The Vagabond Club, Singapore is a thoroughly modern throwback to Paris' salons, with design by Jacques Garcia, Singapore’s only artist-in-residence programme and a curated art collection. It’s bold, and has a cocktail lounge with creative offerings to match the mood.
Noon; earliest check-in, 3pm. Both times are flexible subject to availability, and luggage storage is available for guests arriving early or staying late.
Double rooms from £290.46 (SG$471), including tax at 17.7 per cent.
If you book on the BAR rate, all rooms (except the Classic Room) come with a complimentary continental breakfast and access to the Executive Club lounge, where you can enjoy free cocktails between 5pm and 8pm.
British absurdist artist Peter Millard curated the Salon’s art collection, Franck Le Ray sculptures gleam against the hotel’s red and gold backdrop, and all in-room photography is from owner Satinder Garcha’s travels, so just ask if you’d like to hear the background stories. The hotel has a several extras for guests staying in Club rooms – that’s any room ending in ‘Club’, including free breakfast.
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout; the Vagabond Club also has a gym just across the street from the hotel – it's open 24 hours a day, and has a comprehensive range of cardio and strength equipment. In rooms: Smart TV, Roberts Radio, minibar, Nespresso coffee machine, Jacques Garcia-curated selection of in-room films, and Etro bath products. Some suites have kitchenettes with refrigerators and hobs.
Our favourite rooms
All rooms have a sultry French feel with vibrant and modern florals, thanks to interior design by Jacques Garcia. For perfectly lit Instagram snaps, go for a fourth floor Junior Suite; the skylight windows let in the most light, but the suite's only accessible by stairs. Those craving a relaxing soak should book the Vagabond Suite, which has the hotel’s only bathtub and a private entrance.
Bring your notebook and trusty pen to use at your carved mahogany writing desk when inspiration strikes, and leave room in your suitcase for some garb from Singapore’s up-and-coming designers.
Public spaces in the hotel and a guest room on level two are wheelchair accessible.
Snag a built-in-sofa seat seat; you’ll have an art installation wall behind you and performance art (people-watching) in front of you.
Daniel Craig-esque sleek suits for Mr Smith and gallery-worthy LBDs for Mrs Smith won’t feel out of place in the evening.
None at the moment, but lunch from a local Asian-fusion restaurant can be served in the Salon every day except Monday. A la carte breakfasts are served in the Salon and the bar, and light bits, charcuterie plates. tea and coffee are available in the Executive Lounge and Whiskey Library.
Pass the golden baboon statue at the far left of the restaurant and you’ll find Bar Vagabond. Try A Certain Shade of Green, made with Martin Miller’s gin, kiwi, matcha tea, citrus, absinthe and chrysanthemum or the Ashes and Snow, a mix of dark rum, charred pineapple and edible charcoal. Check the schedule to see if your stay coincides with a themed party night, artist in residence or a special guest DJ – previous spinners-in-residence have included DJ Synapse and Captain Planet. For a refined night in, check out the over 750 bottles of carefully curated rare whiskies in the glittering gold and wine-red Whiskey Library; if you can’t get enough, there’s a Membership Programme too. Hungry? Light bites are available from 5pm to 7pm and a buffet of savoury snacks, charcuterie and pastires is laid out from 5pm to 8pm. Larger plates are on offer in the Whiskey Library from 6.30pm to 10.15pm.
Bar Vagabond slings cocktails from 5pm to midnight (happy hour's from 5pm to 8pm) and the Whiskey Library is open from 6.30pm to midnight. The hotel serves breakfast (on request only) from from 7am to 10.30am.
Smack-bang in between the residential Little India and Kampong Glam heritage areas, and a short drive from buzzy central Singapore and Marina Bay.
Singapore’s International hub Changi Airport is 18km away, and it takes as many minutes to reach the hotel by car. Arrange private limousine transfers for US$59 a group, each way. Local taxis and Uber are convenient options too, and generally cost US$25-30 each way, depending on traffic.
Hop on local MRT trains at Jalan Besar station or Lavender station; both are less than a kilometre away, and a short taxi ride will have you at the hotel in about three minutes.
