Located in one of Singapore’s oldest and most revered food neighbourhoods, Citadines Balestier Singapore offers extended stay options well-suited for those who want to explore Balestier’s myriad food options.
Citadines Balestier Singapore, we have to admit, makes for an unusual choice for a stay. But hear us out.
Sure, the serviced apartment hotel – one of the many around Singapore under Ascott Limited’s Citadines brand – may be not be as modern and flashy like Citadines Raffles Place Singapore smack in the heart of the country’s financial district, or as conveniently set near key education and technology hubs like the spanking-new Citadines Connect Rochester Singapore. But it is located in Balestier, one of Singapore’s oldest residential neighbourhoods, and more importantly, one of the most iconic food districts on our island.
But first, the property. The 166-unit Citadines Balestier Singapore is technically classified as an apartment hotel, which means it’s suited for those looking for longer stays of at least seven days. We stayed in Studio Premier, the smallest of the three room types offered.
Unlike the One-Bedroom Executive and One-Bedroom Premier rooms, at 30sqm the Studio Premier doesn’t have a living area, but is still comfortable enough for two persons to laze around either on the queen-sized bed or a small lounge sofa. There’s sufficient wardrobe and storage space, while a compact study desk offers an area to work from.
We like the small kitchenette, which comes with an induction stove, microwave oven, wash sink and a half-sized refrigerator if you want to do some light cooking during your stay. Likewise, the toilet and shower is cosy but functional.
Functional. That’s the operative word. Everything about the room is practical and functional, if not exactly dripping in luxury. Basically you’ll have most of the amenities you need to comfortably live here for a week.
Feeling claustrophobic? Head down to the lobby. Here you’ll find plenty of space and most of the hotel facilities. Need a bigger space to work from? The resident’s lounge has many comfortable lounges and tables to hot desk from (as well as an automated Starbucks machine to buy some java for fuel). And aside from a good-sized pool good for comfortable laps, there’s a gym and an outdoor fitness area – complete with a running track – where you can work up a sweat. There’s also a laundrette, if you so need to wash and dry your clothes.
A convenience store on the first floor allows you to stock up on basic necessities.
The real reason to stay – at least for a while – at Citadines Balestier Singapore? It gives you the opportunity to explore one of the most historically- and culturally-significant neighbourhoods in Singapore if you don’t already live anywhere in the area.
First, a caveat. Balestier is an eclectic old neighbourhood. The immediate area around the apartment hotel is rather run-down and dilapidated, so exploring the area is a challenge with its potholes and cracked pavements all along Balestier Road. But for seasoned urban adventurers, it can be very rewarding.
For Balestier Road is a food haven. And particularly if you love bak kut teh – there are at least five eateries offering the peppery pork soup dish in the area (including the original outlet for Founder Bak Kut Teh), making this stretch Singapore’s bak kut teh capital. For chicken rice fans there’s also the first-ever restaurant of Boon Tong Kee, established back in 1983, or Loy Kee Chicken Rice, with a history going back to 1953.
Alternatively head over to Whampoa Market, home to dozens of hawker stalls well-beloved by locals living in the area (and the rest of Singapore). Among others you’re looking at Michelin Bib Gourmand awardees Liang Zhao Ji, famous for their braised duck rice, and Balestier Road Hoover Rojak, one of the few still offering Chinese rojak, a fast disappearing hawker dish. Don’t forget Huat Heng Fried Oyster, another Michelin-approved stall that offers oyster omelette.
And if you like traditional local bread, cross over to Sin Hon Loong Bakery. This humble old-school bakery churns out hundreds of loaves of soft fluffy white bread, which you can ask to be spread with peanut butter, butter, or kaya. Otherwise there are various yummy buns to choose from.
Another traditional Chinese delicacy that Balestier is famous for? Tau sar piah. There are around three bakeries offering them, which is iconic enough in this area that Citadines Balestier Singapore actually has a wall mural featuring these sweet-savoury pastries.
Verdict: Citadines Balestier Singapore is a perfectly viable option for those are looking for an extended stay option in the Balestier area. For foodies, the area is an absolute treasure trove offering all manner of traditional favourites to please the most demanding of local palates. Bonus for dog owners: the apartment hotel is also pet-friendly!
[Photos courtesy of The Ascott Limited]
Citadines Balestier Singapore
Address 207 Balestier Rd, Singapore 329683 (Google Maps link)
Tel (65) 6434 8888
Rates check here