Finding a stylish alternative to the high prices of big hotels in the Southeast Asian city-state

A new breed of boutique hotels in Singapore is offering visitors more bang for their buck.

The price of a hotel room in Singapore is now among the most expensive in the world, with the average nightly rate reaching USD$214, according to the US Hotel Price Index from, the hotel booking arm of Expedia. The report showed this was an 18% increase from prices paid in 2010. 

Recently, there have been a growing number of boutique hotels springing up around the city-state, not only offering more reasonable prices, but  becoming known as hip, off-beat alternatives to the generic, global hotel brands that populate the Singaporean skyline.

“These new boutique hotels are smart, in the fact that they’ve identified a niche in the market, not only in terms of price, but also in terms of location, so that they can serve both the business and the leisure markets,” said Abhiram Chowdhry, Marketing Director for in Asia Pacific. 

“These hotels are very much focused on service with an eye on the design elements,” explained Roshan Mendis, President of booking website ZUJI and Regional Vice President of Travelocity Asia Pacific.

Even though the general perception is that Singapore hotels are very expensive, it is still possible to find good deals and boutique bargains. 

The Saff
Named after the spice saffron, the Saff hotel blends cultural elements from the exotic climes of Spain, Morocco, Persia, Turkey, India and Thailand. The hotel is situated in a historic building, so the rooms are on the small side. The standard single rooms are between 133-140 sq t, while the deluxe doubles can be as large as 322 sq ft. The majority of bathrooms are a little pokey too, but they are clean and have a brand new finish. Sari fabric curtains and faux snakeskin upholstery give this hotel a contemporary feel.

There is no mini bar or restaurant in the Saff, but there is a cute bar and restaurant next door where you can have breakfast, and there are scores of great dining options just a few steps away. The Saff is in the heart of Chinatown, just a few minutes from the CBD and a five-minute walk to Outram Park or Chinatown MRT stations 

Hotel 1929
As the name suggests, Hotel 1929 is housed in a building that is more than 80 years old, but step inside, and it s nouveau chic all the way. The lobby is filled with designer chairs, and there are 32 individually designed rooms. Be warned, the single room is small and only meant for one (small) person. Luggage is stored under the bed to save on space. If you want to go lux, opt for a suite with an outdoor bath. Every room has a flat screen TV as well as an iPod docking station and there is free wi-fi.

Hotel 1929 is located near what was once a notorious red light district of Singapore. But now, Keong Saik Road is more home to boutique hotels and charming bars. It is a short walk to the Chinatown MRT station as well as the buzzing bars and restaurants on Club Street. 

“Industrial glamour” is the look this boutique establishment is going for. Describing itself as an alternative hotel, Wanderlust is the place to stay for the adventurous traveller looking for a radical hotel experience. This four-storey hotel has 29 rooms and each individually themed floor is the creation of local leading design and architect firms. The best priced are the Pantone rooms,  11 capsule-like spaces with compact storage solutions and modern features. The nine loft suites on the top floor are for the truly indulgent, each with a whimsical and original design.

Wanderlust is smack in middle of Little India, where the streets still have that rustic charm – women in brightly coloured saris, incense and spices wafting from nearby temples and Bollywood music blasting from shops and homes. The developers have yet to move in, so this is a rare enclave in Singapore that’s to be savoured. But if you are craving order and sanitation then Orchard Road and the CBD are roughly 10 minutes away by taxi. 

Hotel Re!
Hotel Re!
offers a lineup of 1960s and ‘70s inspired guestrooms and suites with mod cons and psychedelic furnishings, resulting in a blend that is truly “modern retro”. There are 53 reasonably priced, superior rooms with brightly coloured walls adorned with ‘60s inspired stencils. The top class suites are decked out in gold, silver or bronze, complete with a Jacuzzi hot tub and a waterbed, very Austin Powers. This is a hotel that screams fun.

Located at the base of Pearl’s Hill, Hotel Re! is a little away from the action, but it is only a short taxi ride to attractions like Chinatown, Clarke Quay and Orchard Road.

Moon Hotel
The Moon Hotel is a friendly and cosy establishment in the heart of the traditional Singaporean enclave of Little India. There is a trendy feel about this hotel, with an Ikea-like compact design. The standard rooms are seriously tiny and some do not even have windows, but they are all equipped with iPod docking stations, flat screen TVs, LED lighting and bathrobes. There is only one suite with a balcony and open bath.

Moon hotel is in Little India, just down the road from Wanderlust. This is an area that is not for everyone’s taste. It is a little rough around the edges, a raucous mix of backpacker hostels and spice stores – but why go for the boring, wanna-be Blade Runner skyline and corporate climes? Best make the most of Little India for all its rawness, before big business takes over.