Staycation Review: lyf Funan Singapore (one of a kind!)

Pronounced "life", lyf markets itself as a co-living concept where a community of like-minded people facilitates life, work and play. lyf Funan is the first property of its brand. Opened in September 2019, it occupies floors 4 to 12 at Funan Mall (which was revamped in a three-year makeover) in City Hall, with a total of 412 rooms. 

lyf Funan at Funan mall
lyf Funan on levels 4 to 12 of the mall

The brand has further properties planned in one-north (324 units) and Farrer Park (240 units) that are expected to open in 2021. Globally, it will also expand to Australia, China, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand over the next few years.

Check In

The lyf logo should be easy to spot for guests entering Funan Mall from the northwest entrance (along Hill St). Past the mall entrance, directional signs guide guests to a dedicated elevator that serves the fourth floor where the hotel reception is located. Alternatively, one can take the escalators up and find the hotel entrance at the corner of the fourth floor.

Hotel signage at lyf Funan
lyf signage by the mall entrance

Hotel entrance of lyf Funan
Hotel entrance on fourth floor

For check-in, guests are asked to download the lyf by Ascott app to retrieve their booking (note that this is different from the Discover ASR app). After presenting their identification documents at the reception desk, guests can find their mobile key on the app, which would be needed for elevators and room doors.

Mobile key activated on the lyf by Ascott app at lyf Funan
Mobile key activated on the lyf by Ascott app

Alternatively, physical key cards are available, which comes with a nudge to use the app. I had to request one when the mobile key no longer worked after the noon check-out time.

Plastic key card at lyf Funan
Plastic key card

Room

As a co-living concept, lyf Funan offers both individual rooms and apartment-style units. The available types are, in their original names:

  • one of a kind (studio) - max 2 pax, queen bed, 18sqm
  • up and down (bunk studio) - max 2 pax, bunk beds, 18 sqm
  • lyf style (studio) - max 2 pax, double-sized bed, Playstation included, 18 sqm
  • one of a kind plus (studio), max 2 pax, queen bed, 27 sqm
  • two of a kind (2 bedroom) - max 4pax , 2 queen beds, 43 sqm
  • all together (2 bedroom) - max 4 pax, 2 queen beds, 41sqm
  • all together (4 bedroom) - max 6 pax, 2 queen beds, 2 super-single beds, 70sqm
  • all together (6 bedroom duplex) - max 9 pax, 3 queen beds, 3 super-single beds, 105sqm
Two elevators serve the 412 guest rooms. Each room has a decorated door and a chalkboard, the latter perhaps for long-staying guests to write their names or leave messages.

Door decoration at lyf Funan
Chalkboard and decorated door

The one of a kind (studio) is modestly sized at 18 square metres. Storage space is available under the bed but there is no TV nor fridge (unlike YOTEL Singapore which seems to pack more functionality in less space). A bed desk is available which is helpful for placing your laptop on the bed for working or streaming movies.

One of a kind (studio) at lyf Funan
One of a kind (studio)

Desk area at lyf Funan
Desk area

It was Christmas then and guests were given free popcorn, as indeed "what a year, we all need some holiday cheer".

Free popcorn for Christmas at lyf Funan
Free popcorn

The sink area is separated from the bathroom. Towels were clean and bath amenities were provided in bulk containers. Other amenities (such as toothbrush set) are available on request.

Room interior at lyf Funan
Room interior

Bathroom at lyf Funan
Bathroom (left) and entrance (right)

Bath amenities at lyf Funan
Bath amenities by Ideology

Bottled water is not provided; instead water and ice machines are installed on the lift lobbies of each floor. However, these are currently not available as a precaution against the coronavirus (lyf suggests drinking from the tap and reassures that it is safe in Singapore).

Lift lobby with water and ice machines at lyf Funan
Water and ice dispensers at the lift lobby (currently unavailable)

Communal Areas

The property's communal areas are colourful and fun to explore, which I thought was fitting for a youthful co-living concept and as a property at the vibrant Funan Mall. The social spaces exude an air of community while vending machines are a practical offering for guests.

