HER­ITAGE CHIC

AT SIN­GA­PORE’S NEW WARE­HOUSE HO­TEL

World Travel Magazine - - Where To Stay Singapore - BY ANNABEL KERMAN

he Ware­house ho­tel on the banks of Sin­ga­pore’s Robert­son Quay has only been open since Jan­uary, but its rep­u­ta­tion al­ready pre­cedes it. Dat­ing back to 1895, the build­ing was orig­i­nally a ware­house or ‘godown’ sit­u­ated along an in­fa­mous spice trade route on the Sin­ga­pore River through times of se­cret so­ci­eties, un­der­ground busi­ness and il­le­gal liquor dis­til­leries. To­day it has been rein­vented as a bou­tique De­signtm ho­tel to a so­cial me­dia frenzy. So what makes this ren­o­va­tion so ex­cit­ing? In a city of lux­ury ho­tels, a new ar­rival must offer some­thing unique. My in­ter­est is piqued.

Glid­ing through slid­ing doors past the stark white fa­cade, first im­pres­sions are of the enor­mous com­mu­nal lobby and bar area with full height ceil­ing. Low light­ing sets off a clean, muted de­sign aes­thetic, jux­ta­posed with ref­er­ences to the ho­tels in­dus­trial past: ex­posed brick walls, and state­ment light­ing fes­tooned from the rafters, in­spired by pul­leys from its orig­i­nal in­car­na­tion. Dot­ted around are low so­fas filled with me­dia types, and the soft mur­mur of busi­ness meets. So far so good. The ho­tel’s front desk dou­bles as a re­tail in­stal­la­tion fea­tur­ing ‘Ob­jects of Vice’, items cu­rated to ed­u­cate on The Ware­house’s shady past: lighters, ash­trays, and uniden­ti­fi­able pieces with a faintly salu­bri­ous note. The mes­sage? This is a ho­tel with an edge.

Down to the busi­ness of gas­tron­omy at the lobby bar and Po restau­rant, which fill the en­tire first floor of the ho­tel. The bar menu of craft cock­tails pays a stylish homage to three sig­nif­i­cant eras of the ho­tel’s past. My ‘Lady Luck’ is served in a tiki style bust that I en­joy as much as the cock­tail. The small plates are also spec­tac­u­lar, a dish of ta­marind mar­i­nated

Tbar­ra­mundi melts in the mouth. Four cock­tails later and through to sig­na­ture restau­rant Po where the mood changes from opium den to nos­tal­gic kam­pong din­ing. Rat­tan chairs, and mar­bled ta­ble tops mix with beaded lights rem­i­nis­cent of lamps from grand­moth­ers (popo’s) houses. But don’t be fooled, this is el­e­vated food: Renowned chef Willin, the pi­o­neer of ‘Mod-sin’ cook­ing in­ter­prets lo­cal favourites us­ing high­est end Asian in­gre­di­ents and meth­ods. The popiah plat­ters are a rev­e­la­tion, served along­side tra­di­tional pots of jas­mine tea.

Up­stairs, from a cen­tral mez­za­nine with a dra­matic view of the lobby, are an in­ti­mate thirty-seven spa­cious bed­rooms of six room types: from cosy ‘Sanc­tu­ary’ to the one of a kind ‘River View Suite’. All in­di­vid­ual, ours has a dou­ble height ceil­ing and orig­i­nal pre­served win­dows over­look­ing the his­toric quay­side. The muted colour ways and cus­tom de­signed bed throws pro­duced by lo­cal tex­tile brand Mat­ter Print, achieve the elu­sive ‘cosy’ twist on the ho­tel’s in­dus­trial chic. A ‘mini bar of vice’ is also stocked with lo­cally sourced brands to cre­ate an au­then­tic Sin­ga­porean ex­pe­ri­ence.

The fol­low­ing morn­ing, the dis­cov­ery of the rooftop in­fin­ity swim­ming pool is the per­fect an­ti­dote to an even­ing of in­dul­gence. Tiled in her­itage salmon pink, yet un­equiv­o­cally mod­ern, the small but per­fectly formed ‘glass box’ floats peace­fully above the bustling ur­ban land­scape that sur­rounds the ho­tel. Our Sin­ga­pore stay­ca­tion is over too soon - but I leave this beau­ti­ful, mod­ern, and as­suredly unique ho­tel that has such a con­nec­tion with its past, with the un­der­stand­ing that I have been touched by a slice of Sin­ga­pore his­tory. the­ware­house­ho­tel.com

This Page, The Ware­house Ho­tel Lobby and Bar Op­po­site, from top left, The Ware­house Ho­tel Fa­cade in the even­ing; clas­sic Popiah Plat­ter

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