Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
Cheong Fatt Tze mansion or also known as the Blue Mansion is one of the first success stories on full-scale restoration effort of old heritage buildings in Penang.
This treasure is a combination of a bed and breakfast inn, a museum and a venue for private lavish functions such as theme wedding and also other posh parties.
Guided tours are scheduled daily at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The tour costs a mere RM12.00 per person (about USD3.50). In this one-hour tour visitors will be treated to the splendor of a bygone era by taking a peak inside the gilded doors of a tycoon's favorite home.
It is located at no. 14, Leith Street, just a stone throw away from the E&O Hotel and it is also actually across the street from City Bayview Hotel at Farquhar Street. This home is an architectural marvel, whereby elements of the East and West combined together in perfect harmony.
Master geomancy advised on prosperous Feng Shui elements whereby genuine stained glass and gilded traditional Victorian cast iron works on the balustrade were ordered especially from Europe. Chinese artisans labored to make it a masterpiece, combining hard work with unsurpassed skills.
The house was built so that nine generations of Cheong Fatt Tze's descendent would live and flourish here. In his will, he stipulated that the house may not be sold until the youngest son with his seventh wife passed away.
It was also documented that the seventh wife was his favorite, the only one mentioned in his will.
Even though in the will she was regarded merely as "a concubine", the rest of the family called her as the seventh wife. He purportedly had eight official wives, countless concubines and hand maidens.
However, due to mismanagement, over time, the house fell into ruin. One of the reasons was that it was indiscriminately rented out to poor people who did not take care of the well-being of the house at all.
Restoration of the Blue Mansion
Restoration of Cheong Gatt Tze mansion in Penang started in 1991.
A lot of people helped to make this project an astounding success despite many obstacles and also limited funds.
Local craftsmen as well as imported artisans from China were hired to clean up and restore the mansion.
There was no indoor plumbing, so each room meant as bedroom had to be fitted with necessary accessories to make it work. All the while, the original atmosphere is maintained by using period-style water taps and bath tubs, for example.
The restoration effort of this mansion won several awards from the architectural community.
The most notable one being acknowledged as "Most Excellent Project" for UNESCO's Asia Pacific Heritage Awards for Culture Heritage Conservation in 2002.
Bed and Breakfast
The Cheong Fatt Sze Mansion currently has 16 rooms for guests. You may choose from "Scholar's Suite" to "Shantung" or other similarly named rooms. Each room was furnished according to a theme of the glorious past. Even though the rooms are furnished with period pieces, they have modern amenities such air-conditioning and en-suite bathrooms. So, do not worry, chamber pots are things of the past here.
The names of the room are mostly taken from the places that Cheong Fatt Sze had been. For example, in "Batavia" (the old name Dutch for Jakarta), there is an old map of Batavia on the wall.
Opposite the mansion is a row of shop houses which used to serve as an annex to the main complex. These units used to shelter the household maids, male servants, drivers and their families. Now, they are being rented out to several restaurants and pubs.
There are numerous publication describing Cheong Fatt Tze and his mansion. Many newspaper articles, magazines and also books describe both of them from many aspects. There is one book that could be said to cap the historical facts and the restoration effort in details. It was done by Lin Lee Loh-Lim, together with the architect Laurence Loh.
Who was Cheong Fatt
The Blue Mansions are named after a legendary Chinese Merchant who lived in the 19th century.
Book your room at Cheong Fatt Mansions
Yes, we are glad we can offer you to book a room in this magnificent heritage house. This is a single chance in a lifetime to live for a few days like the original owners did.
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