Saturday, November 18, 2006

What's Hip in Hotel

What's hip in hotel stays
Arty hotel rooms offering the unconventional in terms of decor are catching on in Singapore. SUZANNA PILLAY writes.FORGET bland hotel rooms that just offer the basics. When it comes to the avant-garde, Surprising Singapore lives up to its tagline and re-invents the hotel stay experience.

A growing number of hotels on the island are geared towards attracting a new niche market: that of the artistic traveller who appreciates living in a creative, imaginative environment that offers a unique stay.

Working along the lines of the unique architecture of their individual buildings, The Gallery Hotel, Hotel 1929 and the New Majestic Hotel and others have created living spaces that highlight artistic expression through design and decor.

Enjoying the distinction of being called Singapore’s very first hip art design hotel, the 10-storey Gallery Hotel at Robertson Quay is a vision of post-modern architecture and colourful rooms by the Singapore River.

First completed in 2000, it recently underwent a rebranding last year and prefers to describe itself as a hip hotel with an arts-centric theme.

“We do not consider ourselves strictly as a boutique hotel because we are too big at 233 rooms. However, we did create a new category of rooms which provide our guests with a boutique hotel experience,” said Jacqueline Lim, public relations consultant for The Gallery.

These rooms are an addition to the Gallery’s existing range of room categories which are popular for their design.

Known as the CYX rooms and suites, Jacqueline explained that each of these new boutique rooms offered a unique art experience and were conceived during the Creative Youth Exchange @ Gallery Hotel competition that the hotel co-organised with the Creative Industries Singapore in November 2005.

Themed “Five walls: Defying Definitions”, the competition attracted 150 entries from across Southeast Asia, including Australia. Eventually 16 shortlisted entries were invited to bring their ideas to life using the Gallery Hotel’s rooms and suites as their three-dimensional canvas.

The results? Simply amazing ideas that feature room backdrops incorporating optical illusions, cartoons, murals and colourful three-dimensional yarn designs.

As Jacqueline puts it, “Each room offers guests a different experience and tells its own story. Guests can pick the experience they would like to enjoy.”

Echoing this different room-different look theme via artwork is the 30-room New Majestic in Bukit Pasoh Road.

Located in Chinatown, the New Majestic is a renovated conservation shophouse with unique architectural qualities which ultimately influenced the design of the rooms on offer.

In collaboration with Asian Art Options, the hotel engaged the services of nine of Singapore’s young artists to create site-specific artwork that would complement the unique rooms of an old Singapore shophouse, said Sri Wahidah Masturi, sales executive for the New Majestic and its sister property, Hotel 1929, also located in Chinatown.

“Each room has its own eclectic theme and inspiration ranging from pop art and giant goldfish to anamorphic messages represented in wall murals, to complement the Majestic room experience.”

Aside from murals and furniture, the rooms also differ in terms of customised baths.

Apart from rooms with conventional bathrooms, other rooms appeal to the more hedonistic guest with their outdoor baths or glass-encased bathtub featured in the middle of the hotel’s “aquarium rooms”.

At Hotel 1929 too, no two rooms are alike either.

Its appeal lies in a hip mix of the traditional and retro, which reflects the hotel decor, and the artsy, collector chairs of owner Loh Lik Peng, which makes the 32-room hotel “a chair museum” of sorts.

Highlights include a Joseph Hoffman Kubus sofa designed in 1910, vintage Eames Chairs dating from 1946, Arne Jacobsen Swan and Egg chairs, vintage Pierre Paulin’s Tulip chairs and the Verner Panton Chair, among others.

Sri Wahidah said that while both of Loh’s hotels feature a collection of chairs in their lobby area, what is unique about Hotel 1929 is that even each individual room features one of these unique chairs as part of its decor.

Each chair has a history and as a novelty, guests can check out what type is in their room from a poster in the hotel’s lobby.

Although there are no individual room themes, guests will appreciate the subtle differences reflected in the choice of furnishing, beds and vintage Finnish Marimekko fabrics used as bedcovers.

Design aficionados will remember that Marimekko’s colourful printed fabrics were a hit in the fashion world in the 1960s and 1970s.

Part of the Marimekko success formula was to employ artists to showcase their graphic designs to textiles.

Even Jacqueline Kennedy was a fan, donning Marimekko-made togs during the 1960 US presidential campaign.

Those with a passion for the unusual will also appreciate the irregular room sizes which was the result of the reconfiguration of five conservation shophouses which make up Hotel 1929.

As a result, although in some rooms the bed seems to take over the entire space, they are taller than normal to house a safe, and storage drawers for guests.

Additionally, each of the hotel’s rooms are equipped with a flat screen TV, alarm clock radio and CD player to ensure that guests have a pleasurable stay.

Uber-hip and chic, both the New Majestic and Hotel 1929 are a big draw with the young and trendy in Singapore for marrying tradition with art successfully.

News Source : NST

1 comment:

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