The Warehouse Hotel
What We Love
- The pink-tiled cantilevered pool
- Vietnamese dark chocolate in the minibar
- Custom-made mugs, crafted by a local ceramic studio, in all guest rooms
- Spice trade-inspired cocktails at the hotel bar
What To Know
- The on-site restaurant, Po, is styled after a traditional Malay village
- For a stand-alone bathtub, book the River View Suite
- Sanctuary Rooms have no windows
- Despite its busy Havelock Road address, street noise is nonexistent, thanks to meticulous in-room soundproofing
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
Reimagined 19th-century spice depot on the banks of the Singapore River, rejuvenated by snazzy industrial accents and designer details
Hometown pride is the focal point at this resuscitated riverside beauty: from the ikat-patterned bedspreads to the locally-roasted drip coffee, it’s abundantly clear that the masterminds behind this historic 1895 godown (whose previous avatars include illegal whiskey distillery, oil mill, and discotheque) were steered by an unwavering, made-in-Singapore mission. The thoughtful restoration, spearheaded by local design firm Asylum, harks back to the building’s industrial origins, albeit in a seamless, elegant way: wheels and pulleys make up a custom-made light fixture in the vast lobby, guest bathrooms contain original masonry walls, and one of the gables features a 1934 Chinese inscription. Nowhere is the past-meets-present aesthetic more apparent than at Po (Mandarin for “grandmother”), the hotel’s modern Singaporean bistro, whose bold display of rattan seats and crystal beaded lamps sets the stage for chef Willin Low (whose Mount Emily eatery, Wild Rocket, was declared one of Asia’s fifty best restaurants in 2016). The menu uses Singapore’s multi-culti heritage as the springboard for imaginative dishes like Iberico pork satay and local barramundi iceberg salad, elevating home-cooked staples to achieve gourmet status.
In the Area
Robertson Quay, an eclectic food and drink enclave housed in what used to be one of Singapore’s largest wharfs, is right across the street. Standouts include Shunjuu Izakaya, where the specialties are charcoal-grilled Japanese plates, and Super Loco, a popular Mexican brunch spot. The subway is arguably the quickest and most comfortable way to get around this petite city-state. Chinatown, the nearest Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station, is roughly a 15-minute walk away, and it’s only a 10-minute cab ride to Orchard Road’s boutiques and the pulsing financial district. During the cooler morning hours, hit the river promenade for a refreshing two-mile run, which will bring you to the scenic Marina Bay esplanade.
How to Get There
In October 2019, I checked into the River View Room at The Warehouse Hotel Singapore, a boutique hotel situated along the banks of the Singapore River, near the vibrant Robertson Quay and Clarke Quay districts full of dining and nightlife options. The 37-room riverside property is a 20-minute walk from Clarke Quay MRT Station and the Orchard Road shopping belt, and a half hour away from Changi Airport by taxi.
THE WAREHOUSE HOTEL SINGAPORE
The 1895 colonial-era two-storey waterfront property has a colourful history due to its location in a former red light district, with the premises being a hotbed of prostitution, gambling as well as illegal drug and alcohol use back in its libertine heyday. Previously a spice warehouse, oil mill as well as a popular discotheque before its current incarnation as a boutique hotel, the property retains visible traces of its industrial heritage throughout its interior design, courtesy of creative design agency Asylum and architectural firm Zarch Collaboratives. The lofty hotel lobby plays it all soaring cathedral-style ceiling with black-iron beams, exposed brick walls and machinery-inspired hanging pendant lights, with plush leather seating available for post-meal lounging or after-dark social affairs.
I must say that the hotel lobby’s mood and vibes before and after dark is startlingly different, and that the lobby bar is a surprisingly atmospheric and conducive place for late-night tipples.
The hotel’s heritage-inspired Po Restaurant and Lobby Bar are located on the ground level. Guests can access the modest-sized swimming pool on the second level using the grand staircase or by taking the elevator, and while the fortuitous location of certain trees assist in providing the requisite tranquility and privacy, the pool’s transparent glass walls does mean one should not skinny-dip or play naughty underwater games with their pool companions.
