Sunday, January 20, 2013


Well, I was warned!! When staying at my smallest room ever a few months ago, the friendly front desk clerk told me that the rooms are even smaller at the Santa Grand Lai Chun Yuen in Singapore's Chinatown. 

I did book it anyway simply because the thought of sleeping in an historic opera building in Chinatown was too tempting. I also had seen the lobby (which did not really exist in the other hotel) and the small breakfast restaurant (which also did not exist in the first one). 

The first notable difference was that they had a bell service and the "boy" brought my luggage up to the room via the escalators! No elevators in the Santa Grand Lai Chun Yuen! 

The room faced busy Smith Street with a window and was really tiny. As promised, it was even smaller than the last hotel. My suitcase did fit in but opening it was a challenge. Opening the window was also impossible because the bed was placed right in front of the window. I could basically walk in and go to bed. The small desk, chair and closet were good to use and the room even had a small safety box mounted inside the closet. I had to place one of my suitcases on top of that closed, since there was no other space for it. 

Small rooms like these have the advantage that I don't have to unpack or pack, since there is no space for my stuff. 

The bathroom is a shower cabin consisting of the shower, the toilet seat and a small sink. Almost no amenities though, except for shampoo. No soap, no shower gel! 

The hotel's main focus is really the beautiful lobby which was the stage and the main hall of the historic opera, built back in 1887. It would be a perfect hotel if it wasn't for the really tiny rooms....and of course the incredible noise coming in from the street below. 

Smith street is the hawker street for the tourists. There is talking, screaming, laughter, clapping dishes and music until really late night. Underneath my room was a tourist crap store which played house music (in Chinatown!!) all day and all evening, which gave my room the feeling of being located next to a dance club. But I didn't mind all that after 15 hours of flight and transfer time! I decided not to get a well deserved rest but rather go out and "wait" until the noise died down. 

Finally in bed when the restaurants were closing and the last drunk guests left, I was shaken right out of bed by the garbage truck which came around 3am. They seemed to load and empty out every possible container of all the restaurants and shops located down below! The problem was not so much the noise from outside but the ancient windows of the hotel. The windows did not really close and consisted of the old historic two wings with one glass each. On the top they even seemed completely open for several inches. 

So, these really were my first sleepless nights in Singapore and upon checking out I asked the kind staff at the reception to reserve a room on the opposite side of the building for my return trip.

Final resume: historic lobby, free WiFi, breakfast included, but very small room and no chance to sleep at night for a price which is too high in my mind. But location rocks and sets the price!

Busy Smith Street side

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