There’s something pleasantly unusual about glancing up to see someone swimming over your head while you’re at dinner. In fact, there’s something pleasantly unusual about most aspects of the New Majestic Hotel. Idiosyncratic in the extreme, it features rooms designed by the city’s biggest creative names, eccentric artworks in every nook, and a vast collection of vintage chairs in the gleaming terrazzo lobby.
Rooms created exclusively by Asia’s cutting-edge artists and designers
Super-central location in a Chinatown shophouse
Innovative Cantonese-fusion cuisine in the European-styled restaurant
A welcome Singapore Sling cocktail each
In the know
Also need to know:
Non-smoking throughout.If you’re laptop-less but need net access, reception will give you a Macbook for use in the lobby.
A copy of Design Week, a biography of Warhol, a suitcase full of labels and the ability to keep a straight face when discussing ‘Tracy’s latest’.
Labelled up, but pared down – you don’t want to look like you’re trying too hard.
Mr and Mrs Smith reviews
Perched on a vast and ornate bed, a sea of billowing crimson gauze hangs elegantly above me. Blood-red lanterns sway by my side. The scent of jasmine hangs in the air, and the soft melodies of Chinese traditional music are wafting through the open window. This is, at least temporarily, my Oriental boudoir. Mr Smith and I have just checked in to Singapore’s New Majestic Hotel and each of its 30 rooms is completely individual, designed by a local creative. In fact, you could almost describe the suites as works of art themselves, with one to suit just about any mood. Perhaps not; women are complex creatures after all.
Travelling down Keong Saik Road by taxi earlier, it felt as if we’d gone back in time. There are no malls lining the streets here or workers in their grey and black business best. Instead, in this part of Chinatown, the footpaths are flanked by colourful and historic shophouses, their vivid façades striking in the midday sun. People are going about their daily chores, except for the old men sitting outside the kopitams (coffee shops) watching the world go by.
Mr Smith and I are ushered into what appears to a white gallery, but is actually the lobby of the New Majestic. Adorned with a mix of mid-century and modern furniture, statues, pop art, rustic lamps and candy-coloured baubles hanging from the ceiling, its sweeping white spiral centrepiece suggests further promise above.
Once in our room, we took the time to admire the special touches: Kiehl’s toiletries, decadent bedding, Nespresso machine, mammoth bath and fluffy bathrobes (Mr Smith informs me I look like a big teddy when I fall asleep in one). While he sampled the boys’ toys, I read the lifestyle section of the newspaper, and studied the information on Wen Luxe Spa, located in a shophouse over the road. Soon it's time to feast.
Mr Smith and I enter the dazzling Majestic Restaurant helmed by the wonderful Yong Bing Ngen. We look up to see three oval windows in the ceiling offering a view of the swimming pool. Someone’s wearing a rather sultry bikini. Staff members are amiable, not too stuffy and even laugh at Mr Smith’s musings about why we’ve not been offered Chinese tea. I am ravenous and get stuck into the duck and wasabi prawn entrée. The whole world stands still for a moment when I try the foie gras. Why do the things that are so naughty taste so good? Mr Smith opts for crispy pork. He then suggests that we are served the Peking duck at the table. The staff is more than happy to do just that, and neatly parcel the pancakes in front of us. We leave floating on a fine-dining cloud.
The next day we decide to explore the neighbourhood and unearth some hidden treasures. I stumble across the annual Singapore Wine Fiesta on Duxton Hill while Mr Smith is in the hotel gym. Winemakers from across the globe are tempting punters with tastes of more than 250 fabulous wines. Later on, Mr Smith’s exercise session complete, we wander past temples and discover new cafés that have just sprung up in the area. We potter around a few markets on Temple Street, inhale the incense, and watch the boisterous dragon dance weave its way through the streets. Eventually the siren call of the New Majestic is too much and we head back.
Donning our teddy bear-style dressing gowns, we head to the pool and blast the Jacuzzi into action. Looking around the tiny area, it does feel as if we are staying at the home of friends, albeit ones with impeccable style and taste. As we pack to leave, I take in the room once more and think about my neutral apartment. My own home doesn’t seem to have the same appeal any more – it’s like downgrading from a colour TV to black and white. But that’s the New Majestic – you step inside and, just like Alice, you’re transported into a new, Technicolor world.
31-37 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore, 089845
1.0 mi / 1.7 km from city centre
- Onsite laundry
- Complimentary in-room coffee or tea
- Exercise gym
- Internet services
- Room service
In the apple-green Majestic restaurant you can watch contemporary Cantonese cuisine expertly prepared in the glass-panelled show kitchen. Chef Yong Bin Ngen’s rack of lamb served with carrot cake has set many tastebuds a-tingle.
Directly underneath the ceiling portholes for a sneaky view of whoever’s swimming by upstairs. If casual voyeurism seems a bit much at dinner time, opt for private spot in one of the cosy alcoves.
The restaurant doles out dishes until 10.30pm.