A stay at Hmlet Cantonment shows why this new concept is winning over new fans
SINGAPORE (Oct 14): Gone are the days of staying alone in your room with no one to hang out with. The trend these days is to share a living space with strangers, and eventually make new friends.
Co-living is the new in thing among millennials. It entails sharing certain spaces and participating in social activities with other members of the co-living community, as compared with renting a regular flat or apartment.
You will, however, still have your privacy, as you will be able to rent your own bedroom.
Options spent the weekend at the newly opened Hmlet Cantonment and found that co-living was surprisingly not as weird or as uncomfortable as it sounds.
Hmlet Cantonment is located just a short walk from Tanjong Pagar MRT station. Owing to its strategic location in one of Singapore’s most interesting areas filled with fine dining restaurants and heritage sites, Hmlet Cantonment also allows for short-term stays of at least six nights, as compared with at least three months at the other Hmlet properties in Singapore.
The rooms here are decorated in a modern white and light-coloured wood theme and all sport large windows that overlook beautiful greenery. The bathrooms, on the other hand, are decked out in classy matte black hardware — such as the sink, towel rack and showerhead. If you walk along the corridor, you would notice that the lamps too are in matte black.
Weekly stays at the Hmlet start from $1,105, or $145 per night, while members who book a three-month stay and above will enjoy preferential rates from $3,240 a month.
Past meets present
The building that houses Hmlet Cantonment used to be the headquarters of Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau. Before that, in the 1950s, it was Keppel Primary School. With so much history, it is no wonder the property is deemed a heritage site.
The designers of Hmlet Cantonment have kept some interior fixtures from the 1950s, such as the original staircase with terrazzo handrails in Block A. To add to the heritage feel of the property, batik prints from a local designer decorate the walls of Block A’s lobby along the stairs.
The interior designers of Hmlet Cantonment, Amelia Koo and Pran Lukito, told Options that they used art pieces and antiques throughout the property to bring out its heritage vibe, without compromising on its overall modern interior.
“What makes Hmlet Cantonment special is that it is a boutique co-living space, which allowed us to have more fun in creating the space. At the end of the day, we will always create spaces that have the community spirit underlined,” say Koo and Lukito, who designed all of Hmlet’s properties.
At the corridor of every floor, as well as in some of the shared areas, there are drawings that depict the childhood of the artist — Chris Chew of Art of Chris — in Singapore. They include drawings of iconic places, food and games.
Koo and Lukito even managed to procure vintage textbooks from the 1950s and framed them up in the lift lobby. Another conversation piece are the antique badminton racquets found on the wall of the communal kitchen.
A key factor about co-living that grabs the attention of millennials is its social aspect.
“From the moment someone signs up to be a Hmlet member, the community team takes over and helps guide the member with their move in. We personally welcome every Hmlet member into their new home,” says community director of Hmlet, Rachel Ridgwell.
Co-living is not just about sharing common areas; it focuses on genuine interaction between like-minded people. That is where social activities and events come in.
Members who feel like sharing their skills can even choose to host events. During our stay, we attended a sketch walk hosted by Alena Kudriashova, 35, a full-time interior designer who has been a Hmlet member for the past six months. Armed with a sketch book and pens, Kudriashova brought us around the property and taught us to observe and draw our surroundings. With many of the participants having a common interest in art, everyone eventually started sharing their experiences.
It was just one example of why this new way of living is growing in popularity among millennials.