First published on 6 Aug 2009. Updated on 22 Jun 2012.
We’re making a bold call here, but Time Out Singapore feels that staying out in the suburbs is the next big thing. Not only does a suburban stint allow more opportunities to mingle with the locals, but there’s a much greater chance you’ll discover your own secret spots. From an economic viewpoint, expect savings of 20 to 30 per cent less but you’ll still get all the creature comforts (decent decor, Wi-Fi access) expected. In short, what’s not to like? Here are four choices to check out, and check into…
Hotel #1: Grand Mercure Roxy Hotel
Pet Shop Boys may have sung ‘Go West’, but we say do the opposite and live it up in the east. Staying here offers you a fast-track introduction to the more laidback side of the island. Hit the beach for sun and sea, or step into the Katong area for an eyeful of conservation shophouses and stores that sell Peranakan trinkets and food. Shopaholics and foodies take note: Parkway Parade Shopping Centre and Marine Parade Food Centre are just across the road. From $175++ per night. 50 East Coast Road, Roxy Square (Tel: 6344 8000; read our review of Grand Mercure Roxy Hotel).
Hotel #2: Rider’s Lodge
Converted from a set of former stables, this tucked away spot – just off Dunearn Road – has a placid rural landscape. The two-storey lodge has 40 spacious rooms, a lawn for sun-tanning/picnicking purposes, Wi-Fiand conference rooms for companies looking to take their AGMs off-site. Pony rides for kids, horseback riding lessons and a nearby golf course make this a great weekend getaway. The shops aren’t too far off either; Turf City is just a quick gallop round the corner. From $120 per night. 108 Turf Club Road (Tel: 6465 4828; read our review of Rider's Lodge).
Hotel #3: Berjaya Hotel
Set in a former Straits Chinese trading house, the 48-room Berjaya Hotel is decked out with chandeliers, French windows and beautiful mahogany furniture. Ironic, then, that it’s set in a less than salubrious area – the hotel borders the seedy nightscape of Duxton Hill. An ideal spot for two very different types of people: those desiring a comfortable rest after an energetic stag night, or those looking for a more affordable colonial-era experience. From $150++ per night. 83 Duxton Road (Tel: 6227 7678; read our review of Berjaya Hotel)
Hotel #4: Lotus at Joo Chiat
Better suited to long-term guests, this serviced apartment was awarded the URA Architectural Heritage Award in 2002. It’s filled with delightful Peranakan details like wooden floors, carved screens, furnishings and airy courtyards. Besides offering guests a slice of Straits Chinese culture, a quick walk round this neighbourhood, littered with convenience stores, pubs and dozens of small restaurants, gives an instant home-away-from-home feeling. From $1,260 per week. 11 Everitt Road (Tel: 6348 8206; read our review of Lotus at Joo Chiat)
This story first appeared as 'Hotels in the hood' (May 2009).