From The Straits Times    |

While all the rooms at The Warehouse Hotel share a luxe aesthetic, no two are exactly the same. 
Image: The Warehouse Hotel 


Staycations mean one thing – spending plenty of time indoors being horizontal. And if you’re going to luxuriating all day in a hotel room, you want to make sure that you’re happy with your choice. It’s hard work, but someone had to do it – so we stayed one night at four boutique hotels to see if they were worth the hype, the cash, and the Instagram stories.


If you want a modern luxe getaway with your S.O: The Warehouse Hotel

Unwind at the hotel’s lobby bar, which serves drinks that highlight uniquely Asian flavours like kaya. 
Image: The Warehouse Hotel 


One night in The Warehouse Hotel’s River View Loft room is like staying in the penthouse of my real estate dreams, with its soaring, sloped ceilings and the wide windows overlooking the bright lights of Robertson Quay. It oozes intimacy, thanks to its dim lighting and dark wood furnishings – including forest-green headboards for the beds – and lush carpets perfectly tempering the black steel rafters and angular fixtures.

As its name suggests, the 37-room hotel was formerly a warehouse that bore witness to a time when this area was a hotbed of vice – with secret societies, underground activity, and liquor distilleries. In each room, you’ll find little nods to the hotel’s century-long history, such as a traditional kettle with an elongated spout (the kind used to make teh tarik), and a birdcage shaped, three-tiered container holding local goodies – salted egg yolk chips and Tiger Balm – in place of a typical minibar. A handwritten welcome note comes with pineapple tarts. It was a lovely personal touch.


The Warehouse Hotel’s River View room
Image: The Warehouse Hotel 


The open bathtub concept means the toilet and showers are separated from the main room by just a thin pane of frosted glass, so it’s best to go solo or do this with your significant other. Take a leisurely swim in the salmon-pink tiled infinity rooftop pool. Or stay in your room, channel-surf (a generous 24 channels are available), and listen to music piped through Bang & Olufsen speakers while you’re sprawled on custom-made, feather-soft duvets. We wake up to a warming breakfast of congee and bak ku teh at Po, on the ground floor. The hearty portions are just the fuel we need to leave feeling content. It’s truly relaxation at its most luxe.

Room rates start at $315, inclusive of breakfast. Visit for more information.


For a resort fix without the plane ticket: Villa Samadhi

The Luxe Sarang room
Image: Villa Samadhi 


The “Have you noticed there aren’t any clocks here?” my companion says in a hushed voice. A startling observation, but she’s right. At Villa Samadhi, time seems to come to a standstill.

Getting to the hotel – a former British garrison nestled deep in Labrador Nature Reserve – requires meandering along a winding road surrounded by lush greenery. Away from the bustle of the city, and with all the hotel’s colonial touches, being here feels like stepping back in time. In my room, the stillness is broken only by the soothing sounds of the forest outside the window.

Instead of magnetic cards to access the rooms, guests get actual brass keys. And batik sarongs are laid out on the bed for you to wear while lounging around the room. Also in keeping with the old-world theme, the kettle in your room is made of copper, while the soap and shampoo are housed in porcelain bottles. Wi-Fi is available, so don’t worry about not being able to update your Instagram account – but you’ll find some dead spots around the hotel grounds which will force you to get unplugged.

We hear that the greenery and inviting flight of stairs leading to Tamarind Hill have made this a favourite spot for wedding photography.
Image: Villa Samadhi 

We stay in The Sarang Room, among the more luxe of the hotel’s 20 rooms. The star feature is the bathroom – it’s so large that it has double doors. In it is a jacuzzi built into the floor, big enough to accommodate four people and boasting an automated heating system so we can soak in the warm bubbling water even as temperatures dip after dark. It is the perfect prelude to a good night’s sleep in the luxurious king-size bed.

Aside from the excellent food at Thai restaurant Tamarind Hill just across the boardwalk (where guests also have breakfast), you get a complimentary afternoon tea of scones and sandwiches on your first day, and an assortment of delectable homemade kueh on subsequent days. We opt to enjoy our spread in our room, but you can choose to have it in the communal lounge, which has open windows and no air-conditioning (because, you know, #onewithnature). Wash it down with a free flow of cocktails from 5-6pm. Sweet.

Room rates start at $395 (a promotional rate of $277 is available till September). Visit for more information.


If you’re a hipster looking to party: M Social

Be patient: Aura takes some time to come to your door!
Image: M Social


A sure sign that a hotel has its eye on the future is when you buzz reception for extra towels and they’re brought to your door by a waist-high R2D2-esque robot. Aura the Relay Robot can be loaded with small to medium sized amenities, and programmed to take them to your room. Once it arrives, the robot gives you a call to open the door, and lifts its lid so you can retrieve your items.

It’s not the only digital touch. M Social’s lobby has self-check-in kiosks instead of a traditional reception area, while the in-house restaurant Beast & Butterflies hangs tablets with rotating images on its walls in place of artwork.


The Loft Premier room
Image: M Social


The 293-room hotel feels like a studio apartment I want to invite friends over to for a pool party. But if staying in isn’t your thing, the hip bars and eateries of Robertson Quay (Super Loco, Sprmrkt and Brussels Sprouts) are just a five minute walk away.

Digital novelties aside, M Social is Robertson Quay’s shiny new kid on the block, and the brainchild of iconic French designer Philippe Starck. With its steel, glass and mirrored furnishings, and well-placed spotlights, it radiates energy – definitely not the kind of space that invites you to just have a chill night. Further proof of this is that the television is on the first floor of the two-storey loft room while the bed is on the upper level. In other words, it’s not a space for lounging around and watching TV.

Room rates start at $210. Go to for more information.


If you’re looking for a budget friendly girls’ day in: Hotel Mono

Snap your OOTD at the starkly chic hotel lobby.
Image: Hotel Mono


Hotel Mono has a great location, a sought after nostalgia factor, and an extremely reasonable price point. The building was once a budget hotel occupying the space of six shophouses, and Hotel Mono’s 46 rooms retain the size and shape of the original ones, but everything else has been given a starkly chic monochrome makeover. You can see echoes of the building’s past in the vinyl floors and narrowness of the winding corridors, but they’re charmingly quaint, not claustrophobic.

Although it’s in the heart of bustling Chinatown, the hotel is at Mosque Street, one of the quieter lanes in the area, so we slept well and peacefully.

The rooms are on the small side, but clever design creates the illusion of a larger space. Instead of bulky cupboards, black steel beams run along the walls to serve as clothing racks. And with built-in lightbulbs, they double as a source of illumination. The furniture is sparse but practical – the couch opens up to form a sofa bed, and the tiled shower stall also boasts a rain shower.


One of the studio rooms at Hotel Mono
Image: Hotel Mono


This is the hotel to pick if you want a fun night with your girlfriends without digging too deep into your pockets. It’s no-frills (there’s no in-house restaurant or any added facilities like a pool or gym), but it still fulfils the brief when it comes to what staycations are about: comfort, easy access to great food, and a place to recharge and refuel. Grab takeaways from the many zi char eateries nearby, eat in bed in your pyjamas, and play a raucous game of cards. Tip: A two-storey loft room is available on request, and we think it will be a hit for a hen night party.

Room rates start at $140. Visit for more information.


This article was first published in the August 2017 issue of Her World magazine. 

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