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5 things to look out for at new Peranakan-themed Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong

Traditional features and Singapore scenes take centre stage at Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong

The new Peranakan-themed Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong is filled with old-school fixtures and its decor is awash in a riot of colours so bright and stylish that any Peranakan bibik would approve.

It is a look unique to Hotel Indigo's first Singapore property. No two hotels of this boutique chain, which is part of the InterContinental Hotels Group, look alike.

Each new Hotel Indigo infuses the culture, character and history of the neighbourhood it has set up home in, into the decor.

The 131-room hotel in East Coast Road, which is next to I12 Katong mall, opens next Thursday. The hotel restaurant is housed in part of the former Joo Chiat Police Station, which was gazetted for conservation in 1993.

The hotel was decked out by multi-disciplinary design firmeco-id architects and the architecture was by Ong & Ong. Opening room rates start at $171. The Straits Times picks five things to look out for.


1 Old-school hotel rooms

Stepping into any of Hotel Indigo's 30 sq m rooms is like time-travelling to the Singapore of yesteryear.

Like shophouses, the rooms are deep, with the bath area at the back.

The fixtures are deliciously kitschy. In place of a modern coffee table, a carrom board has been put in.

The bathroom has a spittoon, while a reused Singer sewing machine base props up the vanity counter and basin.

The once- ubiquitous red clogs also make an appearance as a decorative piece.

Home-grown artist and illustrator Don Low was commissioned to create murals that feature Singapore street scenes such as hawkers selling dumplings and barbecuing pork slices.

2 Peranakan-themed lobby

Bits of Peranakan shophouse architecture are immediately recognisable in the lobby - the patterned marble floor and a wall decked out with patterned breezeway ventilation holes.

Icons and motifs of the Baba and Nonya lifestyle - the batik print from sarong kebayas and the colourful designs from porcelain wares and tiles - are used to create a feature wall behind the reception desk.

Near the lifts, an arty installation of water jars and urns, handpainted with dragons, phoenixes and peonies, is stacked up to the ceiling.

3 Pavilion

The mama shop - a convenience store that was a popular fixture in void decks of Housing Board blocks - gets an update here. But unlike those shops, this Mama Stall in the hotel's Pavilion will have books written by Singapore authors and international art and design books. These are sold by indie store BooksActually. Products by Singapore designers will also be on sale.

For some privacy, chill behind tall wooden screens that double as display shelves for Peranakan cups, teapots and jars.

4 Baba Chews Bar and Eatery

The hotel's in-house restaurant is cheekily named Baba Chews. The name pays tribute to philanthropist Chew Joo Chiat, whom the neighbourhood is named after. During his lifetime, he acquired so much land that he became known as the "King Of Katong". Baba is an honorific term for Straits Chinese men.

The restaurant is decked out with monochrome patterned tiles and herringbone-styled wood flooring. It is housed in part of the former Joo Chiat Police Station, which was gazetted for conservation in 1993.

Guests can tuck into traditional and modern Strait of Malacca dishes such as ayam buah keluak burger and chilli crab cakes.

5 Pool with a view

The mark of a good hotel pool is that it must come with a killer view. Hotel Indigo checks that box, giving city hotels with rooftop pools a run for their money.

The 25m-long infinity pool here has a breathtaking, unblocked vista of the Joo Chiat neighbourhood. The view extends as far as the Paya Lebar and Eunos areas.

Also in direct line of sight is the Singapore Sports Hub and the city's downtown skyscrapers, making the pool a perfect spot to be at when fireworks are set off.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 25, 2016, with the headline 'Peranakan charm'. Print Edition | Subscribe