In January 2022, I checked into the River View Suite at The Warehouse Hotel Singapore, a boutique hotel situated along the banks of the Singapore River near the vibrant Robertson Quay and Clarke Quay districts full of dining and nightlife options. The 37-room riverside property is a 15-minute walk from both Fort Canning MRT Station and Clarke Quay MRT Station as well as a half hour away from Changi Airport by taxi.
The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Riverside architectural goals in Robertson Quay.
The must-dos (if any): Take a luxurious shower with Ashley & Co bathroom products, enjoy a dip in the swimming pool, go for a meal at Po Restaurant, have a cocktail at Lobby Bar after dark.
THE WAREHOUSE HOTEL SINGAPORE
The 1895 colonial-era two-storey waterfront property has a colourful history due to its location in a former red light district, with the premises being a hotbed of prostitution, gambling as well as illegal drug and alcohol use back in its libertine heyday. Previously a spice warehouse, oil mill as well as a popular discotheque before its current incarnation as a boutique hotel, the property retains visible traces of its industrial heritage throughout its interior design, courtesy of creative design agency Asylum and architectural firm Zarch Collaboratives.
The hotel lobby plays it all soaring cathedral-style ceiling with black-iron beams, exposed brick walls and machinery-inspired hanging pendant lights, with plush leather seating available for post-meal lounging or after-dark social affairs at the Lobby Bar. Guests can access the infinity pool on the second level using the grand staircase or by taking the elevator, and while the fortuitous location of certain trees assist in providing the requisite tranquility and privacy, the swimming pool’s transparent glass walls does mean one should not skinny-dip or play naughty underwater games with their pool companions unless they wish to provide an eyeful to those on the roads and pedestrian paths nearby.
The hotel’s proximity to the buzzy Robertson Quay area provides guests with an opportunity to live it up like an expat. Shopping mall Great World with its Japanese supermarket Meidi-Ya and myriad of dining concepts is a short walk away. Cafes across the river such as Toby’s Estate and clean eating concept Carrotsticks & Cravings offer lazy riverside brunch experiences, while the Robertson Quay stretch offers endless dinner options such as Mexican (Super Loco), Japanese (Aburiya), Italian (Bella Pasta), steaks (Wolfgang’s Steakhouse Singapore at InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay) and many, many more.
RIVER VIEW SUITE
Overlooking the Singapore River from the second level, the 57sqm loft-style River View Suite – the biggest room in the property – looks like something that waltzed out of Monocle or Arch Daily with its industrial-chic stylings, leather and marble textures, earthy and cool tones as well as strong and defining black lines. The suite boasts a soaring peaked ceiling with exposed original beams as well as an open plan layout, with the bedroom area furnished with a super king-sized bed and window-side daybed and the ensuite bathroom comprising a freestanding double vanity, standalone deep bathtub as well as black metal-framed frosted shower doors and walls which only faintly obscure the nude silhouettes of its occupant(s). Bathroom amenities are from New Zealand-based scent company Ashley & Co.
A Bang & Olufsen portable Bluetooth speaker is available for your musical pleasures, while the pantry is stocked with Nordaq bottled water, tea and coffee from local companies A.Muse Projects and Hook Coffee, Korean cup noodles, coconut water, canned soft drinks as well as a range of snacks such as gummy candy from The Natural Confectionery Co and chocolate bars from Vietnamese company Marou. On the booze front, the pantry offers bottled beer and wines, Paper Lantern gin and East Imperial tonic, mini bottles of Macallan whiskey as well as a bottled cocktail from the Lobby Bar.
Elsewhere in the pantry, the scandalous “Minibar of Vices” cheekily pays homage to the complexes’ former history of vices, offering gentlemen’s vibrating rings, peacock feathers, organic lubricant, BDSM paddles and Okamoto Maximum Sensation condoms (“Lust”) alongside functional items like multi-purpose ointment, sunscreen and mosquito repellent spray (“Vanity”). Pearls are clutched.
Each registered guest enjoys a complimentary cocktail voucher redeemable at the Lobby Bar. The River View Suite is subject to a minimum two-night booking.
The hotel’s key dining concept is Po Restaurant, the heritage cuisine restaurant which takes its name from both the Chinese word for grandmother (po) as well as a local fresh spring roll dish (popiah). The titular Popiah is an essential interactive experience – guests are invited to follow the instructions on a card as to how to assemble their own spring roll using egg strips, crushed peanuts, freshly ground garlic, crispy flatfish, fried shallots, coriander sprigs and beansprouts along with a feisty chilli sauce and sweet sauce. (Hermes-toting diners and illustrious gourmands can opt for additional toppings of fresh tiger prawns or flower crabmeat for an elevated popiah experience.) Other menu signatures include the Kurobuta Char Siew as well as the posh Hokkien Mee send-up Carabinero Prawns with Kombu Mee.
The Lobby Bar serves cocktails inspired by three specific eras from the property’s history – spice trade (sample drink: the chamomile whisky-based High Tea), godown (sample drink: the sweet banana whisky-centric B.B. King) and discotheque (sample drink: the fruity and light Disco Sling). One of my favourites was the sweet, fragrant and heady Singapore Sazerac (raisin bourbon, pandan bitters, rye, cognac, absinthe), which plays like a boozy send-up of the HSC Grass Power canned drink.
The hotel’s beautiful interiors, playful nudges to the property’s historical legacy and proximity to the vibrant Robertson Quay neighbourhood lend to a memorable, one-of-a-kind stay experience. Recommended for romantic getaways.
The Warehouse Hotel Singapore
320 Havelock Road