Two of Singapore’s latest heritage properties; the updated Four Seasons Hotel New York; Hoshinoya makes its debut in Bali.
Old meets new at this pair of just-opened boutique hotels in Singapore, each of which has a story to tell.
“Authenticity,” the buzzword du jour in hotel circles these days, is an ideal that’s been admirably captured by the 20-room Villa Samadhi. Tucked away in the midst of the jungle thickets of Labrador Nature Reserve, the two-story prewar pile was, at various points in its life, an army garrison and a boys’ school. It took the Italian-born and Malaysia-based restaurateur and hotelier Federico Asaro six years to gently rehabilitate the property, dressing the spaces with a shabby-chic mix of rescued opium beds, antique armoires, bamboo screens, salvaged timber, and worn coolie chairs. The subwaytiled bathrooms of the upper-category rooms feature deep plunge pools, but the hotel’s greatest pleasure is the surrounding tropical greenery, so dense and, in its unruly wildness, so evocative of a scene straight out of a Somerset Maugham novella. A twisting timber walkway cuts through the jungle floor to a grand colonial bungalow that’s now home to Tamarind Hill restaurant, a Thai off-shoot of the popular Kuala Lumpur flagship ( 20 Labrador Villa Rd.; 65/6270-1868; villasamadhi.com.sg; doubles from US$270).
The Warehouse Hotel
Since being built in the late 19th-century, the trio of riverside godowns at Robertson Quay has gone through various incarnations—first as spice warehouses, then as secret society nests and moonshine distilleries, and, for a brief shining moment in the mid-1980s, a wildly popular disco. Now, after a tip-to-toe makeover by architecture studio Zarch and interior design firm Asylum, the buildings have been imaginatively refurbished as a sexy 37-room boutique hotel. From the street, the peaked-roof exterior is somewhat unprepossessing, but the interiors open up TARDIS-like into a vast, moodily lit lobby of brass trims, exposed brickwork, and bevelled stone wall panels. This is flanked by a sunken bar and Po, a restaurant helmed by local chef Willin Low that serves up traditional fare like popiah, vegetarian rolls laced with sweet sauce, garlic, and braised turnips. Upstairs, the rooms are dressed in muted hues of rattan, raw concrete and leather, but the biggest treat is the elongated glass box of a swimming pool up on the rooftop ( 320 Havelock Rd.; 65/6828-0000; thewarehouse hotel.com; doubles from US$205).