Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cheap hotel rooms in Singapore in shoebox size

Mid range hotels in Singapore, especially the price to value ratio of the rooms and the services, are very disappointing. Actually mid-range hotels across Asia are generally disappointing but one is expecting something better from Singapore. But actually, in my opinion, Singapore offers the lowest in value to price ratio among South East Asia. You easily pay 180 SGD per day for a so called mid-range hotel and the deal you get can shamelessly be a 70s vintage look no-frills hotel room. This is the reason many budget hotels and hostels are mushrooming here, they provide better value to price. Land prices are high here so the cost is propagating up to your pocket. And as the land prices are going even higher, developers are now trying to minimize room sizes to maximize the return on their hotel investments. The result is a new concept in Singapore: shoe box hotel rooms.

These small hotel rooms have been a hit by travelers in Singapore and more and more are offered for their choice. Some of them are very small, a little larger than a car parking lot. For example, smallest rooms at the Santa Grand Hotel Lai Chun Yuen in Trengganu Street is about 11 sq meter. This is the minimum size a hotel room can be under Singapore Hotel Licensing Board regulations.[1] Other hotels such as Ibis Singapore Novena and Parc Sovereign Hotel in Albert Street also offer rooms low on size but high on value to price ratio. Room prices start from 157 SGD per day in Ibis Singapore Novena which is 10 minutes walk to Novena MRT Station. Prices start from 147 SGD per month for Parc Sovereign Hotel, located near Sim Lim Square and Bugis MRT Station.

So what kind of experience is it to stay in small hotel rooms? Well it is not that bad actually. A few months back, a friend came here to work for 5 weeks on a project and he had a very hard time to find a reasonably priced hotel room (in the higher range there were abundant supply). After looking for a one for a week and wasting 300+ SGD per month in a luxury Orchard Road Hotel, he has been able to find a very small but nice room in Hotel Aqueen Balestier in Balestier Road. The room was very small but clean and nice and price was also reasonable. He stayed there for 5 weeks without much complaint.

Porcelain Hotel in Chinatown (Singapore)
According to the manager of 138-room, mid-tier Porcelain Hotel in Mosque Street (Singapore Chinatown) guests do not mind the size of the room as long as it fits their budget. She says, the smallest of the rooms they have are the most popular.[1] Actually, occupancy rate for these rooms are 95% in general, well above 85% rate of different categories in Singapore.[1]

[1] - Shoebox hotel rooms, The Straits Times 

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