Hello everyone! In this article, I’m documenting my recent staycation over at Champion Hotel.
After publishing some of my previous hotel reviews, I was asked by multiple readers if I have any recommendations for budget hotel stays, specifically under the $50 price point. Initially, I was sceptical about the feasibility – even Hotel 81 costs more than $50, and I wasn’t too keen on staying at anything less than a three-star property (e.g capsule hotels, etc). I decided to see what the cheapest three-star hotel was, and happened to chance upon Champion Hotel being available on a weekday at under $50. I decided to take a leap of faith and booked a stay, so let’s see how my stay went!
Champion Hotel – Video
For those interested in seeing some hands-on footage of the hotel, do check out my video review below:
Champion Hotel – the Brand
Champion Hotel opened its doors in 2014, making it a relatively new establishment. With a total of 80 rooms, Champion Hotel describes itself as “a trendy and cosy boutique hotel nestled charmingly along the famous Joo Chiat Road”.
While browsing through Traveloka’s Weekend Flash Sale, I happened to chance upon Champion Hotel starting at $30+ for rooms without windows. I decided to splurge a tad more on a room with a window, which came in at just $46 a night. Despite costing under $50, the room is purportedly 20 sqm (almost twice the size of equivalent rooms from Hotel 81, Fragrance Hotel, etc), and looks relatively modern. At the price, it was a no-brainer, and I decided to book a stay to see if it’s really as good as it looked.
Champion Hotel – Check-in
Unfortunately, Champion Hotel is slightly inaccessible by public transport. It’s about a 10-15 minute walk from Eunos MRT. The path is mostly unsheltered as well, so if it rains heavily (as has been the case lately) good luck to you.
Located opposite Aqueen Heritage Hotel Joo Chiat, the exterior of Champion Hotel was unassuming – I almost missed it. Though similarly rated as three stars, it’s certainly not as striking as compared to Hotel Royal that I reviewed last week.
However, once inside the lobby is actually pretty nice. Decked out in wooden panelling, the lobby of Champion Hotel reminded me of a cafe, and left a better-than-expected first impression. The decor was bright and cheerful – the complete opposite of what I expected a budget hotel to be.
As I booked my stay on a weekday, there was no queue and I was assigned a room in a matter of minutes. After collecting my keycard, I noticed that there was actually a “business centre”, where computers, printers and fax machines are available.
The lobby was also larger than I had expected, with a sizeable waiting area that includes a rather Instagramable swing chair. There’s also not one but two modern-looking lifts, and I never had to wait long for one to arrive.
In addition, I spied a Pokka vending machine next to the lifts – great for those that are thirsty (literally I mean) at night.
Last but not least, I was also pleasantly surprised by how clean the toilet in the hotel lobby was. Definitely much better than I was expecting of a sub-$50 hotel!
Champion Hotel – Deluxe Double Room
I was assigned a room on the third floor, so I promptly took the lift up.
Upon stepping out of the lift, I was greeted by a hanging art installation of sorts. It’s not exactly breathtaking, but it helped elevate the overall feel of the hotel.
The corridor is carpeted, with pastel coloured furniture and floral artwork adorning the hallway. The doors feature a smart display (I saw a lot of displays with the “Do Not Disturb” indicator on), which once again is surprising given Champion Hotel’s low price point.
The same pastel theme continued to the room itself, which heavily featured yellow accents. First impressions were once again positive – the room felt spacious, while the wooden floor felt clean enough that I was actually comfortable moving around barefoot in the room. As the icing on the cake, two hanging ceiling lights act as bedside lamps, which added a touch of sophistication to the otherwise no-frills room.
Those planning to spend the majority of their time in bed will be glad to know that the bed itself was firm, comfortable, and most importantly clean. There weren’t any stains, and I managed to get a good night’s sleep without any difficulty.
As someone used to charging my phone beside me, I was glad to find a pair of power ports by the bedside. Furthermore, there were controls for the bedside lamps and main room light, a touchscreen panel that tells housekeeping to either make up the room or leave it alone, an analog phone to call the 24-hour reception if needed, and a small notepad and pen.
I was impressed to find a dedicated bag rest (which was just large enough for my duffel bag), and a rather long desk complemented by a bright yellow chair. It’s not the most ideal workstation, but it gets the job done – I managed to crank out an hour of work before heading to bed.
There’s even a USB-powered lamp provided, as well as a bottle of hand santiser, box of tissues, a kettle, and a pair of complimentary bottled water. It’s everything that I needed, and nothing that I don’t.
The room comes equipped with a modern 32-inch Akira flat screen television. The picture quality is decent too, and there was a myraid of cable channels available – not bad for a sub-$50 room.
There’s even a HDMI port, so those wishing to connect their Nintendo Switch/laptop to the TV can do so. Do note that the hotel doesn’t provide the cable, so you will have to bring your own.
I was also surprised to find a sizeable mini-fridge, which was large enough to fit a 1.5L bottle of coke.
There’s also complimentary tea and coffee packets, as well as cups and teaspoons, with everything laid out in a visually appealing manner. Unlike Hotel Royal, the utensils were generally clean, though I did spot a long strand of hair in the drawer (probably the housekeeper’s).
