I went on a S$1,000 staycation at Sentosa’s new Barracks Hotel – and it was every bit as glorious as the price tag promised

Barracks Hotel opened on Dec 1.
Rachel Chia/Business Insider

Sentosa’s newest hotel opened its doors on Sunday (Dec 1).

The heritage-rich Barracks Hotel – operated by developer Far East Organization – is the last of three hotels to be built on the company’s newly-acquired plot of land on Artillery Avenue.

Sister properties Village Sentosa and The Outpost Hotel opened earlier in April.

The land includes six blocks of barracks and a military parade square, all gazetted for conservation, The Straits Times reported.

Business Insider stayed at the Barracks Hotel as part of a media visit from Nov 29 to Dec 1 – and it was utterly, utterly glorious.

Here’s how it went:


This, ladies and gentlemen, is the spanking new Barracks Hotel on Sentosa, which opened on Dec 1, 2019.

The building, which is packed with history, began its life in 1904 as the Blakang Mati Artillery Barracks, back when Sentosa was a British military base.

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The super-exclusive hotel costs an eye-watering amount to stay in.

A quick search on the website showed that the cheapest rate was S$490 a night. Plus, these are special opening rates, so the regular price will cost more.

The price of suites (not pictured) start from S$880.

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Website screenshot

My 3-day 2-night stay cost around S$1,100 – but you can easily end up paying S$1,500 (or S$1,800 for a suite) if you pick dates close to public holidays.

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Website screenshot

The hotel is located toward the west of Sentosa, and turns out to be a super central and convenient location, as you’ll see later.

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Google Maps

Since the barracks are conserved buildings, their facade is protected under URA regulations. The only addition is a lift lobby in the centre of the small hotel, which boasts just 40 rooms.

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Here’s the view from the main entrance in the day…

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… and at night.

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The walkway outside is lined with water features and palm trees.

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If you fancy spending S$110 on airport pickup service, the hotel will also send a Jeep for you, in line with the colonial theme.

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Upon arrival in the tiny open-air lobby, guests are first made to wash their hands.

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I found myself blown away by the hotel’s elegant furnishings, which are custom-made.

The hotel will even help you order the exact same piece for your home if you like.

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Check-in starts at 3pm, and check-out at 12 noon.
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On one of the walls in the rooms is a map showing the building’s blueprints.

Superstitious guests, take note: After WWII hit, the barracks became a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp, and was even abandoned for some time.

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I love the little touches around the hotel, such as gold-coloured quotes lining the walls…

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… and WWII artefacts displayed on the ground floor, such as this military torchlight.

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I got a room with a king-sized bed on the second storey, which let me experience walking along the spacious verandah.

Rooms on the first floor are large suites.

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The preserved timber room door includes a brass knocker, which is a modern addition.

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I could even see Universal Studios’ Battlestar Galactica roller coaster from the hotel, and hear riders screaming.

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Here’s what my 29sqm room looks like, featuring brass, wood and leather furnishings. Gorgeous.

My only complaint: the reception in the room was pretty bad during my stay there.

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The ceiling emphasises the barracks’ sloped roof.

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Among the amenities are a smart TV (I streamed Netflix and checked my room bill), a writing desk and leather chair…

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… a Marshall speaker…

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… and light/aircon controls at both bedsides, plus a power port each for a USB cable and plug.

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I like how the room includes colonial-era photos and maps of Sentosa – such as this framed photo of the building back in the day.

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The room stay comes with a free refreshments bar offering Nespresso, tea, two glass bottles of sparkling and still mineral water, and four canned drinks: coke, ginger ale, tonic water and soda water.

Alcohol, however, is chargeable.

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On to the marble toilet, which has a humongous black Apaiser bathtub, Hansgrohe fittings, and a sliding door for privacy.

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On one side is a sink, flanked by two cupboards containing bathrobes, slippers, and an ironing board and iron.

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On either side of the bathtub is a rain shower and a heated Japanese toilet, including automatic bidets.

It sounds odd, but going to the toilet is really luxurious.

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The toiletries are from Australian brand Apelles Apothecary.

