Singapore has seen a spate of hotel openings as of late and while most properties are in the luxury segment, one compelling option for mid-range travelers is the YOTEL Singapore located right in the heart of Orchard Road. With the recent opening of this property, the title of the “most affordable hotel in Orchard Road” now goes to the YOTEL Singapore.
The address is not in some obscure part of Orchard Road either. The epicenter of Singapore’s main shopping street is usually recognized as the Orchard-Scotts junction. By that measure, the YOTEL Singapore is just steps away from the junction, behind Shaw House and mere minutes from Orchard MRT station.
The Yotel brand presents a relatively new concept in the hospitality industry that is drawing millennials. The proposition entail no-frills services such as self check-in, smart-sized rooms and highly functional amenities without scrimping on the hotel aesthetics. Overall, the price tag still aims to be affordable. My first brush with this proposition was at the CitizenM in New York which I loved so I was really excited for the opening of the YOTEL Singapore.
Entering the hotel for the first time, the sleek and futuristic aesthetic immediately becomes palpable. Shades of white alternating with purple essentially describes the YOTEL design principle. I was invited to check in on my own using one of the registration counters in the lobby. After inputting my details and swiping my card for guarantee, I was issued my key cards in no time. The YOTEL Singapore has 610 rooms – making it one of the biggest hotels in Singapore if room count is any measure.
Premium Queen Cabin
My room for this particular stay is the Premium Queen Cabin – the entry-level category room in YOTEL Singapore that fits up to two and measures 14 square meters. The concept of the rooms in YOTEL properties follows that of a first-class airplane seat. As such, the bed is adjustable and can be made to recline like a sofa in the daytime and fully flat at night when it’s time to sleep. One thing that sometimes bothers me when staying in a hotel is that my back is not used to the unfamiliar bed. I love how comfortable the Serta Gel mattress was and how it adjusted to my contours in no time.
The room size is very modest but it is quite apparent how the furnishings are designed to really maximize the available space in the room. For instance, the small cabinet that houses the ironing board actually sinks into the walls, while extra hangers can be made to protrude out of the wall by a simple press. Extra desk space is also possible by drawing out a panel from below the television, complete with more power outlets.
The room has a desk which functions more as a holder of certain amenities such as the safe, fridge and coffee/tea maker rather than as a proper office desk. To do some work in the room, you can use the panel that you can draw out underneath the LCD TV. A folding chair which can be drawn out from the table is light enough to be transported across the room.
The SMART LCD TV offers features such as device connectivity. In my case, since I don’t really watch TV a lot, it was very convenient for me to link up my phone to the TV screen. For gamers, it’s also possible to bring your console and link up your PS4 here.
In keeping with newer hotel design principles, certain facilities such as the sink and vanity mirror are actually located in the bed area. One notable thing about YOTEL Singapore, despite its proposition, is that they provide amenities such as toothbrush and even shaving kits which are available upon request and brought to the room. This is in contrast with other no-frills concepts which require guests to claim the extra amenities from the front desk or even pay extra for them.
The bath and toilet area is located in a separate enclosure and spans the length of the floor-to-ceiling window with excellent views of either the Orchard or Scotts areas. The usage of the quick drying stone surface is smart to keep the bath area tidy. Toiletries are from Urban Skincare, an Australian brand which are available for use via a dispenser. I particularly loved the refreshing scent of the coriander-infused body wash. The toiletries are also available for purchase at the lobby.
The bulk of the hotel’s facilities are found in Level 10, including the fitness center as well as the pool. One key area where a brand like YOTEL differs from other “affordable” chains is that you can still find swimming pools and gyms for that same price tag.
Grains and Hops – Afforable Rice Bowls in YOTEL Singapore
You can also find the inhouse restaurant, Grains and Hops, housed in level 10 of the YOTEL Singapore. I enjoyed trying the inexpensive rice bowls that I ended up having all my meals here. The rice bowls here are topped with two skewers featuring hearty servings of meat for single orders. Alternatively, there is also the option to do group orders of up to 10 skewers for large groups.
By the end of my stay, I managed to try all the skewers at Grains and Hops except for the vegetarian one. I particularly love the Roasted Chicken ($15) and the Grilled Angus Beef ($23) – the latter which was on promotion during my visit. You can check out the full menu HERE.
Breakfast at Grains and Hops – YOTEL Singapore
My stay at the YOTEL Singapore came with breakfast which was also served at Grains and Hops. The offerings are modest but sufficient. There are 4 hot dishes on rotation such as sausages, rice cakes, pancakes as well as bacon while separate salad and pastry stands complete the morning meal. For rainy days, there is also congee available.
When assessing a hotel like the YOTEL Singapore, it is important to keep in mind the concept and the overall proposition. With that in mind, it is not your conventional hotel and it does not aim to be.
- Well-designed and functional space.
- Most affordable hotel in Orchard Road. Highly convenient for travelers.
- For the price and location, you get amenities typically found in more upscale hotels such as a pool and gym.
- Advanced features such as an adjustable bed, mood lighting and an absolutely delightful Serta Gel mattress
- Modestly-sized room (14 square meters for the entry-level room)
All in all, the only con I can think of for this property really is the room size. If you can get past that, the YOTEL Singapore is an absolutely wonderful place to stay – especially for the price and location. Personally; the in-room functionality, comfort as well as stylish ambiance outweighed the size so I certainly wouldn’t going back. This was my first stay at a YOTEL property and I’m quite curious now to check out their other hotels in Europe and the United States.
366 Orchard Road