Singapore may be one of the most expensive cities in the world but that doesn't mean there aren't any affordable options in town to rest your head. These cheap hotels are more than just a bed to sleep on, they offer amenities like fitness centres and swimming pools, and are conveniently located within the city, making them these perfect base for exploration. A stay at one of these hotels means more money for the important things like food, drinks and shopping – you can thank us later. Here are our picks for the best budget hotels in Singapore that don't compromise on quality.
This is one snazzy to hotel to check into. Taking its cue from the surrounding arts and cultural district, Hotel G sports an unorthodox mashup of industrial, vintage and bohemian elements with pizzazz – even the gym looks like a vintage bachelor pad. The rooms are intimate but cleverly planned and thanks to the quirky details and the pampering Metis bath amenities, it really feels like a boutique stay. And for the food-obsessed types, the F&B perks here are a real boon. You get dining credits that you can redeem at either Ginett – one of the most affordably priced wine bars around – or at American burger bar, 25 Degrees.
Llyod’s Inn Oxley Road address puts it just a little beyond the perimeters of the Orchard shopping district, and less than a hundred metres from the infamous Oxley house – the former residence of Lee Kuan Yew. The concrete-clad structure looks avant-garde next to the surrounding older, conventional architecture but step inside and you’ll find it lush and welcoming. The rooms, bathed in soft natural light and with a Nordic minimalism, feels like we're being whisked away to a cosy Airbnb in Europe. The facilities aren’t grand, but the roof terrace and foliage-lined dipping pool are idyllic enough to lull you into serenity – if you can stop Instagramming, that is.
Pulsating millennial vibes
Achingly cool, M Social is all futuristic neon colours, steel and mirrored furnishings in the distinctive, flamboyant design style of Philippe Starck. The ceilings are all double height, which means that even the smaller lead-in rooms (industry jargon for a hotel’s most affordable category) feel plush, not oppressive. The space is tight but well thought-out, and the bed’s too comfy to leave. There’s a small pool and gym you can hit up, but the appeal of a stay around Robertson Quay is to bask in the breezy laidback charm of its riverside restaurants and Aussie-styled cafes. Caveat: it’s a hotel for millennials run by millennials, so service can be disinterested and unpolished at times.
For one-of-a-kind rooms
The Unlisted Collections is one of Singapore’s most well-regarded boutique hotel groups, which makes the prices at Wanderlust too good to pass up. Here, every floor follows a different theme – the $200 budget would likely net you the Pantone or Mono category – each floor has been decorated by a different local design firm, and every room is a little different. Even the lobby lounge makes a statement with refurbished saloon and dentist chairs and a foosball table for fostering conversations. Wanderlust is at the edge of Little India, close to the behemoth Mustafa Centre that offers shopping 24-7, and near the bus station to Johor Bahru. You’ll never go hungry either – there’s a great mix of Chinese, Indian and Malay eateries that open into the night.
Where heritage and colour collide
Each Indigo hotel around the globe reflects the neighbourhood in which it’s situated – and in storied Joo Chiat, lined with heritage buildings, the boutique space offers a culturally rich experience. A rooftop infinity pool and a 24-hour fitness centre are the basics everyone expects but what sets Hotel Indigo apart is the Indigo Pavilion. Perhaps in a bid to invoke the ‘kampong spirit’ that once flowed through the district, the pavilion is a communal space designed to mimic a living room. It’s set with water jars, a lantern-inspired chandelier and a ‘mama shop’ hawking literature from local brand BooksActually, among others.
Tiny but comfy
We’ll be frank. Hotel Clover The Arts has the most cramped quarters compared to other hotels on this list. But it is comfortable and clean, and the colourful murals that adorn each room – every room is painted by a local artist or art student – give it a cheerful countenance. And of course, the location is superb. It’s right next to the Civic District and the watering holes that line Boat Quay, steps away from 28HKS – the hottest speakeasy in Singapore – and minutes from the clubs at Clarke Quay. Guests have access to the dipping pool at the sister hotel around the corner too. Just remember to pack light.
A full-fledged business hotel in the city
As far as budget stays go, Mercure Singapore Bugis ticks all the right boxes. It’s centrally located and close to three MRT stations: Bugis, Bencoolen and Bras Basah. The rooms are fairly spacious and even loft rooms are available for under $200. As for facilities, there’s a small business centre and a good-sized infinity lap pool, jacuzzi and gym. What we particularly like is that there are numerous pockets of space – a breezy courtyard, a roof terrace, and a lobby lounge – to unwind at after a long day. The Albert Court Market & Food Centre is also right behind for some superb and wallet-friendly hawker fare.
Right in Singapore’s trendiest dining enclave
The Keong Saik precinct that Naumi Liora sits in is one of the edgiest neighbourhood, flush with some of Singapore’s trendiest restaurants and bars: Esquina, Neon Pigeon, Flagship, to name a few. That, and the romance of staying in a heritage shophouse-turned-hotel means you’re really getting a steal. The rooms aren’t huge but there’s sufficient space for your luggage and a desk and most importantly, the beds are incredibly comfy. The complimentary self-service tea-and-coffee counter at the lobby is also convenient. And to reward direct room bookings, they’ve got free passes to Zouk – Singapore's hottest nightclub. If you’re hankering for local fare, there’s the famous Smith Street hawker centre, and numerous old-school eateries in the ‘hood.
An authentic look at Chinatown
Hotel Mono is in stark contrast to the tired, dated facades of the restaurants and shops on its street. It is literally monochromatic, but modern. The rooms are on the small side but well-appointed and the minimalist, open-concept design creates the illusion of spaciousness. Our only gripe is that several of the windowed rooms merely open into an airwell but at least you get some natural light. The hotel’s void in facilities but perfect for exploring. Mosque Street is at the fringe of Chinatown, near to the touristy bits but littered with old-school bakeries and sundry shops, and more importantly – truly authentic restaurants that Chinese immigrants frequent.
A quiet charm of its own
Getting to Hotel Nuve Urbane feels a bit like going back in time. It’s pretty central but in a sleepy part of Lavender where industrial buildings and old residential estates intersect. Space is sparse but there’s a lap pool and day beds to lounge around. What it lacks in space, the hotel makes up for with very friendly service (and a complimentary snack bar). You can easily walk into Little India or café-hop at some of our favourite cafes like Creatures and The Bravery Café. It’s also close to Druggists, the city’s coolest pharmacy-turned-pub with dozens of draft beers on tap.