The Grand Budapest Hotel In Disguise
In case you haven’t already known, locating the town of Nebelsbad in the Republic of Zubrowka is impossible in any universe besides the fantasy world of Wes Anderson.
Never mind the fact that the Grand Budapest Hotel (GBH) doesn't exist – you can still find hotels that evoke those whimsical feelings you get while watching the GBH (or just about any Wes Anderson movie, really).
Unlike the GBH, which exists only in Wes Anderson’s imagination, these hotels are legit and they are open right here in Malaysia. Here are seven hotels that look more like a movie set than an actual relaxing accommodation destination.
1. Eastern & Oriental
As the colonial capital of Malaysia, Georgetown is a fitting host to the Eastern & Oriental, the grandest colonial-style hotel in Malaysia. Its European charm is fodder for Malaysians to comment “Woah, so atas!”.
In contrast to the dark purple uniform worn by GBH’s bellboy, the bellboys at Eastern & Oriental are clad in khaki shorts, which is totally Wes Andersony. No one was exactly wearing khaki shorts in the GBH but if it were in the tropics, hotel staff would definitely be clad in the safari-looking attire!
Price: RM600 (Book here)
Address: 10 Farquhar Street, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia
2. The Majestic Hotel
Today, the Majestic Hotel is a destination to relive the quirks of the colonial era and recreate one’s own fantasy world in the most European-looking way possible - ceilings adorned with chandeliers and floors lined with luxurious carpets.
Head down for an afternoon tea at The Tea Lounge and ask for the best English tea they can conjure up. Chances are, it’s the “English afternoon tea with a Malaysian twist” from their menu.
Price: RM405 (Book here)
Address: No.5, Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin, City Centre, KL Sentral, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 50000
3. Macalister Mansion
Besides the E&O hotel, Penang is home to a century-old restored colonial mansion, Macalister Mansion.
Although the eight rooms have modern furnishings, they still retain the mansion’s original fittings leftover from the colonial era, such as the wrought-iron spiral staircase that takes guests from the turret room to the top. These original fittings of the room are complemented by modern artwork commissioned by the hotel from local and regional artists.
Price: RM930 (Book here)
Address: 228 Jalan Macalister, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia, 10400
4. The Danna Langkawi
If you are looking for the grandeur of the Grand Budapest Hotel but can’t tahan the cold and gloominess of a remote mountaintop hotel, the Danna Langkawi, located in Langkawi’s tropical beach, should be your pick.
Replace the rows of snow-covered pine trees in the GBH movie poster with palm trees and blue water and you’ll get the movie poster for the Danna Langkawi - if ever a movie about this hotel is filmed. The hotel is located along a private beach on which you can have a private dinner or lounge around in your vintage bikini.
Price: RM1,040 (Book here)
Address: Telaga Harbour Park, Teluk Burau, Langkawi, Malaysia, 07000
5. Cameron Highlands Resort
Set in Cameron Highlands, 1,500 metres above sea level where the average temperature is around 22 °C during the day and 15 °C at night, the Cameron Highlands Resort is probably closest to the Winter Wonderland that you might experience at the Grand Budapest Hotel.
Every night at the Highlands Bar, the fireplace would be lit for a toasty gathering around the fireplace. Too bad there are no funiculars to take you up the hill to the resort though. Nonetheless, the climate and isolation from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding cities makes this the perfect setting for a Malaysian GBH!
Price: RM730 (Book here)
Address: Tanah Rata, Pahang, Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia, 39000
6. Seven Terraces
Seven Terraces is the Grand Budapest Hotel, Peranakan style. The hotel is a row of terrace houses built in the late 1800s and redeveloped to highlight Penang’s Peranakan architecture and English décor to give that traditional feel with Anglo-Chinese influence.
The open courtyards in the centre of the terrace houses is a prominent feature of most buildings in the same style and provide natural air and light - it’s not just perfect for a movie set for a Peranakan GBH, but also a classic Chinese film!
Address: Stewart Ln, Georgetown, 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia (Book here)
7. Grand Kampar Hotel
Grand Kampar Hotel’s cream façade is pretty close to that of the Grand Budapest Hotel and as you enter the hotel, the lobby reminds you of old English decor - so you’ll get the full suite of European elegance from the onset.
Get ready to be the only ones in the hotel during the weekdays, as Kampar isn’t the sort of town known for its extravagance. Nonetheless, spend a night at Grand Kampar Hotel and go for a quiet dip in the pool and have your delicious meals at its cafe.
Price: RM177 (Book here)
Address: 2188, Jalan Timah, Bandar Baru Kampar, Kampar, Kampar, Malaysia, 31900
Malaysia’s very own The Grand Budapest Hotels
These colonial-era hotels in Malaysia are sure to bring back the nostalgia that Wes Anderson’s movies often embody, albeit with more of an English feel than the Eastern European charm that the Grand Budapest Hotel oozes. Just remember not to get stuck in a time warp for too long!