lyf Funan: One Of A Kind Plus studio at a high-tech hotel in a historic spot

One Of A Kind Plus studio comes with the normal room amenities but also a kitchen with sink, cooker, pots, pans and cutlery.
One Of A Kind Plus studio comes with the normal room amenities but also a kitchen with sink, cooker, pots, pans and cutlery.PHOTO: THE ASCOTT LIMITED

SINGAPORE - So about a week ago, I left my perfectly good home and checked into a hotel about 30 minutes by MRT from where I live.

When I say my home is "perfectly good", it comes with caveats. There is a small lizard problem (not because of their number, but because they fall into the open mouths of sleepers, which means one lizard is too many lizards).

Among the non-lizard issues affecting my residence is that like many of us, I have been stuck there for roughly 30,000 years, or since February. When this assignment came up, I jumped at the chance to whisper to my ceiling-walking buddy: "You may end up in my mouth one night, but it will not be tonight."

My hotel, lyf Funan in Funan mall, bills itself as a "new co-living concept for a global community of thought leaders", one that gathers "the best people and ideas shaping our generation".

Which is an uncanny coincidence, because my LinkedIn profile is the precise opposite of that. Still, the kind folks at lyf let me have what they call a One Of A Kind Plus studio. It comes with the normal room amenities - queen bed, bathroom and television, but also a kitchen with sink, cooker, pots, pans and cutlery.

But why cook when (a) being a guest comes with discounts at mall eateries (b) it would break the indolence required of a staycation. Look, I didn't write the rules.

So you can treat yourself at a normal luxury hotel to welcome fruit bowls, a jacuzzi within arm's reach and a massage therapist camped under your bed, but at lyf, you get to push the limits and discover new facets to your personality.

There is the emphasis on community, for example. There is a communal kitchen and lounge. The ambience of the lounge, with young men and women in T-shirts and shorts hunkered over laptops, reminded me of a university residence - although a much more luxurious version - and made me feel nostalgic. This would be a great place for couples who want to rekindle the magic of their first meeting, when they spied each other across bowls of instant ramen at the residence kitchen and thought: "I should ask this person to join my econs study group."

There are many more high-tech and self-service options here - a phone app opens doors, does the check-in and lets you message the front desk, for example. My room has a television, but content needs to be cast to it from the guest's device. It is a polarising experience, but you have to admire the hotel's commitment to its target audience.


There is a communal kitchen and lounge. PHOTO: THE ASCOTT LIMITED

 
 
 

But we are not here to gawp at Netflix and fiddle with phones. We are in the heart of the historic downtown. Unable to sleep, I step out at 3am to walk around Boat Quay and Clarke Quay. The Singapore River is like glass and the rows of empty bars are something close to beautiful.

Looking at the stairs heading up into the gloom of Fort Canning Park, I consider a hike under the brooding trees for about two seconds before thinking better of it and heading back for a shower and sleep. You can get me next time, serial killers!

The water is hot and the pressure is strong. It feels great and turns on with a normal tap handle instead of an app. It is probably an oversight. Maybe the hotel will fix it in the next upgrade.

• HOT TIP: Bring a good camera for night-time photographs. Wander around the Civic District and take shots of deserted spots at night.