Thursday, October 25, 2007

Red Light District

Given I have neglected this blog for some months now, I thought you might need something a little more than the normal mundane title to shake you from your torpitude. Hence the somewhat misleading title. Monster and I happened to be in Singapore recently, and after a bit of research decided to stay in the a hotel named "The Scarlet Hotel". It's one of several new boutique hotels in Singapore and was, apart from our taxi drivers having some difficulty finding it, pretty good.

The Scarlet is in fact a converted row of shops that slope gently down a little crescent near the Big Red Pagoda in the Chinese Quarter. The internal walls between the old stores have been knocked out, and hotel rooms installed, creating a rather unusual hotel in which the corridors follow the slightly sloping, slightly curved path of the street outside.
Each room is decorated with real attention to detail, the styling being at once evocative of a French palace mixed with modern touches. Its a little hard to describe, but picture brocades and velvets mixed with dark wood and sharp lines. Very cool.

One thing that really impressed me was the room service. We arrived in the early morning, about 3ish, after spending 7 hours on a Tiger flight (not at all fun ... more on this on a later date, but unless you are blessed with very short legs, and I do mean legs no longer than about 6 inches, or have recently escaped from several years incarceration in a mid sized esky, avoid Tiger like you would any other dangerous animal) and ordered some tea from the in-room menu. I was informed over the phone that the bar was closed and they wouldn't be able to mix me a drink. 3 minutes later the concierge called to say they had found someone who knew how to mix drinks and was it OK if they still sent it. Within 15 minutes we were tucking into a rather nice meal, grateful to have escaped bits of card mascarading as food on the air flight. Any hotel that can rustle up a decent meal at that time gets kudos.

On our first time there we were upgraded from their Deluxe room to an Executive room. Very nice. However, they neglected to tell us this, so on our return trip when we got the room we had booked, a Deluxe room, we were a little confused. The Executive rooms are large and, well, roomy. They are very stylish and ornate. The Deluxe rooms are much smaller and simpler in style. However, they are still pretty comfortable.

One final comment. The staff didn't seem ultra keen to help us haul our luggage down to our room ... so if you do ever decide to stay here (and we would recommend it), make a point of telling the staff you want a porter to take your luggage up ... They might not think of it otherwise.