Typically when I write about a hotel, it’s easily summed up by a key differentiator: tropical brutalism, most instagrammed hotel in the world, haunted historical hotel, and boat hotels, for example. In contrast, Lloyd’s Inn can only be described in the most generic ways: it’s minimal (like most places these days) and it’s a boutique hotel. It sounds boring when put that way, but it's actually a testament to the fact that Lloyd’s Inn doesn’t need any gimmicks because it does what it set out to do so well. Folks, I think I’ve found the holy grail of the “boutique hotel”.
The team behind Lloyd Inn’s is also the team behind Cara Cara Inn in Bali, a place I’ve stayed at a couple of times when dealing with late night/early morning flights in and out of the Indonesian island. Cara Cara with it’s punchy color palette and budget-friendly rooms is almost the polar opposite of Lloyd’s refined, muted minimalism and cozy compound. Which just goes to show: Joan Chang, the woman who renovated the hotel at twenty-three (!!), has the range. Though it would be remiss not to mention that the hotel was previously owned by Chang’s father, providing the platform and privilege for such an opportunity, it is still impressive that Chang had the vision to transform Lloyd’s Inn 1.0, a cheap motel with decent occupancy but abysmal reviews into an award-winning destination for visitors and locals alike.
That last part is perhaps the key to the hotel’s success. Lloyd’s Inn intentionally markets itself as a “staycation” destination for Singaporeans who are looking for an oasis in the city’s center. In fact, I found out about the hotel from a local who frequents Lloyd’s Inn for such trips. As a result of this strategy, Lloyd’s Inn manages to pull off something very few hotels ever will: an air of authenticity.
We headed over from Lloyd’s Inn after a quick one-night stay the Hotel Mono in Chinatown. We pulled up in a Grab taxi to an obscured entrance; a tell-tale sign of the privacy afforded at the compound. From the entrance we walked across an elevated bridge, which offers a lovely view of the hotel’s common areas, and into the air conditioned lobby.
Entryway surrounded by foliage; compact lobby with seating area; hallway leading to the rooms.
Check-in was fairly straight-forward and within a few minutes we were being escorted to our room on the hotel’s top level.
Lloyd’s Inn has a litany of room types available. I opted for the “Reading Room”, which was one tier above the budget offering and came with the choice between a small enclosed garden space on the ground floor or a panoramic view on the top floor. I opted for the view, which provides the sensational illusion of being suspended in the trees despite being in the middle of the bustling city.
Queen bed with view, sitting area, and desk/sink utility area.
The room was actually a lot more spacious than it looked in photos online, and I appreciated the way the room was divided into clear zones for sleeping, bathing, lounging, and a desk + sink area. The lounge area is very minimally furnished, but works because the bed is so comfortable and inviting. I also liked that the bed was on a platform instead of a frame, which allows you to keep that traditional mattress-on-the-ground feeling while still being elevated in the room, and allows for storage space underneath. Another detail I liked were the patterened soft cotton robes, one of the few non-minimalist touches in the hotel.
The bathroom, which is partially indoor and partially outdoor, was one of my favorite elements of the room. A curtained shower area stands next to some potted plants and a slatted fence which provide privacy while still offering a little exposure to the elements. The area directly above the potted plants is uncovered and one time during our stay I took a shower while it was raining, which had the most lovely effect of the rain falling down right beside me.
Partially outdoor shower surrounded by plants and privacy fencing.
Because the bathroom is also partially outdoors it’s invitingly warm, heated up by the regional humidity. You would think there would be a pest issue with it being so exposed, but while I may have seen one or two mosquitos (though I didn’t get bit), I was even more surprised to find not a single gecko hiding out in the area.
Lloyd Inn’s has some beautifully landscaped grounds, which also serve as the hotel’s common areas since the lobby is quite small. The keystone of their outdoor spaces is the rectangular pools, which can best be described as plunge pools since neither of them are deep enough to allow any athletic swimming. In addition to the pools though there are quite a few shady nooks and crannies where one could recline or curl up with a good book.
Plunge pools and multiple seating areas.
Lloyd’s Inn doesn’t have it’s own kitchen or dining area on-site but they’ve cleverly worked out an arrangement with two popular cafes in the neighborhood. Included in your room rate are vouchers for a very simple Singaporean breakfast at either Killiney Kopitiam or a western breakfast at Freshly Baked, with the option to upgrade to a bigger breakfast for an additional fee.
Soft boiled eggs, kaya toast, mee reebus noodles, with iced milo and iced tea.
Full disclosure, we actually woke up too late to take advantage of the voucher but we decided to go to Killiney Kopitiam anyway and just pay the five or so dollars for the breakfast (and also bought some additional items to round out the meal). In addition to the kaya toast and soft boiled eggs which would have been provided in the voucher we also ordered a plate of mee reebus, a sweet noodle dish, and some iced milo and tea and everything was delicious. I kind of love the idea of hotels encouraging visitors to take breakfast in local restaurants as an alternative to building out their own kitchen and dining service.
To be honest, we didn’t have too much interaction with the staff at Lloyd’s Inn since we were out and about so much. Our check-in and check-out experiences were the times we interacted the most with staff and found them to be very pleasant, friendly, and welcoming— as to be expected!
I also felt like all amenities were provided and the internet service was strong. For a moment I did get frustrated because I thought there was no hair-dryer in the room but then I remembered later that it was tucked away in the very discreet storage area below the bed. Another nice little touch is the oatmeal cookies the hotel will leave in your room as a part of turn-down service.
Lloyd’s Inn is in the ideal neighborhood for anyone planning to do some serious shopping as it’s about a ten minute or less walk from Orchard Road and all the major malls, which is also where the closest subway station is located. It’s also quite centrally located within the major tourist areas of Singapore so it’s only a five to ten minute taxi ride to popular destinations like Chinatown, Little India, and Arab Street. Whenever I’m on Orchard Road I always make a point to hit up Editor’s Market in the 313@Somerset building where you can find reasonably priced resort wear (or “wanderlust clothes” as I like to call it).
Photo via theeditorsmarket.com.
Lloyd’s Inn entrance is ramped which means it is wheelchair accessible, as are the rooms located on the top floor, since the ramp is elevated. I didn’t see any elevators though so it seemed like access to the ground floor as well as the common areas like the pools and gardens would require taking stairs.
Stairs leading up and down common areas, entrance ramp to lobby.
Shady lounge area underneath the entrance ramp.
I highly recommend Lloyd’s Inn to anyone visiting Singapore. Lloyd’s Inn is the third hotel I’ve stayed at in Singapore, after the Marina Bay Sands and Hotel Mono and I find that it seriously surpasses both in all the areas I care about: cost, uniqueness, thoughtful design, and small-scale. Typically, at many hotels I’ve stayed at, the team tends to invest heavily in common spaces where as the rooms themselves are very lackluster but Lloyd’s Inn manages to pay equal attention to both. Their rooms are in themselves works of art, well lit and laid out, the kind of space that makes you want to sleep in. It’s no wonder so many locals want to “staycation” there. Lloyd's Inn also recently opened up an identical property in Bali and is launching a Kuala Lumpur location next year.
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