Results 1-5of 5 Reviews
Gravesend, United Kingdom
December 27, 2010
From journal The pearl of the East.
May 29, 2005
The Blue Mansion was his favourite mansion and is located at 14 Leith street, or lotus flower street, as the locals called it. Visitors must join the 2-hour guided tour, held twice a day, led by the vivacious and witty guide. In narrating the life history of Cheong Fatt Tze and how the Blue Mansion was built, she peppered little interesting tidbits much like a friend sharing gossip to engage our attention. We were informed how Cheong Fatt Tze came to about his fortune and acquired eight wives in the process, why he bought a swamp filled with lotus flowers to build his mansion, how he almagated the best elements of the East and West (cast iron from Scotland, craftsmen from China) and cleverly elevated the back of his mansion so that it "rides on the dragon’s back". Of course, we also learnt why the mansion is blue. In fact, in that span of 2 hours of so, we learnt not only his life history but also the basic principles of feng shui (geomancy). We were hardly bored and did not even realize the length of the tour until it was time to go.
The tour began in the waiting hall while we were introduced to Cheong Fatt Tze and to the feng shui of the mansion before being led to the central courtyard for (yes) more fengshui lessons. Another history lesson at the dining area and a closer look at Cheong Fatt Tze and his wives, we were led up the wooden stairs to the upper rooms. There, we were shown the cleverly constructed window lourves called the Yin and Yang and the beautiful ceramic inlaid tiles. Down the stairs again to a little room where antiques were displayed. What fascinated me most was the built-in cupboards (it already existed then) and the painstaking restoration process. The tour ended with a brief sales pitch for their boutique hotel and a peek at one of the guest rooms. We were then led to the last room--the souvenir shop.
Visitors are not allowed to take photos of the mansion (other than the outside façade); this was strictly enforced by staff members unless you are a guest of the mansion (ah, the joy of having a compact digital camera flash off).
Tour hours: 11am and 3pm only
Admission fees: RM$10 (US$2.50)
Duration: 2 hours or thereabouts
For more information and a hotel reservation, go HERE.
From journal Penang Revisited
March 17, 2005
Costing RM10, the tour takes slightly more than 1 hour, and each visitor is presented with a beautiful bookmark of the place. More details can be found at www.cheongfatttzemansion.com
From journal Travelling alone in Malaysia
by wanderer 2005
February 17, 2005
The mansion, in its original indigo blue, incorporates 38 rooms, five granite-paved courtyards, seven staircases, and 220 vernacular timber-louvred windows. Master craftsmen were imported from China in the 1880s to build this masterpiece.
Eventually, the house fell into disarray after his last son died in 1989. In 1995, the mansion was bought and authentically restored over six years by Laurence Loh and Loh-Lim. The epitome of Feng-Shui, it is now an exclusive bed-and-breakfast. Located in the 'Georgetown District' of Penang, The Blue House is a beautiful reminder of early fortune. (The servants lived across the street.) This tour is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon while in Penang. It's amazing to see all the engraved wood and tiled doorways. The 1993 movie 'Indochine' was shot here, starring Catherine Denueve. It's great tour, and they take donations for the guided tour.
From journal Tropical Getaway
New Delhi, India
October 19, 2002
Designated a mandarin and a minister by the Chinese government, Cheong Fatt Tze built his mansion in his favourite place- Penang- in 1880. The indigo-tinted mansion, a delightful combination of Oriental and Western influences, is an embodiment of the man himself- traditional Chinese yet modern Western. 38 rooms, 5 courtyards, 7 staircases, 22 `yin-yang’ windows (wooden shutter- windows, so called because the shutter grooves form the yin and yang symbol when closed), form the mansion, in which the upper storey was used by the family, the lower as Cheong Fatt Tze’s offices. Indian indigo mixed with lime and cartilage was used to paint its exterior (which is why it was also called `La Maison Bleu’).
Dark teak, coated with seven layers of shellac for durability, forms much of the flooring and staircases; the ornate clay tiles of the floor and balconies came all the way from England. All across the house there’s a profusion of decoration: stunning stained-glass windows, carefully carved, gold- painted wooden screens (covered with a profusion of traditional Chinese `auspicious’ symbols- flowers, dragons, bats and phoenixes). Across the mansion’s façade, on the roof and the main gate is elaborately crafted `chien nien’- a now-nearly-extinct form of tilework done by using shards broken from ceramic bowls to create 3-dimensional and 2-dimensional mosaics.
The mansion holds many portraits and photographs of the man himself and his favourite wife (Cheong Fatt Tze had eight wives). There are other antiques too- chamberpots (yuck!!), an abacus, silk clothing, bamboo pillows, and a few bits of old furniture are all that actually remain of the Cheong family’s possessions.
After Cheong Fatt Tze’s death, the family scattered and the mansion fell into disrepair until it was bought in the 1990s by a group of heritage lovers, who invested heavily in restoring it. Seven years later, it’s a World Heritage site, a fine peek into the life of China’s `last mandarin and first capitalist’. Purple waterlilies bloom in a stone tub on the front lawn, where Cheong Fatt Tze had planted lotuses; a Victorian lamppost from Scotland stands sentinel above them.
16 rooms of the mansion are today guest rooms, and are rented out at RM195 per double bedroom per night, including breakfast. They’re nice, cosy rooms with quiet verandahs where you can sit in the shade of green bamboos (like everything else here, a symbol- in this case, of durability and freshness). But even if you don’t stay here, you can visit the mansion- there are daily hour-long guided tours at 11 and 3. The entry fee’s RM10.
From journal The Chinese side of Penang