[UPDATE: South Beach is now a JW Marriott hotel and Hotel Vagabond is now a Starwood Tribute Hotel]
Naumi’s draw is its hideaway feel. The hotel sports a very intimate yet ultra-luxe feel, with soft lighting, designer furnishings, high thread count sheets, and Apple TV. While the standard rooms are compact they are cleverly designed so don’t feel cramped.
Or splash out for a suite which come in two designs one inspired to Coco Chanel in tasteful monochrome, the other a homage to Andy Warhol with a more in your face pop art theme.
The rooftop swimming pool, complete with cabana recliners and cocoon couches, is a hidden gem accessible only to guests. The pool is tiny so you don’t really get a workout doing laps, but that’s not really the point.
41 Seah Street, Singapore, tel +65 6403 6000 http://www.naumihotel.com
The newest kid on Singapore’s boutique block designed by Jacques Garcia of Hotel Costes, Paris fame. As such it’s a little bit of Paris in Singapore, or more specifically in Little India slash Kampong Glam.
Centre stage is the alluring ground floor public space, all dark lighting and red velvet drapes, comprising a bar segueing into a Salon and restaurant. At 5th Quarter restaurant, chef Drew Nocente, focuses on smoking, curing and pickling on his clever menu. [UPDATE: Drew has now left and opened his own restaurant in Singapore, Salted and Hung.]
Art is predominant here from the rhino check in desk and the elephant seemingly crashing through the lobby wall to the video installations in the loos and the lift.
The 41 rooms are similarly maximalist but on the right side of taste: every space of wall crammed with pictures and richly hand painted screens.
39 Syed Alwi Road; +65 6291 6677 http://www.hotelvagabondsingapore.com
This handsome colonial building with white façade accented by bright red shutters is found on the corner of bar and restaurant mecca, Club Street.
Fresh from a refurb, the design mixes period features with on trend Mad Men-esque retro furnishings. Think jewel coloured velvets, 60s style chairs, and dark grey and navy painted panels – reminiscent of British stately homes like Downton Abbey.
The hotel’s hub is Mr and Mrs Maxwell, a loungey restaurant space that serves as an old day diner and local hang out spot.
Up on the roof is Tiger’s Milk, the Lion City’s first Peruvian bar. Come for the Piscos, the cerviche and the skewers.
28 Ann Siang Road, Singapore 069708 Tel: +65 6808 2188 http://www.theclub.com.sg
What happens when you bring together four homegrown creative firms and give them free reign to put together a hotel?
Each design team was given an entire floor of this former 1920s schoolhouse to transform. The result is succinctly captured in 29 unique rooms collectively known as Wanderlust.
The lobby is a wacky combination of vintage ads, shades of cement gray, wildly colored furnishings and exposed beams and air ducts for that intentionally unintentional look.
Leaving the funkiest for last, the top Creature Comforts floor features Whimsical, split level loft rooms feature designs from monsters to typewriters (above) and spaceships.
The hotel’s Cocotte restaurant is also well regarded for rustic French food.
Wanderlust Hotel; 2 Dickson Road; +65 6396 3322 http://www.wanderlusthotel.com
The New Majestic
[UPDATE: The New Majestic has now closed.]
With the same owner as Wanderlust, New Majestic shares plenty of the nonconformist design attitude of its sister property – this time in Chinatown.
Housed in a conservation shop house, the interiors are impeccably put together with clean lines, stark white walls and floors, and a mix of vintage and designer furniture scattered throughout.
Each of the 30 rooms, some with private gardens or verandahs, are custom-designed to give an individual personality. These range from oversized murals and seemingly suspended mattresses to glass-enclosed bathtub as a centerpiece. The Attic suites feature loft space beds and twin cast iron bathtubs.
There’s a slip of a lap pool in the atrium. But be warned – it features portholes that are visible in the hotel’s (modern Cantonese) restaurant.
31-37 Bukit Pasoh Road; +65 6511 4700 http://www.newmajestichotel.comThe South Beach
A new addition to Beach Road, opposite the venerable Raffles Hotel, is this Norman Foster designed showstopper with interiors by Philippe Starck.
The hotel is actually comprised of a skyscraper plus historic colonial low rises at ground level. And while there are some 650 rooms and suites, the place is overwhelmingly boutique in feel. If you judge “boutique” by ambience rather than size, and here at Chopstix we do.
Doing away with the traditional reception, you’ll be checked in at one of several freestanding desks – each one itself a work of art and overhung by a unique chandelier.
Rooms are bright and contemporary (if you like chintz, don’t book here) and the minimalist bathrooms come with Japanese style loos.
Icing on the cake is the 18 floor sky garden with a wrap around view of Singapore’s skyline and contemporary rocking chairs from which to drink it all in. Speaking of which, there’s also a swimming pool, gym and bar with a view up here.
30 Beach Road; +65 6818 1888 http://www.thesouthbeach.com.sg