New Majestic Hotel, Singapore
With rooms designed by the cream of Singapore’s creative crop, the New Majestic Hotel offers a whimsical take on the city-state’s boutique hotel scene
F rom outside on Bukit Pasoh Road, in Singapore’s thriving Chinatown neighbourhood, passersby could be forgiven for mistaking the New Majestic Hotel for an art gallery. And indeed, the lobby, with its floor-to-ceiling windows and clean, white lines, does double as a showroom of sorts – for owner Loh Lik Peng’s large collection of weird and wondrous chairs. From a red frame pierced with nails à la Hellraiser to a trishaw mottled with brightly coloured signs from around Singapore, the collection is an intriguing introduction to a relentlessly imaginative hotel.
It soon becomes apparent, however, that the chairs are little more than an amusebouche. Housed inside a beautiful shophouse with an ornate, mint-green façade, all of the 30 rooms were individually designed by local creatives commissioned by art consultancy Asian Art Options alongside Loh, and the results are nothing if not eclectic, including suites with private gardens and attic rooms with loft beds. Room 309, for example, is designed by film and theatre director Glen Goei and titled ‘Wayang’. Its boudoir styling incorporates red silk walls and customised calligraphy panels, channelling the work of legendary Chinese film director Zhang Yimou. Then there is room 403, ‘Flag Samsui Woman’, designed by artist Justin Lee, which features an original painting of a ‘Samsui woman’ – an iconic group of female Chinese immigrants who worked in construction and helped build Singapore between the 1920s and 1940s – along with twin cast-iron baths and a retro barber’s chair in blue leather and chrome.
The hotel’s obvious emphasis on striking design and local culture does not, however, require guests to compromise on comfort. Most of the rooms are generously sized and feature ‘posturepedic’ beds, complimentary minibars and use of a smartphone that not only has free calls and unlimited 3G but also software that acts as a city guide and ticket-booking service for local attractions. Add to this the swimming pool and gym – amenities not always found in city-centre boutique hotels – and the New Majestic proves itself an enchanting combination of style and substance.