Mercure Singapore Bugis, review: A Mercure, but not as you know it

Our rating

3.5 out of 5

THE PLACE 

Mercure Singapore Bugis

THE LOCATION 

Accor's latest Singapore offering lies at the heart of the burgeoning arts and cultural district. Directly across the road is the Singapore Art Museum offering one of the world's largest public collection of modern and contemporary Southeast Asian artworks, and a short stroll away is both the Singapore National Library and the National Museum of Singapore. A 10-minute walk brings you to the vibrant Arab Quarter with its trendy boutiques and colourful shophouses selling Persian carpets, silks and textiles.

THE SPACE 

This is a Mercure, but not as you know it. The hotel's striking facade panels of red, blue, yellow and green mirror the primary hues of the distinctive public housing located in the nearby Rochor estate. The double-height lobby is designed with a hint of Peranakan influence with pockets of motif tiles on marble walls and quirky touches such as the distinctive red "Alice in Wonderland"-style throne chairs, floating bookshelves and woven baskets. There's also a Chinese carved wood display with Peranakan print handpainted in red. 

Specially commissioned heritage artwork by Beatrice Martinet is displayed throughout the hotel, reflecting the city's cultural heritage and its ethnicities. On level seven, an infinity lap pool overlooks skyscrapers, public housing and a historic church. Level three features the main restaurant and Privilege Lounge. The rooftop Sky Deck and a Chinese restaurant are yet to open. 

THE ROOM 

My room is a 22-square-metre superior room with king-sized bed, free Wi-Fi and online newspapers, LED smart TV and use of a Handy smartphone. It's a compact room but the clever design makes it work. There's a rack for hanging clothes, bright contemporary artwork, dark hardwood flooring and small mini bar. The hotel offers 395 heritage-inspired rooms, including tiny standard rooms (15 and 16 square metres) to executive loft rooms (25 square metres) with desk and sofa bed downstairs and queen bed upstairs. Floor-to-ceiling windows give the lofts a hip, New York feel. 

THE FOOD 

The signature restaurant Sauces with its opulent leather chairs offers all-day dining, headed up by local celebrity chef Daniel. At night the menu includes herb-infused wagyu beef, wok-charred salmon and braised lamb shank. If the budget allows, book a room with Privilege Lounge facilities. The breakfast offered in the Privilege Lounge is table service and you can help yourself to either the regular breakfast buffet or a smaller lounge-only selection of fresh fruit, juices, tea and coffee and offerings like eggs benedict. Complimentary canapes and alcoholic beverages are also on offer each evening. Take a glass of wine outside to the shady terrace with its rattan sofas overlooking a flamboyant backdrop of apartment blocks and multicultural temples. 

STEPPING OUT

Behind the hotel is Bugis Junction, the bustling Arab Quarter with its street art, curry houses, hip boutiques and bars nearby. Across the road the fabulous Artichoke is the go-to Middle Eastern eatery for expats and Singapore foodies (the smoky eggplant-based baba ghanoush and charred broccoli are a must). If you need a good coffee, Hangar in Arab Street hits the spot.

Orchard Road and Marina Bay Sands are a short taxi ride away, while the airport is a 15-20 minute drive tops.

THE VERDICT

The new Mercure Singapore Bugis offers funky, contemporary digs at an affordable price in a great, central location. It's a mid-tier hotel with plenty of welcome extras.

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ESSENTIALS

22 Middle Rd, Singapore. Rooms start from $S169 plus taxes with complimentary buffet breakfast and Wi-Fi until September 30, 2016. Phone +65 6521 6088, see mercure.com

HIGHLIGHTS 

The brilliant Handy phone in the room offering free local calls, maps and international calls to 10 countries including Australian landlines.

LOWLIGHTS 

Rooms err on the small size so if you're claustrophobic don't even think of booking a standard room. The 25m pool can get crowded in the afternoon.

Sheriden Rhodes was a guest of Accor Hotels.