Hotel Review: Wanderlust Hotel (Studio Loft)
I was surfing the internet for possible hotel stays in Singapore and chanced upon an advertisement promoting Wanderlust Hotel. It was their birthday that month and they were holding a promotion, offering 40% off their standard rates. I thought this was a really good deal and since I have not stayed at a boutique hotel before, it was a good opportunity to do so. I decided to do it on the spot and booked a night’s stay at Wanderlust.
Wanderlust is one of three hotels in The Unlimited Collection by Oakwood. Oakwood itself has many hotels, but The Unlimited Collection provides boutique hotel solutions for guests. Besides Wanderlust located in Little India, there are two other hotels in Chinatown: Kesa House and Ann Siang House.
Unique loft room that maximises space
Great food offerings around the hotel
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I did not really interact much with the hotel staff, except during check-in and check-out. At both times, they were friendly and polite. I arrived at the hotel around 3.15 pm and was a little surprised to see the hotel so crowded. The lobby lounge area was quite packed, with many couples waiting to check-in. I could see that the staff members were trying their best to serve the different guests and there was nothing I could do except to wait. I decided to walk around the vicinity and not add to their stress levels.
I came back around 4 pm and was relieved to see that the crowds have gone. Presumably, all of them are happy relaxing in their hotel rooms. Check-in was a breeze, with the staff member being the most friendly, explaining the process and what to expect during my stay. I was then handed the key cards and brought to the elevator.
The next day, I checked out around 11.30 am. It was a smooth process as well and was done in less than a minute. The staff member was polite as always, and their friendliness was infectious. Overall, I appreciated the hotel staff’s friendliness and professionalism.
The hotel has a nice dipping pool on the second floor, with bookings recommended. This is evident as I went to check out the pool before dinner and found a couple chilling out in the pool. Alternatively, you might want to go in the mornings where you can suntan to your heart’s content under the cloudless skies.
Presumably meant for long-stay guests, the hotel has washing machines and dryers for your use at a charge. I did not find out how much it costs, but I thought this is a good facility to offer to guests.
Guests wanting tasty still or sparkling water need not spend exorbitant prices typically charged by hotels. Located on the second floor, Wanderlust offers complimentary still and sparkling water. They have also provided empty bottles in your room so you could easily head to the second floor and fill up the bottles. Re-fills are complimentary as well, so you could enjoy having only still water throughout your stay. While it is no Evian or Voss, I thought Wanderlust has stepped up to provide a unique offering not commonly found in other hotels.
I stayed a night at the Studio Loft, where the size of each room ranges between 18 and 25 square metres. It is admitted smaller than most hotel rooms. However, such is the uniqueness of boutique hotels that they tend to come up with creative solutions to justify guests coming over for a stay.
In the Studio Loft room, they came up with a solution to have a loft, where the bed(room) is located on the second floor of the room. Much like other loft apartments you see in one-bedder condominiums, this room attempts to recreate such an atmosphere. One gets a little sense of home when one heads into the room.
The bathroom is cleverly hidden beside the main door, located directly below the bedroom. It comes with a spacious standing shower, with toiletries provided by Ashley & Co. The brand originates from New Zealand and I enjoyed the scents after a shower. The bathroom is also brightly lit and I liked this aspect of the room, as opposed to some hotels which use warm colour lighting even in bathrooms.
Within the main area of the room, there is a small kitchen area where one can cook and wash up after a meal. For those who enjoy cooking during staycations, there is a microwave, an induction stove, a small fridge, and an assortment of crockery and cutlery. However, do be sure to wash up after cooking, as this is a requirement of the hotel. There is also filtered water available from the tap in the room, so you will not need to request multiple bottles of mineral water. This is something that I really appreciate since plastic bottles are indeed an issue the world needs to reduce. For those of us who tend to stay in the room, there are glasses available so you will feel right at home while chilling out and walking to the kitchen area for a glass of water.
Due to the small room size, watching television might not be the most comfortable activity one can do. You might need to strain your neck a little just to watch a show. A group activity, such as playing board games, might be a better option, with the coffee table beside the sofa providing the perfect place for your games.
