Booking the Santa Grand Chinatown Hotel in Singapore was a last minute option and I had initially imagined it to be in a totally different street. The location turned out to be even better, though the taxi driver did not know the name of the street, which is listed as Trengganu Street. It is actually Temple Street where the hotel and the entrance of it is located.
Check-in was swift and no thrills. All the rooms are on the third floor which looks a bit unusual to the "western" eye - it is all decorated and furnished in a wine red satin design. Very unusual indeed and it gives us western customers an immediate strange feeling in the back of our heads!
The room itself was the smallest room I have had in all my years of traveling around the world. Even smaller than rooms I have had in London and Madrid. My suite case only fit in if I moved around it and I struggled to close the door since the space between the bed and the door was the only option to store it. Mind you, that was the same space I needed to enter the bathroom and to get in and out of the room. It was not possible for me to open it on the floor though.
The bed is filling the entire room. No chairs, no desk, no couch. Very practical because you can reach everything from the bed and you won't even bother to unpack. You basically live out of the suite case.
I booked a room with a window which was kind of useless since all other rooms would have looked right into my bed if the curtains were opened.
The bathroom was not really a room but a shower with a toilet and a sink. It was so tiny that you could not sit straight on the toilet without hitting the sink.
The carpet of the room was not very clean. No wonder since the cleaning lady can't really get into the room with a vacuum cleaner unless she would move my luggage outside. The wall to the bathroom had mold and all kinds of stains on it. I stayed away from it! There is a small TV with a good selection of English channels on the wall and WiFi is free, though not a very good reception in my room. There are also a couple of monitors with free Internet access located at the public seating area, but you have to stand at the wall in order to use them.
The already mentioned public area in red satin design had a bunch of couches available to use, but most of the time it was used by other guests who obviously also had no space in their rooms as they sat there for hours. I was even offered a massage by two ladies including their room number while walking back to my room :-)
The hotel offers breakfast at another Santa Grand Hotel down the street. Just a few minutes away and located in their Hotel Bar/Cafe. The breakfast was included in the room price and was basic but good. Again, very crowded here too. By the time I came back with my toast, the friendly staff had already cleared my unused plates, silverware and full coffee cup and assigned the table to another guest .....:-)
I am looking for positives here...so give me a minute!
Yes! The price is good for Singapore. Compared to Bangkok or K.L. it is outrageous though. It buys you two or three nights in those locations in a room 4 times the size!
And location! That is actually really good. In the heart of Singapore's Chinatown. Minutes away from the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and the Chinatown Subway station.
The Santa Grand Chinatown is frequently confused with the Santa Grand Hotel Lai Chun Yuen, where the breakfast is served. I was told that the rooms at the Lai Chun Yuen Hotel are even smaller and I will test it in a few weeks!!
So, location rocks. Price is acceptable. The room is not really my thing!