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How Singapore’s The Warehouse Hotel created a luxe escape within its 124-year-old walls

Easy on the eyes and heavy on the senses. There’s just something about historic buildings in a contemporary garb. The luxurious face-lift, the legacy, the stories in every nook and cranny – they all come together to transport you to another time and space. The Warehouse Hotel in Singapore is one such building. Constructed in 1895 along the Singapore river, it’s a symbol of the Straits of Malacca trade route, which once was the hotbed of Chinese and Fujianese secret societies, underground activities, and liquor distilleries.

The Warehouse Hotel sits today at the heart of the city’s Havelock Road. Following its avatar as an iconic disco in the 1980s, the building was relaunched in 2017 post a 22-month long restoration — The Warehouse Hotel was turned into a 37-room boutique hotel crafted with historical details and painted over with a modern sheen.

The Warehouse Hotel Singapore
Lobby view

The hotel is housed inside three warehouses and boasts a triple-pitched roof that lends to the interiors of each room. The inspiration for the décor comes from the warehouse itself. Sleek and subtle, the interiors flaunt an industrial aesthetic that is custom-made to preserve the ‘godown look’. The hotel lobby is injected with the intricate details of Singapore’s traditional design, which sports custom lighting and plush leather seating. Its Lobby Bar has also become the talk of the town. With an extensive whisky and bourbon collection, its craft cocktail programme is also a throwback to the property’s past. Their rustic infusions that transport you to the heart of the old spice trade include libations like the Singapore Sazerac (raisin bourbon, pandan bitters, rye, cognac, absinthe) and Barbarella (hibiscus gin, elderflower, rhubarb, earl grey tea). This, aside of curated selection of Asian craft beers, spirits and fine wines.

There are six different room options to choose from, albeit all offer the same idea of luxury. While the Warehouse Sanctuary, Loft, and Mezzanine offer a calm and quaint abode, the Warehouse River View Loft and Suite overlooking the Singapore river lets you immerse in the wholesome vacay mode. Plus, amenities such as toiletries by Ashley and Co New Zealand, in-room soundproofing, Bang & Olufsen Bluetooth speakers, and more are hard to overlook.

The Warehouse Hotel Singapore
Po restaurant

The latest addition to this high-tech heritage hotel is its signature restaurant, Po. Though The Warehouse Hotel takes pride in its unique collection at the lobby bar, Po brings you the heart of Singapore on a plate. The menu for this flagship restaurant has been curated by Mod-Sin (Modern Singaporean) pioneer Willin Low who attempts to revive the flavours of yesteryear by paying tribute to ‘popo’, which translates to grandmother in Mandarin. “With Po, we want to demonstrate that humble local classics, often enjoyed at home or hawker centres, can be modernised from scratch to become elegant and world-class,’’ said Chef Low.

The Warehouse Hotel Singapore
Assorted vegetarian dishes at Po

As a result, the menu is designed keeping in mind the home-cooked dishes that can be given a new twist. Popiah is a signature dish that goes through a four-hour long braising process of veggies to ensure nutrition and sweetness; a special vegetarian version (available for pre-order) is tossed in edamame, dried shitake mushrooms, and gingko nuts. Another signature is Bak Kut Teh, which is an eight-hour long preparation of white Sarawak pepper broth with tender US prime pork ribs served with fried Chinese dough fritters, locally known as you tiao.

From the bar, which is also a rendition of local flavours and elements, one can try exquisite cocktails. Disco Sling – a version of the famous Singapore Sling served in a tall glass with a hot pink strip of Grenadine painted on the side; Lady Luck – a tropical drink with citrus vodka, roselle gin, pineapple shrub, ginger, coconut, and lemon oleo saccharum.

The Warehouse Hotel promises to take you deep into the belly of Singaporean heritage and luxury.

Harleen Kalsi
Senior Editor
Harleen feeds off her nomadic spirit and incessant shenanigans on the road to stay alive. When not writing, she is busy searching for a good read/art/act.