Singapore is like my second home.
After almost 2 years of monthly visits, I’ve recently decided to make Singapore my “home” for a week each month, and to remain in Malaysia to take care of business for the rest of the 3 weeks.
My monthly commute has been going well for the past 8 months, with some months seeing me crossing the border twice in a month because there were some exciting events in the Lion City.
Was it exhausting you ask?
Did I fly all the time?
Yes and No.
I flew as much as I can but the commute from town to the airport is a hassle back here in KL.
However, once I land in Changi, it was a breeze to get to anywhere in Singapore.
I’ve recently switched between trains and flights, for recently Air Asia and Malindo has been facing consistent delays or cancelations.
When I’m in Singapore, my accommodations are usually AirBnbs, hostels, hotels or at I’ll be bunking in some HDB flats courtesy of my kind friends.
I’ve not posted about my AirBnBs as I didn’t want to get my hosts into trouble. But I’ve frequently posted about my hotel stays. In fact you can read about them here.
Conrad is one of my favourites; and Shangri-la is just amazing.
As for the hostels, well, most are clean, safe and conveniently located. I hardly ever posted or spoke of them, though I must have stayed at about 20 of them around Singapore.
I’ve never gotten around to posting about them as it wasn’t a priority, but my recent stay in the spanking new COO Bistro and Boutique Hostel certainly deserve a mention.
To begin, I’ve yet to stay in such a modern and cool place for approximate <SGD60/night (rates dependent on season).
The price is a steal for the amenities provided, the location and the comforts dispensed.
True it is still bunk-sharing, dormitory style accommodation. But this is a hostel after all.
And if you are traveling with friends, book the whole dorm with the en-suite option (yes, shower and toilet attached!) and there you have it, a ‘whole room’ to your group with everyone having their own bed!
Here, watch this video which shows everything you need to know about Coo Hostel.
VIDEO: Coo Hostel – dorm, amenities, public space, bistro, location
We are talking about COOL, the cool-kinda of cool here.
Yes, modern and stylish. The ground floor bistro was a bit disconcerting for me with the flashy blue fluorescent type of lights overhead but overall the vibe is young and hip.
While some hotels overdo it with plenty of furnishing and loud colors, the furnishing for this “sociatel ” (newly coined term for social hotel) is kept functional and simple.
Simple is good. Simple is well, non-distracting.
The COO Bistro
The COO Bistro on the ground floor was my first introduction to this hostel. Besides the compact reception space, the bistro owns every square metre of the ground floor.
The walls are what I like, the writings, the snippets of history and informative words about its locality (which is Tiong Bahru) and the murals are fun.
The lighting however, seems more suited for a night joint.
I’m a fan of airy spaces and sunlight so I chose to have my breakfast or to chill right outside at the entrance whenever I’m in the hostel.
The COO Bistro offers a creative of Asian and Western dishes. Pork is available (Muslims take note) and some of their pork dishes are such as the Pork Cheek Capellini and their roast pork.
I sampled 2 items upon arrival, had a coffee and another time a mocktail with a friend during my 3 nights stay.
I won’t elaborate about the food as Coo Bistro is newly opened. Perhaps I’ll revisit when I’m in SG again later this month.
The complimentary brekkie
Since we are on the topic of food, let’s get on with the daily breakfast served for staying guests.
The bistro welcomes public guests from 10 am onwards so the daily complimentary breakfast starts at 7 am to 9:30 am.
The spread consisted of a local dish (fried rice, noodles), sliced bread with choices of peanut butter, kaya or jam, pastries, muffins, 2 cereals and beverages are orange juice, milk, coffee and tea.
Or should I say, the dorm?
There were a few rooms spread over 3 floors.
We have the 4 bed dorms as well as the 6 bed dorms. Some of these dorms has the luxury of en-suite bathrooms so be sure to select that option during your booking if you would like the convenience of a shower/toilet within the room itself.
The dorm is air conditioned of course, but rather dim as the windows are kept closed. Of course you can switch on the lights, but for me, nothing beats sunshine.
The predominant color is gray though the artwork on the wall did provide some color.
The beds are firm with standard bedsheets. Some dorms provide blankets, some don’t. The ones that does would usually pass you a thick cotton blanket (some are actually large towels).
Here we got a thick, fluffy comforter type which really helps in keeping me tucked in warm and comfy.
It is common for hostels to provide lockers but having your locker with a combination lock system as well as having it right where your bed is is uncommon, not to mention super convenient.
And of course, reading light. Personal mirror with a light ring and 2 charging points per bed – what else could you ask for?
I normally travel with 3 way pin or even an extension so I can charge all my devices from ONE power source.
However, since the dorm was pretty empty, I could make use of the public power points as well as the two at my bed.
BELOW: 2 extra points by the entrance.
The room may look narrow but near the window there is an empty spot which I found to be convenient for my luggage.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, my room was only occupied by myself and another lady so I made use of this public space. Otherwise, I’ll just push my luggage against the wall with my bed number (as per the image above) or slide my bags under the bed.
NOTE: I opened the window for photography purposes as the windows are supposed to be kept closed.
Like I’ve said before, the dorm is quite dark even with the lights on.
On the 2nd floor is a spacious, airy zone for a spot of reading, chilling or socializing.
This is where the washing machine and dryer is located too, as well as the pantry where a microwave and soon, a fridge will be installed.
Each paying guest gets a towel (to be returned of course) and free use of the dispenser type shampoo and soap. A hairdryer is at a corner near to the sink, but not directly at the sink/mirror spot to avoid congestion/guests hovering near the sink and hindering human traffic.
Location: Easily accessible by public buses and MRT. Plenty of food choices and shops.
Tiong Bahru is an enclave bursting with rustic charm and hipster-esque vibes that are bound to draw any creative soul in.
You’ll find quaint indie boutiques and cafes plus fantastic local food in Tiong Bahru Market & Food Centre.
Supermarkets and convenient stores are nearby and there’s historical significance as Tiong Bahru is amongst some of the oldest housing estates in Singapore.
The market is popular in the mornings while the tzi char (individual shops that offers cooked Chinese food upon order) gets packed when during sundown.
BELOW: The Tiong Bahru Market is a mere 4 minutes stroll.
It is one of Singapore’s most popular market and food centre which also has many famous local food, 2 of which was recently awarded the 2016 “Bib Gourmand” by the first edition of the Singapore Michelin Guide.
BELOW: Pretty neighbourhood cafes.
BELOW: On the same row as Coo Hostel there are 6 – 7 shops offering Tiong Bahru famous pau, coffeeshop, steamboat, seafood restaurants and chicken rice.
PS: ** This article by Mothership.sg pretty much sums it up –> http://mothership.sg/2016/05/14-reasons-why-youd-want-to-stay-in-tiong-bahru/
There are a MRT station (Outram Park) within walking distance from the hotel (about 750 m according to Google map) but if you are lazy, you can take a bus from the bus stop just across the road from COO Hostel.
The MRT station is just ONE (1) stop away and every bus from here will be passing by Outram Park MRT.
My personal experiences:
I can’t remember the buses I took, but I got get to Katong and back one evening. On another day I had to go to Hotel Jen Tanglin and I took a bus as well.
The journey to Orchard area is about 25 minutes only!
Hotel contact and address:
COO Bistro and Boutique Hostel, Sociatel
259, Outram Road,
Waze: “COO Bistro and Boutique Hostel”.
Tel: STAY: +65 6221 5060
EAT: +65 6221 7060