Top 6 Must Haves for Booking a Quality Budget Hotel

village albert court hotel entrance

Budget Singapore Hotel: The Village Albert Court Hotel

We don’t exclusively search for “budget” hotels, I look for a quality hotel at a certain price point. We’re all about smart spending, but I am not easy to please. The idea is to free up more of our budget to spend on experiencing what the destination has to offer. This is even more important in Singapore. It’s widely known that Singapore is not the place for a shoestring budget. Luckily, budget doesn’t mean cheap. We try to strike a balance between cost and comfort in accommodations. And that’s why we ended up staying at the Village Albert Hotel in Little India on our recent trip to Singapore. Here are my top 6 considerations when booking a high quality budget hotel.

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Budget Hotel Considerations

When it comes to Singapore, where costs can increase rapidly, it’s crucial to be mindful of your budget. Why spend a fortune on a fancy hotel like Marina Bay Sands or Raffles when you’ve got a whole summer of adventures planned? Remember, a hotel is primarily a place to sleep. Opting for a budget hotel allows you to save money, giving you more resources to fully experience and enjoy the local culture, cuisine, and attractions when you wake up. Being financially aware in an expensive city like Singapore is a wise decision that ensures you make the most of your trip without overspending.

Opting for a budget hotel not only saves your hard-earned cash but also saves you from that dreaded post-vacation remorse. So, be a savvy traveler, pinch those pennies, and make the most of your Singapore trip without breaking the bank. With that being said, a hotel that doesn’t charge you upfront is quickly becoming standard for me. I like the flexibility it gives me while researching all the options.

While strolling along the streets of Luang Prabang, Laos, I caught a delightful whiff—the fragrance of Frangipani Flowers lingering in the air.

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1. Read the Reviews

My top concern when booking a hotel will always be cleanliness. We should all take the time to read reviews to spot any potential red flags when considering a place to stay. It’s crucial to distinguish between legitimate issues and instances of sabotage. When we come across red flags, it’s important to assess if they are relevant to our stay. For example, the pool or restaurant being closed might not bother us, but if it’s due to maintenance, it could involve dust or construction noise. If someone mentions rude staff, unclean rooms, or a foul smell, I’ll continue reading to see if this is a common problem or just a one-time incident. However, if there are complaints about terrible Wi-Fi, uncomfortable beds, or infestations, I’m likely going to pass on that hotel.

Here are a few key indicators I look for when reading the reviews:

  • frequency in staff related issues
  • cleanliness issues
  • maintenance concerns
  • location problems

2. Choose Your Location Wisely

The neighborhood you choose for your hotel is crucial, especially in a diverse city like Singapore. While safety and accessibility are important factors, the neighborhood also greatly influences your overall experience. Opting for hotels around Marina Bay Sands or Raffles doesn’t necessarily limit your interactions with fellow tourists. However, staying in vibrant areas like Kampong Glam, Chinatown, or Little India, as we did, exposes you to both tourists and locals.

These neighborhoods are often more affordable and provide abundant opportunities for cultural immersion, shopping, and enjoying delicious food—creating truly authentic travel experiences. It’s an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone, as you may encounter different amenities like squat toilets, moments of “lost in translation,” and be immersed in the diverse language, smells, and people. Plus, you’ll have plenty of chances to capture authentic photos for your Instagram feed!

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3. Evaluate Value for Money– Amenities & Services

It’s essential to consider both the number and quality of amenities provided by a hotel. While many hotels offer standard amenities like an on-site restaurant, gym, and free Wi-Fi, I’m referring to the exceptional amenities that go above and beyond. These may include extensive concierge services with complimentary tours and valet services, on-site spas and wellness centers, luxurious furnishings and bedding, exclusive club lounges, complimentary meals, evening cocktails, recreational facilities such as tennis courts, golf courses, or private beach access, business and conference facilities, and 24-hour room service.

Hotels that offer these exclusive amenities often charge higher rates to cover the costs associated with their maintenance and operation. However, it’s important to note that the presence of these amenities doesn’t automatically guarantee higher rates for all hotels. Pricing can vary based on factors such as location, hotel category, season, and overall market demand.

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4. Aesthetics

When it comes to choosing a hotel, aesthetics play a crucial role for me. While it doesn’t have to be as grand as the Taj Mahal, I do appreciate being in a visually appealing place. I prefer a setting with an understated beauty without being overly elaborate or crowded with excessive design elements. Classic styles that incorporate plush seating, soothing colors, and functional spaces are relaxing to me. The moment I step through the hotel doors, I want to feel an undeniable sense of being on vacation.

5. The Budget

My hotel budget for Singapore was no more than $100 USD per night.

Check out my favorite luxury hotels with amazing views HERE.

6. That First Interaction

This is a bonus consideration you might want to incorporate into your future hotel searches. After I identify a potential hotel, if it allows me to make a reservation without charging me, I will contact them and inquire about something minor, such as a high-floor room away from the elevator or logistical information about nearby attractions. If they respond to me in a professional and helpful manner, it suggests that the staff is accommodating as well. You wouldn’t believe how something seemingly insignificant like this has been received and has even led me to cancel my reservation.

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The Village Albert Court Hotel

Review

The Village Albert Court Hotel met or exceeded all the criteria I listed above. The staff was accommodating from the moment we arrived, and they remained responsive throughout our stay.

The bedroom and bathroom were spacious, and the water pressure was excellent. I particularly appreciated the separate shower enclosed by a glass door. However, the view from our windows did not evoke vacation vibes, as it overlooked the construction site next door. Fortunately, this did not have any other impact on our experience at the Village Albert Court Hotel.

While the hotel cannot match the grandeur of the Taj Mahal, it incorporates design elements reminiscent of old-world British colonialism. Ceiling fans and louvered windows, typical of that era, not only provide practical air circulation but also add a charming touch. The dining tables, chairs, chests, and cabinets in the hotel are expertly crafted from teak, a popular choice during that time.

The lobby is beautiful. I love when hotels incorporate some intimate seating. There are some stunning architectural details and a massive skylight on the mezzanine. However, the standout feature has to be the beautiful double escalator that transports guests from the lobby to the second-floor mezzanine.

The hotel’s aesthetic successfully captures the essence of old-world British colonialism in India, albeit on a smaller scale compared to iconic landmarks like the Taj Mahal. It effectively incorporates elements and architectural features inspired by Indian palaces, reflecting the elegance and influence of that bygone era.

Bottom line– I liked the hotel. It didn’t feel like a budget hotel and that’s a definite mission accomplished.

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Final Thoughts

In today’s social media-driven world, it’s easy to fall into the trap of letting Instagram and FOMO (fear of missing out) dictate our travel choices. Our experience would not have been enhanced by staying at Raffles or the Marina Bay Sands. On the contrary, I probably would have spent less time in the neighborhoods trying to extract as much value as I could from the overpriced accommodation.

Yes, I’m guilty of this from time to time myself. However, it’s important to remember that real travel experiences are about personal connection and genuine exploration, not just capturing the perfect photo. By resisting the pressure to conform to what’s trending online, we can create more meaningful and authentic travel experiences that truly reflect our own interests and passions. And many of them can be fully achieved on a budget.

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