If there is anything I'm familiar with during my 3-year stint with Singapore Airlines as a flight attendant, it has got to be hotels. Comfortable hotels.
Many people have asked me about what it was like to see the world. To be honest, because stays in most states were not exactly long (Australia, China, Japan, Southeast Asia, and nearby countries - usually just 1 night, whilst Europe and the US - about 2 nights), most times a lot of crew stay in the hotel to rest. If we do go out it's to the supermarkets, shopping, or to have our meals. I do go sightseeing, in case you think I don't at all, but I can safely say I have been a hotel-hibernating crew for most of my flying life.
SQ has treated us well, giving us 4-5 star hotels every time to ensure we get a good rest after a tiring crazy flight. And truth be told, I love my hotel stays. Heck, I even look forward to my flights because of the hotel stays sometimes. Clean, white pristine sheets, comfortable duvets, no making the bed because all you need to do is go out, put up the housekeeping sign, and return to find that elves have miraculously cleaned your your room for you (that's my magic make-believe, yes, even as an adult).
5 years after leaving the airline, I jump at every chance to do a hotel review. And I'm really thankful for the Naumi Hotels Group for inviting me to stay at their second and newest addition - the Naumi Liora Hotel.
The Naumi Liora is a cosy boutique hotel along the once sleazy Keong Saik Road. For those not in the know, Keong Saik used to be a red-light district full of brothels and dodgy men. Thankfully, the area has been cleaned up and the only official red-light district left is at Geylang. What's taken over are award-winning restaurants, interesting (it's truly an understatement) shops, cafes with character, plenty of watering holes, and at least 4 exquisite boutique hotels, including the Naumi Liora.
Housed in an heritage Peranakan-style building in Chinatown, the Naumi Liora is a 4-star hotel which allows you to go back in time without compromising on modern amenities. The design has been carefully thought up, with double-leaf doors, bat reliefs, original timbre flooring, French-style windows and Singapore’s unique 'five-foot way’ tastefully and traditionally preserved. The design of the hotel exudes historical charm, and I felt like I was a 1920s rich man’s daughter living in a beautiful atas townhouse.
This is a far cry from the international big hotel brands I was used to. This is a compliment, by the way. I like the character Naumi Liora exudes. It's old, vintage, cultured, and there is a sense of romanticism about staying in a place like that.
What caught my eye once I got there were the Chalk and Pumpkin hues, as well as the signature light motifs that make up the core of Naumi Liora’s design. Liora means “light” in hebrew, inspired by the colourful history of Keong Saik Road.
The building facade, especially when seen at night, symbolises a reassuring beacon of light awaiting its traveller’s return. #poetic #idealist
Though it's new (opened only in November 2012), Naumi Liora already has won some awards to boast about.
Hmm...bouncy bed, you say? I wonder how this is being tested... *many different types of thought bubbles are floating around right about now...* Lol~ Hey, anyhow, I'll take the plushiest and bounciest bed any day!
The only downside probably is the availability of parking spaces. Parallel parking lots are available along Keong Saik Road, and they are coupon-type yellow lots. For those not familiar with the parking system in Singapore, yellow lots cost $1 per half hour from 8:30am - 5pm and $0.50 per half hour from 5pm-10pm. Overnight parking is free, thank goodness.
Many don’t know this, but yellow lots (supposing you are going to park there the whole day) cap at $16 per day. You can get the $16 parking coupons from URA or HDB, I think. Else, just note that your coupon value per day should only be a maximum of $16. Any more is a waste. (I did a post on this sometime back. You can read more about Singapore’s Coupon Parking system and prices here.)
What greeted me at the door were these little men - scultures by local artist/sculptor KY Huang. They represent Chinatown's illustrious past and the vibrant environment Naumi Liora lies. You'll find more of these little men as you explore around the hotel.
As I entered the reception lobby, there was a soothing sight of the hotel guests lounging, some reading papers, some chatting over a cup of coffee and nibbles.
Snacks and drinks (including old school titbits, ice cream, Nespresso coffee, to name a few) are available complimentary to guests 24/7. Of course I made a mental note to come down for the Oreo’s and Chips later on that evening. ;)
The staff were friendly, something very important to me when it comes to hotel stays. To me, hotels are where I rest, relax, and unwind, and the last thing I want to deal with is stress arising from rude customer service staff. They call their service the Liora Aide, like how light brings comfort through its warmth and security. I like that. The staff were not crazy friendly that it’s overpowering, just welcoming and subtle enough for me to know I can look for them whenever I need help. =)
The Naumi Liora has 79 rooms in total, and although there are 3 main room categories, each room is sized uniquely, and has a slightly different configuration.
