Hotel of the Week: Hôtel Vagabond Singapore

Always pushing the envelope, this 41-room heritage property proves that Singapore is not rigid and colorless as it is rumored to be.

Why you’ll want to go: Founded by dot-com entrepreneur Satinder Garcha, the boutique hotel occupies a row of renovated shop houses next to the Rochor Canal. It’s a visual feast that starts at the lobby, where a massive gleaming elephant stares down at guests. If at a loss as to where the check-in area is, look for the giant solid brass rhinoceros. Made by a family of craftsmen who used to make armors for the Rajasthani royal family, the imposing sculpture also serves as a unique conversation starter.

The rhino reception. All photos courtesy of the property.

The rhino reception. All photos courtesy of the property.

Another design standout is a video installation found at the elevator, which features snippets from films, a few of which date back to the black-and-white era. On the way up to your room, you’ll be asked by the staff to identify the movies from which those scenes were taken from.

The classic room

The classic room

The Rooms: Each room comes adorned with photos taken by Garcha during his travels. The sleeping quarters might be a tad too cozy, but their cheeky design—the brainchild of Frenchman Jacques Garcia—as well as the Etro toiletries make up for the tight space.

The wall of art at the restaurant

The wall of art at the restaurant

Bar Vagabond and La Mona, the baboon

Bar Vagabond and La Mona, the baboon

Vagabond's executive club suite

Vagabond’s executive club suite

Things you can do: Grab a cocktail (or two) at Bar Vagabond. Bestsellers include Crazy Farquhar, a combo of Brazilian Leblon Cachaça and fruity notes; and Black Gold, a Plantation Original Dark Rum mixed with pineapple juice, salt, and other ingredients. Work out at their newly added gym, located across the road and open 24/7. Indulge your flair for the arts by talking to their artist-in-residence. They come from all over the world and stay at the property to discuss their work with visitors.

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