Finding a reasonably priced hotel room in Singapore is quite challenging. Like most mega-cities, hotels in the garden city are not cheap. Most of the well-known names can cost upwards of USD 100 a night easily. If you run a quick search on tripadvisor, booking.com, or expedia, then the top 20 hotels are often well beyond USD 100. The cheaper hotels tend to be further away from the main districts and the ones that are near the areas of interest tend to be quite expensive. The really low priced hotels tend to have terrible reviews. For our 6-day trip, we wanted to find a hotel with the right balance of location and price. After lots of searching and research, we managed to find one. It was called Hotel 81 and it had an unbelievable price for the super location that it offered.
Hotel 81 is a chain of budget hotels located in various parts of Singapore. They have hotels in some of the most visited tourist areas such as Bugis, Chinatown, Little India, etc. We picked the one located on Dickson Road. It was very close to Syed Alwi Road in Little India. In fact, it was a short 10-minute walk to the center of all the activity in that district. Food, shopping, money exchange, Mustafa Center, etc. were all within a short stroll from our hotel room. It is also the reason why we opted for room only and no breakfast. We simply walked to breakfast places near the hotel. When we were planning our trip, we found out that the room-with-breakfast option in Singapore was generally priced disproportionately high, with most hotels charging SGD 15-20 per person for breakfast. For that kind of amount, we easily got high-quality breakfast at restaurants in the city and on Syed Alwi road.
Another fantastic benefit of Hotel 81 Dickson was the close proximity to two MRT stations. Jalan Besar station was literally 150 meters away while Rochor MRT station was about 350 meters away. That meant we could go anywhere in the city very easily. Connectivity from the Dickson Road location was just excellent. Those two MRT stations were on the blue line and offered an easy ride to the Bayfront area, the Raffles area, Bugis shopping malls, and pretty much any other place worth visiting. The central location was ideal for our short and somewhat jam-packed schedule.
On the price part, we paid close to SGD 85 or USD 60 (in mid-2018) per night for a 6-night stay. It was really cheap, especially if you compare with any other centrally located hotel in Singapore. For our $60, we got a small but decent sized room. We had no trouble opening and closing our bags or getting around the room. There was a small coffee table where we could keep some of our stuff and charge our phones. The room had a TV with about 20 channels. Every day, we got a new bottle of drinking water. The beds were made every single day by room service and the towels/napkins were changed as well. The bathroom was also cleaned every day. The bathroom had basic toiletries stocked. Shower gel, shampoo, and toothpaste were all new when we checked in. The front desk was quite friendly as well. They helped us every time we asked them something. Even though there is an outdoor seating restaurant next to the hotel building, the noise was not audible at all. The hotel rooms were quiet. The only noise bother we had was from some tourists who woke up early morning or came back late at night and shut their doors a bit loudly. Sometimes, tourists groups spoke loudly in the hallway. But that was for maybe a minute or two. Other than that, it was pretty quiet throughout our stay at the hotel.
For all the good things that can be said about Hotel 81, there were some things that we did not like as well. Firstly, the bed was definitely smaller than average. Even though two people will be able to sleep alright, do not expect to be able to move around too much. Two people who are larger in size or who tend to turn a lot while sleeping will find the bed awkward. Secondly, the room did not have any windows. Without fresh air, we felt a bit stuffy at times. The only air circulation was from the air conditioner. Without windows, there was no natural light coming in as well. It was always AC and bulb lights whenever we were in our room. If you are someone who likes to spend a lot of time in the hotel room or likes sunlight and ventilation, then Hotel 81 at Dickson will be quite challenging.
The biggest disappointment was the bathroom. The bathroom was constructed in the weirdest way that one could imagine. There was no wall separating the room and the bathroom. In place of a solid wall for the bathroom, the hotel had put a full-length opaque glass. So, if the light inside the bathroom was on (which it always had to be because there were no windows for natural light to come in), then the person sitting in the room can see the movement of the person inside the bathroom. If you are traveling solo or if you are with your girlfriend/wife, then maybe its ok to have an opaque glass wall for the bathroom. But, if you are traveling with family, relatives or even friends, then you will definitely find the lack of privacy (or shall we say partial privacy) a bit uncomfortable. Speaking about the size of the bathroom, it was tiny and the shower area had no barrier/curtain to prevent water splashing onto the wash basin area. So, if someone took a shower, then the whole bathroom floor would be wet. The commode would also get wet as it was located within inches of the shower area. While we understand that for $60 a night, one cannot complain a lot about the size of the bathroom, these are definitely things to keep in mind if you plan to stay at this hotel. The handheld shower doubled up as a showerhead.
I have not posted any pictures of the hotel because you can view them easily on the hotel’s tripadvisor page or on flickr/google images. You can also search for Hotel 81 Dickson on YouTube and watch videos that travelers have made about the hotel. Overall, if you are looking to save your trip costs and find a reasonable hotel that fits within your tight budget, then Hotel 81 is definitely recommended. If you want a stunning location at a good price, then Hotel 81 is a yes. But, if factors such as space, bed size, ventilation, and proper bathroom privacy are important to you and if you don’t mind paying a few extra dollars, then there are many other options worth looking at. This was a review of my experience at this hotel. Feel free to share yours in the comments section below. Do you have any hotel recommendations in Singapore?