Penang, Malaysia and Borneo
Thanks to its coat of traditional indigo limewash, Cheong Fatt Tse’s Blue Mansion in Penang has been one of the city’s most desirable and distinctive residences since it was built in the 1880s. Aside from a few modern conveniences, nothing much was added during the conversion to stylish heritage hotel: the original granite-paved courtyard, Art-Nouveau stained-glass windows, clay tiled floors (from Stoke-on-Trent), French louvred windows and handsome Chinese porcelain gable panels are still gloriously intact. Picturesque old trishaws beside banana and bamboo plants in massive glazed pots provide perfect still-life photo opportunities. And the rooms ooze period charm.