Discover hidden bars, Michelin-starred restaurants, and heritage hotels in Penang
Zainal Abidin, an affable manager at the Prestige in George Town, Penang, Malaysia, has me see a trick that doesn’t quite work every time. He’s showing me around the hotel named after the 2006 Christopher Nolan movie about two competing magicians. While I’m there I get to experience the city’s own kind of magic – winding alleys and pastel-painted storefronts, magnificently restored hotels and tantalizing food.
“Or this way,” he says, bending his head to the left, then back again. I follow suit — we seem like two nodding dashboard dogs — and suddenly the mirror appears. “Guests are sure to find this effect confusing.” Zainal laughs, and I wonder if it is confusing for guests returning late from George Town’s many bars. However, Zainal shakes his head: “Guests love it.” He says the corridors are actually very popular for Instagram shoots.
The colonial port city of George Town on the island of Penang, just off the Malay Peninsula’s west coast, has a magic all its own that is not found in Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi beaches or Borneo rainforests.
About 1 square mile of twisting alleys lined with two- and three-story rowhouses that double as storefronts, known locally as shophouses, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.