In 2005, we were brought by a local to have a drink at their bar, Bold. At that time, it was THE new, hip place to check out in Chinatown and its striking luxe decor was unexpected, considering the original Chinese shopfront architecture.
Fast forward five years and now looking for a different area to stay in Singapore, we found ourselves taking a punt on the Scarlet. Thanks to the previous reviewers, we avoided booking small rooms without windows. Opting instead for an Executive with balcony, we found ourselves upgraded to a Premium room on arrival. Thanks to a previous poor experience reported by a reviewer here, we emailed to confirm our online booking had been received and had no problems on check-in. Mind you, our check-in was mid-day, not midnight as our previous poor unfortunate.
Judging from the fire escape floor plans, this Premium room has more space than many of the surrounding rooms and we found it adequate, with a small balcony overlooking a roofline, just enough space around the King bed to walk around, a desk area with 2 chairs and an adequate wardrobe. Our bathroom was marble tiled and had a shower, bath and frosted glass door.
Considering how timber furniture usually wears, these lush furnishings were in surprisingly good nick. The velvet on the main desk seat was worn but everything else was well maintained. The entertainment cupboard contained a DVD unit, which had a Scarlet-branded Chillout CD in it ready to play and an iPod dock that charged, but didn't appear connected to sound despite some remote fiddling.
The door staff, front desk and concierge were attentive and friendly. The hotel only has a cold outdoor jacuzzi/spa but that was a nice enough nook if you wanted to cool off. The gym is functional for a stretch, has a limited multi-function weights machine and a treadmill. As the hotel comprises several previous shop buildings going down a slope, we found our corridor heading downhill a long way before we got to the room, but the hike up and down the corridor helped burn off the Singapore noodles from the Maxwell food centre located across a car park, next door.
This food centre serves pretty good local offerings from the extremely popular chicken rice to reasonable fried oyster pancake and radish cake. Chinatown nightlife and more traditional eateries are close by, as is Club street, lined with evening restaurants and bars.
Not much shopping nearby but taxis to those areas are easy. The hotel is hardly conventional - there are plenty of tiny rooms as warned in previous reviews, it's stuck in Chinatown and definitely not your usual international luxury chain offering. It is however, well furnished and funky for a small space, close to good local food, a short walk to more alternative nightlife and shows you a side of Singapore that is not Orchard Road.