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How Lloyd’s Inn went from a lone budget hotel to a hip regional boutique brand

Lloyd’s Inn, located on a quiet stretch of Orchard Road since 1990, is a name familiar to most. Back in the day, it was a basic run-down inn with a green-tiled facade marketed to budget travellers looking for a place to stay near the bustling shopping district. Its interiors were stuffy and unwelcoming, reminiscent of grandma’s house with its carpeted floors, old-fashioned window sills and dated floral duvet covers. 

The new Lloyd’s Inn, which was renovated in 2014.

Since 2014, the 34-room hotel has been given a completely new life after its refurbishment in 2014 by cross-disciplinary design practice FARM Architects, who reimagined everything from the hotel’s logo, collaterals and website — right down to the spaces and details.

Each room and their interstitial spaces have been designed to highlight the beauty of raw natural materials like concrete and timbre, with touches of nature creeping in via expansive skylights, lush courtyards and double volume open-air spaces. This is reflected in the rooms, which are aptly labelled the Big Garden, The Skyroom, The Patio, and The Reading.

The beautiful boutique hotel attracts the chic staycation crowd as well as sophisticated jet-setters aiming to stay in a design-led boutique property located within proximity to Singapore’s shopping district.

The person overseeing this? Joan Chang, director of the hotel. The graduate from Singapore Management University, who has a double degree in Finance and Marketing, was given the responsibility to turn the hotel around by her father Herman Chang, founder of real estate developer Macly Group.

Under her future-forward vision and leadership, Chang turned the dingy hotel into a one of Singapore’s coolest design hotels. Now, she has set her sights on Bali and Kuala Lumpur.

The first of the two properties, Lloyd’s Inn Bali, is slated to open in November this year at Seminyak’s Double Six Beach, near the famous La Plancha Bali. Designed by the same architects who spearheaded the Singapore property, the hotel boasts a colour palette that infuses earthy tones and textures inspired by Bali’s rainforests and the beach.

“The brand personality for us would be tranquil and cosy, yet unpretentious. Our hotels are a natural oasis for a getaway,” Chang said when we caught up with her at Lloyd’s Inn Singapore.

Lloyd’s Inn Bali. (Image credit: Lloyd’s Inn)

While Lloyd’s Inn Bali would be the brand’s first overseas property, it won’t be Chang’s first venture in Bali. She runs another property on the island called Cara Cara, which caters to a younger demographic.

“Lloyd’s Inn and Cara Cara target different segments and different personalities. Cara Cara is a boutique compact-room hotel targeting a younger demographic. It’s more fun, free-spirited and attracts the kind of guest who wants to mingle and go out with other travellers,” Chang explains.

“The Lloyd’s Inn traveller is more sophisticated. They’re looking for an experience when they travel. They enjoy retreating into their personal space, yet being close to amenities when they can.”

Another overseas opening would be the Kuala Lumpur city property, slated to open in 2019. The hotel is a skyscraper which gels in with the cityscape, and will naturally host more business travellers, yet will still retain the same core elements as the Lloyd’s Inn brand.

Is there a possibility of expanding outside Southeast Asia? Chang hinted that nothing is impossible — and it all depends on the opportunities, timing and real estate factors. Her dream destination to open a hotel? “The Maldives,” she immediately quipped, “It’s an ideal location for the brand, especially since we’d like to be located by the sea.”

How Lloyd’s Inn went from a lone budget hotel to a hip regional boutique brand

Dewi Nurjuwita

Senior Writer

Dewi Nurjuwita is a travel and design writer who can be found exploring the streets of foreign cities with passport in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.

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