This hotel stands like a queen among creatively restored old buildings that speak much of Singapore’s great multicultural tradition. Its building springs up from the back part of Arab Street where Little India is located, giving a glimpse into the subdued sophistication of service that this hotel offers.
Village Hotel Bugis falls right smack in a perfect location for me. It is located along Arab Street, in a community best photographed for its outstanding restoration of old buildings like colorful clusters of precious gems. I’ve gone over the Far East hotel chain and, admittedly, Village Hotel Bugis was not my top choice. A friend recommended it though. For its rate, which I’d say belongs to the reasonable mid-range in Singapore, I found myself booking here in the next days. Of course, the eating in the good but affordable restaurants of varying cuisines (Malay, Indian, Persian) that I read are aplenty around the hotel locked my fate up to Village Hotel Bugis. And I drew personal connection to its location owing to my first memory of shopping in Singapore in a place I only knew in 2005 as Bugis.
It was only when I went around the hotel on my first day that I realized it was located right near the Raffles Hospital. For someone like me who gets jittery over the possibility of a medical emergency, the proximity of the hospital to the hotel was a bonus. Some two blocks away from the hotel was the Bugis MRT station. To those who are familiar with the MRT system in Singapore, you know you’re in a prime spot when your hotel is just a stone’s throw away from the MRT station.
When I arrived, I was informed that I was upgraded to a club room. Maybe it was that personal note on my last time in Singapore (a decade ago) that prompted the manager to give me a club room. I did not expect much, even if I knew that an upgrade meant access to the Executive Club Lounge. I found that gesture very thoughtful and truly heartwarming. (Thank you very much, Naren and Fahmi!)
The room that was assigned to me had a size that matched my requirements. It was not too large nor was it small; it was just enough to conjure that picture of sound sleep in one’s nurturing embrace. The room interiors were on the minimalist side made chic by the contrast of the earth tones from the furniture and upholstery of the La-Z-boy chair against the mellow hue of white on the wall. My room had an unobstructed great view of the quieter side of busy Singapore, making the sunrise more pronounced and dramatic from behind towering buildings.
Pressure from the shower was strong, and the temperature control section was very responsive that it was easy to shift from cold to warm from either the steady rain shower or the removable shower head. The towels and towelettes were also thick and immaculately white.
The club room also has the basic luxuries of a high-end room: fridge, safe and ironing equipment, plus a temperature control that kept the room cool even after being away for hours.
Executive Club Lounge
What I loved the most about my stay in this hotel was the access to the Executive Club Lounge and the lady attendants who gave personalized attention to club room guests. You need to have a keycard that is granted access to both proceed to the 18th floor and enter the lounge. The lounge serves breakfast, cocktails and all-day (7AM-9:30PM) coffee and tea of your choice to club room guests. The experience in the Executive Club Lounge is one-of-a-kind as it offers premium attention and privacy, with a seating capacity of around 20-or-so.
On my last night, I forced a friend to move our dinner meeting to a later time so I can check out the free cocktails in the lounge. I made the right decision — it had an assortment of cheese and small-bite dishes that came along with your wine of choice — what would would have cost a fortune if I had them in a restaurant in Singapore. That made me think of getting a club room again if I find myself in Singapore for the third time, given that with the perks that came with it, you can surely say its worth the spend and can be cheaper than what you would have paid for a regular room plus dinner.
A lady attendant is assigned to the lounge each day. One of those that I met was Leyana. She welcomes you as you enter as if you’ve known each other already. She would ask for how you would want to be referred to: Mister Garcia or by your first name, Mark. Of course, I went for Mark. Leyana was sprightly, smart and very witty. She tried to engage me and another guest in an insightful conversation about our experience in Singapore, about what we do and our stay in the hotel. She was like that companion you would always want to travel with for her personality was very endearing and you know you’d hardly get bored talking with her.
When I checked out, I left a package for a friend. The front desk was very accommodating, sensitive not to make the guest feel like they’re casting doubt on the contents of the package. Checkout was also quick. While I knew though that club rooms are entitled to late checkouts, I still requested for me to be given 15 minutes after the usual check-out time, to which front desk assured me was alright. When I lost track of time and it was already 30 minutes beyond checkout, fearing I’d get charged extra, I called front desk again, only to be told that they understand and that I have not to worry. I felt it was hospitality that put guests’ needs above hotel policies that could have easily been implemented.
Main lobby is located on the second floor of the building. There is an escalator and elevators that can take you to the second floor. The concierge at the main entrance are also very helpful with directions, especially to where money exchange was (which is just two doors from the main entrance).
Across the hotel are restaurants. There is also 7-11, so you hardly can go hungry at midnight.
Tip: Taxi drivers know the hotel better by Golden Landmark, maybe the old name of the hotel before. Golden Landmark is also the name of the shopping center located right next to the hotel.