A bartender prepping cocktails. Lee Xin Hui
responsible for a string of unique and trendy F&B concepts (from the cool
American diner Overeasy to snazzy fine dining Odette at National Gallery
Singapore), the company is taking chances with its first boutique hotel, The
Warehouse Hotel, restored from its days as a former godown built in 1895 along
the banks of Singapore River.
Lo and behold! The Lo and Behold Group is rolling out yet another achingly hip concept to the masses.
Having been responsible for a string of unique and trendy F&B concepts (from the cool American diner Overeasy to snazzy fine dining Odette at National Gallery Singapore), the company is taking chances with its first boutique hotel, The Warehouse Hotel, restored from its days as a former godown built in 1895 along the banks of Singapore River.
At the unveiling of the hotel on January 11, managing partner of The Lo & Behold Group, Wee Teng Wen, revealed the reasons for embarking on the inaugural hospitality project: “We want to share the heritage of a building with all its dark, mysterious and illicit history, have the hotel be a portal into local culture, and lastly, create a culture of hospitality, which is an extension of our group’s values.”
Lobby: Even with an exposed brick façade, arched steel roof and hanging pulley systems (once used in the warehouse) nestled among antique bulbs, the industrial foyer is more chic than cliché with décor and furnishings that marry a bygone era with modern-day Singapore.
At the front desk, guests can purchase ‘objects of vice’, curated by local furniture creator Gabriel Tan and art gallery Supermama’s Edwin Low – these are reminiscent of accessories that would have been used by warehouse bosses (or ‘dailos’) in the past.
Lobby Bar: The warm and inviting atmosphere of the reception is extended to the lobby bar that showcases an interesting cocktail programme. Paying homage to three distinct eras of the building’s past, guests are taken on a journey for a taste of the olden-day spice trade, sample the workingman’s libation, and experience the discotheque eighties.
We sat down with ‘Barbarella’ – said to be the best-selling tipple here by far – a hibiscus gin infused with elderflower, rhubarb and earl grey tea. Floral, smoky and full of textural complexity, it was delicious.
Room: We were shown the largest of the hotel’s 37 rooms – the 57-sqm River View Suite. Designed open plan with a large tub and king-sized bed, the loft-style room features clean lines, muted tones and conservation details including original beams and a soaring peaked ceiling. Instead of the usual boring amenities, each room here is kitted out with ‘Minibars of Vices’ – you’ll find handcrafted salted egg yolk chips and Vietnamese dark chocolate (Gluttony), naughty bedroom toys (Lust) and local beauty treats such as Tiger Balm (Vanity).
Pool: Salmon-pink tiles inspired by old coffee shops lend a charm to this rooftop infinity pool, which offers a lovely view of the surroundings. My only gripe: while befitting of a hotel its size, the pool is on the small side.
Restaurant Po: Taken to mean ‘Popiah’ (a Fujian-style fresh spring roll common in the region) or ‘Popo’ (Mandarin for ‘grandmother’), the name of the restaurant reflects a culinary portfolio inspired by flavours of yesteryear, and is aptly helmed by Mod-Sin pioneer Willin Low who is also chef-owner of Wild Rockets, one of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants.
We tried tapas versions of signature dishes such as the Charcoal-grilled Iberico Satay and Kueh Pie Tee. Flavours were good although I would have loved to see the use of more spices as a truer reflection of local palates.
For more information and reservations visit www.thewarehousehotel.com.