F Gandhi will be charmed - jeepneyjinggoy

Gandhi will be charmed

Trishaw: a dead-giveaway sign that the passenger is a tourist.

Exhibit A.

You won’t find me on one.

I ate my words, quite crunchy in fact. How can you decline the ride offered by your host to try everything Singaporean and transported from one Village Hotel to another? 

I never saw myself riding the trishaw. I guess there's a first time for everything.

After a night in Landmark Village Hotel and touring its neighborhood, the Arab quarter and Kampong Glam, Kenneth and I were to be immersed into another of the Lion City’s cultures. Next stop- the charming boutique hotel of Albert Court Village Hotel perfectly situated at the center of Little India and the growing arts sub-culture of Singapore, and an MRT ride away from the other business and shopping destinations. 

The 20-minute pedal-powered ride (less if we were lighter), took us around the neighborhood of our next Village home where the architecturally impressive La Salle College of the Arts, the National Library, National Museum, Singapore Arts Museum, Peranakan Museum, the Sim Lim Square and Little India will excite the aficionados of culture and the shoppers alike. 

Finally at the Albert Court, one of the properties of the Far East Hospitality Group’s Village Hotels and Residences named after Queen Elizabeth’s consort, I stood in awe of the sight- restored pre-war shop houses with the preserved Straits Chinese details in its design. In its interiors, appointments of a modern hotel are integrated with the historically rich casing to cater to contemporary businessmen and leisure travelers. This hotel is a perfect fusion of the old and the new. 

The Albert Court Village Hotel was built from old shophouses.
The Lobby Bar

The rooms of Albert Court: (clockwise) Superior Room, Executive Suite, Executive Room & the Deluxe Room.

The indoor pocket garden and pond by the living area of the suites wing.

I particularly love the cool indoor landscaping, the chic crimson sofas accenting the reception and dining areas, the twin Jacuzzis and the vast red-tiled courtyard of this quaint hotel.

My favorite things: the pocket gardens,  the chic crimson seats, the view of the courtyard from the restaurant & the twin Jacuzzis.

“Situated by the open waterway of Stamford Canals, the area used to be laundry yards in the 19th century when the Indians arrived. Serangon Road was where cows were reared for their milk and Hindu temples were built soon after. Today, Serangon is the backbone of Little India,” said Guha Shan Bala Vandayar, Albert Court’s Duty Manager, of Indian descent and our gracious tour guide for the day. No one can do the job better.

My memory of Little India only centers on Mustafa, the 24-hour shopping mall that has everything from a safety pin to an aircraft carrier (read: it has everything, almost). Guha’s walking tour allowed me to see beyond what I perceive the place to be- there is the only cinema that strictly screens Bollywood flicks, the Kali-devoted temple of Sri Weeramakaliamman and more, the Tekka Ceneter’s wet market, and rows of Indian food stalls and restaurants. 

Art, culture and cuisine is rich around this Village Hotel.

And speaking of cuisine, we have to sample the specialties served around Albert Court’s neighborhood. A quick stop at the Kaaraikidu restaurant for Chai Spice Milk Tea in Little India, Singapore’s famous fare, the Hainanese Chicken, and Eugene made us sample the award-winning Pineapple Tarts of Le Café Confectionery and Pastry, and the famous “taho” in Singapore from the Rochor Original Beancurd You Tiao.

The tea, dessert, chicken, beancurd you tiao & pineapple tart, some of the many delicacies within reach from Albert Court Village Hotel.

After all the touring and dining, there were hours to spare to explore more of the area but I didn’t. I told my host that I am spending my sweet time in the room. I think Albert Court Village Hotel’s suites are meant to charm and spoil its guests. Gandhi would love it here.

FYI. If you must know, I had a blast riding the trishaw!

Albert Court Village Hotel is at 180 Albert Street, Singapore 189971. For more information and reservation, visit their website at http://www.stayvillage.com/albertcourt/

Published in Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 02, 21012.