The Adamson Lodge at Perak Road screamed luxury right from the moment I was met with its facade. Despite so, it accomplished that illusion at a meager $16 per night (booked through hotels.com), inclusive of taxes, for a bed in a 16 bedded mixed dormitory en-suite. To call it an illusion might be a disservice to the establishment; while certainly not polished in every fine touch, the lodge does a fantastic job in servicing to the average hostel guest at the most relevant times of the day. This would be my second visit to the hostel, and one I had been looking forward to for a long time.
At the lodge, a no shoes policy is implemented across the board within its elegant interior space. Gaining access into the fully air conditioned premises, I left my shoes at a small rack just beside the doors, and was attended to by a seated counter lady for my check in. I was to fill a form documenting my particulars in that process, and intriguingly enough, it acknowledged the possibility of a NSF (National Service Full time) guest, meaning I could tick a box stating that I was a local conscript. I wonder what use they would have for such information.
The counter was where I received my key card and locker key for a hefty deposit of $30, along with a receipt required on check out as proof to the claim of said amount. Functionally, the key card operates to unlock the front doors only, but on it were details such as the door code into my allocated room and the free hostel Wi-Fi, which made it more so a handy reminder card. Soon after, the staff directed me towards the bed I would reside in.
Located on the first floor, this was an image I had snapped of the room the next afternoon when it was (finally) empty. Nonetheless, it captures the initial perspective of what one would see upon opening the room door. You might have noticed that I’ve skipped entire mention of the lobby before entering the room. The “lobby”, if it even meets the criteria of one, is probably my only significantly gripe with the lodge, although I shall later address it specifically.
What I had paid no attention to on my first time experience was how tall the bunk beds really were in the room comparing to many other hostels; I mean not to imply any difficulty climbing onto the upper deck. In fact, it’s a tad ironic that the room in overall contained things larger and more than in the lobby. The play of dark and bright contrast between furniture and built environment within remains consistent with the minimalist theme throughout the rest of the lodge.
“Larger and more” does not only apply towards the beds themselves as one could effortlessly chuck a truck load into the extra spacious locker. While self evident by simply gauging through the naked eye, I decided to test the theory with my laptop. Sure enough, the Adamson Lodge is the only hostel I am aware of to host lockers sizable enough to fit my 17″ monster (excuse me) in a tabletop manner.
Beds provided were fresh and comfortable, but otherwise of the common flair, although the choice of white sheets and pillow cases complementing the almost black frames definitely blends well into a semblance of exquisiteness. Despite being limited to one plug socket per bed, I do appreciate the influence of regularity in the placement of such sockets, hence fusing them into the general theme of the hostel.
We’ve yet to cover the best facility the lodge has to offer. If there’s any reason to come here beyond its superb cleanliness, the lodge offers what I would consider a hotel standard equivalent of accommodation when you really have to go… Or when you just need a nice hot shower. Praise the lord and feast your eyes on the magnificence of budget high living within the confines of god tier toilets.
There were a total of three toilets hosted in the 16 persons dormitory, albeit one catered solely with a urinal and sink. In the remaining two, a beautiful glass door and panel segregated the shower area from other dry segments of the washroom. As I flipped the handle to engage in a heartwarming downpour of cleansing, steam visibly rose to engulf the air within the designated wet zone. A metal bar was installed on the flip side of the glass door, keeping my hanged towel in relative reach for an after shower drying (while still enjoying the steam!).
All in all, it seems a strong abidance to a rectangular geometric design, as well as an intelligent use of reflective surfaces had forged what I experienced as a form of grandeur. Alas, I was ripe to settle for the night.
The Adamson Lodge is perhaps also the only hostel I know of not to serve breakfast. As such, there was little incentive for me to get up early in the morning. The lack of a cold water dispenser (although they do have hot water in the water boiler) posed less of an issue thanks to some relatively affordable bottled water sold at Sim Lim Square, which is accessible through the underground Rochor MRT station and just across Sungei and Rochor Canal Road. Anyways, I was up and in the mood for a fancy vegetarian brunch.
Veggie Cottage Cafe at Dalhousie Lane, a alley walk away, was to be my destination, for it not its closure and demolition of where it had once set shop. This was unsurprising to say the least; troubles obviously plagued the Chinese store owner for months past, from the scarcity of available items on the menu, to frequent no shows at the store. Dalhousie Lane was home to two distinct tranquility themed cafes, and on that afternoon it had dawned upon me that the number cuts down to one.
The Peace Cafe stood as the survivor amongst the two. Ran by a pair of elder Indian women, its menu presented an array of healthy and affordable vegan/vegetarian options for its wraps and sandwiches, as well as some guilt tripping pizzas. Additional customization into specific ingredients was possible, although I eventually ordered at my convenience one of its signature pizzas, the “Paneer Tikka” ($16 NET for 8″).
It was a striking distinction from my meals here prior; unlike the light and subtle food I knew before, to have a rich, heavy and filling guilty treat that rips a new one in my wallet gave new introspection in my perception of the vegetarian flavor. Granted, it was strictly a dairy inclusive dish, also incorporating other cheeses such as cheddar and mozzarella into the equation. I was able to taste small tints of curry underlying each bite, and sporting a bright tomato herb base with the inclusion of bell peppers (I love bell peppers!), the colorful delicacy packed both an illusive meatiness from the dairy and veggie juiciness into one fiery punch.
