Hello everyone – welcome back to another of my reviews. In today’s article, I’ll be reviewing my stay at lyf Funan.
I’ve always wanted to do a staycation at lyf Funan. Not only does it have a convenient location – it’s literally located within Funan mall, which is now connected via linkway to City Hall MRT – it’s also a boutique hotel that possesses a youthful vibe that’s perfect for millennials and Gen Zs. As such, I decided to book a stay to check it out.
lyf Funan – Video Review
For those interested in seeing some hands-on footage of the Thematic Studio at Lyf Funan, do check out my Youtube review below:
lyf Funan – the Brand
Newly opened in 2019 (along with the refurbished Funan mall), lyf Funan is primarily a co-living serviced residence that also doubles up as a lifestyle hotel. With a total of 329 rooms, it’s actually quite a sizeable establishment, though a substantial amount of those rooms are occupied by long-term tenants.
Being part of the Ascott umbrella, it’s no surprise that prices for lyf Funan aren’t cheap, with the entry-level One of a Kind Studio being available for just under $150. However, it’s still reasonable, being in the same ballpark as other comparable serviced apartments/boutique hotels such as Wanderlust (which I really enjoyed). As such, I decided to take a leap of faith and booked a night at the One of a Kind Studio – let’s see how my stay went.
lyf Funan – Check-in
As its name suggests, lyf Funan is situated on the top floor of Funan mall.
You can’t miss it – the entrance to lyf Funan is cheerfully decorated, with its bright decor, neon signs and pastel walls giving it a distinctly Wes Anderson vibe. Check-in was done via an app, which also allows you to unlock the room with your phone, which is a fittingly high-tech feature given its location in a mall known for its IT shops. This also eliminates the need for queueing, so thankfully there was no repeat of the horrors of Amara Singapore last week. However, I decided to try my luck and ask for an upgrade to the Thematic Studio (which comes with a PS4), which was granted by the receptionist in part due to my status as an Ascott Platinum member.
Walking down the corridors, each of the doors had an interesting wallpaper decor – I felt like I was walking onto the set of Game of Thrones. It’s a small touch that bolsters the unique vibe of the hotel. However, I’m not entirely sure if this decor is only for the Thematic Studios, or all rooms in lyf Funan, though I suspect it’s the former.
One of the trademarks of lyf Funan is the chalkboard that can be found outside every room. Guests can doodle on it (chalk is provided), or make a request to the staff to write a message on their behalf. In my instance, as the staycation was for a friend’s birthday celebration I decided to have the staff write a simple birthday message on the chalkboard, which I think turned out rather cute.
lyf Funan – Thematic Studio
The Thematic Studio is identical in size to the One of a Kind Studio at 18sqm, just with a slightly different layout.
Upon entering the room, its modern aesthetic immediately made a great first impression. The colourful wall acts as an instant perk-me-up, while the sleek wooden floors lend the room a sense of warmth. It feels like a condominium studio apartment (albeit smaller) that underwent a renovation from an interior designer – I really like the design elements, and it was definitely a refreshing change from the dated looks of Amara Singapore.
The main bedroom area felt cosy, but not in a cramped manner. The main difference between the Thematic Studio and the One of a Kind Studio is that the Thematic Studio lacks a traditional bed, as well as the full-length windows of the One of a Kind Studio.
Instead of the bed, there’s a sofa that can comfortably fit two. It’s not the most luxurious or comfortable couch – I wish the pillows were larger and firmer – but I found it good enough for hours of gaming. It was also relatively clean and devoid of stains.
For those wondering where the bed is, here’s the good news: you don’t have to sleep on the couch. Instead, a queen-sized Murphy bed can be found smartly tucked away in the cabinet behind the sofa. While not the most luxurious of sleeping experiences, a Murphy bed is a practical space-saving choice in the Thematic Room. I had a comfortable rest in the bed, and it definitely made for an interesting experience. In terms of cleanliness, the bed was clean and devoid of stains and dust – it’s very well-maintained.
In addition, pillows can be found stored away in the top cabinets. The pillows are comfortable, firm and smooth to the touch – miles better than the limp pillows of Amara Singapore.
One of the highlights of the room is the smart 55-inch Sony TV. It has crystal clear picture quality, and I had no issues connecting to Netflix/Youtube/etc. The sound is terrific as well – this is probably the best TV I’ve encountered in a hotel room, edging out even the curved Samsung TV of five/6 Splendour Hotel.
Of course, the unique selling point of the Thematic Room – and why I asked for an upgrade – is that each room comes with a PS4. Guests staying in the Thematic Room can borrow the PS4 from reception, along with four games (you can exchange the games for new ones so you won’t get bored).
I had a blast playing Playstation games on the TV with friends. I might be wrong, but I believe the Thematic Room in lyf Funan is the only hotel room to offer a gaming console in the room for the guests’ entertainment. It’s such a great idea that I’m surprised other boutique hotels haven’t followed suit.
There’s also a laundry basket in the corner, which would probably be more useful for those on long-term stays.
Given the relatively small space of the Thematic Room, lyf Funan decided to forgo a traditional wardrobe in favour of modern, space-saving clothing racks and shelves. I like the idea – it’s a smart touch that just bolsters the contemporary nature of the room.
As mentioned earlier, the Thematic Studio lacks the full-length windows of the One of a Kind studio, with only a narrow window in the corner of the room for guests to tell night from day. If you’re someone who gets claustrophobic easily, the One of a Kind studio might be a better choice due to its airy, bright nature. However, I actually like the narrow window in the Thematic Studio – it makes the room feel like a gaming mancave of sorts.
