The Singapore establishment formerly known as the Landmark Village Hotel (and before that, the Golden Landmark Hotel) was recently renamed to harmonize branding with the other business-class hotels in the Far East Organization's portfolio.
But the name change seems like a waste, as the word "landmark" really does fit the Village Hotel Bugis.
Located at a busy corner of the Kampong Glam ethnic enclave, the Village Hotel stands tall over the confluence of Singapore's Indian, Malay, and Arab roots. The Malay Heritage Centre and the Sultan Mosque can be reached momentarily on foot.
The hotel itself shares the character and the idiosyncrasies of its neighborhood. Arab and Malay architecture work itself into the design of the hotel interior. The rooms shine with new fixtures and finishes, though one wishes the TV access and the bathroom en suite were better. More on that in a minute.
The Village Hotel Bugis' Deluxe Room
The Village Hotel Bugis has 393 guest rooms, ranging from basic superior rooms at 32 square meters in size to executive club suites at 64 square meters in size. The hotel was fortunately built in the 1980s, when room space was not yet at a premium; guests get plenty of leeway even in the cheapest superior rooms.
This writer got a 32 square meter deluxe room at the 7th floor, immediately next to the elevators and across the hall from the fitness center.
Awesome: The guest room was practically brand new, with a pristine recliner, a king-size bed, a fresh red rug on the floor between the TV and the bed, and a warm kind of lighting that was perfectly easy on the eyes.
The ample size made the room great, the large window made it better: while the window cannot be opened, I still got an eyeful of the open space immediately across Victoria Street.
Not so awesome: the flat-screen TV only had access to a few channels, mainly local stations, and the feed was snowy and irregular. The bathroom en suite was practically the size of a closet, with just enough space for a sink, a toilet, and a shower stall.
The latter is hidden from view when the bathroom door is open: this caused me to panic momentarily when I looked inside for the first time.
The Village Hotel Bugis' Facilities
Away from the rooms, the rest of the hotel strikes one as having a sort of dated glamor, with a huge glass chandelier hanging in the second-storey lobby and shops in the same level that look like they’ve been in place since 90s.
Check-in and check-out can be done at the second-floor lobby, which can be reached from the first-floor entrance via a long escalator. The lobby is cavernous, and also houses the Mooi Chin Restaurant, one of three dining establishments on the premises.
Dining: Your guide had breakfast at the Mooi Chin Place on the second-floor lobby, which served an adequate breakfast with both Asian and continental selections. The breakfast buffet seemed halal to my untrained eye; no bacon in sight.
After 11am, Mooi Chin serves Hainanese Chinese cuisine: the Hainanese pork chop and Hainanese rice come highly recommended.
Guests can have an alternative eat-all-you-can experience at the Landmark Restaurant on the 5th level.
Gym and swimming pool: The fifth-level outdoor podium houses both Shades restaurant and a spacious swimming pool, which, when not entertaining swimmers in the day, provides an excellent backdrop for parties or events after dark.
The seventh-floor gym requires key card access, but provides completely modern fitness facilities in a newly-renovated space.
Exploring the Kampong Glam Neighborhood
The Village Hotel Bugis stands on a city block bounded by Victoria Street, Ophir Road, North Bridge Road, and Arab Street. Many sites of interest can be reached in a few minutes' walk down or across any of these streets.
The attached shopping complex has definitely seen better days, and is of little interest unless you're in the market for rugs, jewelry or antiques. Better shopping opportunities can be found elsewhere, not too far from the hotel: Bussorah Street, Arab Street, and Haji Lane provide shopping of both the traditional and modern kind - from Malay crafts to textiles to street fashion and jewelry.
Kampong Glam is also well-known for its delicious Muslim-friendly food — the place has everything from traditional biryani, murtabak and teh tarik, to hip cafes and ice cream bars.
About ten minutes' walk down Victoria Street stands Bugis Junction, a modern shopping center with everything you expect in a contemporary mall: bookstores, a department store, moviehouses, and plenty of restaurants.
As Singapore's main Malay cultural center, Kampong Glam really comes to life during Ramadan - the streets around the hotel will suddenly bloom with street bazaars, pasar malam (night markets) and cultural events. Come Eid'ul Fitri (Hari Raya Puasa), the nearby Malay Heritage Center and the Sultan Mosque will be filled with families in their finest Eid wear.
Bus and MRT access: The nearest MRT station — Bugis — is quite close by, accessible either through the Bugis Junction mall or near the Raffles Hospital. Bus stations can be found at accessible points around the hotel.
The Village Hotel Bugis, Singapore at a Glance
Location: 390 Victoria Street, Singapore. It is a 20 minutes' drive from Changi Airport.
Facilities: 19 stories, 393 guest rooms, including superior rooms, deluxe rooms, and executive club suites. 24-hour room service, pool, fitness center, Mooi Chin Place (Hainanese) and Landmark Restaurant (halal buffet). Tour desk at lobby level. Free WiFi available throughout the premises.
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