Villa Marina review: An interesting European-inspired hideaway for those looking for something different

PHOTO: Stackedhomes
PHOTO: Stackedhomes

 

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

 

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

 

Project: Villa Marina
District: 15
Address: 37 Jalan Sempadan Road
Tenure: 99-year leasehold
No. of Units: 432
Site Area: 460,695 sqft
Developer: Far East Organisation
TOP: 1999

 

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

As at the time of writing, Villa Marina is 23 years old, so it’s certainly no spring chicken. Maybe it’s a function of its age, but I do believe that Villa Marina has been overlooked by most people mainly because it has such larger-than-life neighbours.

These massive developments (Mandarin Gardens, Neptune Court, and Laguna Park) often take up headlines because of their possible en bloc activity. That, and the fact that newer and shiny developments (Seaside Residences comes to mind) will also capture more attention with their modern looks and sea views.

That changed, however, in this pandemic era as the mainstream media started featuring Villa Marina due to that Spanish/French Riviera influence. Think “Five condos that make Singapore residents feel like they’re on holiday” type of headline.

But unless you grew up in the area, most people would not have ever seen the inside of Villa Marina, and wow is it a whole different spectacle. If you’ve visited Gallop Gables before, it does seem to be from a similar era, except that Villa Marina has gone even further in terms of that grand Spanish/French influence.

It does make most condos in Singapore look boring in comparison, and if you are on the lookout for living in a very differentiated environment, this might be right up your alley.

So with that, let’s head on to our insider tour of Villa Marina.

Villa Marina insider tour

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

By most measures, Villa Marina is a big development. It sits on a total land plot of 460,685 square feet, housing just 432 units. But in today’s context, that unit size is really just a mid-sized one, particularly if you compare it to the recently completed Seaside Residences just in front of it.

Just on pure numbers alone, however, it’s quite a shocker. Seaside Residences is less than half the size (207,849 square feet) and has nearly twice the number of units (841 units). Clearly, it’s a winner if you are looking for the luxuriousness of space here.

That said, compared to its closeby elderly neighbours (Mandarin Gardens, Laguna View, Neptune Court) it is also the smallest, and because it features only low-level blocks — it doesn’t enjoy any sort of sea view.

So if you’re looking for the ultimate expanse of land to frolic about (and yet admire the sea views), Villa Marina definitely wouldn’t be your best bet. In my mind, however, it does have one of the best interiors (in the near vicinity, at least) which I’ll show you in a bit.

Let’s start with the plot of land itself. It’s a U-shape (or a Millennium Falcon shape, for the Star Wars fans), so it does come with a unique set of challenges. First, it is wrapped around the Masjid Kampong Siglap Mosque so that could be a boon or a bane depending on your religion, of course.

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Either way, you’ll be glad to know that the location of the mosque doesn’t disturb the main entrance as the building enjoys its own road leading to it so you don’t really face the usual Friday prayer time traffic associated with it (there is a side gate here though for easy access). Do note that blocks 25, 26, 27, and 28 are flanking it, so there will definitely be some noise pollution here.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

The main entrance is just off Siglap Road, and some may describe it as a bit of a hidden one as it is at the end of a row of landed homes. In a strange way, I kind of like that off the beaten path welcome to the development, it does provide a bit of an air of mystery about it — and sets up that lovely quaint interior even more once you get in.

And while 432 units isn’t a lot these days, I did find it a little strange to see that there’s only one road leading into the estate from the main entrance.

Especially in today’s pandemic context where there are a lot more deliveries from online shopping, residents coming in could get held up at the gate while waiting for security to process the visitor line. There is another entrance via Jalan Sempadan so it isn’t all bad (that said, it does face the same issue there too).

Second entrance via Jalan Sempadan.
PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Moving beyond the Guardhouse, you are greeted with a roundabout that is quite nicely adorned with a water fountain in the middle. Like the sharp reviewer I am, I do note that the hedges circling it are kept neatly and well-trimmed. It’s a common theme throughout, as the landscaping is generally what you’d describe as well-kept.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Unlike many of the older developments (Valley Park, Bullion Park, Mandarin Gardens), where most of the car park spaces are above ground, everything is underground here. So on the one hand, you don’t really experience that sense of space if you drive in like the others, but what you do get here is the convenience of a completely sheltered car park.

