Friday, January 4, 2013

Wink Hostel in Singapore Chinatown: Upscale pod style beds in Singapore

In Singapore's expensive hotel market, it may look like you need to choose among two options: Either pay expensive prices to stay in a Singapore hotel or pay less but stay in a typical army-style bunk bed type dorm of a hostel. But if you want something between what would you do? Enter Singapore's recent phenomenon to address this issue: Capsule hotel inspired boutique hostels. These new breed of hostels can feel the gap between hostel and boutique hotel. This type of hostel is first introduced by Match Box Concept Hostel at Ann Siang Road of Chinatown and there are now several hostels in this class like Bunc Hostel in Little India, Adler Hostel and Wink Hostel.

The cost of one night stay in a capsule or pod style bed starts from $40 at Bunc Hostel and $45 at Match Box Concept Hostel. This is significantly lower than the nearest best class of accommodation  a budget hotel with a box style room. For example room prices in Porcelain Hotel, which is in the same street with Wink Hostel, starts from $100 while a capsule bed can be rented for $50 in Wink Hostel.

Making its debut in October 2011 in a nice Sino-Portuguese style Singapore shop house, Wink Hostel became one of the best hostels in Singapore. The hostel offers 72 "pod" style beds each built with sound resistant walls, closing doors, dedicated ambient lighting, anti-glare LED reading lights and complimentary WI-FI access. Wink Hostel also stands out with its great location in the middle of Singapore's Chinatown and surrounded with very authentic streets, activities, shopping options and food plus its proximity to public transportation (almost right next to China Town MRT Station).

"People want to stay in a nice, decent and clean place" says Cheryl Ou, co-founder of Wink Hostel. "They do not want to pay exorbitant prices to stay in a hotel and neither do they want to stay in a typical army-style bunk bed type space".

Ms Cheryl Ou had considered other popular locations such as Little India and Lavender before choosing Chinatown. The 29-year-old, who ran the now-defunct Habitat Hostel in Devonshire Road, says: “Here, it’s safe and you get a good mix of tourism and residential parts. That really reflects the Singaporean culture. Being in a shophouse – that’s something we can show from our past.”

Prices range from $50 for a single pod bed to $90 for a double pod bed. The hostel also offers Smart Cards enabling the guests to access only to their rooms and lockers. And when a guest enters his/her room, only his/her assigned pod is illuminated.

And do not think these hostels are only for backpackers who do not mind to pay $20-30 more to stay in a nicer hostel. Hostels like Wink Hostels get great reviews in online hotel booking sites such as For example, Wink Hostel has 251 reviews in agoda from business to solo travellers which sum up to an 8.8 (fantastic) review point. For example in a review "if they could have the actual capsules from Japan, this place will rock" says a solo traveler. "But it is as good as it gets in Singapore. Strangely enough I wasn't the only business traveller in this place."

And these type of hostels are not for holiday goers: Wink Hostel provides a great place to stay for the student or adventurous business executive trying to find work in Singapore during the transitional period of looking for more permanent housing in the area.  "An alternative to Singapore’s infamously expensive apartments, these long term guests can enjoy high-speed wifi to get their work done while paying a modestly discounted rate of  5-12% depending on the length of the stay" says Alex Ung in[2]
[1] - New Age Hostels
[2] - Upscale backpacking at The Wink Hostel

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