Hello everyone – welcome back to another of my reviews. In today’s article, I’ll be reviewing my stay at Wanderlust, the Unlimited Collection by Oakwood.
After staying at multiple full-fledged hotels as of late, I was yearning for a different experience, and decided to try a stay at a serviced apartment for a change. I chanced upon Wanderlust, and liked the premise of it being housed in a heritage complex. As such, I decided to book a stay.
Wanderlust – Video Review
For those who are interested in viewing some hands-on footage of the stay, do check out my Youtube review of Wanderlust below:
Wanderlust – the Brand
Wanderlust is a four-star property owned by Oakwood under its Unlimited Collection, which also includes other properties such as Kesa House and Ann Siang House. Its website states: “The Unlimited Collection by Oakwood is a portfolio of unique properties that retains its distinctive positioning, whilst leveraging Oakwood’s hospitality management expertise and distribution network.”
First opened in 2010, Wanderlust used to be known for its colourful and vibrant rooms that typified the boutique hotel segment. However, a change in ownership saw a shift in aesthetic as well, with rooms now having warmer, earthy tones designed with longer stays in mind. Personally, I’m a fan of the current look – definitely more classy.
The entry-level Deluxe room at Wanderlust can be found for $120+, but I specifically wanted the Studio Premier because it had a kitchen. I’ve never had a kitchen in the hotel room before – that’s a trait usually only found in serviced apartments. It’s a tad steep (especially given the small size of the room), but I ultimately decided to take the plunge.
Wanderlust – Check-in
Wanderlust is situated at the back end of Little India, just minutes away from Jalan Besar MRT.
Like its external facade, the lobby of Wanderlust had a distinct boutique vibe to it, evidenced by the aesthetic furniture and extensive wine collection behind the reception. There’s plenty of seating space, which actually came in handy as I had to wait 30 minutes to be assigned a room. Granted, I checked in on a Saturday, but it still felt a tad longer than necessary.
The hotel restaurant is Kotuwa, which serves Indian food done Sri Lankan style. It’s not expensive by hotel restaurant standards, but not cheap either – mains generally cost $20+. It’s supposedly not bad too, with a 4.4/5 rating on Google.
Unlike most of the hotels I’ve reviewed recently, the corridor of Wanderlust actually made a positive first impression. With chic decor and marbled floors, the hallway came across as contemporary, with a tinge of a heritage touch.
Wanderlust – Studio Premier Room
Thankfully, the modern aesthetic extends to the Studio Premier Room.
According to the Wanderlust website, the Studio Premier is meant to deliver a “homelike living with inspired interiors designed with your comfort in mind”. I would say it succeeded on this front – it felt like I was walking into someone’s studio apartment home.
On the left of the door is a pair of large mirrors – perfect for checking yourself out before heading out.
However, the mirrors actually open up to reveal a wooden wardrobe. The wardrobe has all the usual items – hangers, ironing board, iron, hairdryer, torch, and a safe. Unfortunately, there’s no in-room slippers provided, which actually became a point of annoyance during my stay as the room’s marble flooring gets cold quickly with the air-conditioning switched on.
Refreshments are decent, with Nescafe coffee and 1872 Clipper tea sachets provided. There’s also a JVD kettle as well as a handy lamp, so you don’t have to fumble around in the dark should you feel like drinking coffee first thing in the wee hours of the morning.
The fridge is pretty big – one of the biggest I’ve seen in a hotel room. I had no issues fitting multiple bottles of wine, drinks, snacks and more inside.
The cool aspect of the Studio Premier – and why I wanted to book it specifically – is that it comes with a mini kitchen. It’s not a large one, but it lends the room a sense of homeliness.
A pair of wine glasses and an ice bucket are provided. Ice can be gotten from an ice machine in the hotel’s common pantry.
Unlike some hotels that assure guests about how tap water is perfectly safe to drink, Wanderlust goes the extra mile by having a filtered water dispenser beside the kitchen sink. I definitely appreciated this little detail, and it’s a touch that elevates the entire staycation experience.
Don’t worry – there’s no open fire stove, so you don’t have to worry about burning the room down. Instead, cooking can be done using a modern induction stove.
In case you’re wondering, cutlery and crockery are included in the room. The pans and plates are surprisingly clean, and there’s even an additional microwave should you be less culinary inclined. I had a great time cooking some pasta for dinner and Indomie the next morning for breakfast.
Amenities continue to be aplenty, with a pair of glass bottles, cups, and even a bag rest provided in the room.
The main bedroom area doesn’t disappoint either. Although more on the cosy side, it’s well decorated, with a chic modern aesthetic that looks straight out of an ID’s catalogue. It reminded me of a master bedroom in an upscale condominium, and I can definitely imagine myself doing a long stay here.
Admittedly, the working area is small. There’s no Herman Miller office chair – one gets a mere simple stool. It’s clearly not meant for an extended period of work, but I still found it more than serviceable. I like the faux granite table, the Bluetooth speaker (that also doubles as a table clock), and the analog phone is the highest tech one I’ve seen in a hotel thus far. However, there’s only one available power port – odd, considering the modern nature of the room.
However, I much preferred curling up in the armchair, which is one of the most comfortable I’ve tried in a hotel room. Being situated right beside the window, it benefits from plenty of natural light – a great spot for reading a book in the morning.
