A Singer sewing machine base props up the vanity counter and basin in the bathroom, which is also furnished with traditional items such as a spittoon.
That’s the Peranakan-themed Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong for you – filled with old-school fixtures, its decor awash in a riot of colours so bright and stylish.
No two hotels of this boutique chain, which is part of the InterContinental Hotels Group, look alike. Each new Hotel Indigo infuses the culture, character and history of the neighbourhood it has set up home in, into the decor.
So it’s only fitting that it’s newest Katong branch is designed such that any Peranakan bibik (elder) would approve.
Here’s why Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong is the ultimate eyecandy, making it the perfect staycation option for a relaxing weekend.
Stepping into any of Hotel Indigo’s 30 sq m rooms is like time-travelling to the Singapore of yesteryear.
The fixtures are deliciously kitschy. In place of a modern coffee table, a carrom board has been put in.
Home-grown artist and illustrator Don Low was commissioned to create murals that feature Singapore street scenes such as hawkers selling dumplings and barbecuing pork slices.
NEXT: Surprise Peranakan finds →
The once ubiquitous red clogs also make an appearance as a decorative piece.
Clogs date back to the early twentieth century, when they were worn by nyonyas to complete her Sarong Kebaya outfit.
NEXT: Peranakan-themed lobby →
Bits of Peranakan shophouse architecture are immediately recognisable in the lobby – the patterned marble floor and a wall decked out with patterned breezeway ventilation holes.
Icons and motifs of the Baba and Nonya lifestyle – the batik print from sarong kebayas and the colourful designs from porcelain wares and tiles – are used to create a feature wall behind the reception desk.
NEXT: There’s even a mama shop! →
Every local will be familiar with mama shops (convenience stores) – independent little shops that were popular fixtures in void decks of HDB blocks.
But unlike those shops, this Mama Stall in the hotel’s Pavilion will have books written by Singapore authors and international art and design books.
NEXT: A gorgeous restaurant with food to match →
The hotel’s in-house restaurant is cheekily named Baba Chews. The name pays tribute to philanthropist Chew Joo Chiat, whom the neighbourhood is named after.
Guests can tuck into traditional and modern Strait of Malacca dishes such as ayam buah keluak burger and chilli crab cakes.
NEXT: And tons of other options in the vicinity →
Step out of the hotel and you’ll immediately be along an entire stretch of foodie finds.
A must-try: Katong Laksa (pictured) – if it’s named after the district itself, it’s certainly saying something – a coconut milk-based curry noodle soup. Several eateries along the street claim to serve the “original” recipe dating back to some 50 years ago, and even the self-proclaimed laksa lovers have differing opinions on which is the best.
You’ll also find other shops selling Peranakan and Nyonya snacks. Try the bak chang (glutinous rice dumplings) from Kim Choo or the Nyonya snacks and kuehs (pastries) from Glory Catering, both along East Coast Road.
NEXT: A world of cuisines →
Katong is a neighborhood for the hungry.
Feeling some Western fare? Try Italian restaurant Etna along East Coast Road. Shopping mall I12 Katong, just across the road, houses Artisan Boulangerie Co., Nando’s, and more for quick meals.
NEXT: Pool with a view →
The mark of a good hotel pool is that it must come with a killer view. Hotel Indigo checks that box, giving city hotels with rooftop pools a run for their money.
The 25m-long infinity pool here has a breathtaking, unblocked vista of the Joo Chiat neighbourhood as well as the Paya Lebar and Eunos areas, extending as far as the city’s downtown skyscrapers.
NEXT: A treasure chest of unconventional finds →
Antique furniture shops sprinkled around the area, but a must-visit is the Katong Antique House (pictured), a shophouse preserved over 4 generations, for a glimpse into the rich heritage of yesteryear.
Pop into the quirky store Cat Socrates for accessories, little bits and bobs and other whimsical knick-knacks by local designers.
Or, simply take a stroll down the road to admire the shophouses and people-watch in this vibrant, multi-faceted district.
NEXT: Old-school decor →
By Natasha Ann Zachariah, The Straits Times, 25 June 2016
Additional reporting by Pinky Chng