Singapore may be best-known for iconic luxury hotels such as the historic Raffles and the ultra-modern Marina Bay Sands. But Mondrian Singapore Duxton, the newest kid on the block, is neither old nor sky-high. It’s something unique in the Lion City.
Tucked between the heritage, mostly low-rise neighborhoods of Duxton Hill and Chinatown, and surrounded by award-winning bars, Michelin-starred restaurants and must-visit hawker centers, this five-star lifestyle hotel offers guests everything good about Singapore.
This latest venture by creative hospitality group Ennismore is aimed at eclectic tastemakers and those who want to be surprised. Unlike luxury hotel giants who shape first impressions with a grand lobby, Mondrian catapults guests into the heart of the urban center. Its arrival point is understated, a long corridor of steps that acts as a through-way between two busy streets and sees steady foot traffic from residents and workers from the neighborhood.
Instead, your first encounter with Mondrian will be by way of its people – the concierge stationed at the lift lobby – and chic all-day dining spot Christina’s, which awaits at the doorstep.
Under the leadership of seasoned hotelier Robert C. Hauck, Mondrian prides itself on its unconventional hiring process. It has assembled a community of “unexpected talents”, only half of whom have a background in hospitality.
The other half of the team comprise people from all walks of life, including a former Olympian athlete, an ex-convict-turned-bistro manager and a retired executive assistant whom the hotel has coaxed back into the workforce.
While this makes for a good story and is a strategic move given the hospitality sector’s post-pandemic hiring challenges, its potential impact on service quality remains to be seen. We’ll say this though: the people we met have been warm and welcoming enough to make up for any opening-period teething pains.
Designed by award-winning Los Angeles design firm Studio Carter, the 292 rooms and 10 suites in Mondrian take inspiration from the pre-war heritage shophouse architecture of its surrounding neighborhood.