Friday, March 25, 2011

Big Business for Singaporean Crafting Boutique Hotels Out of Rickety Rooms

They may look like wrecks to most people, but to Singaporean hotelier Loh Lik Peng creaking warehouses or unused school buildings can be architectural gems just waiting to be polished.

The former lawyer is Singapore’s boutique-hotel king, and he is credited with spearheading a trend to create intimate accommodation both hip and historic in a city dominated by gleaming skyscrapers.

“I like finding old buildings that are a bit of a wreck,” Loh said in the lobby of his newest hotel, Wanderlust, which opened last year in Singapore’s Little India district.

“For me, it’s a huge amount of fun and it always makes my heart beat faster when I see a beautiful, old building and it’s available to restore, and I imagine what I could do with it.”

After a complete refurbishment, he renamed the building Hotel 1929 after the year it was built and opened its doors to the first guest in February 2003. Customers were wowed by the 32 individually-styled rooms done in what Loh called “nouveau chic” decor, with black and white photos of Singapore in the early 20th century lining its corridors.

The success of Hotel 1929 came as a surprise even to Loh, but he realized he had tapped into something worth pursuing.

Three years later, he opened the New Majestic Hotel across the street from Hotel 1929.
Trendy boutique hotels in Singapore do not come cheap, though. An online check showed that the New Majestic’s published rate for a basic room averages 280 Singapore dollars a night, more expensive than the nearby four-star Amara hotel.

Full article by Bernice Han
Singapore Budget Hotels

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