“A plush, sexy hotel created in a series of linked heritage shophouses that really puts the “ooh” in boutique”
You can get pumped up at Flaunt, the on-site contemporary industrial-style gym; grab a drink at Aria, the cool alfresco bar (complete with skyline views); then head out into Chinatown to explore charming, cosy streets full of eateries, boutiques and shops. Return to your sumptuous room then soak away all that indulgence the next morning in Soda, the property’s tiny outdoor Jacuzzi. That’s if you can bear to leave your cushy, mod-Victorian room in the first place!
- Super-stylish design everywhere you look
- Outstanding location in Chinatown, near shopping, financial districts, trendy restaurants, wine bars, clubs, cultural attractions and public transport
- Extravagant yet extremely comfortable rooms
- Super-cool gym, Italian-inspired rooftop bar and a small but attractive outdoor Jacuzzi
- Warm, professional service despite the cooler-than-school ambiance
- No on-site spa, but plenty of affordable options in the neighbourhood
- Base-level rooms are small (15-20 sq.m.), and some have no window, but the adept use of space and plush décor compensates
- Lack of shelf space in bathrooms
- Drinking and dining at the hotel can be pricey, but you’re paying for the artistry as much as the food and drink
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- Restaurant and bar (open daily)
- All ages are allowed
- Open all year
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
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.
- Air conditioning
- Cd player
- Coffee tea making
- Cots Available
- Extra beds
- Internet access
- Pillow menu
- Safe box
- Satellite tv
- Universal socket
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.
- Coffee tea making
- Stroll along Club Street, just behind the hotel, and enjoy coffee, a glass of wine, or a meal at any of the trendy restaurants along the shophouse-lined street
- Visit the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum at the bottom end of Erskine Road (on which the hotel is situated), a stunning work of Asian architecture housing a holy relic in addition to soaring worship halls
- Lose yourself in the pleasure palace that is the Marina Bay Sands Resort. With its high-end dining options, casino and entertainment venues, you could spend days in this complex and never get bored. It’s just a short cab ride from the hotel
- Wander down Erskine Street and browse the charming boutiques found in the lower level of the shophouses that comprise the hotel. The Scarlet’s own Flair boutique is a great spot to find unusual gifts
- Shop for trinkets and treasures at the Chinatown Night Market, also located within steps of the hotel. Open after 5pm
- Savour local delights along the Chinatown Food Street (parallel to the night market). Keep your eye out for favourites like Char Kway Teow (fried flat noodles with cockles) and Carrot Cake, (radish cake fried with eggs) all served by street vendors. Open after 5pm
- Sample the local “hawker” cuisine at Maxwell Food Centre, just opposite the hotel. Here you can try a dizzying array of Malay and Chinese meals from a variety of stalls, all at embarrassingly affordable prices
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Historical sites
- Museums / galleries
- Shopping / markets
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.
Family friendly accommodation:
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.