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Staycations in Singapore: Hotel Jen

Need a break but don’t have the budget? Check out this hotel in Tanglin, recently refurbished and ripe for a stay-cay.

The Transformation: After operating for almost 20 years, Traders Hotel Singapore last year booked in for the mother of all face lifts (S$45 million), emerging as Hotel Jen Tanglin. It’s the city’s second incarnation of Shangri-La’s new four-star Jen brand, after Hotel Jen Orchard gateway.

The vibe is very different now, as you’ll see from the lobby: the eye-candy includes a vertical garden of planter boxes, a check-in counter cobbled together from colourful suitcases, glass dispensers of iced tea for anyone to enjoy, and a sculpture of bicycles clinging to a wall.

Hotels on club street
Inside a Club Room

The Rooms: While none of the 565 rooms are the same, there are four main Singaporean themes running through the bright and breezy design scheme – “orchid”, “goldfish”, “bicycle” and “shophouse”. Bay-window sofas offer vistas of the large pool complex and Tanglin’s leafy streets, or back to the city.

There are Club rooms, too – worth considering for their access to the 17th-storey Club Lounge for breakfasts, afternoon snacks, happy hour drinks and other additions. All rooms have free Wi-Fi.

The Food: Eating revolves around J65 (named after Singapore’s telephone code), the lobby-level restaurant that’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You’ll find Southeast Asian cuisine in abundance – we’re suckers for laksa, but not even we could get through all six varieties on offer – but also plenty of Western options, fresh seafood (especially at the Seafood Dinners from Thursday to Saturday), and healthy salads of kale, quinoa and other on-trend ingredients.

One wall of the restaurant is taken up by a huge and lively piece of Singapore-themed graffiti, sprayed by a street-art collective called Parents Parents. Our stay didn’t overlap with J65’s Sunday brunch, but a colleague says that it’s excellent value for $128 (including free-flow champers and other drinks).

Laksa's in Singapore
Try their 6 types of Laksa

The Surrounds: Most readers will be familiar with Tanglin Mall and its great array of shops and cafés; happily, the Jen has its own point of access directly to the mall. Just up the road is the start of Orchard Road, including the MRT station at ION Orchard, while a few hundred metres in the other direction is the main gate of the Botanic Gardens, with its 5km loop for the nature-lover or the exercise-minded.

Club Street Restaurants
J65 Chefs

Nice to Know: Hotel Jen makes a point of supporting Singaporean entrepreneurs, including those from the worlds of fashion, art and coffee. The last-mentioned are represented at lobby café, Jen’s Kitchen On the-Go, featuring baristas and beans from coffee company Nomad the Gallant. Just before our visit, the hotel hosted a “Super Latte Throwdown”, contested by 32 of Singapore’s best baristas.

Hotel Jen Tanglin
1A Cuscaden Road 6831 4333 | hoteljen.com/tanglin

This article first appeared in the July 2016 edition of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe

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