“A plush, sexy hotel created in a series of linked heritage shophouses that really puts the “ooh” in boutique”
Because this hotel was created by linking together 13 old shophouses (19th-century multi-level buildings with retail space on the first floor and living space above), all of the rooms open off corridors that slope gently downhill - but thanks to 21st-century engineering, the floors in the rooms are, of course, perfectly straight.
The base rooms (Standard, Deluxe and Executive) start affordable, but they are small - typically 15-20sqm. Regardless, the décor remains grand, with rich fabrics and a mix of modern and classical accents. Bear in mind that all the Standard Rooms and half of the Deluxe Rooms are windowless, or have just a strip of skylight. A few have small balconies.
The suggestive factor is boosted by well-placed mirrors, the hotel’s own hypno-music mix, and the generous use of leather (including leather headboards and circular leather “mailboxes” on every door where messages and morning papers are deposited). Even the hotel guide is artistically designed - presented in a 3-volume box that would be at home in a Vamp's library.
A notch up in size - and worth the extra cost, in our opinion - are the Premium Rooms, though even in this category half have skylights rather than windows. They are also the best option for a couple with baby.
The suites are the show-stealers, and their names say it all: Passion - seductive pinks and purples - is best for honeymooners, with its four-poster bed and outdoor Jacuzzi overlooking the city. Opulent and Swank both have Jacuzzi bathrooms, the former with custom-designed gold sunburst bed, the latter with a balcony; while Lavish and Splendour are lushly decorated with gold and crystal sconces, get fancy mirrors and generous silk drapes.
Hand-made Hastens beds, pillow menus and custom lavender-based toiletries enhance the luxe experience. All have minibars, fridges holding a 'gourmet selection', TVs, DVD players, a work desk with a dataport for PC and fax, and air-conditioning.
The rooftop holds Aria, an evening bar-cum-restaurant that allows you to sip creative cocktails in an alfresco setting with stunning skyline views. If you get hungry, you can choose from a small menu of Sicilian dishes and wines; or head down to first-floor Tartufo (a franchise of the neighbouring restaurant) for a wider spread of north Italian dishes, including several variants on the eponymous truffles. Try Piedmont egg-noodles with fresh black truffles, roasted beef shoulder with truffle mash and beef jus, or even homemade truffle ice-cream with sea-salt; or play it safe with a prosciutto platter and rucola salad.
Breakfast is often served here too, but the food - which consists of a small but (we found when we stayed) slightly uninspired western buffet - is eclipsed by the setting.
Outside the hotel, Chinatown’s famous Food Street and Maxwell Food Centre are just steps away, where you can try oodles of affordable local delicacies. Just behind the hotel you’ll find a selection of chic eateries along Club Street.
This really isn’t the place for a family getaway. The upscale sexy décor is clearly targeting an adult market. The hotel does provide extra beds and baby cots, though. Premium Rooms (and upwards) have space for a cot.
Premium Rooms (and upwards) have space for a cot, but if you do come with one or more child in tow, book a suite. The Opulent Suite can be connected to a Premium Room to make Hollywood twins.