The newly opened Warehouse Hotel in Singapore is undoubtedly posh, but it’s very different from the average luxury hotel. Set on the Singapore River, the Warehouse Hotel is housed in a heritage building, a former godown, which dates back to 1895 and has a surprising sordid history as a former hotbed for secret societies and underground activities. Zarch Collaboratives led the redesign of the 121-year-old building, converting it into a 37-room boutique hotel with state-of-the-art amenities, while paying homage to the area’s industrial past.
Located on Havelock Road along the Singapore River, the historic godown was originally built for business purposes on the Straits of Malacca trade route. In the early 20th century, the area was notoriously known as the operating neighborhood of Chinese and Fujianese secret societies and was rife with gambling dens, prostitutes, and moonshine operations. While much of that history has disappeared and been replaced with the upscale Robertson Quay neighborhood, Zarch Collaboratives and interior design consultant Asylum Creatives wove playful references to the godown’s colorful history during the meticulous restoration and renovation process.
Painted bright white, the Warehouse Hotel’s distinctive and symmetrical facade features the original peaked roofs with restored louvre windows, cornices, doors, moldings, and Chinese characters on the leftmost gables. The interior blends the warehouse’s utilitarian aesthetic, like exposed brick and vaulted ceilings, with modern decorations that allude to the area’s industrial and vice-filled past. Naked light bulbs and pulley systems, commonly found in godowns, are suspended from the ceiling of the double-height lobby. A set of handcuffs and other interesting trinkets are visibly displayed next to the check-in counter, while every room is equipped with a “Minibar of Vices” with local treats.
Images via Warehouse Hotel