RIVER VIEW ROOM
With tall glass windows facing the Singapore River on the ground level, the 34sqm River View Room sports a decidedly industrial-chic aesthetic with earthy concrete walls, charcoal-grey furnishings and flashes of copper textures, with the nude silhouettes of those in the shower only faintly obscured by the black metal-framed frosted doors and walls of the bathroom. A work-station is set up behind the comfortable king-sized bed which sits in the middle of the room. A Bang & Olufsen portable Bluetooth speaker is available for you to drown out noise from pedestrians using the footpath outside your window (the expat-centric Robertson Quay neighbourhood was particularly lively during my stay due to rugby match airings).
The pantry features Nordaq bottled water, tea and coffee from local companies A.Muse Projects and Hook Coffee respectively, Korean cup noodles as well as a range of snacks such as gummy candy from The Natural Confectionery Co and chocolate bars from Vietnamese company Marou. On the alcohol side of things, guests can help themselves to baby bottles of Macallan whisky and Paper Lantern gin in the drawer as well as the bottles of beer, wine and tonic in the fridge.
Aside from retaining visible traces of its industrial heritage across the property’s design, the hotel also cheekily pays homage to the complexes’ former history of vices with its in-room “Minibar of Vices” menu, which actually offers Gentlemen’s vibrating rings, peacock feathers, organic lubricant, BDSM paddles and Okamoto Maximum Sensation condoms (“Lust”) alongside functional items like multi-purpose ointment, sunscreen and mosquito repellent spray (“Vanity”), with some of these items discreetly stocked within the pantry area itself. Shiver me timbers.
The bathroom features a large vanity with green forest marble tiling as well as an enclosed bathing area with rainfall shower facilities and a built-in bathtub. Bathroom amenities are from New Zealand-based scent company Ashley & Co, and the shampoo and conditioner smell deliciously like candied liquorice.
Each registered guest enjoys a complimentary cocktail voucher redeemable at the Lobby Bar.
The hotel’s beautiful interiors, playful nudges to the property’s historical legacy and proximity to the vibrant Robertson Quay neighbourhood lend to a memorable, one-of-a-kind stay experience. Recommended for romantic getaways.
The full review inclusive of dining experiences and photographs is available on Secret Life of Fatbacks, a luxury travel website.
Our stay at The Warehouse Hotel was luxurious in a cool way, and I hate to say hip (I'm too uncool to have a better word), but it really was! On arrival, we were kindly upgraded to their mezzanine room and it was absolutely delicious...can I say that about a room? Because it really was! The pillows were something we have never experienced before, ever, and when my husband sunk into the bed for the first time he had this huge smile on his face! I was standing there saying "Really? It can't be THAT good", so I lay down too, and I caught that same 'well daaaamn these pillows are GOOD!' grin. Comfy bed and pillows - check, and check!
But it wasn't just the room, it was all the extras too; the thoughtfully curated minibar with all those cheeky surprises, the lush toiletries and fluffy towels, taxies were always organised for us, umbrellas were always held overhead for us when getting to the car in the rain, we were always welcomed back after an outing and the cocktails at the bar were incredible (and I love how the first one each were on the house). This super lush boutique hotel which really made us felt spoilt to be there from beginning to the "I don't want to leave" ending. A huge thank you to all of the staff for making our stay such a memorable experience. I dream of returning one day!
I am partial to this type of hotel--smaller, "boutique," with contemporary / minimal design--so it definitely fulfills those criteria. The fact that it's renovated from an old warehouse and has a sort of chic industrial aesthetic is up my alley too. So I was sold from the get-go, but what really makes it stand out for me are some of the "software" elements of the hotel experience. The service is excellent, on par with any 5*, the breakfast is fantastic, featuring local specialties made to order. Drinks at the lobby bar on Saturday night was such good vibes with cool lighting and comfy seating. And they managed to make my favorite drink--a sazerac--even more interesting with the addition of a local ingredient: pandan!
A tip: If you book a "warehouse loft" room type, just know that each one is unique, some have tubs, some are shower only, some have windows (either glass block or with metal bars), some only have skylights, some have toilets that are very "exposed" and open to the room, others have toilets that are a bit more tucked away, etc. So if you have a particular preference, be sure to specify!