New Ma­jes­tic Ho­tel, Sin­ga­pore

Southeast Asia Globe - - Contents - By Dene Mullen

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.

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