A couple of power/USB ports can be found beside the window, while a flashlight and safe (staples of every hotel room) are also provided.
The bathroom of the Thematic Studio follows the same inspiration as the main bedroom. In other words, it’s not the most spacious, but it’s well thought out and modern.
The toilet is a traditional one (no concealed cistern here), but fortunately it does come with a bidet on the side. I also really like the white tiles of the bathroom, which gives it a sophisticated feel. And unlike the bathroom tiles at Porcelain Hotel, the bathroom is squeaky clean here.
The shower area features a lovely rain shower as well as a handheld showerhead. The fixtures are from the European luxury brand Hansgrohe, which means that I didn’t have to deal with fickle temperatures or water pressure during my shower.
Toiletries are from Australian brand Ideology, and come in big pump bottles – very generous indeed. Interestingly, Ideology seems to be a brand that caters mainly to the hospitality sector, with its products not available for public purchase. Nevertheless, I’m pleased to report that the shower gel, conditional and shampoo were all very pleasant to use, with a floral scent that left me refreshed after my shower.
Unfortunately, the Thematic Studio employs the “sink outside’ concept, something that is relatively common in the boutique hotel space but which I’m not fond of. Drinking cups, a water pitcher, and an electric kettle can also be found right next to the sink. It’s a little too close for my comfort, but I guess concessions have to be made given the small size of the room.
lyf Funan – Amenities
While the Thematic Studio was nice to chill in, it’s really the amenities of lyf Funan that elevated it above its competition.
Being a serviced apartment with long-term tenants, the premises actually boast what lyf Funan calls the Bond Kitchen, which it describes as a “social kitchen concept”.
I’m no cooking expert, but even to my untrained eyes the Bond Kitchen looks very well equipped, with plenty of induction stoves and ovens for all sorts of cooking and even baking needs. It’s quite large as well – it looks like a professional kitchen.
There are also tons of microwaves for guests to use, as well as a pair of rice cookers and even a water dispenser.
The water dispenser is from Billi, which is a “leading Australian manufacturer and supplier of high quality drinking water and washroom systems”. As the room didn’t include bottled water (environmental reasons, I was told), I had to get my own water from the water dispenser. No complaints though, as the water tasted much crisper than the regular bottled water.
There’s a communal dining area right outside the Bond kitchen. It’s currently closed due to COVID restrictions, but I assumed guests and tenants mingled around here during the pre-pandemic days. I particularly like the neon quote on the wall – I think it sums up the ethos of lyf Funan perfectly.
There’s also a fitness corner, though most of the equipment has been removed due to pandemic restrictions. All’s that left is a human hamster wheel and a swing.
However, the co-working space is still open, which is probably where most of the tenants get their work done. There’s also a Starbucks coffee machine (chargeable) and a darts machine in the corner (also chargeable), where darts can be borrowed from the reception.
The premises also has a projector, where movies are shown on certain days.
I found the seats available to be…intriguing to say the least. I definitely need one of these at home.
If you would like some fresh air, there’s a small outdoor terrace area where guests can relax and chat over a cup of coffee.
Speaking about coffee, there’s also a Nespresso coffee machine located outside the Bond Kitchen. However, it is still chargeable, though more affordable than the Starbucks coffee machine below.
Should you need to get some laundry done, there are rows of washing machines and dryers available on the ground floor. There’s also a drinks vending machine that even dispenses beer – great if you need some alcohol past 10.30pm.
I also spied another vending machine on the ground floor that offered some snacks (instant noodles and chips) in addition to drinks.
Last but not least, there’s also a communal iron and ironing board, as well as a shared fridge, water dispenser and microwave available on every floor should you not wish to head down to the Bond Kitchen.
Conclusion – so lyf Funan “shiok” or not?
Staying at the Thematic Studio of lyf Funan was a very intriguing experience – definitely something that felt vastly different from my previous hotel stays. I felt like I was visiting a friend’s apartment, and as a result, the room came across as more homely and welcoming than the standard hotel room. I had a blast spending hours playing Dead or Alive and The Amazing Spiderman in the room, as well as trying out the Murphy bed. And although lyf Funan doesn’t have the traditional facilities of a full-fledged hotel – there’s no pool or gym – I did appreciate the various co-living amenities on its premises, such as the Bond Kitchen, various coffee and vending machines, the outdoor terrace, the co-working space (useful for doing work, since the Thematic Studio doesn’t come with a work desk) and even the darts machine. I recall heading down on a whim to play some darts at 3am while sipping on a can of beer that I got from the drinks machine. If the point of a staycation is to unwind and relax, then lyf Funan certainly did the trick. The staff were all relatively young as well (late 20s, early 30s), which complemented the youthful energy of lyf Funan perfectly. I had a ball of a time at lyf Funan, and would probably return. Perhaps I’ll try out the larger One of a Kind Plus Studio, which comes with a fully furnished kitchen and dining area – that sounds perfect for a cooking party.
Those interested in booking a stay 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 bookings (up to $30 off, with a minimum spending of $100) for new users and $5 off any hotels bookings (with a minimum spending of $50) for existing users. The codes are valid till the end of 2022. 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 and review my staycations.
lyf Funan location: 67 Hill St, Level 4 Funan Mall, Singapore 179370
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.