24-Hour Room Service: Naumi Hotel, Singapore
Saturday 21 June 2008
Singapore is full to bursting with quality accommodation but there is little that doesn't conform to traditional standards. The new renegade in the pack is the design hotel Naumi. Right next to the defiantly old-school Raffles, it's named after the Sanskrit word for the ninth day of happiness and is one of a very few quality, small-scale contemporary hotels on the island. It dubs itself a "personal luxury hotel", which means an aide is deployed to each guest and will do everything from arranging your perfect night out in Singapore to booking a limo.
Opened last year and designed by the Singapore-based firm Eco-id, which was behind the equally chic Metropolitan Hotel in Bangkok, Naumi's cutting-edge design is apparent from the moment you step inside, with huge pod seats scattered around the lobby bar plus the steel ornamental flower motif that creeps up the walls (you'll find another above your bed). The 10-storey glass tower is capped with a rooftop infinity pool that looks directly out on to the centre of the business district – it looks at first as if you could swim right over the edge, such are the lack of obstructions.
The Naumi's most decadent asset however, is the presence of a 24-hour valet devoted to each guest. He or she will do everything from picking you up at the airport to arranging a deep tissue massage or delivering Xbox/ Wii games or DVDs to your room along with a bucket of popcorn.
Naumi Hotel, 41 Seah Street, Singapore (00 65 6403 6000; www.naumihotel.com). Seah Street is one of the very few streets left in the financial and shopping district that hasn't been given a complete corporate makeover, so there's still a nifty selection of tiny but lively Korean, Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants serving up cheap, filling fare. There's also the official Singapore Newcastle United Supporters Club bar, but thankfully, it doesn't open out on to the street.
At the end of the road is the huge low-level expanse of the "Chimes" shopping and eating complex. And, of course, you're right over the road from Raffles, if you do fancy sampling some more traditional hospitality in its 1920s bar.
Time from international airport: Changi Airport is 20km – around 30 minutes' drive – from the hotel. A taxi will cost around S$25 (£9.40) one-way.
Rooms are large (there are only 40, which is tiny by Singaporean standards), with enough space for a sizeable living room area, kitchenette (or pantry in smaller rooms), desk and bathroom in the open-plan rooms as well as a bed area that contains a whopper of a double with a goose feather duvet and pillows. There's a Nespresso machine for coffee, a yoga mat and a 42-inch flat-screen television that turns 180 degrees so you can watch it in bed or in the living room.
The retro-chic flock wallpaper so beloved of London bars at the moment and the Dedon chairs, shaded loungers and louche atmosphere set Naumi apart from the plethora of neighbouring business hotels.
One of the floors is female only (though there's little difference in the rooms other than make-up remover in the bathroom), but the two small gyms are unisex.
Freebies: the contents of the mini bar, which is restocked daily. It's not as well stocked as most but there's a decent selection of soft drinks, juices and beers. You also get some chestnut biscuits and sweetcorn. In the white marble bathroom, you'll find Aesop toiletries – an Australian brand that specialises in botanical skincare with no synthetic fragrances or animal ingredients. Local phone calls from your room are free.
Keeping in touch: There's an iPod charger in each room and, if you forgot to bring your laptop, the staff will be happy to lend you one, which you can surf in the lobby bar. Local phone calls and Wi-Fi throughout the building are free of charge.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Double rooms start at S$494 (£183) room only, rising up to the luxury suite at a cool S$1,118 (£415) per night.
I'm not paying that: The Beach Hotel (00 65 6336 7712; www.beachhotel.com.sg) on nearby Beach Road is a long-standing budget winner with doubles starting at S$140 (£52), room only.
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