As an aspiring digital nomad, I've been exploring co-living spaces in Singapore and Seoul. To start my digital nomad journey, I booked a stay in Hmlet Cantonment Singapore in March 2023. Here is my Hmlet Singapore review (unsponsored.)
Due to budget constraints, I booked a small room (the cheapest option.)
Honestly, based on my experience of the room alone- no table or desk- I would go for Coliwoo in future instead as a desk in the room is essential for long stays in my opinion. (It can be just a small fold-up desk that 1 can hang on the wall when not using!)
Whilst you're theoretically able to work in the lounge, there are no office rooms, so you can't conduct work calls or online meetings there. Moreover, people sometimes talk really loudly in the lounge which is not conducive to working!
Note: moreover, not all the rooms have windows that can open! For a long stay, this can be quite insufferable in my opinion.
I also toured the bigger rooms (which are pretty expensive...):
Note: the more expensive rooms are in a different block from the cheaper/ smaller ones. (The co-working lounge and reception are in the block with the more expensive rooms so there is easier access.)
- The plunge pool is tiny.
- The outdoor seating is beautiful but impractical. I was there for a minute and bugs descended en-masse. (This happened every time I used the outdoor space!)
- The gym is more like a yoga studio with weights. Plus, Hmlet rents it out to external vendors for classes, so you don't always have access to it. (You need to book to use it.)
Based on my experience, these are the biggest plus factors that Hmlet Singapore offers:
- Pet-friendly: some residences, such as Hmlet Cantonment, allow you to bring a small pet. (This is similar to Commontown Korea in Seoul.)
- Flexible: unlike other co-living options in Singapore,you can book shorter stays upwards of 1 week. (Most other co-living places,such as Figment and Cove, require minimum stays of 3 months.) The other options for a flexible stay are Coliwoo and Lyf.
- Last-minute friendly: part of the digital nomad life is spontaneity. The Hmlet booking process has less red tape so you can make a last-minute booking (assuming there's availability) if necessary. This is unlike Coliwoo, where the prices are not shown on the site and Figment, where you need to speak to someone from the team before you can book.
- Easy booking process: the booking process is more straightforward than other co-living options in Singapore, such as Figment and Coliwoo. Lyf is also fairly straightforward, but it's slightly more confusing as there are several options to choose from when booking (Member Rate vs Advance Purchase Rate vs Flexible Rate etc)
- However, compared to booking a regular hotel, there are many grey areas.
- FANTASTIC LOCATION: Now this only applies to the Hmlet Cantonment and Hmlet Owen Road locations, but they both make excellent bases to explore Singapore. (Coliwoo has a co-living residence very close to Hmlet Cantonment.)
- Nice bathroom: no issues with the water pressure or hot water throughout my stay.
- Friendly staff: The receptionist was pretty friendly and pro-active and came out to welcome/ direct me when I arrived (as there are 2 different buildings on site and some people get a bit confused about where to check-in. (I know because new guests kept asking me where to check-in when I was living at Hmlet!)) When I ran into the housekeeper, he was also very helpful and offered me extra towels (as I didn't want my room cleaned.) I would say they definitely made the place feel like a home away from home.
Note: As of March 2023, Hmlet was very, very slightly cheaper than Coliwoo.
- What you see is not what you get: the room shown when I made the booking and the room I actually stayed in were pretty different. (And obviously the 1 I stayed in was worse!) I've shown photos below.
- Lack of community: basically it was more like a nice hostel rather than a co-living residence. (This sentiment was echoed by other residents that I met during my stay.) There were no communal events held during my stay.