“With its Indian, Chinese, and ethnic Malay influences, Malaysia sits at the cultural crossroads of Southeast Asia. So it’s no wonder that the Hotel Penaga draws so heavily on this rich confluence. Architect Hijjas Kasturi and his environmentalist wife, Angela, spent three years renovating the three art deco buildings that constitute the hotel, using found materials from across the region in the 45 rooms. Granite slabs in the garden came to the country as ballast on early 20th-century Chinese trading ships. Flooring incorporates Indonesian pressed tiles. Rugs are either Chinese cowhide, Indian sisal, Turkish patchwork kilims, or bamboo mats from eastern Malaysia. And much of the timber used was salvaged from demolished colonial buildings on the peninsula. The Kasturis also run an artist retreat near Kuala Lumpur, so you can expect to see original pieces created by both well-known and emerging artists hanging all over the Penaga’s walls.
(budget travel, hotels under $150)”