The culture and heritage of Straits-born Chinese, better known as Peranakan Chinese or Baba Nyonya, are well-known and celebrated in the former Straits settlement of Penang. But have you ever heard of the Jawi Peranakan? Comprising locally born, affluent Malay-speaking Muslims of mixed Indian and Malay ancestry, the Jawi Peranakan were an elite group within the British Malayan community in mid-19th century Malaya.
Curious to see how the Jawi Peranakan lived? Book a stay at Jawi Peranakan Mansion, a unique relic in George Town Heritage Hotels’ collection that has been lovingly restored to the glory of its golden days.
A taste of Jawi Peranakan grandeur
Left in a dilapidated state when it was first acquired, it took three years to breathe new life back into the old two-story mansion. The building’s original eclectic mix of 18th and 19th century British architecture and Mughal Muslim design features was reconstructed, seen in the wood lattices and Adam’s wheel window arches.
Guests can choose to stay in any of the mansion’s 14 rooms, which range from the cozy Mansion Rooms to the loft-like Mansion Suites to the more private two-floor Mansion Villas. Throughout the mansion, you’ll delight in the tasteful and stylish decor, which generously uses embossed Mughal-style tiles and intricately patterned textiles.
Rooms are given a classic feel with antique furnishings like the King-sized four-poster bed, brass mirror, rolltop writing desk and kilim rug. For those staying in the Mansion Suites, you won’t be able to resist drawing a relaxing bubble bath in the Victorian clawfoot bathtub. Even among the old-timey throwbacks you’ll find modern comforts, such as a 43-inch LED TV, international and USB ports, charging cables and a Bluetooth speaker, as well as complimentary Wi-Fi.
A tranquil oasis
The mansion has several comfy areas for you to chill out – there’s the quaint garden terrace with the burbling fountain that will have no doubt caught your eye upon your arrival. On the second floor, there’s also a lounging area with a tea and coffee-making station and electric kettle that you’re free to use at any time.
As breathtaking as every corner of the mansion is, our favorite, however, was the gorgeous outdoor lap pool. Nothing’s better than taking a dip in the pool in the late afternoon to cool off after a day of exploring Penang. The tiled wall fountains reminded us of the pretty mosaic fountains typically found in Morocco.
A delightful spread
The hotel offers a light breakfast spread, which is taken in the airy dining hall at a long marble-topped table. At the side tables, you’ll find plates laden with local fruits like star fruit, dragon fruit, papaya and mango, as well as yummy samosas. You can also choose to have a crispy, flaky paratha, which comes with a bowl of curry.
Since you’re in Penang, Malaysia’s very own foodie haven, it makes sense that you wouldn’t want to have a heavy breakfast before you head out to try the local eats.
Among George Town’s many heritage stays, Jawi Peranakan Mansion stands out as a rare gem. Experience a different facet of Penang’s culture and book your next staycation here.
Top Things to Do in George Town
Located on Hutton Lane, once known as the “Malay Millionaires Row” of George Town, Jawi Peranakan Mansion is set just outside the UNESCO Heritage Zone. However, most of the major tourist draws are still within walking distance. For guests of the mansion, here are three must-do activities:
Chow down on your favorite local eats at Bee Hwa Cafe
Remember what we said earlier about having a light breakfast? You’ll be glad you did, as this popular kopitiam serves up all your must-eat Penang dishes, such as Char Kuey Teow, Curry Mee and Prawn Mee. And best of all: it’s halal! So you’ll find plenty of Muslim foodies dropping by for a taste of Chinese hawker fare. It’s also only a 5-minute walk from the hotel, so you can keep coming back for more. (And we know you will. 😉)
Bee Hwa Cafe
10, Lebuh Dickens, 10050 George Town, Pulau Pinang.
Opening Hours: 7.00am – 5.00pm (Mon-Fri); 7.00am – 3.00pm (Sat) | Closed on Sundays
Marvel at dinosaurs at the Jurassic Research Center
Most kids will go through a phase where they’re absolutely fascinated by dinosaurs, so what better place to indulge their interests than at the Jurassic Research Center? Located on the 5th floor of The Top at KOMTAR, the center combines entertainment with education in a variety of informative and hands-on exhibits. And if you’re an adult who never grew out of your dino-obsession (*coughlikemecough*), you’ll have plenty of fun at this homage to Jurassic Park.
Jurassic Research Center
Level 5, The Top Penang, 1, Jalan Penang, 10000 George Town, Pulau Pinang.
Opening Hours: 11.00am – 8.00pm (Mon-Fri); 11.00am – 9.00pm (Sat & Sun); 10.00am – 10.00pm (Public holidays & school holidays)
Adult – RM48
Child – RM38 (90cm – 130cm in height)
Senior Citizen – RM38 (60 and above)
OKU – RM38
Adult – RM58
Child – RM48 (90cm – 130cm in height)
Senior Citizen – RM48 (60 and above)
OKU – RM48
Wave your wand and ‘Accio’ fun at Potterhead Malaysia
Speaking of adults who never grow out of their childhood – if you’re a true-blue Potterhead, then you’ll want to check out the Harry Potter-inspired pop-up cafe at Potterhead Malaysia. You’ll get the chance to put on Hogwarts robes in the house of your choice, play Harry Potter-themed board games and even gulp down a refreshing pint of Butterbeer (non-alcoholic, of course) in an afternoon of magical mischief. Find out more here.
11, Lebuh Keng Kwee, 10100 George Town, Pulau Pinang.
Opening Hours: 12.00pm – 7.00pm | Closed on Wednesdays
With such a wide range of accommodation options across the country, it can be a challenge to pick the one that’s best for you. To be in the know when it comes to Malaysia’s stand-out stays, keep your eyes peeled for Traveloka’s ‘Super Stays’ posts, a bi-weekly hotel special featuring our top picks!