Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong

Overview: The Hotel Indigo chain, part of InterContinental and known for localizing their properties wherever they are, have taken over the Joo Chiat Police Station (built in 1938) and turned it into the centerpiece of their new property right in the heart of Katong. The property, which also houses new Peranakan restaurant Baba Chews, is a solid choice for an affordable staycation in the East.

Design: There’s a lot of heritage chest-beating here, from the obligatory Math Paper Press kiosk in the lobby and the giant food photos in the hallways to the hawker scene line-drawing mural, carrom board coffee table, floral enamel basins and rooster-motif coffee cups in the rooms. Probably overkill for locals, but sure to charm tourists.

Rave: It has all the makings of an affordable East Coast staycation: free and fast WiFi, a convenient location right on the corner of Joo Chiat and East Coast Road (15-minute walk from ECP and stone’s throw from places like Cat Socrates, Awfully Chocolate and the Katong branch of Alt. Pizza), a small but functional 24-hour Technogym fitness center, great views over Katong from the rooms, a rooftop infinity pool you can swim laps in (even if the hotel name emblazoned across the pool floor is a bit cringe-y), Australian aromatherapeutic toiletries by Biology Smart Skincare, an all-you-can-order, a la carte option for breakfast at Baba Chew and good coffee by Common Man and TWG tea.

Rant: A renovated old police station in Joo Chiat sounds nice and romantic, but do rein in your expectations, because at 131 rooms, a boutique hotel this is not. The renovated station is only an ornamental front, housing Baba Chews. The majority of rooms are in fact in a modern high-rise directly behind. And while many of the Peranakan decor elements are pretty, coupled with the “honoring our heritage” copy strewn on all the stationery and collateral, the theme will probably feel a bit try hard-y to most local staycationers.

Price: Regular rates start from $280, inclusive of breakfast for two.