The Prestige Hotel is located 25 minutes from Penang International Airport, in an area that is culturally and contextually rich. The ground floor of the large building block is allocated for retail stores and dining, and the first four floors for hotel rooms and amenities.
As a new building, The Prestige Hotel has to adhere to Penang’s city planning guidelines that require newly built architecture to assimilate into the surrounding historic context. Therefore, the hotel’s design alludes to the heritage style.
REDEFINING VICTORIAN LOOK
Set in Georgetown’s UNESCO World Heritage site, among the 19th-century English colonial buildings, The Prestige Hotel sets itself apart from other hotels by sporting a modernised Victorian look. Its design neither mimics a heritage building nor is it entirely contemporary, but a combination of the two styles.
This is mainly carried out on the ground floor where the lifestyle stores adopt the shop-in-shop concept similar to that of the historical English shopping arcade. The hotel lobby’s floor has a large maze pattern made from marble-clad and brass trimming, which emulates a hedge maze from the English renaissance.
The Glasshouse Restaurant was inspired by the Victorian conservatory, with walls and glazing being framed with white metal lattices. This is combined with a tropical touch to create a different kind of Victorian look—a conservatory garden but with palm leaves and tropical lush garden.
Bronze-tinted metal makes up the frames and mullions in the lobby and the hotel rooms. This colour is dominant against the white background, used mostly for decorative elements. The walls are wainscoted, but the patterns are angular instead of the more common linear ones. The definitive trapezoidal wainscot contributes to the overall modernised Victorian impression.
OVERCOMING A LAYOUT CHALLENGE
The oblong building block and the layout have made the hotel’s corridors long and narrow, which may make navigating them feel monotonous. To overcome this, the walls and floor are coloured in alternating dark grey and white in such a way that creates an effect akin to infinite mirror reflections. There is also a mechanised light feature that rotates and casts shadows of intricate lattice patterns on the walls.
The studio’s layout is also rectangular. To compensate the narrowness, the studio is accentuated with visual illusion and element of surprise. For example, the bed looks as if it is suspended in the air; and there are doors that look like a wardrobe but they actually lead to toilets or pantries.
This element of surprise is carried forward to other parts of the hotel, from the reception desk that seems to balance itself on balls to the concave mirrored counter that creates a distorted reflection. Overall, the solution to the layout challenge by using visual illusion seems to be an integral part of the design.
MAXIMISING NATURAL LIGHT
The Prestige Hotel utilises alfresco spaces for dining or dwelling to minimise air-conditioning. The shopping arcade is designed as standalone storefronts interconnected by naturally ventilated walkways. Bay windows were installed at the lift landing to allow sunlight to shine through. The car parks are open and ventilated to reduce the use of blowers and lighting. Fluted glass is fitted in the function room to maximise natural lighting during the day.
Project Name: The Prestige Hotel
Location: Penang, Malaysia
Completion Date: May 2019
Site Area: 3,725 square metres
Gross Floor Area:8,570 square metres
Building Height: 5 storeys
Number of Rooms: 162
Client: Public Packages Holdings Berhad
Architecture Firm: KL Wong architect Sdn Bhd
Interior Design Firm: Ministry of Design Pte Ltd
Civil & Structural Engineer: L.o.t consultant
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: GH Consultants Sdn Bhd
Quantity Surveyor: Unitech QS Consultancy Sdn Bhd
Main Contractor: Goodwood Builders Sdn Bhd
Interior Fit-Out Contractor: Pena Builders Sdn Bhd
Images: Edward Hendricks from CI&A Photography