In recent months, more hotels and even cinema operator Golden Village have launched co-working packages to make full use of lounge spaces. Golden Village even allows patrons to catch forty winks on a plush recliner in its Gold Class cinema.
Here is the lowdown on what else to expect at these new co-working spaces: Orchard Hotel, Yotel Singapore, Hilton Singapore and Golden Village Gold Class at Suntec City.
Orchard Hotel Singapore’s new co-working space, which occupies the newly refurbished Bar Intermezzo, makes for a classy office.
With plush carpets, deep couches and a bar counter as the lounge’s centrepiece, it is conducive for both meetings and banging out documents that are over due.
Office for the day
Although meant for use as a bar, the hotel has taken pains to retrofit the space for co-working, with black power plugs nestled sleekly under marbled coffee tables and bar counters. Bar stools with back and armrests are surprisingly comfortable when I work at a long communal table.
There are even seats that can be sectioned off with a sheer privacy curtain. Great for meetings or that all-important Zoom call.
Make sure to book ahead of time. General manager Lee Richards says the lounge has been seeing healthy demand since it launched co-working packages late last month, with about 35 out of 40 available seats filled daily.
If the lounge gets too full, guests can spill over to The Orchard Cafe Lounge, with garden-inspired decor and 20 additional seats.
The package includes a free flow of coffee, tea, juices and soft drinks, as well as a pastry. There are sweet and savoury options including mushroom quiche, sausage rolls and chocolate or raspberry muffins.
My pick is the curry puff, with a fluffy and buttery crust and moreish fillings.
For a more substantial meal, order a value lunch bento set ($16) from the hotel’s special work-from-lounge menu, which includes mains such as a baked chicken thigh or pan-seared barramundi fillet, as well as dessert.
And if you need a pick-me-up, treat yourself to lunch at the hotel’s Cantonese restaurant Hua Ting, which offers a 30 per cent discount for work-from hotel guests. Lunch set menus with signatures such as baked sea perch and crispy roasted pork will not disappoint.
We have all been there – struggling to stay awake as the post-lunch food coma hits, wishing we could drape ourselves over the desk for a quick nap.
Golden Village at Suntec City will do you one better. Last month, it launched a co-working package where patrons can work in its Gold Class lounge and nap in its Gold Class cinema.
Office for the day
About a third of the lounge’s 40 seats were taken when The Sunday Times visited on a weekday afternoon. The crowd was younger and more casually dressed than those in hotel lounges.
The smell of popcorn lingered in the air and movie trailers played in the background.
Not all seats have power plugs. Go for the ones at the far end of the lounge, where more extension cords are available.
Choose from two nap slots, between noon and 1.30pm, or 2 and 3.30pm. You can enter the cinema any time during your slot, but try to settle in early to avoid disturbing others.
The hall is silent and close to pitch black, save for reedy blue lights illuminating seat numbers and controls. The extremely plush seats recline almost horizontally. Blankets are provided – they feel a bit thin but smell laundry-fresh. Bring a sweater for additional warmth, and a pair of earplugs in case you wind up next to a snoring neighbour.
A cup of coffee or tea and a box of popcorn are included in the package. Guests also get a discount on finger food such as waffle fries ($6.50) and mains like Chicken Chop Kampong Fried Rice ($9.90).
Book a co-working package from Mondays to Thursdays and receive a movie discount voucher which allows you to buy two weekday movie tickets for $6 each. Co-working on Fridays gives you a similar voucher for two weekend tickets at $9.50 each. The vouchers are valid for two weeks.
Zest@Gold Class Lounge
WHERE Golden Village Suntec City, 03-373 Suntec City Mall, 3 Temasek Boulevard
WHEN Weekdays, noon to 6pm
PRICE Lounge packages, selling at a discounted rate until Dec 23, cost $15 a person. Top up $5 for a 90-minute nap in the Gold Class cinema. Subsequently, packages will cost $25 with a $10 top-up for the nap slot.
Tucked in a corner of Yotel Singapore’s in-house restaurant-cum-bar Komyuniti, this co-working space in Orchard Road works because it was built for that from the get-go.
With compact rooms, communal work spaces have always been part of the brand’s design, says general manager Brendan Daly. The hotel launched its Grind and Dine co-working package last month.
Office for the day
A meeting room, individual tables and sofa seats are all part of a small co-working space called the Komyuniti Studio, which seats 10. It is segregated from the restaurant with black mesh dividers, which offer privacy.
I pull up a chair at a long wooden table where ample power sockets nestle neatly beneath. Floor-to-ceiling glass panels overlook the pool deck, the blues and greens a refreshing change from poring over Google documents.
Otherwise, there are few distractions. Only one other person is there for the duration of my weekday afternoon visit. As the space is partially obscured, staff thoughtfully place a call button next to me and a pitcher of water at the next table.
Starting at $40 for four hours, packages here are the priciest among the four reviewed, but you do get every dollar back in meal credits. A full-day package comes with $60 of meal credit, which is enough for lunch, dinner and then some.
The menu is extensive and well-executed, including warm rice bowls with well-marinated teriyaki chicken ($18) and juicy beef burgers slathered with bacon jam ($24).
Keep the munchies at bay with a side of fried brussel sprouts ($9), topped with crispy bacon and tangy hot sauce. It doesn’t pretend to be healthy, but is a tasty way to get in your greens. The potted plant tiramisu ($18), as large as an actual planter, is a hefty dessert enough for two.
A free flow of coffee, tea, soft drinks and juices is also included in the package.
Orchard Road is better known for play, rather than work, but head to Opus Bar and Grill at Hilton Singapore if you want to give productivity levels a boost. Previously used as an extension to the hotel’s buffet lunch venue for guests to have meetings, it was launched as a co-working space in September.
Office for the day
With a maximum capacity of just 19 guests, book ahead to secure your table – the hotel recommends two days in advance. About 15 other guests came and went on the weekday afternoon The Straits Times visited.
Plush couches and armchairs have powerpoints nearby, but some regular tables and chairs do not. The former is comfortable if you are staying only an hour or two, but hard-backed chairs do better at staving off the post-lunch slump.
For more privacy, go for tables located closer to the bar, rather than those that extend into the hotel lobby.
Co-working hours end at 5pm, when staff gussy up tables for the restaurant’s dinner service. Those who need to clock overtime will have to relocate to Starbucks down the road.
Either a breakfast set or two-course lunch is included in the package, along with a free flow of coffee and tea.
Assistant restaurant manager Joel Mathias says most patrons opt for lunch, and recommends the tandoori chicken wrap. It is light yet flavourful, accompanied by a tangy mint sauce and a serving of thick-cut fries.
Choose either a starter or dessert to accompany your main. If you are feeling virtuous, the caesar salad is a safe bet.
My pick, however, is dessert. Tiramisu and chocolate cake jars, petite yet indulgent, are both solid choices. The former is moist and boozy, while the latter, made with Valrhona chocolate, is an indulgent treat.
Besides food and drinks, guests get free parking for the day and a 30 per cent discount off the a la carte menu.
Opus Bar and Grill
WHERE Lobby level Hilton Singapore, 581 Orchard Road
WHEN Weekdays, 9am to 5pm
PRICE $26 a person
This article was first published in The Straits Times.