For some, the biggest part of any trip is the accommodation – we fall in that category. Depending on the mood: an all-inclusive villa, a charming boutique hotel, a glamping experience in the mountains or a no-holds-barred luxury resort may or may not suffice.
On a recent trip to Singapore, we researched hard. The big name, cookie-cut hotels held no appeal, we wanted somewhere new, with character, without having to forgo the luxuries of which we are accustomed.
Enter Hotel Vagabond
Say the name, doesn’t it make you feel delightfully rakish already? The tagline of Hotel Vagabond: ‘If you must get into trouble, do it at The Vagabond’ (sold!).
Here are some fast facts: The hotel is housed in vibrant Little India, in a row of Artdeco shop-lots built in 1950s. It is intimate, with 41 rooms only. Architect and interior designer Jacques Garcia (of Hotel Costes, Paris and Hotel Danieli, Venice fame) conceptualised it.
You step off the dusty sidewalks, immediately transported into an opulent salon. Plush red velvet upholstery and drapery add a sensuous softness to the space. The solid brass rhino reception dominates, while the exquisite, gold-leafed Banyan trees (designed by Franck Le Ray) creep from floor to ceiling. In the elevator flanked by the golden elephants, the mixed-media video installation enthrals. Even the service team oozes style in their plum wraparound dresses. The overall vibe is classy and understated, with a side of too cool for school.
In-room Nespresso, Fine China & Egyptian Cotton Sheets
Our Deluxe Executive Club Room was laid out in a straight line. Entering, the vestibule also acts as the ‘office’ with the desk, minibar and a complimentary smart phone for free local and international calls (woot!). Passing through, one comes to the bedroom, and through that the wardrobe and vanity area, then the shower and WC. We found it all compact, yet delightfully well-appointed, from the bedding (we wanted to sleep all day!), to the well-stocked minibar, smart TV with movie selection, Etro bathroom amenities, chocolates on the pillow at turndown and those information-packed pocket guides for exploring the Little India, Kampong Glam, and even a Food Guide.
On account of its heritage home, there’s no pool at the hotel, but there is a gym, a high-touch Executive Lounge, Restaurant (The Salon) and Bar Vagabond to satiate one’s gustatory desires. We had a well-prepared, healthy first breakfast of maple granola and yoghurt with fresh fruit and coffee before we ventured out into the streets of Little India. Bonus: The Michelin-starred, Tai Hwa Pork Noodles is just a 6-8 mins walk away, while the 24-hour shopping mecca, Mustafa is just down the road. Museums, churches, mosques and temples are all easily accessible for the adventurous explorer.
So, Yay or Nay?
One word, gem.
We were so pleased to find Hotel Vagabond. For an experience that boasts style and luxury in spades, in a location equally colourful and exciting, this is the place to stay in Singapore.
Hôtel Vagabond, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel, 39 Syed Alwi Road, Singapore 207630
Singapore Stays This Way.