“A budget boutique hotel with lots of little extras, squeezed inside 10 fused shophouses in colourful Chinatown”
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.
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.