The 30 room New Majestic Hotel opened in the historic Chinatown district of Singapore in March 2006. This contemporary boutique hotel was created and developed by Loh Lik Peng, a 34 year-old former lawyer. He is the same developer who brought into being the cult boutique hotel 1929 and was recently voted Singapore Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year 2006.
The New Majestic was developed using existing buildings, which used to be a small hotel and a series of shop houses, and has retained the facade and charm of the old colonial style dating back to 1928. The old buildings cost an estimated $3.4m and the renovation of the hotel cost a further $1m. The hotel has succeeded in blending the colonial past of Singapore with modern styling, producing a hotel that is definitively out of the ordinary.
The New Majestic has made a point of featuring chic contemporary interiors by prominent Singaporean designers. The hotel features a dramatic all-white open concept period lobby with restored vintage Compton fans, the Majestic Restaurant which is a modern reinvention of one of old Singapore’s favourite Chinese dining rooms, a dramatic lap pool with glass inserts floating above the restaurant and chic loft-style guestrooms finished in a variety of styles by local design talent.
The hotel offers an insight into the cultural heart of the city and is filled with interesting artifacts such as old dentist’s chairs and theatre seats. Every room tells a different story, making use of the owner’s extensive vintage chair collection, old fans and antique, cast-iron baths. The New Majestic Hotel has earned a place on Condé Nast Traveller’s prestigious hot list 2006 of the world’s most hospitable hotels and resorts.
The guestrooms are all different in design and offer a blend of contemporary styles together with both modern and vintage fittings, including customised freestanding copper bathtubs. Some rooms feature floor to ceiling mirrors, while others are attic/loft-style with an upstairs sleeping area. Some feature ‘aquarium’ see-through bathrooms as a centrepiece to the room, or contemporary inversions of the traditional four-poster bed in which the bed is suspended by poles from the ceiling.
Some of the rooms have balconies which are a feature of the traditional shop house design, while others have outdoor garden terraces, including some with outdoor baths. In some rooms, original stained glass windows that date back to the original Majestic Hotel of the 1920s have been restored and preserved as part of the design.
The modern style of the guestrooms is complemented by staff uniforms created by Wykidd Song, a local designer, and luxury features such as a Philips plasma screen TV, personal Bose CD/Radio and wireless broadband internet access. Each room also features plush Kiehl bathroom amenities and 280 thread count bed linen by new luxury bedding supplier Ploh.
FIVE GUEST DESIGNERS
The New Majestic engaged five of Singapore’s most prominent creative talents, drawn from the fields of interior and graphic design, fashion and film production to personalise the hotel’s top five suites. Each one has a unique design reflecting the tastes and personality of each of the creators. Film and theatre director Glen Goei created the ‘Wayang Room’, which was inspired by Zhang Yimou’s Raise the Red Lantern, and is an all-Asian Boudoir with crimson walls, black lacquer furnishing and big red lanterns swinging from the ceiling.
Fashion-show producer Daniel Boey designed the ‘Pussy Parlour’ that features a French chandelier, neon lights, crinkly pink linen, a brass four poster bed and mirrors. ‘Fluid’ is a suite designed by fashion designer Wykidd Song of Song+Kelly21; the room is all about space, swirls and simplicity. ‘Work’ by graphic designer Theseus Chan uses all plywood and is supposed to redefine ‘living in a box’. ‘Untitled’ by furniture designer Patrick Chia uses a lot of cement and is supposed to celebrate modern class European design.
OTHER ROOM DESIGNS
The Garden Suites on the second floor offer indoor/outdoor living in the hot climate, with shop house window-doors opening out onto a deck area hosting a hot tub in a small garden setting. This also doubles the space of the small room. In the ‘Flowerchild Cat’ suite, the bed is suspended from the ceiling. The most controversial rooms were designed by Justin Lee; these include ‘Samsui Woman’, ‘Da Jie’ and ‘Flag’. All make social comments through culture by
using iconic images as décor motifs.
Other designers involved in the hotel design included Safaruddin Abdul Hamid, Lee Meiling, Heleston Chew, Tay Bee Aye, Miguel Chew, Kng Mian Tze and Sandra Lee. The result of their efforts has created a small authentic art/design concept hotel. The rooms are spacious – reducing the original 50 rooms to 30 means the average room size is about 40m², so every space is carefully used and the facilities are second to none.
In addition, the hotel features original artworks from emerging Singapore artists, which have been cleverly integrated into the design of each room. These range from upside-down anamorphic messages which can only be viewed when guests lie on specific parts of the hanging bed, to joyful pop art murals that are a clever mix of Eastern and Western icons, to a giant goldfish mural floating in a room that plays with dimensions by situating the guest inside the tank, to scenes of nostalgia from bygone
The Majestic restaurant at the hotel can seat up to 100 guests and is located on the lobby level of the hotel. It is based on the original Majestic Restaurant located in the same building that was a favourite eatery in Singapore in times past. The restaurant is a joint venture with the well-known local chef Yong Bing Ngen, who was previously at the acclaimed Hai Tien Lo restaurant in the Pan Pacific Hotel and Chef De Cuisine of the Raffles Hotel. The restaurant serves modern Cantonese cuisine western style and also features three private dining rooms, including one VIP room with private access to the kitchen and a 2,000 bottle wine cellar.