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.
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 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.
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.