In the center of bustling Chinatown, the New Majestic Hotel offers 30 rooms outfitted by Singaporean artists with such features as full-wall mirrors, four-poster beds suspended from the ceiling, and garden terraces. Windows along the bottom of the lap pool let swimmers peek at the Majestic Restaurant, which serves grilled rack of lamb in Chinese honey with pan-fried carrot cake.
From $306. This appeared in the March/April 2011 issue.
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The Space Program: Singapore
The 30-room New Majestic Hotel in Singapore's Chinatown is part of the Unlisted Collection group owned by local boy Loh Lik Peng, who builds high-concept design properties in distressed neighborhoods to help rejuvenate the local economy.
I'm writing this in the New Majestic's pop-up lobby called "The Space Program." It's part art installation, design museum, boutique shop and new urbanist think tank, "where visitors can learn about local culture in an unconventional context."
The collecton of contemporary books and art for sale is surrounded by a crazy mix of mid-century modernist furniture below vintage schoolhouse fans and paper lighting. Peng has a thing for barber chairs and kleig lights too. I like the campy, colorfully upholstered bicycle rickshaw next to the espresso bar.
Peng calls his design vision: "heritage chic."
The local Foreign Policy creative agency conceptualized The Space Program with plans to scale globally. Their website reads: "We explored contextual elements of the hotel to compress and deliver 3 elements to the guests—Design, Intellect and Contemporary Culture—compressed into nugget size for easy consumption."
In effect, you're surrounded by the future of Singapore. The city has long been associated with food and shopping, but there's an uprising of local creative arts/design talent as the city continues to distance itself from its "Disneyland with a Death Penalty" political past.