A sleek river­side get­away in Sin­ga­pore that is both clean-cut and mis­chievous, Ware­house Ho­tel is an ex­em­plar of in­dus­trial de­sign that doesn’t shy away from its colour­ful past

Southeast Asia Globe - - Contents - Euan Black

The play­ful and provoca­tive Ware­house Ho­tel


With its ex­posed brick walls and clean lines, the Ware­house Ho­tel's lobby is straight out of the pages of Wall­pa­per mag­a­zine. Over­head, cogs, pul­leys and cus­tom lights fash­ioned by lo­cal de­sign agency Asy­lum serve as a re­minder of the build­ing's in­dus­trial past, while brown leather so­fas and olive-green arm­chairs of­fer some wel­come warmth to the en­vi­rons. How­ever, it is in ex­ud­ing a neigh­bourly, lived-in feel that the ho­tel truly ex­cels; staff mem­bers are po­lite but good-hu­moured, the dé­cor strik­ing yet com­fort­able.


Ex­quis­ite en­dorse­ments of the ‘less is more' mantra, the ho­tel's 37 rooms and suites use pared-down palettes and nat­u­ral light to cre­ate hubs of tran­quil­lity in keep­ing with the build­ing's her­itage fea­tures. Pur­su­ing the min­i­mal­ist idyll leaves some ho­tels feel­ing cold, but the Ware­house side­steps such pit­falls by in­ject­ing am­ple doses of life into each of its rooms. In­done­sian itak print throws featuring sil­hou­ettes of the ho­tel sit proudly atop dev­il­ishly in­dul­gent beds, care­fully cu­rated plants breathe life into orig­i­nal ma­sonry walls and, in the lofts and suites, orig­i­nal beams help to show­case the build­ing's his­tor­i­cal charm.


Once a meet­ing place for boot­leg­gers and spice mer­chants, the ho­tel is re­plete with nods to its colour­ful past. Nowhere is this play­ful­ness more pronounced than the bed­room mini­bars, where guests can pur­chase vi­bra­tor neck­laces and BDSM pad­dles. The mini­bar also caters to our van­ity by of­fer­ing a range of beauty prod­ucts. Else­where, guests can re­trace the build­ing's shady his­tory from its 19th cen­tury spice trade routes and se­cret so­ci­ety meet­ings to its brief spell as a disco hall in the 1980s by or­der­ing cock­tails from a bar menu ar­ranged ac­cord­ing to the build­ing's three dis­tinct his­tor­i­cal phases.


De­spite the build­ing's many facelifts over the years, one thing that has re­mained un­changed is its Sin­ga­porean her­itage, a lin­eage re­flected in the food it serves. Willin Lo, chef-part­ner of the Ware­house's flag­ship restau­rant, Po, and founder of the ac­claimed Wild Rocket restau­rant, de­scribes his food as ‘mod sin', or mod­ern Sin­ga­porean. In­spired by tra­di­tional hawker food, the restau­rant is at its best when serv­ing up its sig­na­ture char­coal-grilled iberico sa­tay or spicy ta­marind bar­ra­mundi.


Sin­ga­pore is not known for its river, but hitch­ing a ride on one of its tra­di­tional bum­boats – the brightly coloured, roofed pas­sen­ger boats that ferry pas­sen­gers around the citys­tate's wa­ter­ways – is one of the best ways to take in the sights. From Clarke Quay, the city's nightlife mecca that's just a five-minute drive from the Ware­house, you can char­ter a pri­vate bum­boat or jump aboard a more struc­tured sight­see­ing voy­age. If that doesn't float your boat, then we'd sug­gest head­ing to the roof for a dip in the ho­tel's in­fin­ity pool. –

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