August 8-22, 2016
A Roof Over my Head in Singapore
GPS waypoint: 1°17'02.5"N 103°51'34.7"E
Singapore is an expensive city and lodging is a major expense for a traveler. It is not backpacker-friendly. The cheapest bunk bed in a dorm room hovers around US$10/night. I cannot sustain that price point. As a general rule, if I have to pay cash for my lodging, I don't go over US$3/night. I had to think fast and survive on my wits to ensure a comfortable night's sleep without hemorrhaging cash.
After the harrowing immigration incident, I found myself in Bugis where I had to find a place to sleep to no avail - Bugis is an upscale district. It was already dark after hooking-up with Eunice, a yogini I met in Bali, and I still had no booking. I didn't get any reply from my email proposals for a hotel web-deal, so I was on my own starting from scratch. In a cafe, I went through Agoda, Hostelworld and Booking.com until I found the cheapest I could find - Urban Hostel, SG13 for a bunk bed in the Aljeunid area. It was cramped with questionable transients (one of them was wearing a parolee ankle monitor!), but all that mattered to me was a place to rest my weary body after an exhausting day.
This would be my pattern for the first 3 nights in Singapore, packing and unpacking every single night to transfer to another hostel where lodging is cheapest. It was tough. I would spend the entire day on the road making deals and have to return back to my hostel at night - but instead of lying down to sleep, I would pack up, take the train and check-in to a cheaper hostel. The pattern repeated itself - Urban Hostel, Coziee Lodge, Gusti Hostel. It was exhausting and nerve wracking. Fortunately, it's only on these three nights I would have to pay for lodging. Had it gone on further, I would have been constrained to leave Singapore.
my most luxurious room in Singapore, at Arcadia Hotel
Finally, I was able to talk to a hotel owner (not just a staff) who saw value in what I proposed. We shook hands on the deal and got myself a roof over my head for the next few days. It was a respite I needed. Meadows Hostel is newly opened and the owner is open to ideas that would improve the place. They have capsule beds for backpackers, free breakfast, chill area, free wifi, air conditioning and a great location in the Lavender area.
Meadows Hostel would be a beautiful beginning to the series of hotels I moved to in succession as part on an online deal until my departure from Singapore.
7 Wonders Hostel
They newly opened. Everything was new. I stayed 2 nights in their nicely appointed capsule beds. In its category, I would say they have it figured out the most. All essential backpacker needs are addressed - twin electrical sockets, light, fold-down tray and thick curtains on every bed, cafe with efficient wifi to double as a workspace if not crowded, in-house laundry facilities, compli breakfast and a receptive backpacker community to interact with. The owner, Nazreen, is hands-on who ensures operations go smooth and snag-free.
Arcadia Hotel is also new and the boutique-type, mid-priced hotel I checked-into. Clean, clever use of white space and elegantly muted, its luxurious room was sanctuary for me in the 1 night I stayed there. Breakfast was nicely plated that would rival an upscale resto. The staff were so helpful and friendly. Arcadia was pampering.
This was where I spent my last night before heading to the airport for Manila. It's under new management - a lot of fixing and cleaning-up to be done, but the new General Manager is on top of things and making things turn-around. As I always do, I pointed out some key areas where he can optimize.
The one good thing that came out of moving from one hostel to another hostel in another neighborhood was getting to explore the new 'hood and discovering little known neighborhood secrets. In my last visit a year ago, I settled in Kallang. Now, my area was Lavender. Most people are familiar with their neighborhoods and wouldn't be bothered to go to another neighborhood and explore. But it's really fun.
I survived 2 weeks in Singapore despite its high cost of lodging. I was lucky to talk directly to decision makers/owners who see a fit with what I'm offering.
What I do for hotels is unique in a way. I make an assessment on key areas that need focus - big things and small things. From sluggish internet to an annoying squeak when a sliding door is opened, to how long you need to hold the flush for the water to go through - housekeeping wouldn't do that and the GM cannot do that. But me as a backpacker who's not too eager to move on, can. I've spent the last 4 years living in hotels so I know what works and what doesn't.
Combining the above with my proprietary online marketing campaign to boost their internet presence in a gamut of fiercely competing hotels, what I put on the table is both compelling and persuasive, given that it is also backed by empirical numbers from Google Analytics.
But at the end of the day, I'm just grateful to have a roof over my head.
ps - If you want me to objectively review or assess your hotel from a traveler's perspective, email me.
Little India - Little India is the main tourism hub in Singapore. Friday and Saturday nights become animated with the night market
Chinatown -colorful and animated with Chinese ware shopping, sumptuous street food and hawker-style eats, try Ah Balling Peanut Soup
Orchard Road - upscale shopping and glitzy night life
Arab Street - backpacker dorms, shisha smoking with Middle Eastern atmosphere
Singapore Zoo - experience the night zoo, S$38
Fountain of Wealth - at Suntec City, largest fountain in the world (Guinness Book of Records in 1998), shop-til-you-drop
The Southern Ridges - best trekking trails in Singapore extending 10kms through lush forest canopy. Bring water, sunscreen and a hat
Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery - biggest Buddhist temple in Singapore
Marina Bay Sands - Singapore's most iconic building and most expensive at US$5.5B. Imagine a surf board on top of three skyscrapers
- Arcadia Hotel - stylish, modern, urbane, cool and confident. Jalan Besar district
32 Hamilton Road, Singapore 209201
+65 6718 0700 | email@example.com | 1°18'42.0"N 103°51'41.1"E
- 7 Wonders Hostel - backpacker community, sleeping capsules, free wifi, complimentary breakfast, live English Premier League, dining, motion sensor lighting, alfresco outdoor sitting area
257 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208930
tel: (+65) 6291 3774 | 1°18'36.2"N 103°51'29.8"E
- Meadows Hostel - newly opened, all new and clean, backpacker capsule beds, central Lavender District location, 24/7 compli tea and coffee, wifi, compli breakfast
7A Hamilton Road, Kallang, Singapore, Singapore 209178
tel: 6298.1323 | 1°18'40.2"N 103°51'38.0"E
- Mini-Life in Singapore August 8-22, 2016
- Peoplescape of Singapore Aug. 8-22, 2016
- Discovering the Neighborhood Cafes of Singapore Aug 8-22, 2016
- Biological Cell Regulation (BCR) Therapy at Chang Wellness Aug 16, 2016
- Getting my Xiaomi Redmi Note3 Smart Phone Aug. 9, 2016
- A Roof Over my Head in Singapore Aug. 8-22, 2016
- 2-Hour Detention at Singapore's Immigration and Checkpoints Authority August 8, 2016
- Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew Mar 23, 2015
- Life Hacking in Singapore Mar 22, 2015
- Exploring More of Singapore Feb 21 - Mar 22, 2015
- Power Yoga Class at Yoga Inc., Singapore Mar 21, 2015
- Touring Marina Bay Sands Mar 17, 2015
- The Singapore Magic Mar 16, 2015
- Singapore Yoga at Yoga Inc. Mar 8, 2015
- Singapore on a Shoe String Feb 20, 2015
- Things to do in Singapore Oct 20, 2013
- Singapore Girl July 21, 2013
- Lee Kuan Yew and Ferdinand Marcos Jan 26, 2003
August 8-22, 2016
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