Set in a row of shophouses—traditional double-use structures with a storefront on the street level, the owner’s residence on the floors above—the New Majestic Hotel is a small gem in Chinatown filled with quirks and contrasts. Colonial design is plentiful, from the vintage Compton fans in the lobby to furniture from the 1920s–1960s throughout. The rooms are a little more free-form. They range from suites with their own urban gardens to attic-style spaces with loft beds and 20-foot ceilings. Then there are the five rooms in which Singapore artists were told to unleash their creativity (Work, one of these rooms, looks like temporary housing, with plywood sections everywhere). Pieces by local emerging artists include murals with hidden messages or displaying pop art influences. The bottom of the rooftop pool has small portholes that look down onto the Majestic Restaurant, one floor down.
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Chinatown has some of the city’s finest temples, including two on South Bridge Road—the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and the South Indian Sri Mariamman Temple. For a gourmand, the neighborhood is a treasure trove, with Maxwell Food Center(perhaps the city’s most famous street-food style hawker center) and the bustling cafés and restaurants along Keong Saik Road, a former red-light district, all within walking distance. Right next door to the hotel is Restaurant André, a French fine-dining temple named for Taiwanese owner/chef André Chiang that always places high in the annual Asian Top 50 Restaurants awards (Singapore’s highest scorer, it came in sixth in 2014). The futuristic Pinnacle at Duxton, the most avant-garde of the city’s government-built housing, is down the road.
Need to Know
Rooms: 27 rooms, 3 suites. From $200. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options:The modern Chinese plates at Majestic Restaurant include Boston lobster with stewed noodles and pan-seared fillet of rib-eye with sesame sauce. Spa and gym details:The hotel has a fitness center and a swimming pool but no spa.
Who’s it for: Business and leisure travelers looking for something a little playful, urban explorers, media execs, foodies (for its location). Our favorite rooms: The wonderfully bright, spacious attic suites, with dual vintage cast-iron bathtubs, a living area, and an elevated nook with a queen-size bed. Worth a look-see:Spend some time in the lobby’s Space Program installation—it looks like the retail display from Muji—to see a contemporary interpretation of Singapore’s heritage.