringgit.
Address: 15 Lebuh Leith, Georgetown
T: (0426) 22 990;
Coordinates (for GPS): 100º20'4.56" E, 5º25'15.25" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: over 500 ringgit
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Deluxe double room||600 ringgit||600 ringgit|
|Deluxe Suite||650 ringgit||650 ringgit|
Sally spent twelve years leading tourists around Indonesia and Malaysia where she collected a lot of stuff. She once carried a 40kg rug overland across Java. Her house has been described as a cross between a museum and a library. Fuelled by coffee, she can often be found riding her bike or petting stray cats. Sally believes travel is the key to world peace.
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