The Warehouse Hotel
There’s nothing quite like The Warehouse Hotel, a converted colonial-era godown on the waterfront of Singapore’s vibrant Robertson Quay. Its long history starts on 1895, year when it was built as a spice warehouse, to then become a house of ill repute and later a nightclub over ensuing decades. Its latest reincarnation is as the city’s hippest hotel, a showcase of modern Singaporean design, culture and cuisine. The lobby is striking in its dimensions: a cathedral ceiling of exposed beams, pendants lamps and ancient pulleys overlooking the bar and lounge area totally colored with hues of black, copper, grey and exposed brick.
Opened in January 2017 by hospitality outfit the Lo & Behold Group, the history of the Warehouse Hotel began back in 1895. Given its privileged position on the sea routes of the Strait of Malacca, it was built along the Singapore River as a base for business travel. At the time it was indeed a hotbed of secret societies, black markets and liquor distilleries.
The meticulous operation of reconversion of the building, curated by the creative studio Asylum, has given life to a design hotel that is mirrored in the waters of the Singapore river and which preserves the ancient charm of the original structure. The unmistakable industrial footprint of the building has been preserved: inside the lobby there is a trussed ceiling from which a series of steel wheels hang, exposed brickwork and a polished floor.
The Warehouse Hotel offers six different types of rooms, each designed with the original layout of the property in mind. The fixtures have been maintained and consolidated, and most of the rooms are characterized by double-height ceilings, wooden floors and local craftsmanship. There are 37 rooms spread over two storeys. The modern comforts are decidedly present day, with a Bang & Olufsen Bluetooth speaker, free Wi-Fi and the latest TV technology that connects to your device.
The Warehouse Hotel’s flagship restaurant, Po, is a refined modern Singaporean concept presenting an array of local classics and elevated Singaporean staples. Curated by Chef-Partner Willin Low, pioneer of Mod-Sin cuisine, Po seeks to bridge the gap between our nation’s vibrant culinary heritage and our rich collective memories of home cooked specialties. The beverage offering features a tightly curated selection of tipples which will bring to life the heritage of The Warehouse Hotel alongside premium craft Asian spirits and fine wines.
The Warehouse Hotel is authenticity and audacity tastefully rolled into one because it is definitely a mix of local history and heritage and contemporary flavours. Last but not least, on the rooftop there is an infinity pool overlooking the river and the neighborhood of Robertson Quay as well as bicycles for those who want to explore the garden city and don’t mind getting a little sweaty. The Warehouse Hotel overlooks the Singapore River, precisely it is situated on the banks of river, in front of the bustling Robertson Quay food and drink area. In just 10-15 minutes by cab you can easily reach the financial district with stunning skyscrapers or the Orchard Road with its gorgeous malls for an amazing shopping time.
Located on a once seedy strip of Havelock Road along the Singapore River, it’s across the water from Robertson Quay, which bustles with restaurants and bars and, unlike the other quays, is devoid of touts and kitsch nightlife. The lively Clarke Quay nightspot is a 15-minute stroll along the river, and it takes about 40 minutes to reach the famous Merlion and Marina Bay on foot. There’s a bus stop out front, but the nearest train station is about 15 minutes’ walk. The Orchard Road shopping strip is 10 minutes by taxi. The hotel lends out bikes for city sightseeing, and tourist bumboats ply the river.
River Cruise Jetty Stop just behind The Warehouse Hotel, sightseeing along the Singapore River. Applicable charges will apply.
Bespoke Cocktails at The Warehouse Hotel Lobby Bar. – PLUS: A welcome drink token will be given to each staying guest, which can be redeemed during their stay.
Po’s Signature Po-piah, a Singapore style wrap, bursting with flavour and is a MUST TRY at the Hotel.
Complimentary use of the in-house bicycles to cycle alongside the Singapore River and enjoy the sights of Robertson Quay, Clarke Quay, Boat Quay and Marina Bay.
Value for Money
Advance Purchase Promotion is available on the hotel website. Rates are subject to change without prior notice.
