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8 Lessons from Loh Lik Peng, Founder of Unlisted Collection

8 Lessons from Loh Lik Peng, Founder of Unlisted Collection

Listen to your gut. A leap of faith can be rewarding

There was this beautiful property on sale at Keong Saik Road but nobody wanted it. It was a red light district then. I bought it, but I couldn’t rent it out so for a while I wasn’t sure what to do with it.

Never take no for an answer

Hotel 1929 initially didn’t have the right permits to be licensed as a hotel; it took several knocking on doors to get that done. People thought we were crazy to open a hotel there.

If you’re going to do something different, go all the way

For Wanderlust Hotel every floor is by a different designer. We’ve always done things differently because we try and stay true to the history and context of the location.

Stay true to your strengths

Each of the hotels and restaurants has a different branding, so different that there can’t be a proper umbrella brand for them. It’s not the most efficient way of doing things but that’s the DNA of our brand.

What’s your motivation?

I’m happy that each time I do something I create something new. For me its still the romance that gets it going… I fall in love with a project and just decide from there.

Know your numbers

Don’t over leverage on any project, and don’t expect a fast return on hotels. It can take multiple years. Restaurants on the other hand, those can turn around in 3-6 months.

Inspiration is all around you

Our creative process is really to invite lots of creative people on a project and get them in a room to hash it out and brainstorm like crazy. It’s a lot of fun.

Locals always know better

On hiring abroad, I try and look for the key people that are really different. Once you get hold of them, everything else cascades from there. It’s worth spending more time on this.


T he Make it MATTER series seeks out inspiring pioneers in their chosen fields to share their talents and stories in a casual conversation and Q&A.

The first session of the series kicked off on 17 May 2014 at Wanderlust Hotel, location 1 for the MATTER #nomadcart pop up series. Loh Lik Peng, founder of Unlisted Collection, which features a stable of unique, high quality boutique hotel properties and restaurants in Singapore, London and Shanghai, shared his entrepreneurial journey with us.