Living in Clover

There is a revolution in the hotel business in Singapore. A move away from the standard, one-size-fits-all hotel room to an artistically-themed cocoon. What you sacrifice in space, you make up for in fascinating design, convenience, restaurant and location. (And you still have breakfast, a safe, mini bar, TV and free WiFi).

Hotel Clover The Arts is a conversion of four shophouses in Chinatown and each of its 44 rooms is individually-themed. The result is a visual feast of retro kitsch, urban street art, 60s-inspired Pop Art and line art minimalism. Especially engaging is the way original painting has incorporated things like fire hoses, electricity switchboxes and air conditioning ducts.

The building is six storeys (and yes, it does have a lift, complete with that extremely irritating woman who tells you the doors are opening) and the front rooms have a view over South Bridge Road and the financial centre. At night it is a feast of light. It is a short block away from the River Walk shopping and dining complex and if you head across the street, you will be in restaurant and nightclub land – a little further and you are among the bustling restaurants of Chinatown.

The lobby features schematic visions of the Singapore landscape but the rooms are all strikingly different, ranging from picturesque mountainscapes to vintage-inspired comic art to Chinese large-brush-work. Others reflect Singapore’s evolving urban and cultural landscapes. They also pay tribute to the hotel’s symbolic four-leafed clovers, which are a representation of faith, hope, love and luck.

There was a competition to paint the rooms and the corridors among Singapore’s art students while the Mount Fuji rooms are by established artist Ceno2, whose distinctive brand of aerosol ‘Graffiti Fine Art’ incorporates the technical skills of Western fine art to create paintings based on artistic movements such as realism, surrealism and cubism.

Ceno2 also created the larger-than-life waterfall which literally cascades down the external façade at the back of the hotel, something that is already an icon in Singapore’s urban landscape.