Funky and friendly
This is a funky, quirky hostel which artistic types will love. Opened at the end of 2012, it prides itself on being an “urban art hostel”, having collaborated with a street artist from Hong Kong and playing host partner to events such as International Cosplay Day. This is one hostel where form is as important as function.
iStay.inn’s entrance is easily missed, just a single door next to a kopitiam in a classic two-storey shophouse — look for the faded door, skull and urban art poster. You’ll feel safe here, as this single locked access point means no one enters unless reception opens the door. Once inside, a flight of stairs leads you up into the cosy, homey reception.
No shoes inside please, a small price to pay for the fact that the common areas and rooms feel extremely clean. There's air-con and free WiFi throughout iStay.inn's 18 non-smoking rooms, ranging from two- to 10-bed rooms, costing S$150 a night for the former to S$34 for the latter. The private two-bed room is female only; the four-bed dorm can be either.
Bathrooms are shared but the single six-bed room has its bathroom ensuite. Each bed -- the white wooden bunks are rather stylish -- has its own reading lamp, power point and locker. You’re required to bring your own lock, but if you don’t have one reception can provide it, together with other items such as towels, toothbrushes and slippers for a low cost. A laundry service is offered too.
Rates are inclusive of a breakfast of fresh fruit, toast, jam, peanut butter, milk and cereal, though with the nearby kopitiam, Chinatown and Maxwell Food Centre nearby, hunger pangs at any time are easily quelled.
The common living room offers DVDs, books and board games, while a rear terrace has barbecue facilities, which encourages guests to chill and socialise; smoking is permitted here.
Need help with getting tickets to the Singapore Flyer? The extremely friendly hostel staff will book tickets to several major Singapore attractions. And while luggage storage is officially payable, the hostel will store luggage of guests who arrive early at no cost before check-in and if you have a late flight to catch, will keep your bags for you without charge.
From our conversations with the staff, they do their best to be as accommodating as possible and sensible when planning for rooms. For example, if you’re travelling with a group in low season, they could give you a room of your own at no extra charge for the one or two unused beds.
The hostel is a short walk from the Chinatown MRT station in Chinatown, a new hub of sorts for hostels in Singapore, and it fits in well with the backpacker vibe of the area.
Address: 211A-217A South Bridge Road
T: 6225 4125; F: 6225 4175
Coordinates (for GPS): 103º50'45.19" E, 1º16'59.36" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: S$30 to 80
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
For a 10-bed dorm; $36 for eight-bed; $38 for six-bed.
|Quad air-con share bathroom||S$50||S$50|
|Dbl air-con share bathroom||S$150||S$150|
|Quad air-con private bathroom||S$220||S$220|
Provided by Travelfish partner Agoda.
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