For those who need to do some work even during a staycation, there is a small table beside the sofa with sufficient wall plugs. As the hotel television had limited channels, I made use of the complimentary wifi and my laptop to catch the Formula 1 qualifying programme that night.
Guests who are particular about pressed clothes should be pleased to know that there is an iron and ironing board. The cabinet is also large enough to store a couple of gym bags, so there is no issue with leaving your bags around the room, especially if you have guests over.
The bed(room) on the second floor is just that: a bed. It is quite comfortable and guests considering purchasing a loft unit in a condominium might want to consider staying a night here to find out how it feels not to have a separate bedroom. Of course, a loft unit should be significantly larger than 25 square metres, but the feeling of having a loft could be interesting to consider. I enjoyed the novelty of sleeping in a loft, although this room’s ceiling was really high. I was able to fully stand while in the bedroom, something that not all loft units can do.
There are also wall plugs on either side of the bed, so each person could charge their mobile phone. As the space is too small for any tables, you might need to either place your phone on the floor or place it on the bed beside you.
More mature guests may find climbing the stairs a challenge, as it is really steep. You will need to be careful when walking up or down the stairs. I made sure to hold the railings with both my hands, such was my fear of falling down. However, as long as you are careful, there should not be too much of an issue.
As a boutique hotel, Wanderlust does not offer breakfast or room service. Instead, guests are encouraged to travel around the vicinity to explore and eat at one of the eateries or restaurants. There is also an in-house restaurant, Kotuwa, serving Sri Lankan cuisine. I was really excited to try out the restaurant as I missed their food, having travelled to Colombo once and really enjoying their cuisine. However, such was their popularity that it was fully booked by the time I remembered to book a timeslot for dinner. Be sure to make a reservation for a meal at least a week in advance to avoid disappointment!
Wanderlust does offer suggestions where guests can enjoy great food around the hotel, and I also chanced upon Meatsmith located nearby. I quickly made a booking for dinner and secured a reservation. Although a little pricy, the food was simply delicious. Located beside the Indian Heritage Centre, Meatsmith is quite easy to locate.
For dinner, I enjoyed some stunning dishes. I had their tandoori stuffed chicken wings, which are deboned and stuffed with minced chicken and cheese. It was so good that I immediately miss it after finishing it off. The coconut pork ribs were so tender that they slid off the bone easily. True to their name, the meat offerings in this restaurant were top-notch. We also had the tacos and two desserts, both of which were just fantastic. Each dish we ordered was unique and not served in the usual conventional manner one might expect. For example, the wings were deboned and stuffed, while the pork ribs came glazed with coconut cream. We are no food connoisseurs, so we can only say that the food here is highly recommended. I also got a chance to enjoy a glass of their red wine and it was really smooth and tasted good. All in all, a great dinner to end the night.
Tea breaks and breakfast came in the form of Starbucks for me. It reminded me of work since I usually get a cup of Americano at my workplace in the morning and after lunch. It was nice to remind myself of work during a staycation, and it brought back warm fuzzy feelings as I drank that cup of Americano. I also enjoyed a nice almond croissant for breakfast, to go along with my cup of joe. For those who prefer a more sumptuous breakfast, one can easily take the MRT and stop at Bendeemer. There are numerous cafes nearby, including the Chye Seng Huat Hardware cafe. A word of advice though, dress casually and bring an umbrella to shield yourself from the piercing sunlight.
Overall, I enjoyed my stay at Wanderlust Hotel. It was quite a unique experience that I have not really experienced before, compared to the chain hotels I am used to staying. I can see how this boutique hotel might attract the younger crowd, as they would be more price-sensitive and more interested in finding the best food around the hotel, rather than just having an expensive meal within the hotel, which may not taste delicious. In this case, it is a win-win for guests, since they do not need to pay for services that they do not require, and they are able to travel around the vicinity to enjoy the best food.
While I am still more used to staying in chain hotels, I am actually looking forward to staying at this brand’s other two hotels, both located in Chinatown.
All in all, a nice experience in a fantastic boutique hotel!
Click here to find out more about Wanderlust Hotel and book a stay today!
Cost of Studio Loft: S$235.05 a night - stayed during a weekdend in March 2022
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