Boutique Hotel, Singapore – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

When it comes to Boutique hotel, Singapore has it all! And if you are looking for last minute hotels, Singapore offers many more choices. Read on!

What’s so “Boutique” about the hotel?

Boutique hotels are typically unique properties operated by individuals or companies with a small collection. It is a popular term that describes intimate, usually luxurious or quirky hotel environments. This hotel concept began appearing in the 1980s in some major cities. But now it has spread throughout the world, including Bangkok, Singapore, and Hong Kong in which boutique and design hotels are becoming increasingly popular.

Boutique hotels distinguish themselves from larger chain/branded hotels by striving to provide personalized accommodation and services as well as facilities. They are also sometimes known as “design hotels” or “lifestyle hotels”, as they may be furnished in a themed, stylish manner but are considerably smaller than mainstream hotels, often ranging from 3 to 50 guest rooms. There is actually a 1-room boutique hotel in Siemp Reap, Cambodia, believe it or not!

However, with such successes, big hotel companies are also trying to establish their own boutique hotel brands to vie for a market share. So the choices are expanding. But that also means unfortunately that the boutique concept has been diluted in a sense…

Why a Boutique Hotel? The Good

Want a refreshing change from the ubiquitous and monotonous hotel chains? What about enjoying unique furnishings that may have come from the owner’s private collections such as Hotel 1929, Singapore’s better known boutique hotel.

Boutique hotels in Singapore are usually housed in historical buildings such as pre-war shop houses. The areas that they are located in general has an interesting history and past such as in Chinatown district, where many of the streets are actually red-light districts in the past (some of them still are in operation!).

Though these streets may have been spruced up but they still retains some of its charming characteristics.

So there is more interesting things to write or talk about when you return home, and definitely elevates your travel experiences to whole new level.

Most of the boutique hotels also have fully equipped rooms now with TV/DVD, Wi-Fi connection and all the amenities, albeit in more compact and smaller packages. But hey, small can be beautiful.

Their rates are usually cheaper than hotel chains, so you save money and still enjoy some level of personal service.

We showcase some of the loveliest boutique hotels in Singapore, and give you the low downs.

Boutique Hotel, Singapore – the Bad (Pitfalls)

But you still do need to moderate your expectations. Some of the boutique hotel rooms are tiny and windowless. For example, the G Hotel, we checked it out and it’s really a place to sleep although they are equipped with everything you need, TV, air-conditioner, shower facilities and so on.

But the atmosphere is akin to a pigeon hole – just space for a single bed and the toilet/shower.

You may not have 24/7 room service and the boutique hotels are more stingy with extra pillows, blankets etc.

The security of a boutique hotel may not be as good as some of the bigger hotel chains, the elevators are not operated by key card or restricted access, and neither are the room doors. So essentially, anyone can go up to any levels of the hotel. I had walked into a few boutique hotels and managed to get into the elevator without any problem. So, security may be a concern, particularly if you are travelling alone. Remember to keep your passports, valuables and cash in the safe deposit boxes at the lobby counter. There are usually no safe box in the guest rooms.

Boutique Hotel, Singapore – The Ugly

What is the greatest fear for a traveller visiting a strange country?

Booking a hotel online based on the photographs listed, thinking that the rooms really looked comfy and desirable, but finding out upon arrival that it is actually so far from what you ever imagined. Oh yea, I have been there. The site states “4-star” amenities, when it barely meet the 1-star standard. And we all know how deceptive “photographs” can be.

You know what I mean; all of us have experienced that at least once in our travels.

The carpet has the musty stench , the furniture fraying at the sides, and creaking under all the years of misuse and abuse. The toilet furnishing is terribly outdated that it looked like it came right out from the 1970s.

I have experienced that a couple of times, and I could kick myself for being taken in by the cleverly taken and “photo-shop” pictures!

I found a few boutique hotels that have relatively presentable lobby and lounge areas but the guest rooms are in an appalling state. So beware of such traps!

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