Jun 14 2013
From the outside, Singapore’s relatively new Seacare Hotel looks like a cross between an office building and a condominium. Don’t be put off though, as it’s got a great location between Clarke Quay and Chinatown, and well-furnished rooms that go for under S$200 if you book online.
Open since September 2012, the 103-room hotel was designed by the Singapore Organisation of Seamen (SOS) and Seacare Co-operative to provide reasonably priced accommodation to seafarers from abroad staying in the city state. While priority is given to seafarers during busy periods, the hotel also caters to tourists — there usually aren’t enough stop-over seafarers to keep the hotel full.
The reception is as uninspiring as the exterior, but the room design is classic and functional. The superior room we saw was clean, with facilities like a flat screen LED TV and complimentary in-room broadband internet and WiFi access. You won’t find a pool — we guess seafarers are sick of water — but there’s a gym, a lounge at lobby level for drinks, a pleasant terrace on the 10th floor to loll about and read a book, and a well-reviewed Japanese restaurant, Niji; it’ll find competition tough though given the wealth of watering holes and restaurants located nearby.
The rack rate for the cheapest room is a rather outrageous S$380 per night, but staff advised that booking through Agoda would snare us a much cheaper rate. Indeed when booked online you’re looking at S$160 to S$200 (plus 10% service, 7% taxes) for a superior room for two to three people — breakfast is an additional S$25 per person. The hotel website also offers below $200 “best available” rates too, so check them both out.
Moving upward, Seacare also offers more spacious executive rooms, executive deluxe which are even more spacious, and ocean suites. In addition to being larger, these rooms come with added amenities such as iPhone/iPod docking stations, a complimentary minibar and a capsule coffee machine. Suites have an adjoining living room and bathtub, instead of shower. Unless you particularly need more space, we’d just go for a superior — a third bed can be added for S$75 per night. Executives are marginally more than superiors but ocean suites have a rack rate of $600.
Seacare is about a 15-minute walk to both Chinatown and the Clarke Quay areas; you’re near enough to some interesting action, but not in the noisy midst of it. Staying here will also let you see a different side of Singapore, with old public and private housing estates in the area; it’s also close to an old-style mixed apartment and mall called the Manhattan house and Red Star restaurant, a nostalgic yum cha joint serving up dim sum at reasonable prices and that’s been running more than 30 years. For the shopaholics, good old Orchard Road is not too far off though not exactly walkable — more of a 10-minute cab ride away. The hotel offers a free shuttle service to a few locations — Outram MRT, Great World City, Duty Free Shop Galleria — but at fixed times.
If Seacare is still outside your budget — or you’re picking yourself up off the floor at how much a basic hotel in Singapore is! –check out our feature on Singapore’s best hotels or our picks for the city state’s best hostels.
52 Chin Swee Rd (off Jalan Kukoh), Singapore
Nearest MRT: Chinatown, Clarke Quay
T: 6818 2688
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