Keong Saik is one of Singapore’s most vibrant enclaves, lined with new restaurants and buzzy bars, all tucked inside stunning heritage shophouses. At the end of the road is a row of ten shophouses that have been beautifully restored, and will soon be Chinatown’s trendiest lifestyle destination upon its launch this month.
Called KēSa House, the property is a 60-room flexible-stay living concept opening by 8M Collective, the same names behind the eclectic Ann Siang House. Its location in the heart of Chinatown embodies the neighbourhood’s spirited heritage while creating a distinct new destination in the area.
KēSa House is housed in an elegant mediterranean turquoise facade which injects a fresh aesthetic to the Keong Saik neighbourhood. The facade has been meticulously preserved, with subtle highlighting of the facade ornamentation, decorative panels, terra cotta roof tiles and carvings — all of which defined the Transitional Style shophouses of the early 1900s.
Walk into the lobby, and you’ll be greeted by geometric wooden panelling, pared back organic elements, and atmospheric lighting. This is coupled with soft furnishings to create an integrated and inclusive space. Contrasting to the facade’s aquamarine theme, KēSa House’s lobby evokes a more contemporary vibe — with dramatic acid cement finish and blackened mirrors.
Of course, with heritage properties, many challenges were present during the restoration. Florian Sander, managing director of iThink Consulting Group who dreamt up the concept of KēSa House, said: “It sounds so stereotypical when people tell you have to think outside the box. It’s putting yourself into another box that’s outside the box.”
The 60 light-filled rooms and studio apartments boast a colour palette of white oak, light wood stains, warm light and hues of emerald green and anthracite gray — resulting in a cosy, warm and inviting environment. Space is maximised by Sander and his team through the elimination of any doors that would interfere with the circulation space, as well as introducing sliding doors to bathrooms, and storage spaces for personal belongings.
“With heritage properties, there are so many things you can’t change. What we can change is how the customer perceive them,” Sander told us. “For example, we always push ceiling heights to the maximum possible. A room can be small at a foot print level, but it doesn’t have to feel compact if you have a beautiful four-metre high arched roof ceiling. Each room required a different solution to bring out the character without violating the shophouse rules.”
“In some areas it’s not perfect, because it’s a hundred years old; but it lends its warmth,” Sander added. “Not being perfect adds character. It feels more approachable.”
Additionally, guests can enjoy the facilities such as the sleek common lounge, well-equipped kitchen, and outdoor terrace. The latter is beautifully landscaped (with almost 30 types of plants) to emulate a lush lawn, seamlessly designed to bring the outdoors in. Upon its opening, KēSa House also aims to be Keong Saik’s latest dining destination, with six unique and eclectic bars and restaurants that will be announced at a later date.
KēSa House will open this month. Soft opening rates start at S$153++ per night, S$729++ per week (5 nights), and S$2,822++ per month (28 nights).