Singapore's Hippest Hotel - The Warehouse Hotel (& Po Restaurant)
“Achingly hip” – it is the only way to describe the lobby of The Warehouse Hotel.
We arrive at dusk, and the low lighting suffuses the gorgeous bar with warmth, while the dangling edison globes reveal an eclectically decorated loft. A cathedral ceiling arches overhead, and exposed brickwork and metalwork give an industrial-chic vibe. There is fashionable low slung furniture, filled with fashionable people, and cocktail glasses clink and sparkle in the subdued glow.
The Warehouse Hotel opened in 2017, after a painstaking restoration and reimagining of a historic building on the river at Robertson Quay. The original 1895 structure has seen many incarnations in its time, from spice warehouse to illicit distillery to disco, and the architects and designers have embraced its colourful past in its newest life – incorporating old materials and existing features in sleek and stylish ways, whilst also creating a thoroughly 21st century destination.
The industrial motif continues from the lobby into the 37 uniquely designed rooms, with polished concrete and wrought iron metalwork offset by luxurious soft furnishings, artwork and greenery. In the bathrooms, grey granite surfaces are juxtaposed with elaborate chrome fittings and waterfall shower-heads. Lighting remains soft and warm, and the rooms are a haven of calm neutral tones.
All rooms are different – some internal rooms are windowless, but still surprisingly light, while others have views of the river, and others take advantage of original pitched ceilings to incorporate a second floor mezzanine. But all include a raft of modern conveniences, including Bang & Olufsen bluetooth speakers, smart TVs, fast wi-fi and divine, eco-friendly Ashley and Co bath products.
Small bespoke touches also abound, such as handwritten welcome notes, stories about the hotel and uniquely styled, locally produced guides to the surrounding area.
We are in Singapore for just one night, passing through on our way to Borneo. Not nearly long enough to savour all the delights of this boutique hotel, including the glass-sided infinity pool or the free bicycles available to hire. But definitely long enough to ensconce ourselves in the armchairs of the iconic bar, delightful decorations overhead, and sample its signature cocktails.
Here the rich history of the hotel is again highlighted, with cocktails celebrating its storied past from the 19th century (the spice trade), mid 20th century (the “godown” era (and yes, we had to google this too – a godown is a shipping warehouse)) and late 20th century (its disco phase). We focused on the 19th century spice trade era, including a super-smooth Singapore Sazarac, and the slightly sweet but surprisingly balanced Whisky Houston (which also came with delectable caramel popcorn).
Later in the evening, we stumble the few steps to Po, the hotel’s highly regarded restaurant.
Named for popo, Mandarin for grandmother, Po is a modern Singaporean restaurant paying homage to the traditions and flavours of yesteryear. The name is also a play on popiah, a classic Singaporean food and featured menu item, including DIY instructions for creating the perfect spring roll. We improve with delicious practice, before savouring a number of other small dishes from the tempting menu, which is receiving wide-spread acclaim.
The following day, we bid farewell to this charming boutique hotel, smitten by its hipness and sure to return.
Know before you go
Don’t forget your swimmers, the Hotel has a small but trendy pool (with glass walls) for that refreshing dip.
The hotel is approximately 25 - 30 minutes from Changi Airport by taxi.
The river view rooms on the ground level are right up against the river side walking path. So you really will need to close the blinds when privacy is required, including when in the open plan bathroom. We are sure passersby won’t be deliberately peering in, but we suggest the occupants of a well lit room will be hard to miss if the blinds are open.