Entrepreneur Ashish Manchharam On Infusing A Vibrant Energy To Heritage Enclaves
Tatler Singapore|November 2020
A passion for rejuvenating Singapore’s heritage buildings has inspired real estate entrepreneur Ashish Manchharam to create new communities that are bringing even more buzz to the city
Karen Tee

Over the past few months, many of Singapore’s hotels have reopened following the end of the two-month circuit breaker period in June and have been offering staycations to travel-starved locals. But popular boutique hotels KeSa House and Ann Siang House, which are located in vibrant heritage enclaves close to Singapore’s central business district, have remained closed.

Even in October, when we met Ashish Manchharam, the man behind these two properties, for a photoshoot at KeSa House on Keong Saik Road, the hotel was still not up and running. In the few areas that we had access to, beds were wrapped in protective plastic, and utensils and kitchen equipment remained covered up.

But this is not a sign that things have taken a turn for the worse. Rather, Manchharam, the founder and managing director of 8M Real Estate, says he has been busy implementing plans for the future. Since Singapore’s circuit-breaker measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 was lifted, the two hotels, which are located in heritage shophouses, have been undergoing improvements that he had long been meaning to implement.

“Occupancy has been great since their launches, but there were certain things we could not fix while there were guests. So having the closures gave us the window of opportunity to make some refurbishments to the spaces,” he says. “We are optimistic that when things open up further, Singapore will be well-positioned for recovery given that we have been better at managing the pandemic than most places.”

Both hotels, together with the recently revamped Wanderlust hotel, are slated to finally reopen this month.

A NEW WAY OF LIVING

Soon, Manchharam will find out if the company’s concept of “flexible living” will resonate in this new world of social distancing and global travel restrictions. In recent years, with the rise of digital nomads and millennials who value experiences over material luxuries, this hospitality trend—where the focus is on longer-term stays, unique amenities such as interesting F&B options and access to a community of like-minded individuals—has been in the ascendant.

At 8M’s portfolio of hotels, this concept is literally built into the rooms. Manchharam points to how a raised shelf at the open-concept wardrobe is installed high enough to roll a suitcase underneath, and the cubbyholes built into the bed frame double as extra storage space. The room where we conducted the interview in even opens out to a private patio that is large enough to unroll a yoga mat (or two) for a private exercise session.

“Our designs offer you the option to stay for a night, a week or a month, depending on what suits you best. It’s not just about being creative with small spaces, but making it really liveable and cosier than a hotel room, so that it feels a bit more like your own,” he says.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM TATLER SINGAPOREView All

The Mind's Eye

According to hypnotherapist Sonia Samtani, deep emotional healing begins with a journey into your subconscious. Here’s how she can take you there

2 mins read
Tatler Singapore
January 2021

Witch, Please

The latest trend in spirituality might just cast a spell on you. Is there really something behind all the fuss about ‘ritual magick’, or is it all just hocus pocus?

8 mins read
Tatler Singapore
January 2021

Poetry and Purpose

As beauty and wellness become increasingly driven by values rather than value, the influence of Aesop and its pioneering concept is becoming undeniable

4 mins read
Tatler Singapore
January 2021

SHANGHAI CALLING

For years the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art has been at the forefront of the art scene in Beijing—now it’s expanding beyond the capital

7 mins read
Tatler Singapore
January 2021

Off-Grid Adventures

A fellow of the Royal Geographic Society and a former captain in a British Army reconnaissance regiment, Jimmy Carroll, co-founder of travel company Pelorus, knows what it’s like to live on the edge. He shares ideas for transformative trips to unexplored parts of the world

3 mins read
Tatler Singapore
January 2021

Master of One

Shaolin master Shi Heng Yi talks about the power of self-mastery, and how the path to wellness can be as simple as watching the clouds go by

4 mins read
Tatler Singapore
January 2021

Hot Meals

Singapore charity Free Food for All is not only on a mission to eradicate hunger around the world, it also wants food for its beneficiaries to taste delicious

3 mins read
Tatler Singapore
January 2021

They Are Watching You

Tony Oursler’s video installations offer a revelatory, and sometimes creepy, perspective on our collective obsession with technology. A new exhibition in Taiwan brings his life’s work into focus

8 mins read
Tatler Singapore
January 2021

Embrace The Art Of Slow Travel

Embrace the art of slow travel, splurge on a hot-spring retreat in Japan and plan for a once-in-a life time adventure

2 mins read
Tatler Singapore
January 2021

In The Hot Seat

Ian Ang and Alaric Choo, the wunderkind co-founders of gaming chair brand Secretlab are doubling down on the vision for their rising business

5 mins read
Tatler Singapore
January 2021