Step back into Singapore’s colonial days
Nestled in the greenery of the Labrador Nature Reserve is a new boutique hotel that harks back to Singapore's colonial days.Villa Samadhi Singapore, which welcomed its first guests yesterday, is housed in a two-storey, black- and-white military building built in the 20th century during British times, though the exact date is unknown.Related: 10 things every Singaporean must do in 2017Click on arrows for more.
1. There are 4 different luxurious rooms to pick from
There are 20 rooms across four room types, featuring luxurious amenities such as plunge pools and rainshowers. All the rooms are located in the main building except the private 56 sq m Luxe Sarang suite, which is in an adjacent building that used to be a cook house.The building had been empty for years before Mr Federico Asaro, 48, founder and chief executive officer of Samadhi Retreats, decided to turn it into a luxury retreat. This is the third property for the Samadhi hospitality group, which also runs Japamala Resort on Tioman Island and Villa Samadhi Kuala Lumpur.Related: 12 ways to survive theme parks with kids
2. Take a walk in the jungle to the nearby Tamarind Hill for a meal
Besides hotels, Mr Asaro also runs The Tamarind Group of restaurants, including Tamarind Hill Singapore, which is a short walk via a "jungle walkway" from Villa Samadhi Singapore.An avid antiques collector who lives in Singapore, Mr Asaro was adamant that the hotel preserved an authentic colonial atmosphere inside and outside.The Italy-born hotelier says: "It's a historical building in the middle of nowhere - there's soul to this place. I didn't want to have this old exterior and modernise the inside. It would have lost its essence."To avoid using modern replicas in the building, he travelled to Malaysia to source for old wooden floorboards and balustrades.He also went to construction sites in Singapore to pick up discarded old roof tiles that were in good condition. He used them to replace broken tiles on the hotel's roof. "The construction people thought I was an idiot," he says.Related: 5 things you must know about the new JW Marriott Hotel in Singapore
3. The detailed designs reflect the Asian culture
His eye for detail shows in the elegant Asian-inflected furnishings.In the lobby, guests check in at an old Burmese bank-teller counter. Along the staircase, there is a 120- year-old food carrier from China and art pieces made out of colourful Hmong fabric hang on the walls.Around the property are custom- made furniture such as loungers made from recycled wood, carpets and rugs from Afghanistan and Iran, as well as antique luggage trunks placed in some rooms.Samadhi is a Sanskrit word that means a state of intense concentration achieved through meditation.Related: Review: Laser Quest at HomeTeam NS Tampines
4. The place is designed to help guests relax
Guests may or may not achieve enlightenment at the hotel, but various thoughtful features are designed to help them relax. Yoga and taiji sessions are being planned. At night, decanters in the room are filled with port for a nightcap.Related: Why Temasek Club is the new hotspot for sports enrichment
5. You will be surrounded by nature
Guests can also unwind at a cool hang-out spot-cum-bar called the Library on the second floor.Nature, which surrounds the property, provides the final touch. Mr Asaro says that peacocks, cockatoos and even an albino snake have been spotted around the premises.He says: "I'm not selling a bed for a night. It's about the experience."Related: 5 garden-themed restaurants and cafes in Singapore
The perfect place for a couples getaway
Villa Samadhi Singapore Is located at 30 Labrador Villa road, and room rates start at $395 for the Crib category and go up to $975 for the Luxe Sarang suite.The hotel and Tamarind Hill has a no-child policy of twelve years and below, so we suggest heading there for a weekend staycation to destress without the kids.Visit www.villasamadhi.com.sg for more.Related: 4 cool playgrounds in Toa Payoh and BishanA version of this story first appeared in The Straits Times.