BIG Hotel – Scandinavian Chic in Urban Singapore
Quite a number of new hotel establishments opened in Singapore this year and just when we think that the local hospitality industry has already reached its saturation point, these new hotels strive to find their footing amidst the already crowded skyline. Some of them are totally new buildings made from scratch while quite a number of them are major overhaul projects to old blocks, revamped to breathe new life into them. BIG Hotel located at the junction of Bencoolen Street and Middle Road is one of these “new kids on the block” and we had a chance to find out just exactly what it is BIG on!
Firstly, the hotel is really BIG on accessibility. Located at the junction between Bencoolen Street and Middle Road, right in between the major Orchard and Suntec-Marina shopping belts, it provided us with a lot of accessibility to endless shopping options. Bugis Junction and Bugis Plus, two major shopping malls in the area are just a stone’s throw away while Raffles City and Plaza Singapura are also within walking distance, or otherwise a short bus ride away from two bus stops situated just across Bencoolen Street. Orchard Road and Suntec may seem slightly further but all within a 10 min bus ride away. In short, BIG on accessibility is really quite an understatement in actuality.
Apart from accessibility, the hotel is also BIG on convenience in many ways. There is so much going on in the area where the hotel is situated there is for sure something for everyone be it the young or the old, first time visitors to Singapore or frequent travellers to the region. For the artistically inclined, Singapore Art Museum (SAM) and the Waterloo Street Arts Belt are all within walking distance, The hotel literally sits within the same plot as the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA). so the area is literally bustling with artistic activity. For those who are keen on a blast from the past, the National Museum of Singapore is just a walk away while the Peranakan Museum and Singapore Philatelic Museum are not too far from there. Want to live and breathe like a local? Little India and Kampong Glam, the enclaves for the Indian and Malay communities here in Singapore are located not too far away from the hotel as well. Likewise, Chinatown is accessible either by MRT or bus services. Speaking of MRT, there are 4 MRT stations, i.e. Bugis station, Little India station, Dhoby Ghaut station and Bras Basah station all located within the vicinity of the hotel providing great ease to the various MRT lines to all parts of Singapore.
Singapore is often touted as a food paradise and the area around BIG Hotel is no exception. They are BIG on food too! From exotic tropical fruits at Bugis Village to a traditional silky chinese beancurd dessert called tau huay along Selegie Road, the vicinity around BIG Hotel has much to offer. There is also a very popular Hainanese chicken rice joint just around the corner. Local fanfare can be found in the numerous food courts, hawker centres dotted around the area so one is literally spoilt for choices. For more authentic local delights, one could venture down to Tekka Market or Chinatown Market as well. For those who wanna treat themselves a little better, restaurants specialising in haute cuisine can also be found along Prinsep Street and the compounds of Mount Emily (Wilkie Road) which are all nearby. We love the selection of dining joints available and since we were up for a little Japanese that day during our stay, we went to Bugis Plus(+) and treated ourselves to a ramen feast!
We were very impressed with what goes on around the hotel, which is very strategically positioned to provide a little bit of everything for everyone. So location wise, it surely does not disappoint. But how did the hotel itself fare?
As we stepped into the hotel we can’t help but notice the difference in the ambience the lobby exudes. Grandeur and lavishness is clearly not on BIG Hotel’s menu but it is nonetheless chic and classy on a different scale. The juxtaposition of unfinished wood against grey steel reminded us much of Scandinavian styled minimalism, simplicity from monotone colour schemes and clean lines, yet not falling short of coziness. The mood is really quite different the moment one steps in, altogether very relaxing, put together by a really homely living room setting in the hotel concierge with soothing lounge music from the bar on the mezzanine.
This mood setting perpetuates as we went up to our room after collecting our keys, the exposed cement walls, the uncovered overhead cable trunking and the increasingly familiar unfinished wooden doors, create a sense of industrial shabby chic which may be easily misunderstood as renovation work uncompleted but we liked the way how BIG Hotel strives to be unique in its own way, void of any sense of faux lavishness and frivolities. Yet the walkways and corridors were made “relaxing” through piped in music and aromatherapy using Ylang Ylang essential oils, all aimed at easing any tension one may have experienced in the already busy and congested urban facade outside.
We were given a “BIG STAR SUITE” for our stay. Prima facie, calling it “big” seemed to be a misnomer as it is barely 10 steps from the door to the furthest end of the room. But size is clearly not all that matters and for the lack of floor space, the room makes up for it in other ways. As with all hotel stays for anyone and everyone, the bed must surely be the most important piece in the entire room. After all, a hotel room, more than anything else, is for one to sleep in. BIG Hotel clearly understands this and seeks to provide THE most comfortable hotel bed we’d ever slept on. SERTA is the brand if you must know and with all the lush and plush comfort provided, a good night’s sleep is almost guaranteed. We most certainly did.
The “economy of scale” executed within the limited floor space in the room ensured that everything stays within hand’s reach, be it our laptop on the writing table or toiletries in the bathroom. For those who are used to big and spacious rooms in older hotels, BIG Hotel’s rooms may require some acclimatising to, but we choose to think of it as “compact and enclosed comfort” all within reach. Oh yeah, and no worries on getting a room with stained and mouldy carpets which I’m sure many of us have experienced in some of the other historically affliated hotels, because at BIG Hotel, this is gonna be the least of all worrie since there ain’t carpets at all to start with!
What impressed us the most is the in-room tablet which was provided. Connected directly to the free WIFI service, occupants have instant access to the internet for simple emails and checking facebooks, to more formal business correspondence even when one may have forgotten to bring their own laptop or internet connection devices. It also pre-loaded game apps to keep young children entertained as well! But we had our own laptop that day and didn’t use the tablet to surf at all.
What’s really cool, is how the tablet acts as a remote control for the TV as well. Great access to the free cable channels and movies on-demand all day and all night!
And just one when decides to get
lazy comfortable, the lights in the room could also be controlled using the tablet as well! Saved us the hassle of getting up from the bed when we’re ready to slumber. Trust me, given a bed so comfortable, you wouldn’t wanna get out of it unnecessarily!
BIG Star Suite comes with an outdoor terrace extension, good for entertaining some friends in the day, or just to spend a quiet evening enjoying the sunset from afar.
The next morning, we were also shown some of the other room options available. The largest rooms at BIG Hotel are the BIG SHOT Suites.
A slightly more compact DELUXE room which we felt was ideal for young couples or single travellers.
Lounge bar on the mezzanine where business travellers could chill out after a day of meetings. Bookings and reservations could also be made to host private events like company gatherings or parties here.
Pool table and dart boards for a complete chill out experience.
Feeling a bit hefty after pigging out on the local delights? There is a gym located just next to the lounge bar to work away all that excess indulgence and guilt!
The rooms are a tad smaller than what we’d expected but more than make up for it in BIG ways with a really comfy bed, not to mention rainshower with massaging effects which comes complete with Ylang-Ylang & Neroli Essential Oil shower amenities! What more, the accessibility and convenience to amenities, be it food, shopping, entertainment or cultural and artistic activities around the area makes it quite an ideal location to stay at for young couples or single travellers to Singapore. All in all, we enjoyed our overnight stay at Big Hotel, and we hope that you would too!
BIG Hotel Singapore
200 Middle Road Singapore (188980)
Main Line : +65 6809 7988
Fax : +65 6809 7999
Reservation : +65 6809 7998
Sales : +65 6809 7990
We like to thank the management of BIG Hotel for the opportunity for this media review.