The Prestige Hotel

Designed by: Ministry of Design Pte Ltd
For client: Public Packages Holdings Berhad Floor area: 8570.00 M² Year of completion: 2019
Submitted for:

About the Project

“A Touch of Magic in a Tropical, Victorian Eden” The Prestige Hotel is set in Georgetown’s UNESCO World Heritage site, amongst 19th-century English colonial buildings, and features 162 rooms, restaurant, rooftop infinity pool, events pavilion, & a vibrant Victorian dining/retail arcade. To differentiate itself from 2 common approaches by other hotels, our design neither mimics heritage nor is purely modern. Conceptually grounding the design in “Transposed Heritage”, i.e. to run with the old and create something fresh yet familiar, we developed its narrative beyond this to include whimsical elements inspired by visual illusion. The lobby mullions are crafted from champagne-bronze-tinted metal for a contemporised Victorian aesthetic. The restaurant is a modernised Victorian conservatory with a simplified wrought-metal lattice pattern. Lift lobbies feature a champagne-bronze-tinted window-portal framing lush planting, etched with Victorian grille-like patterning. In the lobby, as a cheeky reference to magical illusion, guests are invited to navigate a marble floor maze with brass trimmings. The reception is made of concave mirrored stainless steel, creating a distorted reflection seemingly balanced on chrome spheres. In the rooms, the Shower & Wardrobe Enclosure crafted with champagne-bronze-tinted metal & glass takes aesthetic cues from Houdini’s escape box. Other visual illusions include seemingly levitating beds, & hidden doors that reveal toilet cubicles & pantries.

What’s unique about it

“Transposed Heritage: creating something fresh yet familiar” Arising from the commercial impetus to stand out from Penang’s growing slew of design-oriented hotels, our design neither mimics heritage nor is purely modern. Combining characterful elements of historic context with a modern sensibility, we sought to "transpose heritage"; not to be ruled by it, but to run with it to create something fresh yet familiar. We developed the narrative further to include whimsical elements inspired by visual illusion. Initially needing to overcome the monotony of 143-meter long guestroom corridors, our response was to employ “visual illusions”: designing alternating dark & light colour zones, and placing rotating shadow-casting luminaries to animate the guest journey. Excited by its potential, we subtly introduced other elements such as “levitation” & “concealment” throughout the guest experience. Another innovation is the GF typology which responds to the tropical climate. We planned the Lobby, Restaurant & retail stores as ‘standalone storefronts’ interconnected by naturally ventilated walkways. An alternative to the typical fully air-conditioned hotel, this utilizes the alfresco spaces for dining, dwelling & circulation, and breaks down the linear scale of the long building, recalling a ‘shop-in-shop’ concept, reminiscent of the historical English shopping arcade. Since its launch, regional & local market response have been positive, with occupancy rates averaging 85-95%

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