Housed in a 1920s Art Deco building located in the lively Little India neighbourhood, the interiors of the newly-renovated Wanderlust have been given a minimalist makeover, and now oozes a more refined and chic vibe.
Perched at the doorstep of Jalan Besar MRT, Wanderlust offers three categories of rooms across its three shophouse levels, along with facilities such as a dipping pool and laundry room.
The hotel is part of The Unlimited Collection by Oakwood, which allows independent properties such as Wanderlust to retain their unique positioning, while tapping into Oakwood’s hospitality management expertise and distribution network.
I stayed in a Studio Loft room, on the top floor of the shophouse. My dwelling felt cosy, thanks to the wooden furnishings and earthy palette. In a corner was a working space with a Bluetooth speaker, a contemporary grey sofa, and a small kitchenette for light cooking. A flight of stairs led up to the loft bed, but there wasn’t much walking room on that level.
Due to the configuration of the original site, room sizes in the same category may vary, but all boast similar fixtures and features.
Strangely, my favourite part of the room was the bathroom, strategically hidden behind a wooden door. The white tiles juxtaposed against the black countertop made the space aesthetically pleasing, and made me think about wanting such a design for my future home bathroom. The shower pressure was great, and the bathroom came well stocked with my favourite brand of body wash and shampoo, Ashley & Co.
Aside from providing large bottles of bathroom amenities, the property’s sustainable efforts extend further into the room. For example, two glass bottles could be found in the kitchenette, and these could be filled with warm, cold or sparkling water at the Nordaq filter on Level 2. Guests staying in the studio lofts can also drink directly from the Hyflux filters.
While I didn’t dine at the Sri Lankan restaurant Kotuwa – the sole F&B venue on-site – on the Friday night I stayed over, the restaurant was abuzz with lively chatter, with patrons abiding by social distancing rules in place.
The myriad food options in the vicinity left me spoilt for choice, with diverse cuisine options available within a 15-minute walking radius, such as Jaggi’s Northern Indian Cuisine and Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant.
Soak in the Jacuzzi on the second floor to unwind, or knock back a tipple at the rooftop bar overlooking the charming shophouses in the vicinity.
There is also a laundry room with two dryers and two washers on-site. I was delighted to find out that washing powder comes complimentary, which would be an added perk for long-stay guests.
No meeting facilities are available on-site, as this property is geared towards business travellers who are on short-term assignments for around two weeks to a month. Due to ongoing border closures, Wanderlust is currently targeting locals seeking a comfortable and quiet space to live and work in for a short or extended period of time.
The ever-smiling staff, who always addressed me by name, put me at ease and feeling welcomed from the moment I set foot into the property.
To showcase Singapore’s multiracial and multicultural identity, Wanderlust has partnered with several local companies to offer exclusive activities for guests. Options range from a Little India walking tour with Singabites to a leathercraft workshop by Crafune and a Kombucha masterclass using ingredients sourced in the Lion City.
Being a foodie, I chose the Little India tour, which comprises five delicious food stops and visits to several cultural attractions in the historical district. Shabnam, my guide for the two-hour jaunt, was extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastically shared more of Singapore’s backstory with me.
During the tour, we got to admire several wall murals, and made a few stops for authentic South Indian cuisine such as chicken biryani and appams. All of the eating spots were first-time visits for me – rather embarrassing for a local who has lived here for more than three decades.
I loved how quiet the property’s surroundings were, and returning to my hotel room felt like coming home. The hotel mattress was comfortably firm and offered a restful night’s sleep, with the bedroom tucked away in a lovely lofty spot that was partitioned off from the rest of the room.
The only downside to staying in a loft room was the hassle of having to clamber down the stairs for a nighttime bathroom trip – not the most pleasant experience when one is half-asleep. For added convenience, it would also be great if USB points and master switches were installed near the bedside.