Last Updated: September 3, 2019
It’s not surprising that Singaporeans love to get away when the opportunity arises, especially over a long weekend.
Those who want a change of environment—but still want to stick to their budget—typically opt for a staycation. With so many options to choose from, I’d like to add to that line-up with the opening of the new bespoke boutique hotel, Hotel Soloha.
It’s tucked away on the side street of Teck Lim Road, branching out from Keong Saik Road, so it’s perfectly hidden yet very accessible from both Chinatown MRT and Outram MRT.
The 45-room hotel’s name is a quirky combination of ‘so’ and ‘aloha‘, culminating in an expression that means to live one’s life to the fullest. Upon entering, to your right, the wall is adorned with a three-metre wide pop-art mural by local artist, Ethrisha Liaw.
The mural, along with her artwork that’s featured in the guest rooms, revolves around the central theme of ‘play’. The visuals incorporate tropical elements mixed in with pop elements to create a whimsical scene. It’ll naturally bring you to wander around the hotel for that perfect #OOTD background.
But what I really found adorable was the 13-metre-high hand-painted art piece by local artist Danielle Tay. Simulating the varying layers of the forest, from the animals and flora, this mural is found on the forest floor right to the top of the forest’s canopy.
Every floor also possesses its own ‘spirit animal’—like the gecko, the snail, and the toucan—complete with a subtle background track played on every level. The track plays forest sounds on repeat, complete with chirps and caws, so you’ll feel like you’re transported to a forest wonderland.
The room categories range from Standard (11 – 16m²) to Deluxe (12 – 14m²) to Loft (16 – 21m²) to Suite (15 – 29m²) and Outdoor Suite (16 – 23m²), with prices starting from about S$200++ per night.
My partner and I stayed a night in a Deluxe room, and discovered their crafty ways of maximising space, given the rather small room size.
For the Loft, there is an option for a family-sized loft where an extra mattress can be placed on the lower level. Two pillows, depicting a cartoon of colloquial terms and local food, are propped on every bed in the room.
For those wanting a more intimate and romantic experience, the Outdoor Suite has an outdoor bathtub.
After soaking in the tub, you can treat your skin with their house-blend of soap, shampoo and conditioner, complete with a relaxing rain shower.
On the second floor, they even have a courtyard—perfect for chilling in the evenings. Currently, it’s accessible to all, but soon it’ll only be open to those having a room with back doors that open up to the courtyard.
Sadly, the hotel isn’t large enough to accommodate a small pool.
For dining within the hotel, there’s Takeshi Noodle Bar. Its pride is in serving Singapore’s first mala ramen, in which we did a standalone review on that, so be sure to head over to find out our verdict!
Breakfast is included in the price of the room and takes place at Takeshi Noodle Bar. However, we, unfortunately, weren’t informed of this inclusive breakfast and missed out on the opportunity to try it for ourselves. On that note, do remember to ask the person at the front desk upon checking in for your entitlements, lest you miss out on getting the full experience like us!
I have to add a note that I was terribly sick the weekend we stayed over, so for me, comfort was of utmost priority. For some, it would be accessibility, amenities, dining or even the view. The biggest downside to my stay was definitely the small room. Although the category is Deluxe, don’t expect much roaming space.
Pieces of luggage need to be stored under the bed, and the shower is right beside the bed. Also, since the shower and toilet area share the same sliding door, for those wanting privacy while doing the deed, you’ll have to be sure no one is taking a shower at the same time.
This was how little space there was between the sliding door and my legs when I was sitting on the toilet. Tall guests may not have a choice but to keep the toilet door open. There’s also a lack of extra toilet rolls and towels in the event you need them urgently.
The basin is also outside the shower area, so be mindful of not getting your clothes wet (as there’s a hanging rack for jackets right beside the sink). Speaking of hanging one’s clothes, the Deluxe room doesn’t have a wardrobe, so accessing your clothes from your luggage every change might prove to be a task.
We were told the sound-proof quality of the room was outstanding, given the need to provide guests with an escape from Keong Saik’s busy nightlife. The truth is, we could still hear most of the noise going on right outside our window, even with windows closed and blackout blinds drawn. So, if you’re seeking a peaceful night’s sleep, you’ll probably only discover silence after 12.30am – 1am (on a weekend night).
Another thing that kept me up at night (besides my inability to breathe due to my stuffy nose) was the rough linens. They felt coarse and stiff; not the type you’d sink into immediately.
While there were plenty of downsides to our stay, there were also a few aspects that we liked. For example, the control panel near our bed allowed us to remotely control many aspects of the room’s lighting right from the bed.
We even discovered it has mood lighting for different occasions. This deep red hue apparently is for a romantic night in (cue giggling). There’s also a changing multi-colour light for parties in your room.
There are a number of USB ports, and even an HDMI port, above the headboard for easy charging of your electronic gadgets. My partner joked that spending a night there gave him a brief insight into how shoebox living would be like.
Entertainment-wise, there are YouTube and Netflix apps installed on your TV so all you need is to log in with your account details.
Not to mention, the area is teeming with great eats, regardless of budget. From hawker delights at Chinatown Complex Food Centre to great bars like The Old Man and snazzy restaurants like Olivia Restaurant & Lounge and Burnt Ends. For more recommendations, we even have a list of places to eat at Keong Saik Road!
Despite our less-than-impressive staycation, it was still a nice change of scenery from staying in our bedroom all weekend. I suppose with every new hotel opening, there is bound to have minor issues that need sorting out over time. I also loved that I had the chance to discover new eating places I wouldn’t have otherwise bothered to travel to.
Overall, if you’re looking for a one- or two-night stay at a boutique hotel in Singapore that’s very conveniently located and budget-friendly on your wallet, I’d still recommend Hotel Soloha.
Expected Damage: S$200++ – S$300++ per night
Price: $ $
Our Rating: 4 / 5
12 Teck Lim Road, Singapore 088387
12 Teck Lim Road, Singapore 088387