With its bold décor and Peranakan design touches, this property oozes enough cultural charm to make Rachel AJ Lee appreciate her Straits Chinese roots even more
Sitting just next door to the 112 Katong mall, Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong looms above the rest of the low-rise buildings in the culturally rich neighbourhood of Joo Chiat.
This boutique lifestyle brand by the InterContinental Hotels Group seeks to incorporate the heritage and character of the surrounding Peranakan (Straits Chinese) neighbourhood into its interior décor and style. This includes lobby walls decorated with intricate ceramic patterns, vibrant hand-painted vases and a colourful lantern chandelier hanging daintily above a large rosewood table.
All 131 rooms in the hotel, whether in the Deluxe or Premier categories, measure 30m², but the difference is that the latter has a Nespresso machine and larger-sized Biology Smart Skincare toiletries. Of the Premier rooms, 12 have custom-made bathtubs.
Stepping into my Deluxe Room, I felt as though I had walked straight into a Peranakan shophouse. The first thing I noticed was the sketched mural of a Singapore street scene – by local artist Don Low – on the wall, while the bathroom and toilet were adorned with tiles that had decorative Peranakan motifs, complete with a basin for a foot bath, and a spittoon under the sink.
The level of detail in the room was astounding. From the enamel cups used for brushing teeth and Singer sewing machine legs upcycled as a vanity counter to the carrom board table and batik-print sofa, every corner of the room oozed an eclectic Peranakan vibe, fervently reminding me of the neighbourhood I was in.
Furnishings aside, the bed was comfortable and the pillows fluffy. While the Wi-Fi was speedy, I did encounter some technical difficulties in the room. The TV hung thrice on us (it was easily reset by just turning it off and on again), and one set of ports beside the bed was faulty.
The rooftop on the 16th storey offers an unobstructed view of the colourful shophouses in the vicinity and even the National Stadium. The 25m-long infinity pool, open from 07.00 to 21.00, and the 24-hour gym are both located on this level. The rooftop area is also available for small cocktail events and can accommodate up to 35 people. There are also two meeting rooms.
Rooftop infinity pool
Baba Chews Bar and Eatery, the sole restaurant on the premises, is housed in the former Joo Chiat Police Station. The all-day dining restaurant, decked out with monochrome-patterned tiles and herringbone-style wood flooring, serves up Peranakan-inspired dishes such as foie gras tau kwa pau and beef short ribs rendang.
At breakfast, cold items such as juices, yoghurt, fruits and bread were served buffet-style in an alcove within Baba Chews, while unlimited hot items such as congee and Eggs Benedict have to be ordered from the breakfast menu.
Foodies should save some stomach space as the Katong area is home to a veritable trove of local eateries such as 328 Katong Laksa, Chin Mee Chin Confectionery and Delicious Boneless Chicken Rice in Katong Shopping Centre.
The staff were all smiles, courteous and helpful. Simran, our neighbourhood host on duty that day, was extremely gracious and friendly, greeting us warmly by name when we crossed paths. She was also quick to offer us a glass of ice-cold latte – a welcome respite in the humid weather – while we were waiting to be checked in.
The Katong neighbourhood story has been stitched beautifully into the DNA of this Indigo property. I love the uniqueness of the property, and it gave me – a Singaporean Peranakan – a new appreciation of my heritage.
No. of rooms 131
Rates From S$171 (US$127)
Tel: (65) 6723 7001