An infinite stay in a little slice of heaven - Expat Interview
With the huge number of accommodation options out there, it’s anything but easy choosing where to stay. Expats and travellers coming to another country have it even worse with the many relocation-associated factors coming into play as well.
So we have decided to help you out. We interviewed a fellow expat who has been living and working in Singapore for the past year. Being a father of two young children and not expecting to have to relocate all of a sudden, read on to find out why and how he chose to stay in one of our popular apartments.
Here are the highlights of the interview:
Metroresidences (MR): Hello Shegar, thanks for doing this interview-review with us. Our readers out there would love to hear a bit about your story.
The hope is to learn from your experience and answer some of their questions.
“What do you consider when looking for accommodation in another country”
“What are the challenges you faced when relocating to another country?”
“Are apartments in Singapore small? Is it something that is across the board?”
So let’s start off with a bit about yourself.
Shegar (S): Hey good morning, thank you for having me. Well, my name is Shegar and I’m originally from Bangalore, India. I came to Singapore about a year and a half ago. Brought my family with me; my wife and two young boys.
When presented with the decision to move to Singapore, I wasn’t too keen. To me, Singapore seemed like a demanding metropolis where the rapid tide of progress would eat you up if you didn’t swim fast enough. But I had little choice.
Our Singapore office needed help and I was the guy to mend the cracks.
The first few months in Singapore were not the best, I’ll admit. I left a life that I had grown very comfortable in. Having to move all of a sudden brought along with it, some troubles.
MR: Yeah, we understand that moving to a new country is never easy. What more in your case where you just had to pack up and leave on such short notice.
But you seem to have a smile on your face now. I’m guessing that means things have turned out for the better?
Let’s go through some of the steps you had to take. Once the decision to move was made, what was your next step?
S: I was then presented with a range of accommodation options to choose from.
MR: Could you tell us what accommodation types or options you considered?
S: So, laid in front of me were a few different types. In Singapore, you can find options ranging from coliving and shared flats to serviced apartments and normal private housing.
I had to weigh the nature of each option and see which aligned best with my personal needs.
Initially travelling alone, my wife and I decided to have the family with me in Singapore after a couple of months. So sharing was then out of the question. It felt a bit uncomfortable for me with two toddlers. My wife hardly fancied it either.
I then considered more private options. Normal private housing or apartments were a choice. However, I got thinking and realised that since my wife would be solely taking care of our children, in a new country, we could do without the stresses of housekeeping and any menial tasks that added to our plate.
Which led to an easy choice of choosing a serviced residence to house my family and me.
MR: What factors led to choosing your current Singapore serviced apartment?
S: Our Singapore office is near Bukit Merah, that’s like South-Western Singapore, not close to any shopping district if you readers are wondering. So I needed a place close work. This would mean lesser travelling time; something I could get easily used to.
You’ll quickly realise that at the beginning of your stay, the more convenient options help with getting used to things around you. It helps with the overall process.
I chose to stay at Infinite Suites 3br. First of all this unit was quite close to where I work. The pictures of the fully furnished apartment looked great. There was a lot of natural light, it came with a washer and dryer, there was a stove for my wife to cook and there was even a balcony.
What initially caught my eye was the clean and crisp interior. The unit was decorated with wooden panels, marble flooring and clean white walls. I read there was also a pool and gym.
The fact that Infinite Suites is less than a 5-minute walk from Redhill MRT station sealed the deal.
Looking for short term and long term accommodation near Bukit Merah? Here are some options for you.
MR: What were your first impressions of this three bedroom apartment?
S: I’ll be honest here. (Laughs)
It was a lot to get used to. These four walls was a shoebox compared to what we had back home. The kitchen was tight and the hall was two strides away from the bedroom. My kids hardly took to it and my wife just kept mum.
Infinite Suites didn’t strike us as the biggest space out there. It was tight and it took a while to get used to. But what it lacked in space, it made up in character.
Only when living in it, did we start falling in love with this quaint apartment.
MR: How do you feel about the apartment now, having lived in it for a year?
S: I love it! We love it!
This apartment has become part of the family. My perception of the apartment has changed, I must say.
Here is a collection of similar apartments near Orchard Road.
The small kitchen I was complaining about earlier has its benefits. After a year of cooking, my wife loves this compact space. First and foremost, cleaning is a breeze in smaller kitchens. After cooking up a meal for the family, you can expect an equally big clean up.
But with smaller surface area to clean, it only takes a few wipes and it’s done. I’m always surprised at how such a small space can accommodate a decent stove, spacious refrigerator and a respectably sized oven!
One area of importance for my wife and I is the bathroom. With his and hers in mind, there has got to be enough space for the two of you to move around in there. Just looking at the layout, you wouldn’t bet much on the toilet being spacious.
To my surprise though, I am happy to say that the master ensuite bathroom does look smaller in the photos than it actually is. There is a lot of breathing space around there. It makes for smoother mornings and better days.
There is also this small window there. It doesn’t really do much but in the late evenings, the warm amber setting sun always lights the whole bathroom. (Laughs) I know it’s nothing amazing to talk about but I really like that a lot.
A great feature of this property is its amenities. One in particular that my family frequents, is a spot on the higher floors where we have little picnics. Most of this floor is converted into a spread filled with lush greens and sitting areas. It’s almost like a small park in the middle of the building.
My kids love going up there. My wife and I appreciate the change of scenery from time to time. Plus its got a great view.
24 Hour Security
The security services over at the property are pretty reassuring. With two guards being assigned at any given moment, the personnel are strict with visitor policies and record all details. I feel safe leaving my wife and kids at home whenever I have to head to work.
This is especially important for foreigners in a new country. The promise of safety can make or break a relocation stint.
MR: Now, you’ve already mentioned quite a few things you like about the apartment. If you had to pick a top two, what would they be?
S: Hmmm, so my two picks won’t be ones I’ve mentioned previously. These are just personal favourites of mine.
This here is an absolute dream. Having previously come from a home with no pool. Infinity Suite comes with access to two separate swimming pool. One of the two is a family friendly open. A decent lap pool with a kid’s pool at the end. Located on the 1st floor, this pool is nice for group hangs.
On to the more amazing pool. On the 41st floor, there is prime real estate that will blow your mind. Overlooking the Redhill landscape, sits and infinity lap pool that is decked out with chic sun loungers. The whole place looks so luxurious and offers me a treat whenever I get back from a long day at work.
Need to be at the heart of the action? Check out these apartments in the Central Business District.
When I first stepped into the apartment a year ago, the one thing that I did like was the balcony. For a subjectively small apartment, the balcony was surprisingly spacious. Sunset views here are a little skewed but they kiss the balcony pretty nicely.
This makes for great dinners and downtime over on the balcony. My wife and I even set up a small garden table outside. The breeze catches well in Infinite Suites and our balcony offers great views to compliment it.
Metro: That sounds amazing! Before we end, a final question. Do you have any helpful tips for likely expats coming to Singapore, such as yourself?
S: One thing I would tell anyone coming to Singapore is, trust in the public transport system. It’s great over here. Driving in Singapore is beyond expensive and just doesn’t make sense. The MRT covers most of Singapore; it’s fast and clean, and for anywhere it doesn’t, take the bus.