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It may not sound like a big deal here as the car park spaces in the above-mentioned developments are all sheltered too. I mean, it’s all fine and dandy to protect the car itself, but what happens on a rainy day when you’ve parked the car under the shelter? You’d still need to get out your umbrella and trek to your block in the pouring rain — it’s not exactly 21st-century living, is it? So this is a definite plus point here.

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What’s worth noting is that the car park space isn’t one huge underground plot. It’s actually divided into two, so those living in blocks 25 to 28 will have their own car park, and the rest of the blocks have a much bigger space to work with.

It’s not a problem for residents of course, but for visitors and delivery people it could get a tad confusing. The bigger issue comes on a rainy day when residents in these blocks (25 to 28) won’t be able to access the Clubhouse area via the underground car park route. You’d either have to get an umbrella above ground or just get a little wet at the roundabout entrance as you traverse across.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Predictably with the land size, you do have more than enough car park here. It’s not a completely 'underground' car park as there are various gaps at the sides and different other areas so the place isn’t as dark and claustrophobic as you might imagine (which is a good thing). The car park lots are also well-sized and easy to move around in, which is great for those who are a little less skilled in the driving department.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

The entrances to the lift lobbies are decidedly a less modernised affair, and it’s where you can really see the age of the development. The rosewood door frames and that brown patterned marble flooring are a common design trend of developments of that era — and it’s on full display here. It’s also here that you’d notice how scratched the doors are, which again, shows the age of the condo.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

So when it comes to the lobby, it’s not exactly the most glamorous spot to be in. To be fair, it’s a similar story to most developments of that era, where the lobby area is just seen as a place that connects the car park/first floor to the units. Today, most developments (even the mass-market ones) do make an effort to jazz the space up a little — so it’s not really fair to compare the two.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Once you get up to the ground floor though, things do take a turn for the better. Seeing the little architectural details on the buildings, and that courtyard feel does give off a good impression, to begin with. You’d also notice that you don’t have any tall buildings surrounding you, so it does add to that spaced-out feel here — you certainly won’t feel boxed in.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Some do have nicer trees planted along the entrance — so it depends on which block you are living at.

There are a total of 27 blocks, and especially since it’s a low-rise development, it does take up more land space than you might think. It reminds me a little of Cascadia, where there are many blocks as well, hence you don’t get any big open spaces as such. It’s certainly not like its close neighbour (Mandarin Gardens), where the expanse of land is such an attraction.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

That said, it’s unquestionable that it’s not like today’s newer condominium developments — you are very aware of the amount of space here. For one, the pathways here are very wide, and the patches of green grass by the side make it even more spacious. You’d probably never brush the shoulders of your neighbour accidentally on a morning jog, and that’s a compliment.

The land is also definitely big enough for you to run around on the pathway, as well as to walk your dog without having to go out of the compound. For those who are afraid of traffic, this is an additional plus point to consider.

Neverending pathways.
PHOTO: Stackedhomes

The floor of the pathways has some sort of scaled pattern, but some parts are so worn out it’s nearly a smooth surface. It’d contribute to a nicer overall look if the pathways had a proper cobblestoned pattern instead. I’m definitely nitpicking here though, I doubt most people would even notice the floor.

It’s a bit tough to take you on a regular tour in a way that might make sense, as the layout is not very methodically organised. But that’s by no means a bad thing. Bad perhaps for a delivery person looking for the right block.

But for residents who have lived here for a stretch, it’s all part of that 'village' charm. Take a second, perhaps, to imagine the messiness of a rural town in Spain. It’d hardly be like the organised layout that is a new town like Punggol, and that just gives it more character.

So instead of taking you on an organised tour, I’ll start with the crown jewel of Villa Marina — the swimming pool and clubhouse area.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Looking more like a grand Chateau in France, it is quite a sight to behold. The entire pool area is located below the ground level, giving it a sunken-in look — which is totally unique. The circumference of the pool is dressed with white Roman pillars, and the lush greens plus red flowers scattered liberally around just makes everything look more relaxed.

The back of the clubhouse.
PHOTO: Stackedhomes

What really aids the French/Spanish villa look is the clubhouse. It looks like a stately manor peering over the pool (wait till you see the inside), and is really quite unlike any other development that you’d have come across in Singapore. In an era where travel is few and far between, you can see why such a home would be such an escape for many people.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

The pool does have several chairs and tables along the side, as well as deck chairs along the length of the main pool. I do like that there are different sections of the pool (one to swim laps in, the other to soak and relax, and a more shallow one for the kids), but do note you don’t get like a proper kids pool here (one that comes with colourful fountains or a slide).

