The Vagabond Club, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Singapore
What We Love
- The hotel's distinctive atmosphere of Dadaesque luxury
- Complimentary high tea at the salon from 3 to 5 p.m.
- Interacting with international artists residing at the hotel
- A selection of movies curated by Jacques Garcia
What To Know
- The hotel provides mobile phones with unlimited local calls and data use
- Free WiFi
- Third-floor Junior Executive Club Suites are extra sunny thanks to skylight windows
- Syed Alwi Street outside the hotel, lined with rickety eateries and discount shops, is not exactly glamorous
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
A 1950s retail building straddling Little India and Kampong Glam has been transformed into an irreverent luxury hotel with a Europe-meets-Asia vibe. The whimsy begins right at the entrance, where a life-sized golden rhinoceros masquerades as a reception desk. Behind it is a 5,000-square-foot main salon that includes a restaurant and bar dressed in crimson velvet drapes and matching chairs. The space is dotted with floor-to-ceiling golden banyan trees and bespoke artworks, including a baboon sculpture by Franck Le Ray behind the bar, which doles out potent cocktails inspired by the flavors of Singapore. This transporting setting is the work of architect Jacques Garcia, responsible for such high-profile properties as Paris’ Hôtel Costes and New York City’s NoMad. Upstairs, 42 rooms and suites carry the theme, featuring dark wood paneling, velvet divans, screens painted with flowers, and walls brimming with framed art. Our favorite feature, however, might be the Artists in Residence program (Vagabond is the city’s first hotel to offer one), which gives poets, writers, painters, and performers from around the world access to two spacious ateliers. The boon to guests is that they get to interact with these talented lodgers and take a peek at their work.
In the Area
Just south of the hotel you’ll find Kampong Glam, the heart of Muslim Singapore and home to mosques, cultural centers, and historic streets. Head to Haji Lane, a narrow two-block stretch of pre-war shophouses (this is where Muslim men stayed on their way to Mecca) that recently became a hub of hipster cafés, bars, and independent boutiques loved by anti-mall fashionistas. A few highlights: Mondays Off, which sells trendy housewares and fun stationery, and Soon Lee, which stocks a curated collection of Asian labels. To the west is Little India, a colorful and unassuming neighborhood filled with vegetable stands, traditional spice grinders, and holes in the wall peddling saris and sandals. By contrast, the area is also home to Mustafa Center, a popular 24-hour shopping mall. A short walk away, you’ll find buzzy eateries like Lighthouse Bistro, specializing in Malaysian seafood dishes, and Butter Studio, a bakery known for its lychee rose cake.
How to Get There
When we decided to go to Singapore, we knew we really wanted to experience both the older side of the city as well as over the top fabulously commercial and globalized side of the city. This hotel really positioned us well for this.
The location is just on the edge of the older city, so when you walk out you will see a lot of the charms of little India and old school Malaysian influence. While its not exactly swank, what you see feels very real and true to the lives of a good portion of the country while also offering you the very upscale cool (cooler than I am) boutique hotel experience. I believe it was about a mile (either way a very comfortable walk through a variety of neighborhoods) to get to the shopping centers and a quick uber to the Marina Bay fancy pants hotel we opted out of.
The hotel itself is super eclectic, artsy, and inspired. It gives the feel of a world traveler who has been everywhere and brought back the coolest parts of those travels to share with you. This vibe carries right into the rooms. We began in a suite but had to continue toa single (our fault in booking) both rooms were oozing with charm and cozy (yes they were snug) comfort. You have the option to purchase some of the cool items in the room (a small stylish old school radio for example) and we had to fight the urge to take a piece of the place home with us.
Breakfast included a variety of western comforts as well as some local fair and while I stuck to the basics my husband tried the lot and really enjoyed everything he had. Beyond the breakfast menu we also really enjoyed nibbles during the cocktail hour as well - really anything to sit in their awesome lobby/dining area.
I think for any couple, or any solo traveler this is an awesome choice, especially if you are looking to be a little closer to the old school side of the city.
I ended up here unexpectedly as my original hotel was virtually full and I had to stay an extra night. It was a great find for several reasons in addition to being an interesting, very quirky, Jacques Garcia designed boutique hotel. After dropping my bags, it was a short walk to Little India and an abundance of great Indian food. The next morning I actually walked to my first meeting in North Bridge Road so it is actually very convenient to that area of Singapore including Beach Road and Raffles City (although I took a short taxi ride back early afternoon when it was hotter). My room had an inner courtyard access and I slept very soundly in a large comfy bed. Some might consider the room a bit small but that's a result of a hotel developed inside a heritage building. Last but not least I should commend Ms Aldoria on reception for being super friendly and helpful, both on arrival and on departure. Thank You!
I stayed 1 week at the Hotel and I feel I have I have to write something as my stay was fantastic. Nice room, clean, nice environment, but what was overwhelming was the level of kindness of the persons who work there, you immediately perceive they do not like to work there the LOVE to work there. They consider first the customers then their values and at last their interest. I would like to mention some persons despite all should be mentioned. I will never forget the manager a Romanian nice person that has everything under control ready to do whatever necessary to make customers happy, I have seen him picking up customers bags as all other persons was busy with others customers.
The chef from New Zealand delighted us first preparing a fantastic breakfast then with a lunch that was unforgettable, the best tartare I have ever eaten. What was impressive was that you feel he really care to get satisfied customers. MANY COMPLIMENTS TO ALL OF YOU!!! Keep going like this. Luigi Rossettini
I haven't checked out of the hotel yet, but wanted to make sure I left a positive review. The staff is great, particularly the head chef, who makes it a point to come out and greet his guests in the Executive Lounge. The staff is attentive and really makes the stay.
The hotel itself is beautiful and really unique. The rooms are on the smaller side, but well designed and I had a pleasant sleep every night despite my long business hours. I was in a courtyard room, which is unique and lovely. It has a shared courtyard with other guests. Thing to be mindful of is there's a lot of windows and I was constantly forgetting to pull the curtains for more privacy.
Hotel is nicely situated near tons of local food options. It's really in a very pleasant part of Singapore and will make it a point to return!
For people looking for a luxury hotel in Singapore that does not have the feel of being part of a chain, then this is the place for you. The walls of the hotel (inlcuding the rooms) are adorned with interesting art and wonderful photos. Location wise, it is in between Little India and Arab town and affords you immediate access to old Singapore, away from all the high rise buildings. The staff are very friendly, attentive and accommodating. The cocktails in the bar are excellent. We had breakfast each morning of our stay; the food was exquisite.