Reception area at lyf Funan
Seating area near the reception desk

Christmas decor at lyf Funan
Christmas decor featuring beer cans

Communal area at lyf Funan
Flight of stairs connecting levels 4 and 5

Mini playground at lyf Funan
Mini playground (closed due to coronavirus)

Snack vending machine at lyf Funan
Vending machine for snacks and drinks

Some of its communal areas are also named distinctively. For instance, “Bond” is a social kitchen and pantry on level 5, where guests can prepare meals, attend cooking classes and hang out. Standard kitchen appliances and condiments are available there.

Social kitchen at lyf Funan
"Bond" social kitchen

“Burn” is a mini-gym on level 6. It is equipped with dumbbells, a single bench, kettle balls, equipment for resistance training, and a human-size hamster wheel that guests can use as a treadmill.

Fitness area at lyf Funan
"Burn" fitness area

“Wash & Hang” is a self-service laundromat where residents can do laundry on a pay-per-use basis. A beer vending machine can be found inside, featuring Guinness, Strongbow, Tiger, Heineken (and the alcohol-free Heineken 0.0) for between 3 to 5 dollars a can.

Laundry room at lyf Funan
"Wash & Hang" laundry room

Beer vending machine at lyf Funan
Beer vending machine in the laundry room

Aside: Funan Mall

By the way, Funan Mall ranks among my favourite malls in Singapore. Following its half-a-billion dollar renovation completed in 2019, it has become an integrated development that houses the hotel, WeWork workspaces, open-air spaces, and of course F&B and retail outlets. What used to be a mall that primarily offers consumer electronics now still offers consumer electronics, but also a lot more. 

Say for instance the noticeable addition of fitness-related offerings:

Cycling path at Funan mall
Cycling path from 7am to 10am

Rock wall at Climb Central Funan mall
Climb Central Funan

TFX Funan swimming pool
Pool area (part of TFX Funan, not the hotel)

The outdoor garden named Urban Farm is also a great addition, and offers a view of the Supreme Court opposite as well as the business district.

Funan mall's Urban Farm
The Urban Farm outdoor garden

Surrounding precinct viewed from Funan mall
View of the surrounding precinct

Supreme Court as viewed from Funan mall's Urban Farm
The Supreme Court (viewed from Urban Farm)

And of course, Funan houses the other things you might expect from a mall (that is to me shops, restaurants, a supermarket and cinema).

On level 4 of Funan mall
Interior of Funan Mall

Funan does feel like a safe mall to be in, with the Central Fire Station just across Hill Street; it is the oldest surviving fire station in Singapore, and houses the official museum of the Singapore Civil Defence Force.

Overhead bridge over Hill Street to Funan
Overhead bridge over Hill Street

Central Fire Station on Hill Street
Central Fire Station opposite Funan mall

Ascott Star Rewards

Managed by The Ascott Limited, lyf participates in the Ascott Star Rewards (ASR) loyalty programme, alongside other brands including Ascott The Residence, Citadines, and Somerset. For those new to ASR, a status match is possible for elite members of: Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors, World of Hyatt, IHG Rewards Club or Accor Live Limitless. Just send via email your proof of membership in the competitor's programme, and a stay from the last 18 months, to be upgraded upfront for 12 months.

ASR Gold did little for me in the context of this stay, apart from a frugal check out extension of one hour. But from the perspective of the hotel, there is arguably little loyalty to be derived from local guests on staycations, particularly from the many one-time guests who are merely staying to expend some SingapoRediscovers vouchers. So enjoy the stay but arrive without any expectations of loyalty benefits.

Tips

Some tips to conclude:

  • Status match to ASR if desired (Platinum is said to enjoy room upgrades at some properties);
  • If booking direct, sign up for Ascott Star Rewards and login to the app to get 2,000 bonus points, then use it to instantly take $5 off your booking;
  • If utilising the $100 Singapore ReDiscover vouchers, it is not possible to book direct, but deals are available on approved third-party platforms (such as Klook and Trip.com) which also offer their own promotions;
  • Download lyf by Ascott app before arriving to use mobile key

lyf Funan is staycation approved and located at 67 Hill Street, Singapore 179370.

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