InterContinental Singapore @ Experience The Charm of Peranakan Hospitality

The word Peranakan may sound alien to many, it means "child of" and refer to the unique Straits Chinese descendants from the intermarriage of Chinese immigrants and local women folk in the Malayan Peninsula, from as early as the 17th century when international traders came to Southeast Asia in pursuit of trading opportunities. Their unions eventually spawned the Peranakan culture - a rich hybrid of language, cuisine, fashion, decor, architecture and way of life fused from the traditions of their homelands with the customs and traits of their native settlement. With such rich heritage and culture, InterContinental Singapore - the city state’s only Peranakan inspired luxury hotel with décor, ornate art and tapestry drawing from the Peranakan culture spent $7.2 million refurbishment for its Shophouse Rooms and Suites within the hotel have been preserved. Intricate mirrors, batu ribbons and louvered windows along the corridors permeate the ambience with a feel of old Singapore imbuing a strong cultural flavour. mylifestylenews went for a weekend stay to experience the charm of the Peranakan hospitality......

Located along Malay and Malabar streets where Peranakan merchants and their families lived in the1920s, the Shophouse Rooms and Suites have been recently transformed into a tranquil space with special architectural accents and an eclectic décor style, reminiscent of the Straits-Chinese panache. A landmark in the heart of historic Bugis,  InterContinental Singapore’s Shophouse Rooms and Suites have provided a uniquely cultural experience  since the hotel first opened for business in 1995.

 The Club Lounge was converted from existing shophoue guest rooms in mid 2008 exuding the old-world charm of the Straits. Featuring wooden window shutters and original floorboards softened by lush fabrics and plush seating. This luxurious yet authentic Peranakan setting against a refined backdrop of dark wood furniture and elaborate carved panels.

 Accented with vivid infusions of colour gazed in bright hues of pink, blue, yellow and green and embellished with motifs of peonies, tress and mythical creatures such as the phoenixs and dragons from the specially curated Peranakan Nyonyaware ceramics displayed as lampstands, teapots and tableware. It also reflects the rich Peranakan culture through its spacious interiors featuring rich fabrics, elegant furniture and a fascinating collection of art and artifacts, as well as the latest technology.

The spacious and high ceiling lobby lounge and the generous depth of space is simply elegant. It resembles the dining hall of a typical Peranakan house displaying Asian and colonial influences.

The classic courtyard-style layout is framed by statuesque Palladian columns with vintage European and colonial chandeliers and beautifully painted motifs adorning the ceiling.

A stroll through the hotel is a must to appreciate and to absorb the unique architecture, special art pieces and Peranakan touches that are tastefully arranged in a number of the beautifully designed spaces. The hotel décor reflects its distinctive Peranakan architecture, ornate art and tapestry since opening its doors in 1995.

The original Peranakan shophouses facade are remained after the major renovation.

The 54 distinctive shophouse rooms and 11 Shophouse Suites is done in a  private enclave design, rich Peranakan culture with spacious interiors featuring exquisite fabrics, elegant furniture and a fascinating collection of arts and artifacts accompanied by the latest technology. Duck egg blue paneling, louvered windows and shutters as well as original timber floors. Lush fabrics and cushions with modern, contemporary and luxury amenities.

The showpiece of the newly refurbished guest rooms and suites is the Peranakan black lacquer oval mini bar cabinet detailed with traditional hand-painted Chinese art on its fascia with a mix of eclectic furniture items such as dissimilar bedside tables and Tiffany inspired lamps. The attached bathroom in white marble, flecked with black and white tile design is reminiscent of the traditional shophouse design. Double sinks, indulgent rain showers and deep soaking tubs ensure guests are provided with the ultimate in modern luxury. Our first Personalized Peranakan service and touches while the in-room check-in with a welcome tea served by using Peranakan teapot and cups, with a custom-blend tea and the Straits-Chinese-inspired bedtime stories placed on each bedside table.

Designed by Warren Foster Brown of FBEYE International, elements of the unique Peranakan culture are retained. Drawing inspiration from the lavish decor of Peranakan homes, the hotel is exquisitely appointed with ornate art, fine ceramics, embroidered tapestries and handcrafted wooden furniture. Artwork of Peranakan ceramics are dotted around the hotel. Every piece tells a story of a different facet of Peranakan culture and evokes a quaint, residential feel throughout the hotel.

Hotel Lobby Entrance

The hotel's distinctive architecture is modeled after yje beauty of these pre-war shophouses, evident in its restored facade, louvered windows and courtyard-style layout. The louvered windows line the corridors overlooking the lobby lounge showcasing the "five-foot-ways" or arched passageways connecting shophouses in Singapore.

The high ceiling lobby lounge with generous depth of space is styled in elegance.

If your stay falls on the Saturday, High Tea at the Lobby Lounge is a must. Peranakan women are called "Nyonya" and renowned for their culinary prowess. A taste of the Peranakan fame "Nyonya kuehs" - assorted mouth full sweets and dessert as well as the international savories like scone and jam and salmon gravlax with a pot of premium English tea to play the perfect Lady & Gentlemen. 

Coming from Hong Kong, we may not need to dine out for Cantonese cuisine especially when you are away from home. But, if you are still craving to satisfy your desire, the hotel Chinese restaurant Man Fu Yuan won't disappoint you for not only providing the authentic Cantonese meal. Be prepared for the surprises.

<Double-boiled Lobster Spinach Dumpling in Black Chicken Soup>
Simply tasty. The clear black chicken broth is unpretentiously delicious. The spinach dumpling comes with silky thin layer paste with the right amount of lobster filling. 

<Braised Abalone &  Fish Maw in Superior Brown Sauce>
Abalone is never our priority but the superior brown sauce makes the best company for this dish.

<Cashew Nut Chicken with Chili Pepper>
The pungent chili bring out the best of the diced chicken. A perfect dish for beer and wine.

<Barbecued Suckling Pig Combination>
Crispy slice of suckling pig and roasted duck was barbecued in perfection. Chicken is moist and tasty. The cold serving Jelly fish marinated in sesame oil is rather appetizing.

<Fried Rice with Egg White & Scallops>
Do not judge the book by its cover, this fried rice may not be well presented as it should be and yet the fragrance Jasmine rice was stirred dry enough for its separation. The scallop doesn't really do much to us but you may want to ask for a second helping. So delectable!

<Ma Fu Yuan Dessert Selection>
Cold pumpkin Almond soup with vanilla ice cream is the perfect way to end the meal. To be honest, dessert is not really our thing but this unusual recipe will wow you and knock your socks off. For being the restaurant signature dessert, it certainly has a reason for it.

We love this passage way leading to our shophouses' room. The tunnel like corridor with the art deco lamps give a nostalgic mood and luxury touch. 

The unique charm of the straits and the historic Peranakan-inspired InterContinental hotel is a unique landmark set in the heart of historic Bugis injected the unique lifestyle culture to the neighborhood. “What makes a trip memorable is the opportunity to get a taste of the heritage, culture and local colour. ” Said the hotel General Manger, Shantha de Silva. We couldn't agree more.

Tried & Tested
Location : 4/5
Interior & Design : 4.5/5
Service : 4/5

80 Middle Road, 
Tel : +65 6338 7600