THE modestly-sized rooms are furnished simply - sofa seating and a work table line the window, a mini-bar stocked with mineral water, and a television set fitted on a feature wall. With no walk-in wardrobe or a bathtub, the 23 sq m room is hardly the poshest hotel around.
But for the Young Lions captain Muhammad Al-Qaasimy Abdul Rahman, staying at Days Hotel Singapore at Zhongshan Park in Balestier is a welcome change from living in his Tampines HDB flat.
"I prefer staying in a hotel, they have much more comfortable beds," said the 23-year-old. "This is my third and last SEA Games so I've stayed at other hotels and Games Villages. And I would say that this is a luxury for me and my team."
The last time Singapore hosted the SEA Games in 1993, some national athletes stayed in hotels during the competition while others remained at home due to budget constraints.
This time, all 7,000 athletes and officials from the 11 participating countries will be housed in 20 hotels by their respective sports. The hotels include the Marina Bay Sands and Swissotel the Stamford.
Starting from this week, football teams in Group B - Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Timor Leste, Brunei and Vietnam - have also checked into the Days Hotel.
For Al-Qaasimy, living close to their competition rivals helps to develop friendships off the field.
"All 11 teams are staying here... we see each other in the lift, dining area, and this encourages us to talk to one another," he said.