The room is furnished with a 40-inch Samsung Smart TV, so those looking to Netflix and chill will be delighted. The picture is great, with plenty of cable channels on offer.
Unfortunately, the view is scant, consisting mainly of obstructed buildings and shophouses. The windows also cannot be opened. An Oakwood staff member relayed that this is a safety measure, meant to prevent guests from falling to a morbid death from their rooms, be it intentionally or by accident.
I had a great night resting on the room’s Queen-size Simmons bed. The mattress was firm and plush, and felt new. Pillows were fluffy, while the heavy duvet lends a reassuring sense of comfort. I like the positions of the bedside lamps as well, which are attached to the wall to save space. Lastly, a small piece of artwork hangs above the bed, adding a touch of sophistication to the sleeping area.
What I really appreciated were the smart space-saving touches. The bed frame actually features compartments for guests to store their important items (phone, wallet, perhaps a book for bedtime reading), while bedside lighting controls and power ports are built into the bed frame as well. It’s a great touch, one that maximises the small space while not skimping on convenience at all. It’s an idea that I’ll definitely be looking to implement in my future apartment.
There’s also sizeable luggage space to be found beneath the bed, which looks big enough to fit two small suitcases. Again, it’s another smart space-saving idea.
However, my favourite part of the Studio Premier is actually the bathroom. Decked out in monochromatic tones, it’s actually rather spacious, and simply one of the most beautiful bathrooms I’ve seen. Just look at it!
The toilet sports a modern concealed cistern design, with a bidet available at the side. No complaints here.
The backlit mirror is perfect for bathroom selfies, while the sink actually still features dual knobs, which is an interesting quaint touch. There’s also a vanity mirror on the side.
The toiletries are neatly displayed beside the sink. A pair of face towels, soap, dental kits, shower cap and cotton buds are provided.
The shower area is actually pretty spacious, and with more than enough space for two, should taking couple showers together be your/your partner’s thing. There’s a rain shower, as well as a handheld showerhead. As it’s by Grohe, the shower (both the rain shower and handheld one) was a great experience, with strong water pressure and stable temperatures.
The toiletries provided are by Imperial Barber Grade Products, a brand with which I’m admittedly unfamiliar. However, they are actually surprisingly pleasant to use, especially the shampoo. They also come in big 75 ml bottles, instead of the petite bottles most hotels provide. This is another subtle difference between serviced apartments and general hotel rooms – even the toiletries are meant to accommodate for longer stays.
Wanderlust – Amenities
Although the facilities at Wanderlust pale in comparison to full-fledged hotels, it still has a few bells and whistles up its sleeve.
Firstly, it has an outdoor dipping pool, or what is commonly referred to as a jacuzzi. It’s pretty small, but was relatively well-maintained. I was surprised that it was heated, which made soaking in it all the more enjoyable. There’s also some lounge chairs and seating area for guests to rest and relax after their soak.
As aforementioned, there’s a common pantry on the second floor. The microwave is out of operation due to pandemic measures (I had a microwave in the room anyway so it didn’t make a difference), but the ice machine is still working and available.
There’s also a Nordaq water dispenser, which actually dispenses both still and sparkling water. If you prefer your water with some fizz (perhaps you’re from Europe), this is a life-saver.
And if you run out of tea and coffee sachets in your room, you can simply pop by the pantry for a refill.
Wanderlust – Service
As expected of a property under the Oakwood umbrella, the service at Wanderlust was pretty good. In particular, the service of Dinesh (who I understand is a senior customer service representative) was stellar. Not only was he courteous and attentive during his shift, he actually took the initiative to catch up to me after his shift while I was heading out for dinner, taking the extra step to ask if I was enjoying my stay thus far. Many employees would have switched off once their shift ends, but Dinesh’s hospitable disposition continued even while he was heading home. He also talked me through the other offerings under the Unlimited Collection, relaying that he was particularly excited for the opening of Ann Siang House later this year. While I was checking out the next day, Dinesh also provided some lunch recommendations in the area.
Being a small hotel (with only 29 rooms), service speed was fast. I recalled calling reception for a wine opener at 2am, and they actually sent someone up to open the bottle for me. No complaints here!
Conclusion – so Wanderlust “shiok” or not?
Most definitely. Call it a boutique hotel, call it a serviced apartment, call it whatever you want – Wanderlust was a great stay, and I thoroughly enjoyed my experience. The room, though not the biggest, was smartly furnished and felt welcoming due to its use of earth tones. I also appreciated the facilities such as the jacuzzi and the Nordaq sparkling water dispenser, and the service was attentive and personable as well. My only knocks are the long check-in time (Dinesh told me the Studio Premier room I booked tend to require a longer turnover time as staff often need to clean food residue, crockery, etc), as well as the lack of in-room slippers. The latter seems to be an easy fix, and I’m surprised Wanderlust hasn’t implemented it yet. Nevertheless, I really liked the Studio Premier room, and am definitely looking to book a stay at Ann Siang House when it opens later this year.
Those interested in booking a stay at Wanderlust can do so on the Traveloka app. Traveloka constantly has some sort of ongoing promotion, 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) for new users and $5 off any hotels or attractions purchase (with a minimum spending of $50) for existing users. The codes are valid till the end of 2022. However, this post is not sponsored – I paid my own dime to book the hotel.
Wanderlust Location: 2 Dickson Rd, Singapore 209494
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.