The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE -

Fol­low­ing a three-year restora­tion, a small colo­nial bun­ga­low nes­tled in the lush, 22ha Labrador Na­ture Re­serve in Sin­ga­pore has been trans­formed into an in­ti­mate ho­tel with just 20 gue­strooms.

Opened ear­lier this year, Villa Sa­madhi Sin­ga­pore oc­cu­pies a for­mer Bri­tish army gar­ri­son build­ing and later half­way house.

The build­ing had been aban­doned for more than a decade when Sa­madhi Re­treats got its hands on it. Chief ex­ec­u­tive Fed­erico Asaro over­saw the painstak­ing ren­o­va­tion, sal­vaging an­tique tiles and floor planks from de­mol­ished kam­pong houses and send­ing bro­ken win­dow shut­ters to Kuala Lumpur to be re­stored.

The chic, pared-back in­te­ri­ors chan­nel a colo­nial vibe with lofty ceil­ings, four-poster beds, cus­tom fur­ni­ture fash­ioned from re­cy­cled teak, blue-and-white china and lo­cally grown orchids. Fab­rics have been sourced from indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties in Malaysia and North­ern Thai­land.

Each room fea­tures a king­size bed, mini­bar with wine, free Wi-Fi and a handy phone with un­lim­ited data and free calls to se­lected coun­tries. Turn­down is espe­cially gen­er­ous with snacks, choco­lates and a night­cap.

The 11 so-called Crib gue­strooms pro­vide di­rect ac­cess to the lounge or gar­den; the larger Sarang cat­e­gory cham­bers have a whirlpool while the pre­mium Luxe Sarang fea­tures an out­door plunge pool and pri­vate gar­den.

With its forested out­look, the ho­tel feels a mil­lion miles from the usual Sin­ga­pore hus­tle and bus­tle but is only a few min­utes on foot to the near­est MRT sta­tion and a 10-minute drive to down­town.

DON’T MISS: A Sin­ga­pore sling or house-in­fused gin in the old-world li­brary.

DIN­ING IN: Housed in an even more ven­er­a­ble colo­nial bun­ga­low, Tamarind Hill is ac­cessed via a ro­man­tic jun­gle board­walk, two min­utes from the main ho­tel build­ing. Ex­ec­u­tive chef Wan­thana Nikon­saen and her team of Thai chefs turn out Burmese and Thai dishes pre­pared from scratch. Each of the chefs has con­trib­uted fam­ily recipes to the tra­di­tionalmod­ern mix. Try Tam Kah Noon (jack­fruit salad with crispy pork) and Woon Sen Ped Yang (glass noo­dles with roasted duck).

DIN­ING OUT: Per­aMakan in the Kep­pel Club serves great Per­anakan cui­sine or try Prive Kep­pel Bay over­look­ing Kep­pel Bay Ma­rina for brunch (there’s also an oys­ter bar).

ASK THE CONCIERGE: A morn­ing tour of Labrador Park is a must. Once known as Fort Pasir Pan­jang, the area is a na­ture re­serve, home to 70 species of birds, and his­toric land­mark com­plete with ma­chine­gun posts and se­cret tun­nels, all in mint con­di­tion.

CHECK­ING IN: From $S277 ($256) a night in­clud­ing break­fast, wel­come af­ter­noon tea and evening cock­tails; four pieces of laun­dry a day are in­cluded with a min­i­mum two-night stay. More: vil­

ALSO TRY: Jawi Per­anakan Man­sion, Pe­nang; Aman­galla, Galle, Sri Lanka; Villa Sa­madhi Kuala Lumpur.

CHRIS­TINE McCABE Of­fer­ing ocean views from most of its 500 gue­strooms and suites, the new Shangri-La Ho­tel, Colombo, is tak­ing book­ings this month for stays from De­cem­ber 1; lo­cated on the city’s fa­mous Galle Face Green prom­e­nade, the ho­tel will fea­ture five res­tau­rants and bars and a large day spa • US micro-ho­tel pioneer The Pod Ho­tels is set to open a flag­ship in the heart of NYC’s Times Square of­fer­ing 665 com­pact gue­strooms across 28 floors; Pod Times Square will also fea­ture 45 larger Pod Pads, a bar over­look­ing Times Square and a ca­sual Ital­ianAmer­i­can restau­rant • In Ger­many, Ho­tel Lib­erty, a for­mer 19th-cen­tury prison, opens on Septem­ber 30 as a mem­ber of De­sign Ho­tels; lo­cated just out­side the city walls of Of­fen­burg’s old town near the Black For­est, its 38 gue­strooms are ar­rayed across two half­tim­bered build­ings joined by a con­tem­po­rary glass box • The Oetker Col­lec­tion takes over the op­er­a­tion of Jumby Bay Re­sort in the Caribbean from Oc­to­ber; the 120ha pri­vate is­land is 3km from An­tigua and was pre­vi­ously a Rose­wood Ho­tels prop­erty • Man­darin Ori­en­tal, Sin­ga­pore, is ready­ing for the Grand Prix with a three-night pack­age from Septem­ber 14-19 in­clud­ing a three-day pass to ei­ther the Em­press or Padang Grand­stands, break­fast or lunch and 3pm check out; from $S1350 ($1250) a night.

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