On the fringe of Singapore’s Little India in what was once a 1920s-era school lies quirky Wanderlust, owned by the people behind the New Majestic and Hotel 1929. The 29 rooms, imaginatively outfitted by four different design agencies, offer something far beyond the norm for the city state’s accommodation options. Design mavens (with a suitably maven-like budget) wanting to stay in Little India should look no further, as the area otherwise focuses very much on hostels and cheap hotels.
The lobby boasts an unadorned concrete floor with a table football set, dentists’ chairs and a huge menacing tooth sculpture. Also on this level is on-site restaurant Cocotte, an excellent French restaurant serving up rustic, authentic dishes. Design-wise, this level is supposed to reflect ‘industrial glam’. Level two focuses on ‘eccentricity’, level three answers the question, ‘Is it just black and white?’, and level four is all about ‘creature comforts’. Confused? We were too. But then when you see it, everything starts to make sense.
Each room has its own design and colour. The lower range ‘eccentric’ rooms come as Pantone ($160++) and Pantone Deluxe ($210++), each a hue on the Pantone chart; the deluxes have bathtubs, while the standards only have a shower. The standards have the toilet and shower in separate glazed cubicles leaving little room for the bed which sits on a raised platform deep in the room – flair over function some will find. Pack sunglasses — the colour schemes are very bright. We can’t imagine how anyone could stay in the pinkish room, though purple was kind of cool.
Level three is all about Japanese minimalism, with the Mono rooms ($190++) featuring origami and pop art. One deluxe room has a glass-encased bathtub.
The priciest rooms are the Whimsical (S$260++) lofts which have a few different looks. Not for those with a fear of heights, these loft style rooms are gorgeous and best suited to couples rather than sharing a room with Mum and Dad (think very exposed bathtubs). Apparently their “Outer space” themed room in this range is the most sought after. It was occupied when we visited, so we had to settle with the “Writer” room, which was unlike any hotel room we have ever seen before. Ever.
Every room in Wanderlust is a work of art. While the rooms are special, amenities are not bad either. They include an artificial lawn area with a jacuzzi, should you require soaking or tanning, and all rooms come equipped with WiFi, LCD TV, an iPod dock and Shanghai Tang toiletries. Staff are particularly friendly and helpful.
Wanderlust is a 15-minute walk away from Little India MRT station. It’s also possible to walk from here farther afield to Bugis. The hotel is unique not just for Little India but for the entirety of Singapore. If you’re looking for something memorable and artistic and have the budget, look no further. If it is all a bit too bright for your eyes, the Daulat is much more sedate, has a swimming pool and rates are lower.
By Stuart McDonald
Last updated on 3rd February, 2016.