Access for guests with disabilities?
There’s a wheelchair friendly room available in the hotel.
They welcome families but do take note that family rooms and extra bed are not available at this hotel. Rooms next to each other can be arranged with prior notice. Baby cot is available upon request.
The History of The Warehouse Hotel
From 1895 to 1951, the complexes also housed an opium den. An illegal distillery producing homemade whiskey operated on the premises, too, back then, the street the warehouses are located on was known as “Chiu Long Lo,” or “Spirits Shed Street,” in the southern Chinese dialect of Hokkien. Between 1951 and the 1980s, the warehouses were mainly used to store produce, from spices, rice and coffee, to materials like rubber and tin. In 1986, the site became the Warehouse Disco, a legendary party haven for jiving throngs of young people. The disco closed in 1996. Before the warehouses were released for tender by the government in 2013, the site stood empty.
The area had changed dramatically, however. Robertson Quay transformed from a historic wharf into a commercial and residential hotspot in the 1990s, with Singapore‘s Urban Redevelopment Authority at the helm. In 2013, Singaporean hospitality firm Lo & Behold Group, which is responsible for some of the city-state’s trendiest restaurants and bars, acquired the three warehouses for an undisclosed sum. Construction of the hotel began the following year. Creative design agency Asylum and architectural firm Zarch Collaboratives, both Singaporean businesses, were enlisted to oversee the renovation.
Our Special Reading
Discovering Singapore without opening your wallet
Choosing the best things to do in Singapore was no easy task. This is a city bursting to the seams with impressive attractions, exciting activities, and plenty of day trips for all the family. This tiny island state is also a land of contrasts; Chinatown and Little India, both gastronomic and shopping hubs in their own right, represent the incredible ethnic diversity of the country. For nightlife, we’ve got you covered too. Sip on a Singapore Sling at the lavish Raffles Hotel, or head to Clarke Quay for some of the city’s most picturesque eating and drinking spots. However Singapore may be one of the most expensive countries to visit in Southeast Asia, but there are plenty of free things to see and do to ease the pressure on your wallet. Here are some of our favourite Singapore freebies.
Admire the Supertrees at Gardens by the Bay
You’ll have to fork out extra to enter the conservatories and the OCBC Skyway at showstopping horticultural super park Gardens by the Bay, but it doesn’t cost a cent to wander through the iconic Supertree Grove. Swing by just before 7.45pm or 8.45pm daily to get the best vantage spot to watch Garden Rhapsody, the captivating 15-minute sound and light show.
Stroll among overgrown tombs at Bukit Brown Cemetery
First established in the early 20th century, Bukit Brown Cemetery was once Singapore’s largest Chinese cemetery but was subsequently abandoned. Today it’s a birding and wildlife spot, and has been identified as a heritage site worth preserving. Sadly some areas have already been redeveloped by the government in the name of road widening, and the remainder is pegged for new housing developments. Enthusiasts, historians and activist groups run free walking tours of the cemetery; check out their Facebook page for details.
Marvel at Singapore’s most atmospheric temples
Paradoxically in the middle of Chinatown, the colourfully kitsch Sri Mariamman Temple is Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple, and well worth a look-in. Replete with elaborate carvings, Thian Hock Keng (Singapore’s oldest Chinese temple), is also particularly atmospheric, and don’t miss the 44m heritage mural painted by Singaporean artist Yip Yew Chong on the temple’s outside rear wall. A peaceful afternoon can be spent exploring Kong Meng San Phor Kark See, a working monastery housed in a massive Escher-esque building with a bell and drum tower, statues, and various halls.
4 Questions to enjoy Singapore the best
Recently I could finally give a face to a city that intrigued me for some time, a city so exotic and mysterious, a city named Singapore. With my visit to this metropolis of the world, I realized one of my travel dreams. But not only: Singapore has left its mark. Someone was surprised that someone like me, in love with wild and out-of-the-world destinations, who had chosen to visit destinations outside the canons, wanted so much to see an ultramodern and sophisticated megalopolis like Singapore. But it always intrigued me. It intrigued me for what other travelers had told me, because so many seemed to adore it and made amazing descriptions. And inside me I knew I liked it already.
