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3 Trendsetting Singaporean Boutiques

A trio of these small hotels in Singapore makes the city more affordable without scrimping on design or comfort. By CHRISTOPHER KUCWAY.

Published on Jan 10, 2017


HOW SMALL CAN YOU GO? In the hotel world where big space most often equates to big rates, how to pack full comfort into pint-sized quarters is the question du jour, and these three boutique stays have all the right answers.



For a local feel, head to this homey hotel outside the city center. It is a bit out of the way to get here, but the payoff is larger rooms and a homegrown cultural aesthetic that pops. The 131 rooms combine playful primary colors with Peranakan kitsch, all in a former police station—check out the lock-up off to one side of the hotel restaurant. Traditionally, the deeper you venture into a Peranakan house, the more private the space becomes, and the guestrooms here mirror that effect: tile floors give way to wood and the vibe gets cozier as you walk farther into the room. The design takes local history and punches it up with exaggerated elements, like gallery-worthy tiling in the lobby, full-wall pencil murals, batik-print rugs and a game board coffee table. It's a fresh twist on classic styles. 86 East Coast Rd.;; doubles from S$160.

Hotel Indigo
Peranakan touches at the Hotel Indigo Katong. Courtesy of Hotel Indigo Katong.



Designed by Philippe Starck, this place is the perfect example of the petite-chic trend. The biggest of the 293 rooms is a lean 22 square meters, yet it doesn't feel cramped. The diminutive size only registers once you unpack and realize there's not enough space to lie a suitcase fully opened on the floor. Luckily, there is extra room on the sitting terrace outside, so you can always stash your luggage al fresco. While the two-tiered Loft Gallery room is better suited for guests looking for a clear divide between lounging and sleeping quarters, the Alcove Cosy room is a feat of clever design. It has everything you'll need, like a 40-inch HDTV and Wi-Fi, though not always where you might expect it: take the bathroom sink, which, bucking convention, is planted in the main room facing the bed. Apparently it took a little reconfiguring of the standard hotel-room layout to fit the jigsaw together, but the pieces are all there, and seeing the creative solutions for overcoming the limited space is part of the fun. Another highlight is its location; the well-appointed facilities—from the small fitness center to outdoor lap pool to funky restaurant—that open onto the Singapore River are all aimed at getting guests to mix with this happening residential neighborhood. 90 Robertson Quay;; doubles from S$225.

M Social
Loft Premier room at M Social. Courtesy of M Social.



Opened in December 2016, the property by Lo & Behold feels like a missing piece in the Singapore hotel puzzle: a boutique hotel in a restored address. This 37-room renovation on the Singapore River ticks off all the right boxes. The history of the place as a spice storehouse, illegal distillery and, most recently, under-the-radar rave joint is preserved in the design elements of the common spaces. Exposed brick and mod, industrial-chic lighting all point to the past. Guestrooms are fitted out in leather and rattan, their earth tones making each feel larger than it actually is. Opt for a second-floor room—those on the ground level facing the public walkway along the river beg for the privacy of one-way glass. And don't miss the see-through pool on the roof that opens to the river and streets below. It defines see and be seen. 320 Havelock Rd.;; doubles from S$225.

The Warehouse
Stylish meets smart at The Warehouse. Courtesy of The Warehouse.



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Loft Premier room at M Social. Courtesy of M Social.
  • Vibrant public spaces at Hotel Indigo Katong. Courtesy of Hotel Indigo Katong.
  • Desk and the closet in bathroom. Courtesy of The Warehouse.
  • The Warehouse, reinvigorating the river. Courtesy of The Warehouse.
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