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#680

Staycay: Yotel Singapore

31 Dec 2021 By

What To Expect From A Spirited Staycation With The Highest Hotel Bar in Orchard (Probably)

Not sure how, but it’s completely gone over our heads (quite literally) that high above busy Orchard Road sits an oasis of a cocktail bar, with lofty high ceilings and a view of a glittering lap pool. We’re talking about Komyuniti, a breezy hotel bar on the 10th floor of Yotel Orchard. Confounding spelling aside, Komyuniti is a relaxed watering hole with straightforward charms. By day, it’s an invigorating, charming space with a cool alfresco area, far removed from the bustle of the streets. By night, it takes on the jazzy hues of an elegant cocktail lounge.

 

 

Intrigued by the possibilities glimpsed at a ‘placebo cocktail’ tasting earlier this year, we decided to indulge in a fuller experience and promptly booked ourselves in for a boozy staycation. Though Yotel was started by Yo! Sushi founder Simon Woodroffe as a luxury capsule hotel chain in London, their first Asian outpost offers a little more room (or cabin space) in their city hotel suite offerings. 

 

 

Having only seen the standard cabins via vlogs, we were suitably impressed how roomy our First-Class King Suite (S$430++ per night) felt in comparison. Yotel’s signature smart designs, including an adjustable king size SmartBed™, created a seamless space that flowed naturally from bedroom to bathroom. The room had all the trappings of a business hotel – a Bonmatic Mini coffee machine, plenty of bathroom amenities for the light packer, a tiny but efficient closet – but the 2 balconies (yes, 2) and the panoramic views they afford say “built for pleasure” too. That, and an unexpected but welcome drinking accessory – a wall-mounted beer bottle opener – was all we needed.

 

Day drinking is practically de rigueur for any successful boozy staycay, so we promptly popped down to Komyuniti, where a couple of digital nomad-types were living their best work-lives with the Grind & Dine package – a co-working promotion with dollar for dollar F&B credits (ie a $40 nett four-hour package comes with $40 to spend at Komyuniti). They have their pick of the earlier-mentioned ‘placebo cocktails’ made with non-alcoholic spirits by Lyre’s, but award-winning head mixologist As’ad Isnin has curated a creative and unusual cocktail menu we were eager to explore. 

 

The cocktail menu is divided into different categories, ostensibly to help you pick your poison according to mood. “Fish Tank”, for example, is subtitled ‘Cheers, Fizzy, Bubbly’, suggesting fun, easy-drinking cocktails best enjoyed whilst lounging poolside. Alas, with pandemic restrictions in place, no food or drink can be served at the pool area, so there goes my post-swim gin & tonic. As a nod to the hotel’s ubiquitous purple, I selected a violet-hued cocktail from “Yuzu” – Le Negra Rita ($18), made with kaffir lime-infused Olmeca tequila, lime, orange liqueur, charcoal syrup, citrus foam, black salt, and flower mist. A refreshingly different, upscale twist on the margarita, fun to drink, if slightly heavy-handed on the sour. 

 

 

Komyuniti runs drink promos for almost every day of the week – it was “Thirsty Thursdays”, so a bucket of 5 beers (Peroni/Pilsner Grolsch/Pilsner Urquell) was $39. Not bad for a night on the town. Can’t have drinks on an empty stomach, so we ordered a round of sharing plates. Their signature Spicy Korean Fried Chicken was a crowd pleaser –  hot, crispy and flavourful – but you can skip the lifeless kimchi. That was probably the highlight; the rest of the food was average at best. The fried brussels sprouts were sopping with grease, the crispy bacon decidedly not so. Might I suggest a sauté instead? I did enjoy the paprika prawns, fresh and meaty, although my dinner companion found them altogether too greasy, but we were both equally confused why they were named Prawn Cocktail when they bore no resemblance to the classic 80s hors d’oeuvre typically served cold in a glass. And while the Duck Fat Fries were fine, I think we would’ve struggled to distinguish them for any old run-of-the-mill fries. Still, as evening descended, the garden-esque charm of the outdoor area was hard to deny. 

 

 

We decided to linger for another drink. I’d been eyeing the Shibuya Crossing – peanut butter-washed bourbon, toasted peanuts & spice liqueur, butterscotch, and chocolate bitters sounded like a good desserty end to the evening. Served with a flourish of smoke, it was as smooth as I wanted for a post-dinner nightcap. I stole a sip of my companion’s Barrel-Aged Old Fashioned, just to try what sous vide bourbon & maple syrup aged 21 days in an American oak barrel would taste like. It might sound weird to some, but it’s actually a precise way to infuse flavours into the chosen spirit. A little sweeter than expected, but really, what was I expecting from maple syrup-infused bourbon?

 

 

If you’re up for a night-nightcap in the privacy of your own room, consider their range of bottled cocktails. Although, at $26.75, they’re a smidge pricier than dine-in. There was also no room service at the time of our stay, so you’d also have to pick them up yourself. Disappointingly, this also meant no Jetsons-esque robot-powered drinks delivery to the room. So much for the 21st century eh? Seriously though, because the bottled cocktails are made fresh to order, you’d want to get them ahead of time. Or do as we did and stock the mini fridge with wine from M&S, right across the street. 

   

 

As night fell, we flicked the room lights to purple for that retro-futuristic space capsule vibe. Wine out on the balcony 30 floors above the glittering city, fresh breeze blowing, is quite a feeling. It’s quite a remarkable vantage point of Orchard Road not afforded to many. It’s just too bad there’s no furniture to relax on so you can drink it all in. The glass door is also incredibly heavy – you wouldn’t want to accidentally lock yourself out there.

 After a refreshing night on the luxuriously comfortable Serta mattress, designed exclusively for Yotel, we were ready for a leisurely hour in the pool. With capacity restrictions came a silver lining – the pool (and gym) was relaxing and uncrowded. Hopefully, it won’t be long until we’re able to enjoy an ice-cold beer by the pool with a good book for company again.

 

 

Yotel might be a business hotel, but it has plenty of quirk and charm for a snappy weekend getaway. There aren’t many onsite facilities, but then again you’re smack dab in the heart of the city – restaurants, bars, galleries galore. And the room was, without question, one of the best designed hotel rooms – everything had its place (even a handy ledge for a shower beer). We do have a suggestion that would enhance the boozy staycation experience though. What about the option to pre-stock the mini fridge with bottled cocktails, beer and even snacks for a fee? It gives vacationers the convenience and luxury of staying in, and might even encourage them to try different drinks at the bar.

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