The smallest room type available in Naumi Liora, sized up to 25 square metres, with no windows. What the room lacks though, it more than makes up in its character. Ideal for travellers who want a cosy room to come back to and be well-rested for the next day’s adventure.
(Up to 28 square metres)
These rooms come adorned with vintage French-styled windows and Nespresso coffee machines. These rooms are also fitted with work stations should you need to get some work done. I imagined myself a 1920s writer when I sat down at mine. #romanticideals
I was given the Liora Porch room. Once again I thank Naumi Liora for the hospitality - the Liora Porch is the biggest (sized up to 60 square metres) and most beautiful room in Naumi Liora.
So thoughtful. It's these little details that separates good from Wow.
Notice how the light motifs are incorporated in every room? This wall behind is actually a screen, and allows light from the room into the bathroom.
All well-appointed rooms come with an en-suite private bathroom with bath amenities from C.O Bigelow, a luxurious New York brand, LCD TV with cable channels, and complimentary WIFI throughout the hotel.
Also, you'll find these tongue-in-cheek amenities tags:
As the building is a preserved 1920's one with the original wood flooring, you might be able to hear people walking and going up and down the stairs. And erm, other sexy sounds in the middle of the night. So use the 'hear no evil' if the sounds bother you. Lol.
So where does this door in my room lead to?
Hahahaha ok I'm kidding! 有肥妞還差不多。=P
Like its name indicates, the Liora Porch has, erm, a porch. Lol. A huge, beautiful one at that, I must say, overlooking a quiet green backyard and the scenic Duxton Plains.
The door leads out to this amazingly huge porch. Great for hosting guests!
View of Duxton Plains.
There's something really peaceful about this place. I'm in the city area, yet all I see as I look out my porch are greenery and a tranquil back alley. See those chairs? Sometimes you can catch the staff from the neighbouring shops taking their breaks there. Not hard to figure out why they chose this spot. =D
My room came with a Nespresso machine, so of course I enjoyed the following morning in the porch with a cuppa. Do it early though, you know how our Singapore weather is like after 10am.
If coffees are not your thing, a selection of fine teas are also available in your room. =)
The gym is pretty well-equipped with all the equipment I needed for a good workout. Best part? It’s 24 hours! I say this because my condo gym is only open from 7am until 10pm and I can’t workout if I finish work late! And yup, I usually exercise at 5am or after 11pm, so…24 hours for the win! Lol.
Breakfast @ The Study
The complimentary breakfast can be had next door at The Study. It’s not your 5-star hotel international buffet selection, but the environment is intimate, serving simple Western breakfast items which is great for a non-morning-eater person like me.
What I love most about The Study is its interior. Really much like an old school study room!
From noon onwards, they serve normal meals, of course.
Next door to the Study is this Tailor which sells locally handmade suits and specially imported French/English-gentlemen-style items like shoes and cigar-cutters. Worth taking a look if you’re into classic Gentlemen styles. ;)
They are even selling this vintage sewing machine! I should've asked my grandmother to keep hers! If I remember correctly it was going for like thousand something!
What’s behind the Tailor though? Ah~~~ This is only for those in the know. See the above picture? On the right of the picture there are door hinges. That is a secret passageway!
At night, the tailor is closed, but you can still enter, for the secret passage will lead you to a hidden bar called The Library. You need a password to enter, and the password changes all the time. Word has it that they reveal the password only if you like their Facebook fan page. Oh, and for obvious reasons, photography is strictly prohibited in The Library.
I grabbed hold of some guests who happened to be leaving The Library as I arrived, and asked them for the password. You could do the same, or maybe you can check with the Liora Aide. They just might have the password. ;)
If you prefer being out and about instead of in the hotel room with your tv, gadgets and bounciest bed in town, Keong Saik Road boasts an eclectic mix of watering holes, hip coffee joints, old-school kopitiams, upscale award-winning restaurants, and interesting shops. Oh, and Chinatown is just a 5-7 minute walk away. Of course, you can go out and explore, then return to test your bed bounciness. Hmmm~~~ ;)
Plenty more stuff to discover around the hotel, and I'll leave it to you to have your own little adventure. ;)
Specially for my readers!
Get 15% off best available rates for your stay at the Naumi Liora! Also, you'll enjoy guaranteed room upgrade (For Quaint & Heritage only) as well as Late Check Out till 3pm! Quote "Silver" when making your booking to enjoy these perks! ;)
Naumi Liora is located at:
55 Keong Saik Road
Tel: +65 6403 6003
All pictures were taken using the Canon 600D and the Samsung S4.