Garden Pod’s opening expands efforts here to build hotels with repurposed materials

SINGAPORE – This high-end boutique hotel, which sits in the picturesque Gardens by the Bay, can relocate to any location in Singapore or even abroad.

The Garden Pod, a retreat with four duplex suites, is housed in repurposed shipping containers that are about 12.2m long each.

The hotel, which can be moved to other places with its plumbing and electrical systems intact using cranes, opened on Sept 1. Rates start at $450 a night.

While its mobility sets it apart from conventional hotels, what this establishment prides itself on is sustainability.

On top of giving shipping containers a new lease of life, the hotel’s rooftops tap photovoltaic panels that convert solar energy into electricity, contributing up to 80 per cent of its energy needs.

The terrarium displays and drinking glasses in the hotel are made from recycled glass.

Garden Pod, a short distance from Bayfront MRT station, is the third hotel project by small and medium-sized enterprise Shipping Container Hotel. It is set to remain in Gardens by the Bay for at least two years.

The firm’s founder, Mr Seah Liang Chiang, said he will consider moving the hotel thereafter “to give Singaporeans a choice to have staycations in different parts of the island”.

Its first two hotels, also fashioned out of shipping containers, are at one-north and Haw Par Villa. They are each composed of two containers and have been running since January 2020 and December 2021 respectively.

Mr Seah said bookings have remained consistent at around 90 per cent for these two hotels in the past few years.

The idea of building hotels out of repurposed materials seems to be catching on in Singapore. Just days before the Garden Pod was launched, travel agency WTS Travel announced that it will be building a resort in Changi Village, using 20 decommissioned public buses as guest rooms.

WTS Travel said on Aug 28 that the project, tentatively called The Bus Resort, will be ready by the second quarter of 2023.

It will be located next to the popular Changi Village Hawker Centre and span some 8,600 sq m, or an area slightly larger than a football field. Rates are estimated to be between $300 and $400 a night.

WTS Travel managing director Micker Sia told The Straits Times that the resort is “meant to be a place to enjoy wellness and recuperate away from city life”.

He added that the project’s vision is to demonstrate that upcycling and being sustainable can be the catalyst for creating new experiences.