Interestingly, the room features an open concept wardrobe, with wooden hangers (not the cheap plastic kind) provided. There’s also a safe, two sets of disposable slippers, and an extra pillow, which I would have preferred to have been wrapped in a protective cover of some sort.
Unfortunately, the room lacks a hairdryer. Those that wish to dry their hair will have to request one from reception, which isn’t ideal – the last thing I want to do after having a shower is to head down to the lobby in my pyjamas. It’s an aspect that betrays the low price point of the room.
A common complaint of budget hotel rooms is often weak aircon. That’s not the case here, where the Daikin aircon did its job swimmingly. The aircon looks rather new, which is unsurprising given that the hotel opened relatively recently in 2014. Furthermore, there’s a wall mirror for you to check yourself out before leaving the room. Interestingly, the mirror is positioned directly opposite the bed – think about that what you will.
My only knock about the room is the peeling wallpaper. There are several areas of the room where the wallpaper appears torn/has given way, and it makes the room feel less well-maintained than it actually is.
I did spot some signs of touch-up, but pasting clear tape over peeling wallpaper is certainly not an ideal solution.
I deliberately booked a room with a window so that some natural light could filter in. Unfortunately, only one side could be opened. In any case, the view’s not great – you know you’re in Geylang when there’s an anti-drug banner.
Moving on to the bathroom, it actually has solid walls (unlike other budget rooms), with a slightly translucent glass door. The locking mechanism is a bit finicky, but it gets the job done.
Inside, the bathroom surprised me by its modern design, which was a sharp contrast from the pastel aesthetic of the main bedroom. There’s also a toilet with a concealed cistern (atas, I know), though unfortunately there’s no bidet.
I found the bathroom to be a tad cramped – it’s smaller than the one in the hotel lobby – but it was still spacious enough for the shower area to have a glass enclosure, which prevents the rest of the bathroom from being wet while showering.
There’s no rain shower (and definitely not a bathtub), but I found the handheld showerhead to be enjoyable to use due to its strong water pressure. Unlike most hotels that provide guests with miniature toiletries, Champion Hotel elected to have large shampoo/shower gel pumps attached to the walls, as one might find at some gyms or spas. I suspect this is to cut cost (to prevent guests from requesting for multiple miniature bottles, wastage, etc). The shampoo/shower gel provided feels fairly generic, so you might want to bring your own toiletries for a better showering experience.
However, Champion Hotel does provide toothbrushes and toothpaste, which are thoughtfully sealed in individual packets. There’s also cotton buds, as well as a disposable shower cap. Not bad at all!
All in all, I would say that the Deluxe Double Room pleasantly surprised me. I had low expectations coming in due to the sub-$50 price point – I just prayed hard that the room would be free of pests and dubious stains. Yet, not only was the room generally clean as a whistle, there were also some touches that punched above its price point, such as the modern TV, minimalist bathroom, and comfortable bed. It’s certainly much better than Hotel 81, that’s for sure!
Champion Hotel – Service
The service at Champion Hotel was decent – everyone was friendly, and the male receptionist at the counter was nice enough to extend my check-out timing by an hour. It’s certainly not personable, but I suspect that’s on purpose given how most of the guests that I had come across seemed to be young couples, who might not appreciate hotel staff being too friendly.
However, I was woken up in the morning by loud repair work. I opened the door to discover repair work/repairmen doing some mending to the corridor lighting. I would have appreciated it if Champion Hotel had delayed the repair work after I had checked out – they must know that there’s a guest in the room. As a result, I was unfortunately not as well-rested as I would liked to have been.
Conclusion – so Champion Hotel “shiok” or not?
Overall, I believe Champion Hotel to be a hidden gem in the budget hotel segment. I must admit, prior to chancing upon it on Traveloka I’ve never even heard of Champion Hotel before – my perception of cheap hotel rooms revolved around Hotel 81, Fragrance, Ibis Budget, etc. I didn’t have high expectations for the cheapest 3-star hotel out there, but I actually found my stay at Champion Hotel surprisingly pleasant, and there wasn’t much for me to complain about. My main quibble would be that there’s nothing really to do at the hotel (there’s no swimming pool, or a restaurant), and its location is a tad inaccessible by public transport too. But if you’re mainly looking to spend your time in the room and are simply seeking some privacy, then I believe Champion Hotel to be the best option under $50. It’s much better than the Hotel 81 down the road, and cheaper too. Whether you’re looking for an affordable hotel for your romantic proclivities, or perhaps a poly/uni student looking to do a wallet-friendly staycation with a group of friends, Champion Hotel is a great choice.
Those interested in booking a stay at Champion Hotel can do so on the Traveloka app. Traveloka constantly has some sort of ongoing promotions, with prices so ridiculously low that I’ve personally booked about 90% of my staycations on Traveloka. Just for my readers, you guys can use the promo code “WAHTVLKSRV” (if you’re using SRV) and “WAHTVLK” (non-SRV) for $10 off any hotels or attractions purchase with a minimum spending of $100. My promo codes are stackable with any of Traveloka’s app or bank coupon codes, so be sure to stack them all for the best deal. Here’s a pro tip: keep a lookout for Traveloka’s Weekend Flash Sales which occurs every Friday to Sunday for the lowest prices! However, this post is not sponsored – I paid my own dime to book this hotel.
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wah so Shiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!
P.S.S.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.