As you walk down Stewart Lane in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of George Town in Penang, you will come across a row of restored shop houses plucked out of the British colonial era of Malaya. These beautiful interlinked buildings house the beautifully restored Seven Terraces Hotel. Frequently voted as one of the best heritage hotels you will find according to TripAdvisor, this hotel offers up much charm and refinement that feels like its been plucked out of a painting.
Because of the original design of the buildings, Seven Terraces consists of two entrances, a front entrance, also the main entrance on Argus Lane, which is more secluded and private, and Stewart Lane, which connect onto the busier street, which is also the entrance of the Indochinese Peranakan Kebaya Restaurant.
Seven Terraces is owned by Christopher Ong, heritage-preserving hotelier who has successfully restored and created many other hotels in Penang such as Muntri Grove, Muntri Mews, Noordin Mews, Clove Hall and now, the Jawi Peranakan Mansion. Seven Terraces showcases some of the most beautiful antique porcelain ware, known locally as kamcheng (盖盅), from the Hokkien dialect meaning “lid and jar”, throughout the hotel, including the dishes used in Kebaya Restaurant itself. When asked how Seven Terraces has managed to preserve its Peranakan past, he stated: –
The row of dilapidated 19C Anglo-Chinese houses were in a shocking state of disrepair when we found them. It saddened me greatly to see once grand homes left to ruin, I knew as soon as I saw the buildings that they were a diamond in the rough. I could see the potential and it has been a labour of love to restore them to a boutique hotel and do my bit for saving my Peranakan culture. I am a fifth generation Peranakan Baba. — Christopher Ong, Owner of Seven Terraces Hotel.
Seven Terraces Rooms 七間老厝酒店房間
The hotel aims to not only provide the best service and comfort in Penang, but also to educate its patrons on a little bit of its Peranakan heritage. Consisting of the deluxe Terraced Single Levels, the wider Terraced Duplex Suites, and two apartments that can fit comfortably for four which are the Stewart Apartment and Argus Apartment. Each room is beautifully decorated with colonial antique pieces that seem to be plucked out of a period film. Rosewood furniture and Chinese embroidery line each room, and even your welcome drink is served in a kamcheng teapot.
The Terraced Single Level
This room consist of a double bed with a wide open bathroom.
The Terraced Duplex Suites
This room consists of two floors, a double bed upstairs, and a living and wide open bathroom downstairs.
The Stewart Apartment
This room accommodates four, consisting of a lounge, a king sized bed in the master bedroom, and two super singles in the second bedroom.
The Argus Apartment
The most luxurious of the rooms, accommodates four, consisting of a king sized bed in the master bedroom, and two super singles in the second bedroom.
Review: The Terraced Duplex Suites
When you enter the room, you are greeted by a sizable living room equipped with an opium bed. The melding of antique furniture with modern comfort is instantly felt, with cushioned seats and air-conditioning. As you walk further, you are greeted by artistic folded window panes that open up to an entirely white tiled bathroom with a rain shower in the middle of the room.
The bedroom is situated on the second floor and consists of a single four poster double bed, lined with mosquito netting for those who prefer the natural fresh air. The bedroom also comes with a balcony overseeing Argus Lane as well as an en-suite second bathroom.
The bathroom is spacious and tiled white with redwood furnishings and opens up to a quaint cabinet filled with antique furnishings. The high ceiling which is mounted with a rain shower makes you feel like you’re having a shower in the outdoors with the right amount of heat as the bathroom is warmed by the natural sunlight.
The room is perfect for couples or even small families as if one thing it has is space.
Seven Terraces does not only boast an amazing hotel experience, but houses one of the best Peranakan fusion restaurants in Penang. Kebaya Restaurant serves some of the most eclectic Indochinese and Peranakan fair that you can find in Penang, bordering on Asian fine dining when it comes to quality. The tamarind beef and wing bean salad were stand outs and are definite must-haves.
For further information about the restaurant, please see our review of Kebaya Restaurant.
The little bar tucked into the corner of Kebaya Restaurant is the known as the onomatopoeia sounding Baba Bar. Decent cocktails with reach, you are swept over with a 1940’s feel of this colonial designed bar. Drinks here are made to the local taste including the Georgetown Cooler, and if you’re of the teetotaller kind, the Nutmeg juice will tickle your fancy.
The library lounge is a nice place to pick up a book of the in-house bookshelf, where books are left by travellers, evoking an almost romantic feel about them. A nice place to relax as the perfect concentration spot for that book that you’ve been putting off for too long.
Beside the lap pool is another sitting area, circled with palms and greenery facing the lap pool. A nice shady oasis retreat, the pool lounge offers drinks under a nice sunbath.
The lap pool is sheltered with trees and make quite a nice peaceful and quiet dip, away from the bustle of the city.
One thing to note is that each and every antique piece in the hotel is available for purchase. From the redwood closets, opium beds, kamcheng dinnerware and even tables and chairs, every piece can be bought, but would need to be negotiation as each piece is personal. When asked what inspired the equipping of the hotel by these antique pieces and of these, which are his favourites, Ong stated: –
I wanted to recreate each suite to look like a wealthy Chinese families home, there are Opium beds inlaid with mother of pearl, antique dining tables with slabs of marble, traditional wedding beds and many other features particular to the Peranakan household. My favourite pieces would be the traditional wedding bed and accessories in one of our larger apartments. Walking into this suite takes one back to a bygone era. It is very popular for young couples recently married.
The Personalised Service
One thing that Seven Terraces has very successfully done is to provide very competent service. The General Manager Ewan Taylor was extremely knowledgeable, and helpful, describing places to see and eat, all within walking distance, and those that might take a little further to reach. One of the best services we have personally experienced. There is also a daily tour of the hotel lead by a local aunty who will talk to you like our own stern aunt, carried with professionalism and warmth.
The Seven Terraces Hotel Experience
If you are looking for a nice place to enjoy the perfect holiday on the very amazing island of Penang, this would be a great place to experience that. Walking distance from some of the best street food in Penang, you will be able to do what the locals do, with the luxury and comfort that this heritage hotel offers. When asked how Seven Terraces sets itself apart from other hotels on the island when it comes to where it is, Ong quipped: –
Our location is enviable as we are in the middle of the Colonial, Chinese and Indian areas. Our neighbouring building is the Goddess of Mercy temple, the oldest Chinese temple in Penang and we are also next to the oldest Anglican church in South East Asia, St. Georges Church. Our Antiques are genuine and a large percentage of the timbers in the hotel are recycled.
For the perfect time travel experience, grab our Penang food guide and look no further.
Seven Terraces Hotel (七間老厝)
10200 George Town,
+604 264 2333
| PHOTOGRAPHY BY: NICHOLAS NG & SEVEN TERRACES HOTEL | WEBSITE: SEVEN TERRACES |