Chic getaway in Orchard

Off a tiny lane in Orchard Road, a small boutique hotel is nestled among greenery and shrouded from the city lights.

Now looking chic and modern, it is hard to imagine that almost two years ago, Lloyd's Inn in Lloyd Road was a grotty building and stuck in time.

The 23-year-old hotel, which had the same name before, had a faded beige-and-green facade and a low brick wall perimeter.

The current owner, the Macly Group, bought the building in 1990 and it has just been given a makeover by Farm, a multi-disciplinary practice.

The indie design firm, which has an office in Waterloo Street, is behind other notable boutique hotels such the Kam Leng Hotel in Jalan Besar. It is also working on hotel projects in Sydney and Kuala Lumpur for the same owner.

Architect Tiah Nan Chyuan and his design team at Farm revamped the 34-room property, which reopened in June. Farm also did the branding for the hotel.

The main two-storey building was kept while a rear block was demolished as part of the building was partly "encroaching on the neighbours' properties", says Mr Tiah.

None of the rooms are configured the same way. But what ties the rooms together is a neutral palette, clean lines, lots of light and a healthy dose of greenery.

Mr Tiah explains: "The hotel is still within a residential area, so we wanted to get guests to go outside and enjoy the outdoors. We kept the colours neutral because we didn't want to complicate things."

The overhaul gives the property an updated vibe. The hotel oozes stylish comfort, with its minimalist look and clean lines.

There are eight room types such as the Big Sky Room, Patio Room and Business Loft, between 16 sq m and 26 sq m, each with unique features.

For example, The Garden Room has a small outdoor space where guests can head to for some sun if they do not want to leave their room. The 26 sq m Big Skyroom, one of the largest spaces in the hotel, features a roomy bathtub outdoors. There is also a working area with a bench and a table.

Room rates start at $158 and the hotel prides itself on its no-frills concept.

The minibar is left empty for guests to fill with their own food. There is no in-house restaurant - hungry guests will have to head down the road to find sustenance.

There is also a common pantry with a microwave, ice and water dispenser, and vending machine. Chairs and tables are set up so guests can hang out if they wish.

Mr Tiah says the no-frills concept works perfectly in the small space. "The hotel is near the city and has many nearby amenities, so guests don't need all the extras of a regular hotel. We designed a low- maintenance hotel which has all the necessary features in the room."

Undeniably, the hotel's highlights are the water features which guests will pass on their way to the lobby. The blue tiles of the dipping pool shimmer in the sunlight, while guests can lie back and have a tan.

The water area is cocooned away from the hustle and bustle of the city and seems perfect as a chill-out spot.

Mr Tiah says: "It's more of a visual feature, to hear the sounds of the water and have the light reflect off it. It's a nice area to sit in and relax if you don't want to leave the hotel."

This article was first published on Oct 11, 2014.
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