KēSa House: Hotel Staycation Review
Set in one of Singapore’s most dynamic enclaves, KēSa House is a boutique hotel that offers a getaway in the middle of the bustling and vibrant neighbourhood of Chinatown. The hotel is now part of Oakwood’s new concept, called The Unlimited Collection by Oakwood, which includes a line-up of other properties like Ann Siang House and Wanderlust.
Given the close proximity between the hotel and Tatler's office (aka the Tatler House Singapore), I decided to embark on a “workcation” at KēSa House—otherwise known as the other WFH, that is “working from hotel”.
Bleisure trips may be on hold right now but the pandemic has resulted in new travel phenomenons, such as workcations and even vaxications. With KēSa House’s shophouse charm, it seemed like a great place to work remotely whilst enjoying a much-needed change of scenery. Here’s the lowdown on my experience.
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Housed within the bustling stretch of heritage shophouses on Keong Saik Road, the turquoise and white facade of KēSa House is hard to miss. The structure has been carefully preserved to retain its rich history, with key elements such as the terracotta roof tiles and ornamental windows adding a dose of nostalgia.
While the exterior reflects its historic past, the interior of the hotel exudes a contemporary chic ambience. The reception area, which provides a taste of what to expect from the rooms, features tasteful wood panelling paired with warm atmospheric lighting and sleek brass touches.
When I entered, the hotel provided a cool respite from the sweltering heat outside. I was immediately directed by the friendly receptionist to complete the mandatory SafeEntry and temperature checks, before being ushered to take a seat at the lobby to begin checking in. The entire process was went smoothly, and I was soon escorted to my room.
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Do Not Disturb
KēSa House embraces a flexible living concept, which allows guests to stay from between one night to months on end. With 60 guest rooms across three floors, the boutique hotel has a variety of room classifications that are designed for both short-term and long-term stays.
I checked into the Deluxe room on the third and highest floor, and was pleasantly greeted by a cosy room flooded with generous natural light courtesy of two expansive skylight windows. The contemporary space exudes a warm and inviting ambiance, amplified by white oak furnishings and aquamarine accents.
Designed with ample spaces for storage, the room also comes well-stocked with bathroom amenities from Ashley & Co. The large desk in the room made for an excellent working space, especially for someone like me whose work table is often littered with piles of notes and papers (orderly, in my defence). A bonus: I was informed that the rooms have been given a refresh and are designed with to be virtually soundproof, which means you wouldn’t have to worry about outside noise disrupting your work or Zoom meetings.
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If you're itching for a change of scenery, the common lounge located on the second floor is another option to work from. The little alcoves within the elegantly furnished space offer a conducive workspace for you to type away. Once tightened measures are lifted and it’s safe to mingle and interact freely again, I can imagine the cosy lounge space as a cool place to work, hang out, and meet new people.
Need a break? The hotel also offers a range of curated lifestyle experiences and workshops for guests. I took a go at making my own kombucha. Hosted by Adele Lau, founder of homegrown kombucha brand Le Vyr, the workshop was an eye-opening experience. I had never really given much thought to brewing my own kombucha as I had always thought that the process of brewing your own fermented tea would be an arduous task requiring much concentration and effort.
Needless to say, the workshop proved me wrong. Lau guided us throughout the entire brewing process and shared additional facts and tips. And yes, whilst concocting your very own kombucha did require some concentration, it was nowhere near the level of the physics masterclass I had thought it would be. At the end of the fruitful session, we each took home a jar of first-stage fermentation kombucha to continue brewing at home, and a second-stage fermentation kombucha that’d be ready to consume in a few days.
If kombucha isn’t your thing, you can go for other experiences, such as a hands-on leathercraft workshop by Crafune or the educational heritage food trail tour by Singabites.
Food and Drink
This may come as a surprise but KēSa House doesn’t have its own F&B concepts. Nevertheless, being located in one of the buzziest neighbourhoods in Singapore means that there are plenty of gourmet restaurants and trendy bars around. Just a few steps away are noteworthy restaurants like Burnt Ends, Pasta Bar, Olivia Restaurant & Lounge, as well as Potato Head Singapore.
Looking for a nightcap? Award-winning bars like The Old Man, The Guild and No Sleep Club are literally outside the hotel's door. If you want a taste of local hawker food, the hotel is also within walking distance to Maxwell Food Centre, where you’ll be able to savour a variety of delicious local fare.
There's plenty to explore in the neighbourhood of Chinatown. Venture out of the hotel and soak in culturally rich sights like the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum, the Chinatown Heritage Centre, the Sri Mariamman Temple, and the Singapore City Gallery.
If you’re looking for an extended stay at KēSa House, the hotel offers common facilities like a well-equipped kitchen and an outdoor terrace area that offers a relaxing breather amidst lush greenery.
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