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

And as nice as the poolside ambiance is, I did think that the area afforded to was not as big as I imagined — especially considering the size of the land that Villa Marina has to offer. It might also have been down to the fact that the sunken look would also make the place look smaller and more closed up.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

So as much as I like the uniqueness of it, some people might find that there is a lack of privacy as if you were to lie by the pool to suntan, passersby on the top will be peering down at you.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

That said, I personally would definitely plunge for a pool-facing unit here. The distance between the opposing blocks is wide enough, and the views are truly pretty unique. On a bright and sunny day such as this, it does almost feel like you’ve been transported to a villa in France.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Moving on to the clubhouse, you’d probably be pretty surprised when you step in. I really like that they’ve gone almost full steam ahead with the theme, instead of some half-baked decorations that I’ve seen in other places before.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

The high ceilings, the marble floor, and the chandelier that looks like it came out of the Beauty and the Beast castle. Some people may find it garish looking, and it’s true, it’s definitely not for everyone. But if you’ve ever fantasised about living in a European-type home, this is it.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

On the second floor is a rather sizeable indoor jacuzzi done up in the style of a European bathhouse. It’s currently out of operation (presumably because of Covid-19), but I’m really a fan of the detail that they’ve put in here. The sculptured feature wall, the Roman pillars, and that curved skylight up top — it’s pretty grand.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Also on the same floor is the gym. It’s clad with mirrors to make the space appear bigger, and while it isn’t the most spacious (corresponding to the size of the land), it does feature surprisingly modern equipment. For one, the treadmills have screens on them, something some newer condos do not even have.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Besides the main pool area, there are also various other spots around Villa Marina worth mentioning. One of which is the fountain court. I can’t say it’s the most picturesque fountain I’ve seen, but you do get some seating around too which is just a nice spot to relax in after an evening jog perhaps.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

There are more of such landscaped areas around too. It doesn’t add much functionally, but it does enhance the space visually, and you do appreciate how there is even enough space to be extravagant with landscaping as well.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

You do also have two sheltered dining pavilions (with a barbecue pit and sink facilities) at different points of Villa Marina. It’s set quite far away from the main areas, which is a good thing — as it gives the space more privacy. It’s not as great for the blocks facing these areas, however, especially so if you are living on the ground unit.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

While the surrounding vibes are pretty nice, it has to be said that the inside of the dining pavilion looks more like the barbecue’s you used to go to at a beachside chalet than one of a French chateau. It’s expected given the age of the condo, so you’ll be hard-pressed here to really criticise this much.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Aside from the dining areas, you do also get three different children’s playgrounds to choose from. Neither of them is particularly well-equipped but it’s nice to have varied spaces to choose from for the kids.

Here’s another at a more secluded corner.
PHOTO: Stackedhomes

 

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Last but not least, in terms of other outdoor sporting facilities, Villa Marina does offer a solo tennis court that is set quite far away (next to the Upper East Coast Road entrance). It’s not on the ground level, so you do have quite a nice elevated playing position. For those staying at the far ends of the estate, this will result in quite a long walk to and fro — but that’s always going to be the caveats of staying in a big estate.

Supposed putting green area that looks more like a pavilion in Tuscany.
PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Oh and one final point (last one, I promise), you do also have a very under-the-radar putting green area at the far corner of the development. It’s definitely not apparent at first glance what its intended use is for (it looks more like a tea garden). I suspect not many people are using it as a putting green, but it does look like a tranquil spot where you can get away from it all for a bit.

Villa Marina Location Review

Villa Marina enjoys a well-balanced location as long as you aren’t hankering after the sea views in this part of the East. The buildings around in the immediate vicinity are all low-rise as well, which is good so you don’t really get any tall buildings towering over you.

It also has the advantage of two different entrances, one along Siglap Road, and the other from Jalan Sempadan off Upper East Coast Road, so getting in and out would make things a lot easier should you want to head to the shops along Siglap or get to the ECP to head towards Changi.

If walking within the estate isn’t enough, you are also flanked along Siglap Linear Park, of which you can take a leisurely stroll alongside a slew of landed homes. You are also within a short walking distance to East Coast Park, where you can enjoy the park and the beach, along with various food joints such as PS Cafe or East Coast Seafood Centre (JUMBO Seafood and Long Beach).

