#TRAVEL

Staycation Review: I Slept In A Bus At The Bus Collective

I’m more of a MRT person, but let’s give this a go!

By Sean Yee        5 June 2024

If you haven’t heard already, The Bus Collective has introduced a novel take on modern travel stays, as they merge the comforts and luxury of a hotel room with a single decker decommissioned bus. The upcycling concept, regardless of its practicality, is intriguing. Will this be a groundbreaking take on staycations that will redefine hospitality, or another gimmick that will eventually run out of fuel?  

I stayed a night at The Bus Collective, and here are my honest first impressions!

A staycation on four wheels

It really is one of those things you actually have to see for yourself to believe.
After all, the last thing I think about while on a public bus is “this looks like the perfect space for a hotel room!” 

But I have to say – they really did knock it out of the park with this one. Instead of the typical silver or lime green exterior that characterises our public buses, these vehicles have been transformed into tropical canvases inspired by our local fauna and flora. Given its rather secluded location at Telok Paku Road in Changi, this distinctive presentation does make it feel like I’m in a refreshingly foreign place, despite my home being less than 30 minutes away! It helps that it is situated right beside Changi Village, and time and life seems much slower and more relaxed here. 

Each of the bus-hotel hybrids has a patio furnished with a picnic table as well as a BBQ pit. The entire concept as well as its various exterior elements really came together from the get-go, at least to me. The Bus Collective ties in the novelty of a hotel on wheels with the comforts of a staycation while incorporating social-centric amenities like a BBQ pit, resulting in a delightfully wholesome experience. If I really have to describe The Bus Collective in two words, I’d probably go with “contemporary caravan”. 

Unfortunately (or fortunately for some), the buses are immobile. Some of its wheels have been replaced with condensing units or supportive block stands. So perhaps, it’s more appropriate to coin it as a “contemporary motionless caravan”.

It is important to note that unlike a conventional hotel staycation, you are technically outdoors. Well, at least I felt I was. The zone resembled an urban campsite; I wouldn’t go so far as to associate it with “glamping”, as its minimalistic layout does leave something to be desired. Funnily enough, while I was on my way here, the grounds looked like a bus depot from afar. Thank goodness for Google Maps, or I would have missed the space entirely. 

It does get better at night though, as fairy lights and neon signs illuminate the space with a much needed vibrancy. 

Making good use of limited space

I can only wonder about the effort involved to transform an ordinary public bus into a fully-furnished hotel room. Upon stepping into my bus/room for the day, I was surprised at how elegant the interior looked. Decked with smooth tan floor tiles and plenty of mood lighting, the layout is contemporary and elegant. Truth be told, I expected the interior to scream “look, you’re in a bus!”, but apart from the driver’s compartment that was left intact, I almost forgot that I was in a bus to begin with. 

What was once the bus’s rear sitting area has been transformed into a raised bedroom that is connected to the main living space via a compact stairway. The shower stall and toilet are hidden away nicely via concealed doors along the narrow walkway that was once the bus’ designated standing space.

Adding a nice little touch was an adorable teddy bear that came with my room – I promptly named mine “Adam Driver”. 

And of course, the front of the bus is occupied by an unmanned driver’s compartment as well as the busotel’s (portmanteau of bus and hotel) mini fridge. Admittedly, I had way too much fun in the driver’s seat pretending to be a bus driver who can’t seem to catch a break. I was staying solo so it wasn’t weird, especially when I told the imaginary auntie that food and drinks are not allowed on my bus. 

Jokes aside, I have nothing but praise for the inventive design layout. Nothing seems out of place, and every effort was made to uplift the bus cabin with the modern and sophisticated vibes that you would expect of a 4 to 5 star hotel room. If I was a bus enthusiast who wanted to retire in my very own bus, this is probably how I imagine it would look like.

Space is limited, understandably, given the constraints of a single-deck bus. Especially for those who are planning to utilise the BBQ pit, you might want to pack light as there isn’t a lot of storage space. Also, as the bedroom is raised, taller folks may have to crouch a bit to avoid bumping your heads onto the ceiling. While its narrow interior doesn’t leave much space for walking, it wasn’t in any way detrimental to my experience here. If anything, it actually made it cosier. 

(Pretend) bus drivers need to eat too

The Bus Collective’s proximity to Changi Village means that you are right at the centre of one of Singapore’s most popular culinary spots! There are plenty of food stalls here that operate into the wee hours of the night, and I highly recommend 89.7 Supper Club, which essentially serves every cuisine type that you can think of. 

While I was here, I chose to dine at Warung Selera which serves absolutely banging Malay food. 

There is also an abundance of 24/7 convenience stores for picking up snacks and drinks, and for BBQ lovers looking for supplies to grill up a storm.

A once-in-a-lifetime treat at The Bus Collective

Coincidentally, I had a 3,000-word term paper due the next day so there I was, lounging on the bed with my laptop as I played Brooklyn Nine-nine on the smart television. Then, I proceeded to tell my friends how I submitted my major assignment from a bus, to their amazement.

I still can’t believe I spent the night in a decommissioned bus. It was an indulgence, a new life experience and an opportunity to take a step back from my hectic life. 

I strongly recommend this for couples, whether it is for Valentine’s Day or a special anniversary, as I’m certain that this once-in-a-lifetime treat will elevate what is already a magical day.

And to The Bus Collective, perhaps you can try The MRT Collective next? 

FAQs

Is breakfast provided?

Yes! Complimentary a la carte breakfast is served in a bar space just by the resort’s entrance. 

Is there complimentary parking ?

Sadly, no. My friends came to visit, and I received a prompt by the service counter requesting that we park elsewhere. 

Do all guests get a teddy bear?

The Beary Bus Captain is available for purchase from $35.

Do you get to drive the bus?

I wish!

SAFRA members enjoy 15% off rooms on weekdays and 10% off rooms on weekends. For more info, go to safra.sg/promotions/the-bus-collective


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