There’s an on-site car park and a public car park next door by the Song Lin Building (US$1–2 an hour); it’s best to drop bags off at the hotel first. If you’re driving, head towards Rochor Road, then take Victoria Street to Syed Alwi Road.
Worth getting out of bed for
The Vagabond Club, Singapore’s just outside the city centre, in the heritage Bugis neighbourhood, which has a colourful (red-light) past, but is now home to shops, an outdoor night market (Pasar Malam), and a healthy smattering of cafés and brunch spots. Ask for one of the hotel's illustrated walking tour maps before venturing out, or follow one of the hotel's guides on an 'Little India Evening Vice Tour' to learn the hidden history and secrets of the neighbourhood. A 10 minutes' walk will land you in historic Kampong Glam; check out the Sultan Mosque, Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, Haji Lane’s quirky indie boutiques, and the textile stalls on Arab Street. History buffs (and those in search of respite from the heat) will like the Asian Civilisations Museum.
For a meal with a Michelin pedigree, look to Carlos Montobbio’s tapas joint Esquina (+65 6222 1616). Book ahead; it’s closed on Sundays. A cab will get you to elegantly laid back Kilo Kitchen Kallang (+65 6467 3987) in less than five minutes; this former storage warehouse turned on-trend eatery is worth a visit for the grilled blue mussels or warm octopus salad; double up on dessert with both the Thai tea crème caramel and the churros with burnt marshmallow, spiced chocolate and matcha. For Catalan cuisine in Downtown Singapore, check out Nandu Jubany’s Foc (+65 6100 4040); we’re partial to the pintxos brunch with its free-flowing cava. Carnivorous Smiths can get their protein fix with daily-changing modern Australian barbecue at Andre Chiang’s Burnt Ends (+65 6224 3933), open Tuesdays to Saturdays. Seats at the counter have kitchen action views.
There are rows of local eateries a short stroll from the hotel, including brunch favourite Symmetry Cafe (+65 62919901) on Jalan Kubor Road. Fuel up for the day with eggs various ways and cold brew coffee; the truffled fries are unmissable. No matter which of the all day brunch options you go for at Melbourne-style coffee spot the Hangar on Arab Street (+65 6291 0127), save room for one of the densely-chocolatey brownies. The brunch menu at Middle Road’s Middle-Eastern eatery Artichoke (+65 6336 6949) spans from baklava French toast to lamb shakshouka. For lunch, swing by Japanese cafe Box'n'Sticks (+65 6341 7780) for sushi followed by mochi and green tea gelato. On Sultan’s Gate you’ll find Arc (+65 6291 6863), which has an in-house coffee academy and roastery too.
Who doesn’t love a good rooftop bar? A drive of five minutes will land you at Loof, arguably one of the best in Singapore. Downtown Tiger’s Milk (+65 6808 2188) is the first rooftop bar with Peruvian flair, with a central ceviche bar, an open parrilla grill and a pisco bar. Music here takes the South American theme and runs, or shall we say shimmies, with it. For something a little more low-key, tiny Bar Storieson Haji Lane has no menu: have a chat with the mixologist instead, who will whip up something to suit your fancy.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this art-filled hotel in the Bugis neighbourhood and unpacked their modern art prints and fresh frocks from the smoothest new fashion labels, a full account of their designers-dream of a luxury city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside The Vagabond Club, Singapore…
You'd never know your life was missing a golden rhino until you lay eyes on the glimmering front desk of Hôtel Vagabond Singapore's red and gold lobby. You’ll be whisked to your snug Singaporean shelter, with a minibar gloriously free from banality and a continuation of the artistic theme in the form of photo collages from the owner’s personal collection awaits; you need only ask to hear the story behind the snaps. Freshen up, then take the lift past the golden elephant statues to 5th Quarter, where a decadently meaty menu will make you thankful and a little bit smug for skipping those airport snacks earlier; start with the ‘Salted and Hung’ charcuterie and two spicy Katana cocktails, to make a night of it…