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Photograph: The Barracks Hotel
Photograph: The Barracks Hotel

Staycation spotlight: The Barracks Hotel Heritage Safari Experience

Unwind at The Barracks Hotel while a balanced retreat of tranquillity and exploration of Singapore’s storied past awaits you

Dawson Tan
Written by
Dawson Tan
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Ever wondered what it’s like to stay in a charming colonial building previously occupied by the British Army? Well, The Barracks Hotel, located within idyllic Sentosa, treats you to a balanced retreat of tranquillity and exploration of Singapore’s storied past with its newly launched Heritage Safari.

Proudly poised as a part of Far East Hospitality’s luxury portfolio, it truly lives up to its name where tailored care and attention to detail are immaculate. Here, tranquillity is the main takeaway. Pampered with the truest of luxuries, guests will relish with ease of mind while every need is taken care of.  

Every stay in The Barracks Hotel is an exclusive heritage getaway steeped in rich history as you luxuriate in the tastefully decorated quarters that showcase a mix of vintage and modern décor for a warm and timeless ambience. Here’s what you can expect.

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Comfort and nostalgia on four wheels
Photograph: Dawson Tan

Comfort and nostalgia on four wheels

Arrive anywhere in style with the Barracks Jeep – the last thing you’ll worry about is how to get around the property and beyond. Whether it’s hopping on and off around the island or a pick up from your doorstep, every trip reminds you of a time where Jeeps were the primary mode of transport for British soldiers. Naturally, guests are entitled to request pick-ups and drop-offs in the Barracks Jeep. Otherwise, in peak seasons, limos will be the alternative which doesn’t compromise the level of comfort one single bit.

Needles and threads
Photograph: Joe's Tailoring

Needles and threads

“We’re the only few in Singapore that truly still do custom bespoke threads,” says Joseph Koh – Founder of Joe’s Tailoring. This family-owned bespoke tailoring house collaborates with The Barracks Hotel and sews up a personalised safari shirt, complete with customisable name mono, buttons, thread colour, and barracks embroidery. With almost 40 years in the business, the fitting experience is inimitable as each measurement was recorded to a tee. While we opted for an oversized fit, Joseph highlighted to us the fabric chosen and recommended a little cinch around the waist to accentuate our torsos. Let’s just say the 40 years really show in these threads.

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Private Grounds and waterfront villas
Photograph: Dawson Tan

Private Grounds and waterfront villas

With a strict no outside guest policy and only 40 available rooms, there’s a real sense of serenity on the grounds. Stroll along with the lush green lawns that were once the British Army’s parade square and marvel at the black-and-white colonial architecture. Or wake and bake… in the sun at the pool. If you happen to stay on the ground floor, enjoy direct access to the pool with your very own private jacuzzi – now if that isn’t luxury, we don’t know what is.

Making a dash for the beach or restaurant? Be sure to take advantage of the buggy service that is available to all guests. This already looks like the perfect retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Retreat to your quarters
Photograph: The Barracks Hotel Sentosa

Retreat to your quarters

Old world charm is undeniably the central theme of this retreat. Rooms are fitted with British military-inspired vintage furnishings with tanned leather, brass and mahogany-like wood elements. The bathroom showcases a crowning jewel of an Apaiser marble stone freestanding bathtub while the walls and floor are adorned with marble in the background. Blended with tasteful touches of modernity, the rooms are equipped with a 55-inch smart TV and a Marshall Bluetooth speaker. Feeling extra boozy? Hidden in a vintage leather bar cabinet is the minibar where you're free to shake up your own cocktails at a small cost of $10.

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Travel back in time
Photograph: Dawson Tan

Travel back in time

Hop onto the Barracks Jeep and head out for an afternoon filled with heritage. The Colonial Architecture Tour is a fully guided tour that whisks guests away to a few key spots – Fort Siloso, Mount Imbiah, Seletar Estate, Gillman Barracks, and Dempsey Hill – where personable tour guide Chris Freeman sheds light on the evolution of these areas over the years. Expect bite-size facts peppered along the way as Freeman shares about former nutmeg plantations to military barracks contrasted with modern mural arts and dining destinations present today.

HOT TIP Just remember to wear comfortable shoes and apply some sunscreen as there’s a wee bit of mileage to cover.

Vivacious evenings
Photograph: Dawson Tan

Vivacious evenings

Live it up in The Living Room where it's cocktail hour from 4pm to 7pm on the daily. Furnished with beautifully upholstered lounge chairs and colonial trinkets, the airy space allows one to comfortably unwind over soothing libations while savouring tasty exquisite canapés. Dubbed as the finest and most inspiring spot in The Barracks Hotel, settle down and finish your book, pen down your thoughts or simply plan for the rest of the evening. The Living Room is also where breakfast is served each morning. Enjoy a mix of Asian and Western cuisine to start off each morning right.

EAT THIS Start your mornings on a high note with the hearty Nasi Lemak where fragrant coconut rice is complemented by bright spicy chilli, runny egg, sambal prawns, succulent curry chicken, and refreshing achar.

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Discover the city’s vibrant neighbourhoods
Photograph: Dawson Tan

Discover the city’s vibrant neighbourhoods

Arise to a hearty breakfast at The Living Room and ready yourselves for the city’s ethnic enclaves as you embark on a walking tour steeped in multicultural heritage. Choose between Chinatown, Kampong Glam, Katong or Tiong Bahru where each itinerary is unlike the other. Since tea appreciation has seen a recent comeuppance, we decided on the Chinatown tour which includes a private Chinese tea appreciation workshop with food pairing at Tea Chapter. But before that, bubbly guide Natalie Chai doles out insightful historical facts and narratives about Singapore’s founding years – including the uncovering of Chinatown’s last well – as you traverse through the nooks and crannies of Telok Ayer and Chinatown.

Little things go a long way
Photograph: Dawson Tan

Little things go a long way

The hotel certainly dazzles with its tranquil property grounds and its luxurious rooms, along with the bottomless evenings we very much enjoyed. But what impressed and truly stood out are the little things displayed by the pleasant team behind the whole shebang. Upon every arrival, the lovable Gopal (Security Guard) greets us warmly and escorted us to the check-in but not without exchanging in light hearted banter. In The Living Room, the host makes sure we’re proper fed before leaving the premises. From the cold towels and refreshing welcome tea mocktail to the fun-loving yet thoughtful housekeeping team leaving behind animal shaped towels after each swift turn down, the small details really made our stay memorable.

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Worth the splurge?
Photograph: The Barracks Hotel

Worth the splurge?

Available from April 25, the Heritage Safari room package is priced at $2,988 for a 2-nights stay in a Premier Room and $3,588 for a 2-nights stay in a Suite. Definitely not your everyday splurge but for what it's worth, you get pool-side access to your very own private jacuzzi, a sleek bathtub, immaculate service, private Jeep tours, and an unlimited amount of food and bubbles. Whether you're someone with a dime to spare and desperately in need of a quick retreat or just simply visiting Singapore for a layover, this one-stop destination charms to an extent where you'll hardly ever want to leave its premises.

Book here.

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