Last Updated: January 31, 2021
I checked into Hotel Soloha at 12, Teck Lim Road on 26th November 2020 at 10 am. Yes, I do realise how long overdue this review is. But in between Christmas, SingapoRediscovers vouchers, news about hotels unable to keep up with a surge in demands, and now, Chinese New Year, I have been kept dutifully occupied. But that’s not to say that I have forgotten all about my stay at this 45-room boutique hotel at the heart of Keong Saik.
As with my previous reviews, I approach my stay at Soloha from the perspective of a solo staycation traveller—an untapped market that has been unfortunately kept out of everyone’s marketing efforts. It’s an exclusion that has, in some ways, worked because unless there’s a golden goose in the room that auto orders room service for me without needing me to lift a finger, I baulk at having to effectively pay for a night’s stay for two guests in a room, solely because I chose this lifestyle. The single lifestyle I mean.
As much as I appreciate a cavernous space created for two, but enjoyed only by little, solo old me, it means my senses are heightened when I step into a property that feels perfect for a solo traveller. Cosy perhaps for a party of two, but for one guest, a dreamy space that allows sufficient space to breathe, move, and contemplate life.
I also judge the stay by the experiences offered as part of the room package. Absent which, a staycation is quite literally a mirror of my room in my house at Sengkang, albeit with aircon and bed that magically makes itself upon my return (I kid. Thank you room service staff!).
Designed by interior design firm Avalon Collective and architect Asolidplan, Hotel Soloha’s 85 4.6 stars reviews on Google does not come without merit. The property blends in perfectly with the neighbouring hotels and restaurants, its location demarcated by a bright shade of blue on its windows, awning, and doors, with a capital S on the side of the building, illuminated bright against the deep navy of a night sky.
Inside, the decor is painfully hip everywhere you look, employing in its arsenal of millennial aesthetics, walls in solid primary colours, art-decor chandeliers, and neon lights shaped into an animal from the Amazon. Each floor comes furnished in a different colour scheme, led by a different neon animal, and if you listen carefully, you can hear the sounds of a forest wafting through the corridors on your way to your room.
And with even lesser rooms being sold due to safe distancing measures, it’s not hard to catch a little feel standing alone at the corridors, ear strained for the familiar song of the cicada. It’s all such a damn mood.
For this review, I stayed in the Loft room that comes furnished with a study on the first floor, and a double bed at the loft. Both first and second floors come equipped with a television which, as I expected, failed to communicate with my laptop and iPad rendering my night of fawning over repeat episodes of I Told Sunset About You null and void. It’s not the first hotel I’ve stayed in where the TVs have failed me, but by now, I’ve come to terms with this disconnect (pun intended) between technology and freedom of content. I’m at peace.
What I do feel guests should know about the loft room is that the stairs that connect the two floors demand extremely careful and slow navigation. It’s a steep flight of stairs with small planks of wood smaller than the width of my foot which is okay during the climb up. But coming down, guests have to carefully and deliberately descend with their back facing the door.
It’s unlike my stay at M Social where the small flight of stairs can be ascended and descended normally. It’s become such an issue that the front of house gives all guests staying in the loft room, a paper advisory with instructions of how to ascend and descend the stairs safely and properly. If you’re a family, get a suite. If you’re a couple, you’re really doing each other a favour by getting the outdoor suite with its trappings of an outdoor bathtub and sufficient space for fancy frolicking.
While I know some quarters will give me flak for saying this, I do have to profess a love for toilets where the shower is separated from the No. 1 or No. 2 throne. I just think it’s more hygienic and purpose-driven. So it pleases me to no end to see that it is a concept Soloha has embraced wholeheartedly, perhaps less due to convenience and more because of lack of space.
I am less enthused about the toilet sink being placed outside simply because it can be a tad inconvenient, but I did enjoy plying on my skincare outside of the damp, humid environment of a toilet clogged with steam.
Browsing the website, though, I notice that this separated toilet-shower is reserved only for some rooms, so I suggest you call in to check and confirm before booking.
Of course, I can’t talk about a stay at Soloha without mentioning the vibrant neighbourhood it’s situated in: Keong Saik. As a visitor, Keong Saik is alluring, but as a one-night resident, the street takes on a different colour as night-time revellers enjoy dinner and a glass of wine by the road, humid night air be damned.
And given the plethora of F&B establishments to choose from here, you’d be spoiled for choice. In the morning at 8 am, hours before the street starts to stir, I popped by Keong Saik Bakery for some much-needed coffee and pastries, although there’s also Tong Ah Eating House if traditional kopi and half-boiled eggs with Kaya toast are more up your alley.
A boutique property like Soloha is well aware and cognizant of its size and space limitations. The formula to repeat patronage, thus, is a keen sense of style and thoughtful inclusion of decor that, for example, celebrates all things local (the artworks in the hotel are by Singaporean artists Ethrisha Liaw and Danielle Tay and a service team that is diligent and goes out of their way to make the stay comfortable.
I would hate to call it an overcompensation, but absent a cavernous room with trimmings that will make the seasoned staycation guest squeal, boutique hotels have to try harder to leave a more indelible impression—and in that respect, Hotel Soloha delivers. I mean, you don’t have to take my word for it. Go and Google it. Organic reviews are, after all, seldom wrong.
Price: $ $
Our Rating: 4 / 5
12 Teck Lim Road, Singapore 088387
12 Teck Lim Road, Singapore 088387