One of Singapore’s newest hotel openings is located in one of its oldest buildings, a remote colonial lodge nestled in the tranquil greenery of Labrador Park. Situated a stone’s throw from their sister property, the Thai restaurant Tamarind Hill, Villa Samadhi follows the group’s design esthetic of lovingly restored period buildings filled with beautiful artwork and design flair.
Located in a 1920s black and white house, formerly home to a British colonial army garrison, Villa Samadhi has been painstakingly restored to its former glory and converted into a 20-room luxury boutique hotel.
Despite being only a short drive from the CBD and visitor attractions like Sentosa and the Labrador Nature Reserve, Villa Samadhi feels a world away from the hectic pace of modern Singapore life, offering a secluded oasis of calm surrounded by the beauty of nature. From the hotel’s selection of ‘cribs’ and ‘sarangs’ (guestrooms), the view from the window is a canopy of green, with the area’s wonderful old trees providing shade and a shield from the city’s high-rise littered skyline. Guests here go to sleep to a croaking frog chorus and awake to the sound of birdsong – a rare treat for a city hotel!
With the building’s wonderful high ceilings, the guestrooms are blessed with a luxury of space not often available in Singapore. Those looking to experience this at its most generous should book the Luxe Sarang Suite, a 56-square metre space that comes with its own private courtyard with plunge pool garden. Nestled against a hillside to the rear of the main building, with no obvious neighbours, this room offers guests both privacy and tranquility.
Inside, the interior continues the elegant colonial theme. With its blend of wooden and polished concrete flooring, high ceilings and whitewashed walls punctuated with exposed wooden beams, the room makes an immediate impression. With two sets of hanging chandeliers and a framed antique textile, the decor is simple but stylish – well-placed orchids provide a bridge with the natural jungle exterior.
The room’s entrance opens into the living area, where a sofa, coffee table, flat-screen TV and well-stocked mini bar offer an ideal place to lounge after a long day seeing the sights. Upon our rather late check-in at 6pm, we were served high tea here, a blend of western and eastern delicacies that included scones and cream, egg and cucumber sandwiches and local kueh. A gigantic fruit basket filled with seasonal bounty also ensured that hunger pangs were kept at bay.
Beyond, a huge wooden King-size bed commands attention – with ultra thick firm mattress and soft bedding, this is one of the most comfortable suite beds we have tried. Apart from the television, the only obvious evidence that the hotel is operating in the 21st century is the in-room air-conditioning, the free Wi-Fi and the provided ‘Handy’ smart phone. This useful device allows guests to make free local and international calls over the internet, make restaurant reservations and buy tickets to various tourist attractions around town.
A doorway next to the bed leads through to the ensuite bathroom, which for fans of spacious washrooms may well be the highlight of the room. This very generous space, furnished with over-sized teak wardrobes, topped with antique tin travel chests, is a delight. Raising the stakes on twin facilities – not only are there twin sinks but a first for this reviewer, twin showers – the only thing that’s missing to complete the decadence is a ginormous cast iron tub. Like most of the fittings and decor, the amenities are minimalist and true to the design ethos. Blue and white china pots, popular at the time of the building’s construction, house the toiletries. Eschewing the overreliance on plastic, Villa Samadhi delivers drinking water to rooms in copper jugs, although this being Singapore, it’s perfectly safe to drink from the tap.
Guests at the hotel also take advantage of complimentary breakfast for two and daily evening cocktails, both served in the hotel’s communal lounge area on the second floor. This charming space, decorated with artworks from the owner’s private collection, is an ideal place to meet your fellow guests over afternoon tea or an evening gin and tonic. At breakfast, guests can chose from a buffet of local delicacies and order more sizeable fare a la carte. At present, the meals are being prepared at Tamarind Hill next door, which means those on a tight schedule should stick with the buffet or get their order in early to avoid delays.
Dining options in the area include the large choice of restaurants available at Vivocity and Resorts World Sentosa with the CBD only a 10-minute drive away. Once you’re firmly ensconced in the peaceful and romantic surrounds of Villa Samadhi though, the thought of venturing out might seem like far too much effort – and with room service available in the Luxe Sarang, and delicious Thai cuisine a short walk away through the jungle at Tamarind Hill, an evening in could well be the best option.
Villa Samadhi, 20 Labrador Villa Road,
tel 6274 5674, villasamadhi.com.sg
Images courtesy of Villa Samadhi