READ ALSO: $3.1 million profit in 3 years? Here's how condo sub-sales have been performing

Since we are on the topic of eateries, there’s also Enak Enak HongKong Tea House and East Coast Lagoon Food Village that’s close by. Cafe lovers will also be happy with the number of specialty coffee roasters and cafes along Upper East Coast Road, such as Five Oars Coffee Roasters and The Royals Cafe.

Amenities

Groceries

Grocery shops Distance from condo (and estimated walk time)
NTUC Fairprice 350m, 5-min walk
Greenberry Mini Mart 400m, 5-min walk
CS Fresh Siglap V 650m, 8-min walk

In terms of groceries, Villa Marina is pretty well covered with an NTUC Fairprice within a five-minute walk (from the Jalan Sempadan exit). As with bigger developments such as this, staying in the blocks closer to Marine Parade Road will mean the walk will be quite a fair bit further. If you are after something a little more premium, the revamped CS Fresh at Siglap V is about an eight-minute walk away.

Shopping

Shopping malls Distance from condo (and estimated driving time)
Siglap Shopping Centre 600 m, 3-min drive
Bedok Point 2.6 km, 6-min drive
Bedok Mall 3.0 km, 6-min drive
Parkway Parade 3.2 km, 8-min drive
Katong Square 3.3 km, 8-min drive

The closest shopping option nearby would be Siglap Shopping Centre at just a three-minute drive (you can walk too). For a more varied selection, however, you will need to head to the number of large mall clusters such as the ones in the Katong and Bedok area.

Schools

Educational tier Names of institutes
Preschool My Prep School @ Mandarin Gardens
Good Shepherd Convent
KindergartenZoo-phonics School
Rosemount International School
Le Petits Gaulois
Primary (within 5km drive) Ngee Ann Primary School
Tao Nan Primary School
Secondary (within 3km drive) Victoria School
Temasek Secondary School
Bedok View Secondary School
Bedok South Secondary School
Junior College (within 5km drive) Victoria Junior College
Temasek Junior College
Polytechnic (within 10km drive) Temasek Polytechnic
University (within 10km drive) Singapore University of Technology and Design
Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT@TP)
James Cook University

While there is definitely no shortage of schools nearby, things aren’t so great for those looking for primary schools within the 1km radius as there is currently none within that prized distance. That said, you do still have Ngee Ann Primary and Tao Nan Primary within a 2km radius.

For those who have older kids, you do have the acclaimed all-boys Victoria School, with affiliation with Victoria Junior College, is right at your doorstep. This may be a huge selling point for parents looking to enroll their sons in Victoria School as well as Victoria Junior College.

Villa Marina is also close to Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) as well as the private James Cook University.

Public transport

Bus station Buses serviced Distance from condo (and estimated walking time)
Opp Laguna Park, Marine Parade Road 853M, 47, 31, 43, 48, 55, 155, 196E, 196, 197 50m, 1-min walk
Opp Goodwill Court, Upper East Coast Road 10E, 10, 12, 13, 14E, 14, 16, 14A, 16M 210m, 3-min walk

Closest MRT station: Siglap MRT (completion 2024), Bedok MRT — 1.9km, 25-minute walk

While the MRT situation seems rather dire at the moment, once the new Thomson East Coast Line is completed, the new Siglap MRT will be located right next to Villa Marina. This line travels North and passes through the CBD area and stations like Shenton Way, Orchard, and Marina Bay. It will make a huge difference with regards to connectivity to residents in the area and is an upgrade that has been long-awaited.

Private transport

Key destinations Distance from condo (and estimated peak hour drive time)
CBD (Raffles Place) 13.4km, 14-min drive
Orchard Road 14.5km, 18-min drive
Suntec City 10.6km, 9-min drive
Changi Airport 7.8km, 6-min drive
Paya Lebar Quarters/Airbase (By 2030) 8.3km, 13-min drive
Mediapolis 21.1km, 19-min drive
Mapletree Business City 19.7km, 18-min drive
Tuas Checkpoint 40.1km, 34-min drive
Woodlands Checkpoint 33.7km, 31-min drive
Jurong Cluster (JCube) 28.2km, 28-min drive
Woodlands Cluster (Causeway Point) 35.3km, 31-min drive
HarbourFront Cluster (Vivo City) 16.5km, 15-min drive
Punggol Cluster (Waterway Point) 19.9km, 20-min drive

Nearest Exit: 8A from ECP

The proximity to ECP is beneficial for residents working in the CBD area as cars can exit straight onto the ECP from Siglap Link. The directional change for ECP is also nearby the site, making trips to the city area very convenient.

