“Authenticity,” the buzzword du jour in hotel circles these days, is an ideal that’s been admirably captured by the 20-room Villa Samadhi. Tucked away in the midst of the jungle thickets of Labrador Nature Reserve, the two-story prewar pile was, at various points in its life, an army garrison and a boys’ school. It took the Italian-born and Malaysia-based restaurateur and hotelier Federico Asaro six years to gently rehabilitate the property, dressing the spaces with a shabby-chic mix of rescued opium beds, antique armoires, bamboo screens, salvaged timber, and worn coolie chairs. The subway-tiled bathrooms of the upper-category rooms feature deep plunge pools, but the hotel’s greatest pleasure is the surrounding tropical greenery, so dense and, in its unruly wildness, so evocative of a scene straight out of a Somerset Maugham novella. A twisting timber walkway cuts through the jungle floor to a grand colonial bungalow that’s now home to Tamarind Hill restaurant, a Thai off-shoot of the popular Kuala Lumpur flagship (20 Labrador Villa Rd.; 65/6270-1868; villasamadhi.com.sg; doubles from US$270).
This article originally appeared in the February/March 2017 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Nods to the Past: Villa Samadhi Singapore”).