SOME travelers complain that Singapore’s Chinatown has become too up-market and gentrified. Now while it’s true that fashionable boutiques and international restaurants seem out of place in an historic district like Chinatown, the extra revenue they generate can – with the right planning and initiatives – work wonders for restoration. New Majestic Hotel is a good example of this.
Guests don’t enjoy the quintessential Chinatown experience inside the walls of the New Majestic. Instead, they enjoy a fusion of classic Art Deco design and 21st-century atmosphere in an environment spilling over with local artistic elegance. Guestrooms are relatively spacious given the compact nature of Chinatown, and each has been decorated by a local artist who was encouraged to go overboard and spare no expense.
In early 2012, the hotel also joined the Singapore ‘Space Program’, an initiative that encourages hoteliers to bring in art and furnishings that reference the history, culture and landscape of Singapore. The result is a delightfully quirky – often elegant – collection of vintage furnishings and stylish works of art.
What makes it special?
New Majestic Hotel manages to capitalize on the quirky and eclectic character of Singapore’s Chinatown without forcing you confront the district’s noisy, chaotic atmosphere in the comfort of your own room. Every room is different, so no two guest experiences are the same, but that’s central to the New Majestic’s allure. You can tell a lot about a hotel based on the sorts of adjectives guests use when writing their own reviews. Words like ‘funky’ and ‘luxurious’ make strange bedfellows, but they both certainly apply here.
What to expect?
Your personal experience is going to depend a great deal on the room you select, especially in terms of style and décor. But regardless of which room they book, guests enjoy high-caliber service.
Basic in-room amenities include a Nespresso coffee maker, LCD TV, Bose stereo, iPod docking station, and luxurious Ploh bedding and bathrobe. Attic rooms have six-meter-high ceilings; others have aquarium-style or cast-iron bathtubs. With that in mind, guests are well-advised to follow the management’s recommendation and select a specific room at the time of their booking.
What is there to do?
It’s rare for a hotel to boast that they have the smallest pool in town, but New Majestic is proud of their upside-down record. The bragging rights boil down to the hotel’s status as a conservation building. As a rule, these buildings aren’t allowed to have swimming pools built inside. The owners obtained special permission for the construction of this pool, and they went all out decorating with tiled mosaics and see-through portals in the floor. There’s also a fitness center in the hotel.
But most of the activities that guests are likely to engage in take place in Chinatown and greater Singapore. Chinatown is great for shoppers and foodies. You can go it alone or book a trishaw tour for a proper introduction to the district. Merchant stalls, ancient temples and terraces still characterize the neighborhood, but they’re losing ground to more gentrified businesses, arty cafés and boutiques. Regardless of your sightseeing plan of attack, you’re best off stopping by the concierge and consulting with the Guest Experience Ambassador before heading out.
What’s the damage?
Standard double rooms start at around US$200 for a premier pool room. The Aqua rooms go for about US$230, while the chicer and more spacious attic lofts begin at around US$320. There is plenty of variation to account for price differences. For example, some rooms have cast iron bathtubs; others have private gardens. There are also five concept rooms that have been specially designed and with their own theme and style.