I Spent a Night at Hotel 81, Singapore’s Most Notorious Hotel Chain

Hotel 81, a hotel chain in Singapore, is often associated with the red-light district in Geylang.

Hotel 81 Premier Star.

Hotel 81 Premier Star.

Marielle Descalsota/Insider


The hotel has average ratings online, mostly from tourists’ reviews. The majority of Hotel 81’s properties are rated between three and three-and-a-half stars on websites like TripAdvisor. 

But among locals, it’s a different story: The hotel chain is generally considered a love motel. 

While the hotel’s management markets the chain as a no-frills hotel meant for budget travelers, many locals have not shaken off the perception of it being a “sleazy” spot for one-night stands. Eight of the chain’s 28 hotels around Singapore are located in the red-light lorongs of Geylang. 

Several of the hotel’s properties have also seen criminal activity. In 2015, a man murdered his lover before killing himself at Hotel 81 Palace. And in 2021, a man burned towels in Hotel 81 Violet when he couldn’t enter a room occupied by two of his friends.

I was curious if the hotel was really as bad as people have been telling me over the years. And since some are located within the red-light district, I figured it would be my chance to explore the neighborhood, too.

So I booked a one-night stay at Hotel 81 Premier Star (pictured above) on Geylang’s Lorong 18, one of the few with available dates in April. Most other properties were fully booked.

The superior room I booked cost 75 Singapore dollars ($55), which was a steal considering the average nightly rate for hotels in Singapore is S$255 ($187). Insider paid for my stay in full.

Hotel 81’s management, Worldwide Hotels Pte Ltd, declined to comment on my story.

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