Surrendering myself into a perpetual sweet craving, a frosted chocolate cup cake ($3 NET) found its way to my table front. Don’t be fooled by appearances; the frosting was more akin to milk chocolate candy than milky vanilla cream. I guess you do get what you pay for, and in this scenario, I had poorly adjusted my expectations based on presentation over substance. Still, it was time to make peace with an overall satisfactory brunch.
In my free time, I would grab a tall stool to function a laptop within this barely furnished “lobby”. To be fair, it retained the usual Adamson Lodge standards of pristine hygiene and a baseline functionality. While plug sockets were technically in abundance, they were installed in pairs and in awkward corners. The most reasonably positioned sockets under the table on the left of the picture were, more often than not, occupied by electric fans that the staff would utilize to dry wet floors after their daily mopping routine. As a result, my charging cables would consequently be tangling over strange angles or across the middle empty space: a major annoyance for the OCD minded individual like myself.
Here’s a random giraffe just chilling while I lose my balls.
Such images were sticker’d across the common ground floor, and our sanitary paradise was no exception; at least, that was the case with the common washroom in the lobby. A dinosaur themed sticker was mounted front from where the toilet bowl was facing. As captivating as the picture was, I can’t help contemplating if the establishment was attempting to play a cruel satirical joke regarding the emotional state of one in the appropriate event.
The greatest time saving and most practical benefit of staying at the Adamson Lodge would be of its excellent location. Being literally just a few seconds away from Rochor MRT, it might just be the easiest hostel within downtown Singapore for an amateur to track down, having its logo on display as the first greeting sign one would witness upon leaving the station. Another potential positive can be exemplified via a late Friday afternoon, when I had arranged a meeting with several friends at Farrer Park MRT for a dinner food trip. Arriving at Rochor MRT terminal, it came to my realization that I had left my EZ link card back in the lodge. Fortunately, I needed only to set myself back roughly 3-5 minutes to retrieve what was so nearby before I was en route to my original plans.
‘Tis a morning me on my bed after a night of delectable adventures. Wrapped in a blue sheet of blanket, it was just the correct temperature to lull myself further into the afternoon. This pleasant account is in stark contrast from my previous experience, to which my bed was laid under where the air conditioner was blowing directly at, substantially sinking my foot into icy temperatures. That is to say, the blankets themselves would be incapably thin to sustain body heat given cooler climates. Redeemable were the two separate manually controllable air conditioners on opposite sides of the bunk room, allowing for some degree of balance in between.
Fast forward into the evening (I have my private affairs), I had refreshed myself in preparation for an overnight session of blog writing in the lobby. While the lodge did not readily supply chilled water, in its place was a pair of vending machines dispensing both hot and cold drinks. This was actually one of, and maybe the only very handy asset of the lobby. I’d purchase a can of Yeo’s soy bean milk to accompany my mornings, or in this circumstance, my nights. At barely a dollar, it’s a rare feat for cheap beverages to be had in a hostel.
Hours into work, some commotion occurred pertaining to the sofa in blue. Two male guests who roamed the lobby till past midnight were attended to by a staff, who claimed in the moment he was feeling too uneasy to sleep without fixing a buggy situation. That pun was intended, as the couch was indeed plagued with microscopic bugs whom the two guests were victims of their bites. One had attested to being preyed on earlier through his blankets, hence below were isolated sheets in a struggle to confine the reach of bug spreading.
I was somewhat bewildered by the staff’s rather clumsy attempts to rectify the problem (flipping the sofa to search for bugs etc), yet it was compelling to watch as his sincere attitude to resolve dissatisfaction kept him awake for longer than even the affected guests would take for granted. Surely it was not great news to learn of an active bug infestation within my present living space, but ultimately the positive attitude of the staff outweighed the negative factor.
Come the morning of check out, I couldn’t justify saying goodbye to the lodge without exploring the mysterious entrance standing right of the lobby counter. Upon permission, I was given a tour of the upper floors by an assisting staff. The instantaneous transformation of color, to brown, and texture, to wooden, shed an impression of sterility altogether. Instead, I was met with a sense of homely warmth and coziness, thematically worlds away from my original experience.
The amply wide nature found on the lower storey was here no more in its narrow and common corridors. Of course, I’m otherwise not in the position to criticize the spacial qualities of private rooms, to which I had no access into. Cleanliness was nevertheless as strong a suit of jolly appraisal.
Let’s not forget to tribute our attention to the most sacred sanctuaries within the Adamson Lodge, only at greater heights.
In spite of its many spectacular highs, the lodge had little of your average post check out common zone accommodation, hence me leaving the hostel at middle afternoon. Don’t let the small matters bar yourself from setting your sights at this outstandingly restful stop away from home. The check in timing is from 2pm onward. And before I halt this entry…
Guess where’s that.
6 Perak Road
4 Dalhousie Lane
Prince of Wales Little India
101 Dunlop Street