staycation-review:-hmlet-cantonment-marries-the-past-and-present-into-its-largest-co-living-facility
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There’s no lack of accommodation options in Singapore, and the spectrum spans from five-star hotels and serviced apartments to rented apartments or rooms. 

Merging the best of all these alternatives is Hmlet Cantonment, a 76,000-square-foot building nestled in the heart of Tanjong Pagar that promises to offer a new unique way to live. 

As its largest dedicated facility to date, the establishment sees 150 custom-designed individual rooms that cater to any lifestyle. It follows the same co-living concept the firm’s other projects, which means that besides rooms to spend your days in, you’ll also get access to the other facilities offered within its compounds. 

Located within a heritage building that used to be a primary school (even before Singapore’s independence) and then the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau up till 2004, the space had to preserve the original structure of the building, but even so managed to design around the retro elements to preserve the old while celebrating the new.

With demand for staycations on the rise, Hmlet Cantonment is the perfect option for those looking for a short respite from the mundane drone of everyday life. Here’s why you’ll enjoy this green oasis within the city too.

Location

It might be hard to fully check out of reality when you’re really still in Singapore, but you’ll feel a sense of calm from the moment you step into this compound.

Despite being just a short stroll away from the ever frenetic CBD, the building — located at 150 Cantonment Road — is shielded from all the bustle with plenty of fauna. Exotic trees, shrubs, and flowers, for example, were specially ordered from Malaysia to create a mini garden right outside the drop-off point, complete with fairy lights and couches to create a sense of homeliness.

This easy vibe finds its way into many of the spaces here, but should you wish you venture out for some action there’s plenty to do around the area, all of which are documented within a handy curated trails booklet.

If you can’t do without a good cuppa, trendy spots nearby like Nylon Coffee Roasters, Stranger’s Reunion and Populus Cafe are a good way to start your day. The pre-planned heritage trails that thread through landmarks like the Baba House Museum and Chinatown Street Market are great ways to rediscover the city we grew up in, while establishments such as Potato Head and Fat Prince offer plenty of good food and cocktails come sundown.

Rooms

This is where Hmlet succeeds most at targeting people with different lifestyles and needs. Six room sizes are available here, simply ranked from The Small to The 2-Bedroom with Kitchen, with floor space that spans from 14 square metres to 41 square meters. The Small sees a queen-sized bed and private bathroom at your disposal, but there isn’t much room for anything else, so it’s perfect for the solo short-stay adventurer.

The Extra Large, which is what we experienced, will get you the same but with a fully-equipped kitchen, a dining table, and your own washer and dryer. The in-room kitchen and laundry facilities will prove extra useful if you’re planning a staycation for more than a week (although rooms smaller than The Large will still have access to the laundrette and communal kitchen and pantries). The only inconvenience is that there isn’t an iron and ironing board in the room due to fire safety, so come with your clothes pre-pressed or be prepared for a walk to the launderette with your wrinkled garb. 

Whichever you choose, the rooms feels homely, warm, and uncluttered, mostly because they’ve been decked out in Hmlet Furniture, the design arm of the property platform. Like Hmlet Interiors — which offers interior designing services for your own home — Hmlet Furniture was born out of enquiries from guests on their furnishings. The furniture is custom designed by in-house designers, so everything from the retro-looking lights down the corridors, to the tables and cutlery in the room have been carefully curated to blend in seamlessly. 

In bringing heritage inside, Hmlet has also decked the rooms, corridors, and shared spaces with artwork by local artists depicting Singapore’s culture and icons, so you’ll always feel a tinge of patriotism no matter where you go.

Amenities, Activities, and Facilities

As a dedicated co-living and co-working space, Hmlet Cantonment is rife with communal spots to relax and work at. The Canteen (where check-in happens) has been adapted to accommodate the demand for co-working spaces, so expect desks and office chairs in addition to cushy couches. This lounge area also sees a communal cooking space, a beer tap, an island for entertaining, and an honesty bar for when those late-night munchies hit.

The wellness studio hosts yoga and meditation for guests, but also offers basic workout equipment if you prefer a different activity at your own leisure. This calming space leads to the relaxation area outside, a space shielded by lush vertical gardens for privacy. The outdoor plunge pool here is a bonus, especially on hot, sunny days.

The communal pantry is also a convivial way of meeting people, with shared fridges, ovens, and other cooking amenities available should you wish to whip up a storm. 

Verdict

Hmlet Cantonment is an easy choice if you were looking for a quick escape without all the unnecessary frills of a five-star hotel. The rooms are clean, spacious, and well-designed enough to be lounged around in all day, but venture out and you’ll get to experience the sense of community that Hmlet has come to be known for. Besides, it’s within walking distance to enough restaurants, bars, and cafes that you’ll be well fed and incredibly spoilt for choice throughout your staycation. 

Book your stay here.

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