Sunday, 10 October 2010

Breakaway Singapore - Wanderlust: Fantasy Hotel Only For The Adventurous!

Fancy a night in a colourful loo? Or up on a tree house? How about a typewriter monster for a bedfellow? Or pretend you’re living in a popup book? That’s what you get at Wanderlust, the latest and most talked about boutique hotel in Singapore, nestled in slightly fraying Little India.

Definitely not for your average traveler, this is a quirky place that occupies the old Hong Wen School dating back to the 1920s. The façade has been maintained, but inside…well, let’s just borrow a line from the kindergarten song…. “Here we go, loopy-loo!” No kidding.

Accommodation with view and ensuite bedroom

When I visited the hotel not long ago, walking into the most basic rooms on the 2nd floor, I felt like I was in a bathroom with a swanky bed and TV - literally an 'ensuite bedroom'. Each room on that floor is decked out in one colour only, so take your pick. The best one to me was the yellow room....Take a look at the pretty pictures. Each room on the second floor is covered in mosaic, a little small for my liking but there are nice views of the streets outside. Be assured that unlike the picture above, the glass walls encasing the loo and the shower have since been frosted but you'll still have to step out the put your clothes on, if you're the modest sort. Be warned that 80% of the space is your bathroom. No desk, no table for in-room eating….Like I said,…not for everyone.

The hotel's decor, we are told, is a bold experiment. The 29 rooms spread over the four floors are all different, and designed by award-winning Singapore design agencies Asylum, PhunkStudio and fFurious who were given full creative freedom to design. Hence the weirdness or creativity - depends on how you see it. :)

Pop art room - are you slim enough in a 2D world? Is that a real bed?

If the loos-with-beds are not spacious enough – though they are just right for a single quirky traveler – the third floor, titled ‘Is It Just Black or White?’ has large ‘pop art’ rooms all decked in white, and decorated with origami-like installations. That’s where you feel like you’re the only 3D person in a flat story book world....but they are the most conventional rooms there, and possibly for me at least, the most comfy. 

Tree House and loft living!
Up on the fourth floor are the large loft rooms all weird and spaced out….literally! One room is decked up like you were in a rocket ship blasting off into space (complete with teensy pinpoint lights in the black wall and stuffed extraterrestrials on the chairs), another room made out like a treehouse stuffed with forest creatures (see above) and hanging leaves, and yet another with a giant typewriter ‘monster’. Long baths are set out open plan in the middle of the room, so darlings with a thing for privacy may have a little issue there.

The whimsical dining room of Cocotte

My favourite space in this hotel though is the French restaurant Cocotte, which is totally normal in comparison….and thankfully the food doesn’t feature monsters and weird creatures either. With bare wooden floors, colourful metal chairs, even a communal table in the centre, it gives a nod to the building’s history as the old Hong Wen School.

Roast pork collar with Dijon mustard - sluuuurrpp!Menus are made to look like school exercise book paper, and the communal feel of a school canteen carries into the concept of the restaurant where dishes – in larger portions – are meant to be shared. The food is hearty, homely and devilishly good. Must-have’s include the roast pork collar with Dijon mustard, tender, juicy and falls off the bone with enough good meat to go around; Breaded Pig’s Trotter salad – tastes way better than it sounds, and bouef a lad ficelle, a rich, robust dish of beef tenderloin poached to perfection in a beef and vegetable broth. For dessert, the lemon tart and chocolate soufflé duo will send your weight watching efforts out the door – but it’s definitely worth the sin! The place fills up fast, so make sure you have reservations before venturing forth!

Quirky hotel lobby
An eight-minute walk to the nearby MRT station, this quirky hotel for is a quaint base for discovering an old and intensely atmospheric part of Singapore well off the beaten track - and its pretty close to town as well. Just be warned, it's not for everybody.

2 Dickson Road
Tel: 62981188

- Ee Waun


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