76 TELOK AYER STREET | WWW.STAYFAREAST.COM
With a penchant for character, I have always been drawn to historic hotels. That’s why I was very happy when I found out about AMOY Heritage Boutique Hotel. Awarded as Trivago Top Hotel Ranking for 2016 Singapore Hotel Ranking and TripAdvisor 2015 Traveller’s Choice Awards for “Top Hotel in Singapore” and “Best Hotel for Service in Singapore”, AMOY Heritage Boutique Hotel is the perfect blend of old and new. The location was once the landing site of Chinese immigrants arriving by boat to seek better fortunes and a better life in the far east. Against this historically rich backdrop, AMOY Hotel is set to give their guests an experiential glimpse into the Chinese Diaspora of years past. Therefore, the AMOY’s entrance opens to the Fuk Tak Chi Museum. It’s quite rare to see heritage building become a modern boutique hotel without leaving the heritage concept.
Fuk Tak Chi Museum was once the oldest Chinese temple in Singapore, and is an elegant example of restored architecture in Chinatown. Set up between 1820 and 1824 by Cantonese and Hakka immigrants, the shrine was where many Chinese immigrants gave thanks for their safe journey to Singapore. The religious functions were eventually moved elsewhere as the building became dilapidated, and in the 1990s the place was restored and converted into a museum where everyone can visit to learn a bit about the lives of these Chinese immigrants and their part in Singapore’s history.
Stepped inside, I arrived into the main lobby and I was greeted by a very warm and friendly staff along with a welcome drink. The lobby is open up to high ceilings with glass panes, light filled atrium. In the center was a big flower pot, surrounded by couch. There’s a wooden wall decorated with some of the surnames of the first Hakka and Cantonese immigrants here in Singapore, and a fountain which used to be a well was there long before the temple was even built.
After checking in, I was led up to the second floor to our room. There are cozy single rooms, but mine was a deluxe double room which is more spacious – the doorway opens into a split level room, with a modest work area against the wall and the bed tucked away on the lower level. As the extension of their heritage concept, the room had old Chinese touches like traditional Chinese stools and porcelain basin. But it was also loaded with modern comforts such as large flat-screen TV, free wifi, alarm clock with docking for an iPhone and even a nespresso machine! I also got a free mini bar with a selection of drinks and snacks. Another unique touch is that all the rooms were named after one of the Chinese surnames up on the feature wall, and sometimes the hotel tries to match guests to their surnames if possible. Very nice, isn’t it? The bed is superbly comfortable. I wake early and roll over to find a perfectly positioned light fitting within easy reach. I look around and realise that every single feature in the room is well chosen, and perhaps more importantly, functions effectively.
They also had an in-house restaurant named Jin Fine Dining where I had my breakfast the next morning. Helmed by Thomas Kok, renowned sushi chef of Hokkaido Sushi Restaurant, fans of Japanese cuisine can enjoy classic favourites as well as sophisticated reinterpretations of best-loved dishes. But if you don’t fancy Japanese cuisine, don’t worry, since AMOY is part of Far East Square which is a heritage conservation project in the heart of the Central Business District, there are so many restaurants nearby. And going everywhere won’t be an issue, because the Telok Ayer MRT Station is just right across the street from Fuk Tak Chi museum so it’s very convenient.
Above it all, I think that hospitality is a big part of a great hotel stay. And AMOY Hotel giving me great services more than I expected. The next day before check out, I was greeted by Christina and Ida from the marketing team of Far East Hospitality, and they treat me lunch at Jin Fine dining for a short chit chat. They even provide me free complimentary luxury transportation to my next destination. As I sit on the car, I have a moment – like at the end of a great stage performance – where I want to first sit silently nodding in appreciation, then break out in quiet, slow, lengthy applause.
Arnold Teja was a guest of AMOY Hotel, all views and opinions are my own. A big thank you to Satrya Pinandita from ZENO Group Indonesia for arranging my stay at AMOY Hotel.