Our tour guide laughed at the amazed looks and rye smiles on everyone’s faces as she told us about the 70 year old Cheong Fatt Tze marrying his 7th wife who was 17. ‘But Juliet was only 14 in ‘Romeo and Juliet’.
All the architecture in Georgetown is beautiful and nostalgic. Colonial style buildings and brightly coloured facades line the streets. Combine this with the vibrant botanical nature of the city, bulging bourgenvillia and delicate blossoms, it makes for an eye popping visual spectacle. Nowehere is this more apparent than at the Blue Mansion on Leith Street.
The mansion was built by Cheong Fatt Tze, a Chinese buisnessman in the 1880s and used to house his ever expanding family. Following the principles of feng shui, the house is an aesthetic marvel. It is perfectly balanced and has open courtyards in order to let in air and rain, as keeping water in the house is key to sustaining a fortune. Something which Cheong Fatt Tze certainly did. Bought by new owners and restored in the 1990s, the house is now a UNESCO certified project and contains many of its original artifacts. In the museum-like part of the house you can see old clothes and ornaments kept by its first occupants. It also still has an early marriage bed on display, for observation only of course. The tour costs 17rm and certainly gives you a feel for the house, but the majority of it is sectioned off to the public.
To get the full effect of the mansion, you would need to stay overnight. As well as the tour and museum, the house is now a bed and breakfast. The rooms have been carefully restored to resemble their original opulent state and offer a luxurious experience ranging in price from £85-200 a night. On top of this you can treat yourself to an elegant meal at the fine dining restaurant Indigo located on the first floor. The menu includes seared yellowfin tuna, mushroom stuffed chicken roulade and chocolate fondant.
As you leave and look back at the full effect of the house you can’t deny just how much it loves up to its name. The Mansion is a piece of history, a lesson in feng shui, a luxury bed for the night and very, very blue.