Stack analysis

Development site plan

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

As mentioned above, Villa Marina has a very unconventional layout (I still think it looks like the Millennium Falcon). It has a total land size of 460,685 square feet, which is definitely very sizeable. There are a total of 27 blocks, so you don’t get as much open space as you might think, although the pathways here are all rather wide.

Unit mix

Unit type Size of units (sqft)
2-Bedroom 1,087 — 1,130 sqft
3-Bedroom 1,152 — 2,024 sqft
4-Bedroom 2,314 sqft

As with most developments of the same era, the unit mix is kept very simple, with just two, three, and four bedroom units to choose from. The sizes that you get here are also above the current new launch averages, with the smallest unit starting from 1,087 square feet for a two bedroom unit (this can be bigger than some three bedroom new launches today).

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

The ground floor units here do have very sizeable patios too, so unless you love having outdoor space, it’ll be best to look at units from the second floor and up as these will have minimal balcony spaces.

Best Stacks

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

As mentioned in the tour of Villa Marina, I would prefer to have a swimming pool view here as that Mediterranean resort vibe is what sets this place from the rest. So if you’re anything like me, you’d be eyeing blocks 2, 5, 6, 7, 11, 21, and 23. That said, because these blocks will be facing each other, those who are more concerned about privacy will have to settle for somewhere else.

If you do happen to be a tennis fan and like to walk out to buy groceries and get a coffee, I’d definitely look at blocks 5, 6, 7, and 11 as these will be the most conveniently located.

Masjid Kampong Siglap Mosque straddles between blocks 25, 26, 27, and 28 as well as 17, 18, and 19. Blocks 1 and 3 will be facing Sekolah Indonesia as well so do expect there to be some noise.

As far as privacy is concerned, blocks 8 and 9 will be your best bet. These are set away from the multiple children’s playgrounds, and dining pavilions (although you do have the tennis court to contend with). These blocks also have the advantage of being set next to Siglap Linear Park, away from the main road, and do not face any other blocks.

Finally, you do also have that “putting green” area right outside, of which can almost double up as your private reading corner.

Price review

Project name Tenure TOP Units Average price (PSF)
Villa Marina 99-year leasehold 1999 432 $1,106
Mandarin Gardens 99-year leasehold 1986 1,006 $1,182
Neptune Court 99-year leasehold 1975 751 $935
Laguna Park 99-year leasehold 1978 516 $1,071
Lagoon View 99-year leasehold 1977 480 $1,103
Fernwood Towers Freehold 1994 215 $1,527
Finland Gardens Freehold 1984 48 $1,473
Elliott at the East Coast Freehold 2012 119 $1,423
The Hacienda Freehold 1986 109 $1,251
Crescendo Park Freehold 1996 107 $1,285
Seaside Residences 99-year leasehold 2021 841 $2,047

This area of the East is packed full of developments, and while not as crowded as the Telok Kurau area — you still would be spoiled for choice with a wide variety of different developments to choose from. Nonetheless, the majority of the condos here are pretty old, with the oldest of the lot (Lagoon View) coming to nearly 50 years of age now.

Like the middle-sized bear in Goldilocks and the three bears, Villa Marina comes in the middle of the range in terms of its offerings and price point. It’s neither the biggest when it comes to units, nor is it the cheapest or the most expensive when it comes to price. I’d say at the current average prices, it does make sense when you compare it to its neighbours.

Let’s start with the lowest of the lot — Neptune Court. This is the oldest development here, and a sizeable one at that too. At 787,564 square feet of land, it is rather much larger, and with more units to boot. There are no facilities to speak of, so it’s hardly a comparable lifestyle-wise.

That said unless you have a major requirement on spacious land and units, and sea views (dependent on stack and level), this probably wouldn’t be considered to be within the spectrum of those who would be attracted to Villa Marina.

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It’s probably the same story with Lagoon View, where you don’t have much in the way of facilities, just the advantage of expansive land and generous unit sizes.

