Hotel in Singapore
5-Star Luxury Boutique Hotel
David Harfield gets dolled up with Dylan at the funky Hôtel Vagabond, Singapore.
“The vagabond who’s rapping at your door, is standing in the clothes that you once wore...” So croons Bob Dylan in his acoustic paean to the end of an era, although while he may (repeat, ‘may’ - I don’t want any Dylan fanatics bemoaning me for misinterpreting his lyrics) have been singing about the end of his tenure as the 1960s’ leading folk-protest troubadour, the mini-era that has just come to an end in my life is a 13-hour flight from London to Singapore. And while I may be staying at Hôtel Vagabond, the pretty lady who raps on my door to offer me an explanatory tour of my room could hardly be described as one; plus, to my knowledge, I’ve never worn her dress (although the night is still young). With the flatscreen TV mounted on the wall above a sturdy wooden writing bureau emblazoned with the tagline ‘If you must get in trouble, do it at The Vagabond’, I’m ready for all sorts of mischief to ensue.
The excitement began in the lobby where our group spotted a famous Singaporean designer who had been showcasing her latest dresses in the restaurant and bar area. This is in keeping with the hotel’s policy of promoting the arts, so much so that they actually have two dedicated rooms, Musician’s and Writer’s, where budding talents can set up and work on their creative process. Later on in our stay, we meet the talented Artist-In-Residence Julie Herndon, a musician who programmed and composed the soundtrack that plays during our Afternoon Tea, a feast of fancies that has been designed with traditional Singaporean flavours at the forefront (the standout is the lime green pandang macaroon). Continuing this theme, the walls of the restaurant are lined with artistic photographs and we’re encouraged to pick a favourite, mine being a close-up of a particularly louche Keith Richards.
We head up to the rooms but become ensconced in the elevator; on its far wall hangs a TV screen with a sliding montage of scenes from movies, some famous and some obscure. So entranced are we by the moving characters on screen, from Dirty Harry and the Droogs from A Clockwork Orange to Sting in Dune and the big robots (their technical name) from The Empire Strikes Back, that we go up and down and up and down until we realise that other guests might think that we’re trapped in some Infinite Jest-esque catatonia and make our way to our abodes.
The door that swings open to reveal the cute, bijou room that I’ll be staying in for the next three nights is thick and heavy and wouldn’t look out of place in a country retreat; the curtains are also fairly weighty, which is great for blocking out the morning sun, making the room a total blackout if you so desire (and after 13 hours on a plane, desire I do). A well-stocked minibar is tempting but I instead choose to use the fairly large wet room area that has an overhead rain shower as well as a manual nozzle for all sorts of pool party fun (a bit depressing if you’re on your own like I am though).
There are several cute touches around the room, such as the ‘old school’ ornamental telephone which isn’t really ornamental at all and dials reception on ‘0’; the dainty clock by the bed is also gorgeous, as is the wireless radio that hooks up to laptops and iPods to pump out the jams for any pool parties that you may (or, uh, may not) be having. However, the most impressive element of the room is the ‘Handy’ smartphone that each guest has that they can take with them around the city as well as being able to make calls to six major countries around the world. I was able to call my Gran who lives in Manchester to wish her a happy 90th birthday at 1:30 a.m., totally free of charge. I probably should have sobered up a little bit before dialling, but hey, it’s the thought that counts, right?
From the gigantic gold-plated rhino that serves as a welcome desk in reception (it weighs more than a real rhino and I can only imagine the effort it must have took to transport it here) to the fact that they give you two room keycards so that you can leave things charging while you explore the fun little eateries that are peppered within walking distance, Hôtel Vagabond is a great spot from which to explore Singapore. To tie off Dylan’s immortal closing line, “...strike another match, go start anew, and it’s all over now, Baby Blue.” While this trip might be over, my love affair with Singapore has only just begun. Now, where’s that dress?
For more information on visiting Singapore, check out Your Singapore.
David Harfield is a freelance food and travel writer and the director of the social media solutions company PepperStorm Media
Photographs courtesy of Hotel Vagabond
|Reviewer's Rating||★ ★ ★ ★ ★|
|Related Activity||Lively Nightlife, Culture / Sightseeing, Shopping, Great local restaurants|
|Services||Free High Speed Internet, Room Service|
|Number of Rooms||42 rooms and suites|
Classic; Deluxe; Classic with shared terrace; Deluxe with shared terrace; Art Suite; Junior Suite and the Vagabond Suite.
Each room is individually designed by award-winning Parisian Jacques Garcia.
Check out the exclusive offers and packages on their website.
Last updated on 05-08-2016