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A door from the back of the toilet leads out to a balcony next to the pool.

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Here’s the view from the balcony:

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I was one of the lucky guests staying on the second floor who got a room with a unique feature: a staircase leading to the pool.

Only four out of the 24 rooms have this staircase, preserved as part of the barracks’ architecture.

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But having this staircase (which you can request for during booking) means no privacy for your poor neighbours.

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Also, the staircase leads to the patio of a first-floor room, so you might bump into whoever is staying there.

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Here’s what the staircase looks like from the outside.

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This is the view of the pool from the first floor.

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The pool includes mini-jaccuzi areas every few metres.

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Guests staying in the corner room also get a private pool area to themselves.

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There are plenty of seats around the poolside…

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… and even a couple of cabanas.

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The glass-walled central dining area, while small, is elegant and has amazing views of the pool on both sides.

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I quickly came to realise that the freebies and services thrown into the stay made up quite a bit for the pricey rates.

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Free drinks and refreshments are available in the dining area from 7am to 10.30pm daily. This includes free-flow cocktails from 6pm to 8pm.

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Breakfast (7am-10.30am) boasts the biggest spread, including pastries, cereal, hashbrowns, sausages, bacon, bee hoon, nasi lemak, porridge, smoked salmon, ham and eggs (any style).

I liked that there was always salad, fruit-infused water, and a large bowl of fresh fruit available.

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There is also a fridge that guests can freely take soda, juice and yoghurt from all day long.

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If I had to pick one thing I didn’t like about my stay, it would be the food, which looked amazing but tasted underwhelming.

I also ordered a burger from room service one night, which took 45 minutes and arrived cold.

The hotel’s food was delivered over from a central kitchen, which served the nearby Village Sentosa and Outpost Hotel as well.

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I’d also give the champagne high tea (S$108 for 2) a miss – the food was forgettable.

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Barracks Hotel also offers free 45-minute heritage tours daily.

We toured the restored colonial buildings on the property, and learned more about their architecture and the history of Sentosa.

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Two men who used to work in the barracks were also staying at the hotel with their families.

One of them, 72-year-old Wong Kum Kay, brought pictures of the barracks from his time as a combat engineer living on Sentosa.

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Here’s one of his photos showing the old parade square…

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… which is now an astroturf lawn in front of the hotel.

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Guests of Barracks Hotel – which sits next to Village Sentosa – can also use the facilities there.

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This includes the gym…

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… and the hotel’s four pools.

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One great thing about Barracks Hotel is its very central location – right next to the Merlion.

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Read also: Say bye to Singapore’s tallest Merlion – the Sentosa icon will open for the last time on Oct 20


It is also a 15-minute stroll to Universal Studios, Adventure Cove and the SEA Aquarium …

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… and a five-minute walk to Imbiah station – or a 10 minute walk to Beach Station, where most of the attractions are. This makes going to lots of places really easy, even Fort Siloso.

Bonus: After a sweaty day out, there is also a pool to jump right into.

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The view from Siloso Skywalk.
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Guests are also given a S$4 pass each for the monorail for every day of their stay, to get around Sentosa and over to Vivocity.

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Overall, the hotel is pretty good value for money, given the privacy, great service, luxurious amenities, free food, and proximity to many popular Sentosa attractions.

It also reminds me a lot of Raffles Hotel, as both are cosy, exclusive and emphasise their colonial heritage.

Unlike the Village Sentosa next door, which is a lot noisier and seems more mass-market, this hotel felt almost like a quiet and luxurious villa.

The service level was high: staff were extremely attentive (as attentive as in Hai Di Lao) and called guests by name. One concierge even ran up to wheel a cleaning cart away when a visitor took photos of the hotel.

I also appreciated how the hotel focused on the building’s colonial heritage, which combined with the service standards, reminded me a lot of Raffles Hotel in City Hall.

While it’s not a 70th story penthouse, this still qualified as the stay of a lifetime as I could truly relax – for the first time – in an oasis of calm. Just don’t expect too much from the food and room service, and you’ll probably walk away satisfied.


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