Where a closer comparison lies would be with Mandarin Gardens and Laguna Park. Both are bigger in terms of land size (and more units), and have equivalent facility offerings (although not as extravagant in terms of execution). While the average psf price seems to be comparable, the actual quantum can be quite varied because of one big difference — the sea views.

So units on a higher floor and facing the sea can command higher prices as compared to Villa Marina despite the fact that Mandarin Gardens is older and has significantly more units (more than two times).

Should you opt for a regular unit, however, the prices between both are somewhat equivalent. And so with that as a basis of comparison, it can be said that Villa Marina is more attractively priced here. It’s newer, has fewer units (so it’s more exclusive), and is closer to amenities as well as the upcoming Siglap MRT station.

There are also a number of freehold options in the immediate area but are also much smaller and more exclusive so it wouldn’t exactly be a direct comparison. As you might expect, they are also higher priced, with Fernwood Towers the most pricey of the lot.

If you are possibly considering something newer, there is Elliott at the East Coast and Seaside Residences to consider. There is nearly a 10 year age gap between both, and are the complete opposite in terms of offerings. Elliott at the East Coast is a boutique condo, with just 119 units. It’s also freehold and low-rise.

In comparison, Seaside Residences is a towering development offering sea views. It’s much larger with 841 units and was just completed in 2021 so it’s as new as it can get if you are looking for something modern in the area. At its current average price of above $2,000 psf, it does stick out like a sore thumb in terms of its psf. Overall though, quantum prices are not as high as you might expect given the unit sizes here are smaller than its older neighbours.

Appreciation analysis

At this current point in time, there’s not much in terms of future redevelopment in the surrounding area. The biggest upside would be the upcoming completion of Siglap MRT station on the Thomson East Coast line. It’s been a long time coming, and the lack of a close-by located MRT station has always been a sticky point for those looking to stay at this stretch of the East.

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The biggest updates would be at Kallang River. This includes the changes to Kampong Bugis, Benaan Kapal Green, and a walking and cycling loop (named the Kallang Alive Loop).

While this would add a further dose of sporting and lifestyle benefits, it is considered too far away for it to have any pricing upside to Villa Marina. You do also have East Coast Park just nearby so while the Kallang area will just be a short train ride away, it isn’t too much of a huge benefit here.

In the longer term, there could be bigger changes to the area due to the many old developments (Villa Marina included) in the area. As these get older and maintenance gets heftier, the chances of residents opting for a collective sale should get more enticing.

Although it would probably not be during this cycle due to the sizeable plots of many of these (Mandarin Gardens have tried more than once already), developers are less likely to take the risk of such big plots.

On a positive note, the immediate surroundings of Villa Marina should not be entertaining too much change (which could be a good thing for those looking to avoid construction noise) given that it’s surrounded by landed homes, a worship place, and education clusters.

Our take

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

For me, the biggest draw of Villa Marina is undoubtedly the Mediterranean vibes that it offers. It is quite unlike any other development in Singapore, and perhaps even more attractive in the current day and age when travelling overseas will be limited for most people.

I do like how they’ve almost gone all out with the theme, unlike some developments that say they’re 'Spanish'-inspired — which usually encompasses just its name and a few exterior design highlights. Instead, Villa Marina really does give you the ambience of a Spanish/Italian resort, with that fabulous swimming pool and intricate clubhouse design.

I also like the amount of space within the development (although expansive open spaces are not as good as its nearby neighbours), and the fact that it offers a sheltered underground car park too.

READ ALSO: Is Kopar @ Newton or Fourth Avenue Residences a better choice for 2-bedroom unit?

The location itself is a plus point too. Aside from the mosque in the thick of it all, and the lack of sea views — it does almost provide the best of both worlds in terms of location. You don’t have tall buildings surrounding it (most of the immediate surroundings are low-rise), and you are close to the coffee joints and cafes along Upper East Coast Road. And with the upcoming Siglap MRT station in such close proximity, connectivity will be enhanced greatly.

All that said, the exterior design and theme certainly aren’t for everyone. It’s a niche look that not all can appreciate, and in some cases, could even be a love/hate relationship.

So if you like something sleek, modern, or minimalist — Villa Marina is probably not for you. However, if you are a fan of a European resort-like ambience, enjoy the lifestyle benefits of the East, and want bigger grounds and living spaces for family — Villa Marina will be an interesting choice.

This article was first published in Stackedhomes.