“Topnotch customer service and a balcony?”
Those were the primary deciding factors when I booked J8 Hotel for our Singapore trip. Moreover, the fact that it’s strategically located near the downtown area pretty much sealed the deal.
Since we were not some fancy jet setting couple, we didn’t have the means to check ourselves in a posh Singapore hotel. However, a mid-range boutique hotel like J8 is already enough to have a comfortable and satisfying stay in this tiny nation of modern luxuries.
It’s Singapore, guys! Everything is freakin’ expensive!
I found the hotel while browsing on Traveloka.com and after reading countless reviews about the accommodation, I then booked the last available Patio Room with Balcony Mini Bar for ₱6,054.26/night. Please note that there are more affordable rooms in the hotel if you want to skimp on your accommodation budget.
The room we booked had free breakfast for two, complimentary mini bar, WiFi, and a smart TV with access to Netflix.
A few days before the trip, I emailed the hotel to ask if there’s a security deposit to be given upon check-in so I can prepare cash beforehand. They replied that there wasn’t and that my room booking via Traveloka was confirmed. This was probably because I fully paid the reservation online in advance.
We reached J8 Hotel in Lavender from Changi Airport by availing the airport’s shared shuttle service ($9 SGD/pax).
The boutique hotel has 20th century-style architecture on the outside, but don’t be fooled by its seemingly old facade. The hotel actually has modern amenities when you get in.
J8 actually received the Architectural Heritage Award in 2014, an annual, honorary ceremony carried out to recognise organisations for their exceptional efforts in the high quality, sensitive restoration of National Monuments and buildings under conservation. See the full list of their awards here: http://www.j8hotel.com/awards
My first impression upon arriving at the hotel?
This is the kind of hotel where you don’t have to feel very conscious about your every move. J8 Hotel felt homey and down-to-earth.
A total opposite experience we had when we stayed at Eastin Hotel in Kuala Lumpur where we almost rubbed shoulders with guests driving Mercedes Benz and BMWs. To be honest, we were not fully aware that it was a luxury business hotel until we stepped in it and saw important-looking people rushing in and out of the hotel. Nevertheless, we had a lovely stay at the hotel and loved their over-the-top breakfast buffet.
J8 Hotel’s lobby isn’t big, but it connects to the hotel restaurant to the right and the reception area to the left. There is also a restroom in the lobby with automatic sliding doors.
Across the reception area is a room where you can leave your luggage for free. We took advantage of this when we checked out of our room early on our last day in Singapore. We had to leave our luggage there so we can conveniently shop in Chinatown and Bugis street before heading back to the Philippines.
Checking in was easy!
We were attended by a smiling male receptionist who warmly greeted us and politely asked for our passports. Within a minute or two, we found ourselves on the topmost floor in our room settling in our luggage and appreciating the view from our balcony.
Our Hotel Room
The size of the room was a far cry from our last accommodation in KL, but since this is Singapore where real estate prices are sky-high, we totally understood the size of the space we were given. Nevertheless, it was clean, cozy, and just enough for me and my husband. We would be out exploring Singapore during the majority of our stay anyway.
The balcony has a remote-controlled sunscreen roller shades. It’s just a button away should you fancy a view of the buildings surrounding the area from your balcony.
We loved the bed! The mattress was amazingly comfortable. The pillows and sheets were fluffy and felt smooth against our skin.
On the first day, everything in the mini fridge was free. There were bottled water, sodas, and chocolates in the fridge that we could munch on. There was also an electric kettle and complimentary tea, coffee, and sugar.
Even though the space was tight, I fell in love with the bathroom! Every space was economically used.
There’s a glass panel that separates the shower from the toilet, so the guest can keep the toilet area dry while showering. I am not sure if the same design was followed in the bathrooms of the other rooms. I saw one bathroom in the hotel online that had a shower right in front of the toilet without any panel separating the two. It would have been an inconvenience to me as well had the hotel gave us that room.
The toilet has a bidet and refillable containers for hand soap, body wash, and shampoo. Aside from being economical, it’s also environment-friendly.
Did I already mention it has a hair dryer?
Free Breakfast + Buffet
Our booking at J8 Hotel had a free breakfast for two in their cafe/restaurant.
There’s a mini breakfast buffet of Asian delights (toast, porridge, noodles/bee hoon/pasta) and free flow of coffee, tea, and orange juice. Along with the mini buffet is the free set breakfast where you can choose a Continental/Western plate. I recommend the chocolate waffles!
Just go to the bar and ask the person in charge for the free breakfast menu. You’ll have to choose 1 set from the 5 options given.
If you’re intending to stay at the hotel for many days and you get tired of the limited breakfast menu, there are a lot of nearby restaurants where you can enjoy Singaporean cuisine early in the morning.
Where J8 Hotel lacks in its space it compensates for its very convenient location.
There are three bus stops and 2 MRT stations close by. A five to seven-minute walk from the hotel to the nearest bus stop (going to the city), Opp Veerasamy Rd, is a good exercise.
The Berseh Food Centre is also just across the hotel.
Tourist spots like Masjid Sultan, Arab Street, Haji Lane, Kampong Glam are less than 1 km away. Mustafa Center and City Square Mall are no more than 500m walking distance. Other shopping malls like Bugis Junction and Bugis+ are also within walking distance or 5-minute ride with the MRT.
Always have your Google maps handy, as well as the app/site Rome2Rio so you’ll know which public transport to take to your destination and how far the destination is from the hotel.
The best thing about our stay at J8 Hotel was their friendly staff and excellent customer service. That is something that most hotel guests unanimously said in their reviews on booking websites.
My husband spent the nights just watching Netflix films while downing a few bottles of Tiger beer, which he bought from the hotel’s bar/restaurant.
An odd thing happened on our first night though.
We wanted to eat something while watching Netflix in the room, so I used the telephone to call the reception area and asked for room service. To my surprise, the receptionist said they don’t offer room service in the hotel. A few minutes later, someone knocked on our door. I opened it and found a lady in her late 50s speaking fast to me in Mandarin. I was horrified as I only speak a handful of Mandarin. Furthermore, she didn’t look like hotel staff. I thought she was another hotel guest or something who was complaining about noise, but our TV’s volume wasn’t loud and we only talked in moderate volume.
“Sorry. No Mandarin, please. Only English,” I said, attempting to speak broken English.
She continued speaking in Mandarin that almost felt like ranting, but I just shook my head indicating I didn’t understand a word she said.
She gave up with both hands up and finally said, “Never mind.” She walked away, leaving me clueless.
Up to this day, I wondered who she was and what she wanted. Was she a guest or a hotel staff who wanted to know what we wanted when we called for room service. That’s a mystery we would never know.
If you’re planning to stay at J8 Hotel during your Singapore trip, I would recommend that you book the Patio Room with emphasis on a spacious bathroom. Or if you have a limited budget, you can opt for a cheaper room. Just make sure it has windows!
For a budget-hotel, it’s definitely value for money.