Wanderlust Hotel is the latest of boutique hotels conceptualised by Singapore’s Loh Lik Peng. I suppose it was inevitable following the runaway successes of Loh’s other boutique hotel offerings- New Majestic and 1929.
Wanderlust [noun] A very strong or irresistible impulse to travel.
Even if you set aside the clearly creative designer touches and dare-I-say marijuana (or some Singaporean legal derivative) inspired Pantone hotel rooms on the 2nd floor, Loh has certainly outdone himself business wise, opening a boutique hotel in Little India is not only ambitious but to me, downright savvy.
Point one. turning a derelict former school house into an upscale designer hotel is a great idea for many reasons. Lower costs of acquisition (Little India is not exactly pricey real estate) and close proximity to the city. Nobody else thought of it, Loh Lik Peng did, point two for his entrepreneurial skills.
Featuring 29 rooms, this 4 storey boutique hotel is the former lawyer’s third Singapore designer hotel. The boutique hotelier recently opening The Waterhouse at South Bund, Shanghai and Townhall Hotel in London, used four creative agencies for this endeavour. One might expect, as did I, a terrible clash of ideas and interior touches from four different designers but truth is, it doesn’t. Even as you transition from one floor to the other, a realisation dawns, it’s your wanderlust satisfied on each floor.
Industrial Glam on Level 1
A juxtaposition of the location at Little India, a montage of vintage print ads greet you at the front door next to the reception counter, a reflection of Indian culture. Personally, I feel that the Industrial Glam look is commonplace enough, however the attention to using vintage details like the old-fashioned metal collapsible gate in gleaming gold, Trent Jansen handmade recycled road sign seats and converted shopping cart armchairs lend this boutique lodging a lot of street cred.
Eccentricity on Level 2
11 capsule-rooms on this floor, each rendered in a single pantone. I consider this floor to be the trippiest of the bunch, best enjoyed high (on alcohol or life works). Each with it’s own neon sign and named aptly after songs of yore like Yellow Submarine and Purple Rain. Coincidentally, level 2 is also where the al-fresco jacuzzi is at. All that’s missing are the Arne Jacobson Globe chairs and marijuna bongs. Tip: Leave your drugs at home. Singapore is pro-death penalty.
Is it just Black and White- Level 3
Designed in high contrast white on black or black on white, paper and cardboard are major inspirations in the five rooms on this floor aptly named Origami and Pop-Art. Special lighting features within each of the rooms allows guests to “paint” their rooms via a click wheel; lighting changes correspondingly, changing the hue of the entire room. Paper cut outs of famous designer furniture adds individuality to each of the rooms.
Bigger rooms finally: Creature Comforts on Level 4
The top floor of this designer hotel is probably the most fun and a little more family friendly. More spacious than the others, I felt the rooms with theme ranging from Bling, ASCII, Typewriter and Space captured the essence of Wanderlust. A chance to reconnect with childhood and a spirit of adventure. Whether you’re uncovering your space alien companions in the Space room or looking at amusement at the leaves (hotel staff beg you not to pluck them. It’s dangerous to do so I might add) on the ceiling in the Tree room, I consider Wanderlust to be one of the most original experiences I’ve had since my trip to Melbourne.