Singapore is a metropolis of 5 million inhabitants, but it is not chaotic and there is not all the traffic you would expect (thanks to an ecological policy that heavily tax drivers and incentives to use public transport), it is full of green spaces , is clean and tidy but has very strict rules (forbidden to eat or drink on the subway, the chewing-gum are forbidden to name a few), is rich (it is one of the great financial capitals of the world), very modern (it seems to be catapulted already into the XXII century) and last but not least (the thing that I like absolutely more), is super cosmopolitan.
Being in Singapore is like being in every place in the world at the same time. There is China Town, the Chinese quarter, once a melting pot of opium chimneys and brothels, with its shops, temples, traditional restaurants and its lively and intriguing atmosphere; there is Little India, the Indian quarter, with its perfumed markets, colorful houses, Hindu temples, the vibrant air of Indian music, incense and flowers. A few blocks away is Arab Street, with its mosques, fabric stores, Middle Eastern restaurants and a thousand and one night atmosphere.
The rich island-nation called Singapore
Singapore is always evolving and every time I visit it, I find it radically changed in its appearance. This rich island-nation of the Malay archipelago, full of history and traditions, thanks to a very strong central government, was able to do much better than others in terms of urban and economic development. Thanks to a mix of lassez fair economic, cultural openness and good governance, Singapore is a small Montecarlo of Southeast Asia. It has its F1 Grand Prix, its skyscrapers, its world-class hotels, its clean streets and an enviable secure feelings. But unlike the sleeping monegasque city-state, Singapore is a powerful financial center, (the reference square is the SIMEX) an important harbor (before it was surpassed by Shanghai it was the busiest port in the world, but it still remains the main hub of the region), an amazing air center (Singapore Airlines has become the leading company in South Asia and perhaps throughout the region).
And while Montecarlo remains the same, the island on the Strait of Singapore has engaged a series of epochal transformations, expanding its soil in territorial waters, with super projects such as the Marina park, the relocation of the port to the east to have more space for new luxury skyscrapers.
The most iconic part of the city is the old colonial district that extends along the Singapore River, once the old port of the city. On one side you will find ancient Victorian museums and theaters, with excellent art galleries and the unmissable Asian Civilization Museum (essential to learn about the history of the city and learn more about Chinese and Southeast Asian art and history). On the left bank you will find a long row of Shop-House where you can taste some typical dishes, such as Chicken Rice and Spicy Crab.
Special City Guide: Singapore
Pint-sized Singapore is a mosaic of contrasting cultures. It’s easy to be dazzled by Orchard Road’s wall-to-wall malls, but you can take a breather at Chinatown’s immense Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Hindu shrines draped with marigold garlands. The city’s mix of traditional, colonial and futuristic is best seen at the mouth of the Singapore River, where the spiky domed Esplanade theatre is steps away from the neo-Palladian Asian Civilizations Museum, home to Islamic calligraphy and Vietnamese sculptures.
Singaporeans start the day with tai chi in the fragrant Botanic Gardens amid towering rainforest trees. Step back to Singapore’s colonial days at the Corinthian-columned Supreme Court, near cricket matches on the Padang’s grassy expanse. Juxtaposed with the babble of street markets and malls, the city‘s spiritual side surfaces in Chinatown, where incense plumes fill the Hindu Sri Mariamman Temple with its immense, ornate gopuram (tower gateway). All-day, outdoor recreation is popular on Sentosa Island.
Orchard Road is crammed with gleaming malls selling the latest laptops, digital cameras and designer fashion. Pick up some Gucci and Cartier at the Takashimaya department store. Browse Buddha heads and Burmese teak furniture at antique stores around lush Dempsey Hill, once a British army barracks. Style mavens love tiny Haji Lane, tucked away in the Arab Quarter, for tailored dress shirts and psychedelic cushion covers.