Mention ‘Katong’ and it would immediately conjure up images of Peranakans (Straits Chinese), their cuisine, their rich heritage and intricate patterns of geometric shapes, birds, plants and flowers. On the surface, we see vintage shop houses that line the East Coast Roads of Singapore. On a more personal level, we experience the warm and ‘homey’ hospitality THAT is exactly what you’d experience right here in the heart of downtown Katong.
Opened since mid October 2013 on the site formerly occupied by the Paramount Hotel, Village Hotel Katong has had a complete makeover. Within it’s familiar ’70s retro facade is a completely new and modern interior. From carpets to shower heads, everything is refreshingly new. Step into any room and you would be welcomed by stylish furnishings, plush, thick sheets and premium bathroom accessories. So much so that it would take a lot of imagination to remember that you’re stepping into an iconic building which hails back to the ’70s. However, what impressed us wasn’t so much the makeover but the warmth we have come to associate the Peranakans with: the gracious hosts of good ‘makans’ (meals) and rambunctious get togethers.
There’s just so much to offer at this side of Eastern Singapore. From food to recreation, from architecture to shopping, Village Hotel Katong is right in the centre of them all! For food, Katong offers an eclectic selection of cuisines ranging from the traditional to modern. From the famed Katong Laksa to Astons for Pastas and Steaks, diners are spoiled for choice. If a walk back in time is what you like,, pace yourself as you walk among the streets lined with terraces and old shop houses (some with intricate prewar motifs carved on their facade). If shopping is on your agenda, Parkway Parade Shopping Centre and 112 Katong Shopping Mall is just a hop, skip and jump away.
For our recent staycation, we chose to stray off the well-trodden track. We dined at the eateries within the Katong V shopping Mall and indulged in outdoor recreation at the East Coast Park.
Right beneath the Village Hotel Katong is the small but popular Katong V Shopping Mall. Though it’s small, don’t let its size undermine its convenience. Firstly, there’s a well-stocked NTUC Fairprice Finest Supermarket which sees a steady stream of locals shopping for their groceries. Then there is a range of small eateries at the basement. We tucked into an exquisite North Indian lunch at Delhi 6 and indulged the daughter in some delicious gelatos at Azzura (which also sells some snazzy ornaments and stationery from Australia). If you want to pamper yourself on the staycation, try going for a pedicure or manicure at the Popsicle Nail Salon (the wife did!) or leave the younger ones at the indoor gym in the mall while you enjoy some couple time at the hotel’s Peranakan Lounge. Open to guests in Executive Club rooms, the Peranakan Lounge offers a cozy and quiet environment to catch up on conversations over a high tea spread, dive into a magazine or perhaps some alone time with your thoughts. Canapes and a simple selection of beverage ranging from tea, coffee to beers and wine are available in the evenings. Alternatively, take advantage of the hotel’s circular shaped pool that is 1.2m deep where one can comfortably soak or lounge away on the deck while getting a nice tan.
The Peranakan Lounge
Next morning we had a pleasant Asian breakfast at ‘Katong Kitchen’ – the hotel’s residential halal restaurant which serves a modest range of local delights and continental breakfast. Food is delicious and service was prompt. We highly recommend their ‘homemade’ Otahs and Nasi Lemak!
We also took advantage of the proximity of the hotel to go to the East Coast park for cycling. We brought along our own bikes and the concierge was so kind to offer to store our bikes overnight in a room although there are bike stands outside. We spent a relaxing, invigorating and relaxed time rediscovering the tranquil side of Singapore’s eastern shores. Friends who have stayed at the Village Hotel Katong also took the free shuttle bus provided by the hotel to explore the F&B and recreational options at Big Splash. There’s just so much to do in so short a time!
Katong Village Hotel – the modern chic grand dame of a hotel has exceeded our expectations in providing a relaxing, unique and unforgettable staycation, giving those run-in-the-mill beach hotels a run for its money. From its old world charm, personable service to plethora of good eateries as well as proximity to recreational spaces, Village Hotel Katong is an undiscovered gem amidst the charm of and heritage of Katong.
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