Thank your lucky
Fusing history and modernity, this warm boutique hotel in Singapore is a refreshing find for this writer.
WHEN someone found out that I was going to stay in this hotel in Kg Glam, there were two comments. The first was, “Where is Kg Glam?” The second, “Wow, must be a very glam place.”
And this someone was a Singaporean!
Firstly, this Hotel Clover is situated in what is basically Singapore’s hipster central while being in a historical area especially noted for its ethnic heritage. Perhaps Haji Lane would ring a bell – well, it’s just a quick walk from here. This area sits within the Bugis locality.
And Glam does not reference glamorous, but is the Malay name for a tree that grows in that area. And not just any tree but one whose resin, bark and leaves are used for many different purposes.
This area used to be a Malay settlement; the palace of the first Sultan, Sultan Hussein, was turned into a Malay heritage museum. One of the most beautiful mosques in Singapore, the Sultan Mosque, is located just down the road from the hotel.
As this is an area protected by the Singapore Government for its cultural, historical and architectural heritage, many of the buildings and shophouses have been well-preserved.
The 27-room Hotel Clover is a historical gem. It’s basically a trio of two-storey, conserved shophouses constructed between 1840 and 1960. They were formerly a tailor’s shop and a jewellery parlour.
I was immediately drawn to its facade – in “Early Shophouse Style” as it were, its clean-cut exterior exhibiting a harmonious mix of Greco-Roman columns and Chinese-style walkways. Its neighbours next door and across the road are equally enchanting.
Once you enter, warm and gracious smiles immediately greet you at the reception. And then your eyes capture the views of the interior and you stop in your tracks.
On your right is this striking bullock cart (minus the bull, of course) filled with gunny sacks. It’s flanked by an old-style camera with tripod (you know the one where the guy holds the flash in his hand) and antique luggage chests.
It doesn’t stop there. The main feature is the large communal table for guests to mingle over breakfast and coffee in the midst of handpicked vintage, decorative pieces like a restored hair salon highbacked chair, a gramophone, a rotary dial telephone, a fan and a typewriter cheekily juxtaposed against a rather modern Mac desktop.
This calm, serene but arty lobby is complemented by a quiet corner occupied by a gorgeous leather sofa adorned with metal studs, a quartet of yesteryear’s steel-lined leather armchairs and a sewing machine, echoing the historical connection with the shophouses’ past.
All of this is complemented by a soothing palette of white, beige and brown and modern clean lines. I was told later that they actually had most of the furniture, fittings and furnishings customised.
I don’t think I’ve ever spent so much time in the lobby of a hotel before. So much so, it hit me later that I still hadn’t registered at the reception.
Step back in time:
the lobby – and its main feature, which has many interesting and unique items on display.