“A budget boutique hotel with lots of little extras, squeezed inside 10 fused shophouses in colourful Chinatown”
The quirky, youthful vibe fades somewhat as you follow Tardis-like corridors to your room. Compact, neat, with ingenious space-saving touches, they are all the flashpacker needs for a good night's sleep (or day, if you're jet-lagged) in the heart of Chinatown. Inevitably, most are small, and entry-level Quaints lack natural light. But they are comfy and clean, with some unexpected extras (free mobile data, dental kits), and "Grab'n'Go" gourmet breakfast boxes. And the price is gratifyingly diminutive, too.
- Prime Chinatown location, surrounded by cafes and bars, 10 mins' walk from hawker centres, night market and 2 MRT stations
- Sinkingly comfy beds with 4 plump pillows; I slept like a log
- Staff are cheerful, youthful and easy-going
- Free minibar and Nespresso in Porch rooms
- Excellent value for money
- No outdoor spaces, pool or spa - just the lobby
- Bedrooms have less character than some hotels nearby, but plenty of comfort - and good availability
- Once in the bowels of the hotel, it can feel a bit like being inside a cruise ship
- Apparently, WiFi is patchy in some rooms
- Did we warn you that bedrooms are small?
Best time to go
There's a multitude of year round festivals from the diverse ethnic traditions of the city: Chinese New Year in February is an experience; as is the Indian Cultural Festival in November. Book early for both.”
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- No meals on site; restaurants nearby
- Allowed but not ideal
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
The hotel literature promises "a serene alcove where you can escape the bustle of the city", and that pretty much nails it. Compact (12-30 sq.m.), muted and cleverly designed, they feel like extremely comfortable pods. Beds (mostly queen) have soft duvets, plump pillows and near silent A/C; small ensuite shower rooms are good, despite slight flooding issues. You'll find rolled towels under the basin, toiletries (including dental and shaving kits), bottled water, ear plugs "in case your neighbours are louder than anticipated", even an iron and board.
Quaint rooms are all internal, meaning they have no windows, so we advise booking a Heritage (some overlook Keong Saik Road) or a Porch (with tiny balconies). Both these have Nespresso machines; the latter also gets you a free minibar and tea selection. The smallest rooms are single-bedded, handy for the budget solo traveller.
- Air conditioning
- Nespresso in Porch + Heritage rooms
- Safe box
There's no lunch or dinner at the hotel, but that's a wise decision, as it means you can sample the local eateries to your stomach's content. Keong Saik Road bristles with world cuisine, from burritos at Muchachos to gourmet burgers at The Potato Head Folk. A short walk away, hawker centres let you sample all manner of Oriental specialities in cheap-and-cheerful surrounds, while The Cufflink Club serves one-of-a-kind cocktails from sunset till late. Closer to home (in every sense), The Study offers reinvented British fare, overseen by Jason Atherton, in a chic bistro setting. We loved our Scotch egg with Iberico pork and foie gras, followed by vanilla rice pudding with mango sorbet and mint dressing - a real highlight.
Breakfast boxes are available from the hotel lobby - savoury croissant (tuna or salmon-salad), omelette or scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, juice and yoghurt, that sort of thing. Or you can venture to a nearby cafe if you're up for savoury noodles, gooey eggs and kopi (photo menus will guide you). There's also free Popsicles, drinks and sweets in the lobby to tide you over between meals.
- Free snacks
- Restaurants nearby
- Aside from Chinatown's culinary adventures, you're well placed for bespoke tailors (the hotel recommends Leong T on the same road), curio shops, the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and the Hindu temple of Sri Layan Sithi Vinayagar
- Singapore is renowned for its shopping - cruise the malls of Orchard Road (15 minutes by MRT), or try Arab Street or Geyland Serai for more ethnic markets
- Go to Raffles Hotel for afternoon tea; or try the Singapore Sling
- Sample the thriving club scene - found around the Mohamed Sultan Road
- Sentosa Island has the most accessible beaches and a large aquarium where you can meet a shark and swim with dolphins
- The 20-hectare Jurong Bird Park and the open concept 28-hectare zoo both have a huge array of animals and birds in well maintained surroundings - great for kids
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Historical sites
- Museums / galleries
- Private guided tours
- Shopping / markets
- Traditional cultures