I ‘ve been questioned about my choice of birthday staycation at this property as I work in essentially the same building.
Well, first, this represented a good value with my Accor Plus Sta Plus benefit, having to only top up $90++ for 2pax for an Executive King room which includes access to Level 65, their interpretation of a Club Lounge. Secondly, the entire property has been recently refurbished and I always had a semi fetish for checking out “new” hotels.
So with that, the stay was locked down for checking in on my birthday. Celebrating my big 4. Yays?
But my excitement didn’t end up matching my experience.
Address – 2 Stamford Road Singapore 178882. Website.
Contact – Tel: +65 6338 8585. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Price – SGD$90++ supplement on top of my Stay Plus benefit. A quick check on the rates for the same room type on my date saw $359++ for the same room type.
Location – Connected in the same building as Raffles City Shopping Centre and the Raffles City Tower (office block), the property enjoys seamless and weatherproof access to shopping, dining, and transportation options right in the heart of the city. Even if you don’t feel like heading out, Marina Square, Suntec City, and Citylink are all connected via underground.
Prior To Arrival – I was excited about checking in on my actual birthday, so I emailed the property to request for early check in and late check out. In my usual tone of requesting. Then, I received a reply from room reservations indicating it’ll be a $180++ charge “should I wish to have a guarantee late checkout until 6pm”. I’m really not sure whether the 6pm came from and I certainly didn’t ask about it explicitly but the response definitely was read the wrong way – I expected a 5-star establishment to have a bit of finesse when communicating with guests and that response displayed none. In the end, someone else responded to confirm a later check out of 2pm. Oh wells.
Check In – Arriving at about 12:30pm of a busy day, I was directed to one of the self check in counters by a nice staff. The check in process took much longer as expected and was unexpectedly awkward as you have to scan your ID and then the camera takes a picture of you while you are standing there, then matches both faces with machine reading abilities. But this means both your pictures are flashed brightly on the check in screen during this process and clearly visible to anyone walking by. And should you look different, you have to ask for assistance from a staff for help to troubleshoot. If you have Accor Silver and above, you’d have to get a staff to separately get you your welcome drinks. If you have access to Level 65, there is no welcome letter for being a Club guest and you get this in place:
Room – Executive King (40SqM), Room 6151, was definitely newly renovated. Fairly spacious and now looking very modern versus my past stay in 2007, the space is now decked out in wooden hues and matching fabric. Aside from the comfy king bed, there is also a day sofa beside an awkwardly shaped table, and a lounge chair in one corner of the room.
Bathroom was spacious as well and toiletries were Purovel branded in ceramic dispensers – never heard of this brand but they were nice. Water pressure from the rain shower was dribbling sad so you may want to skip that and choose the hand held shower instead.
But as I stepped into the room for the first time, I was hit with a tangy (the bad kind) musty smell. I walked around the room trying to identify the source of the smell but I couldn’t. Had to open the window to the balcony to let some fresh air in. Also called housekeeping and asked for someone to come and freshen the room. Then I sat in my room for an hour eating my takeway lunch, but no one came.
So I headed up the Level 65 for coffee and cookies and told the reception staff about sending a reminder to housekeeping.
When I came back in the afternoon, there was a knock on the door and there were 2 staff with a birthday cake and a cutleries. Yays!
Level 65 – the properties’ interpretation of the Club Lounge. They even have their own fitness centre just for Executive level guests but it was empty whenever I visited.
Their marketing spill:
when you check into one of our executive rooms or unique suites, you can expect the same. Reserved exclusively for our executive and suite guests, the executive lounge and the living room provide a distinct environment for the most discerning travellers. Enjoy sweeping city views, a buffet breakfast over our range of international press, refreshments throughout the day and evening cocktails for networking opportunities. Both spaces are designed to facilitate your productivity with complimentary WiFi available and access to meeting rooms and workspaces. The tastefully-appointed Swiss design sofas and hand-picked local furnishings allow you to enjoy a genuine Swiss-Singaporean fusion.
In all fairness, the space is stunning. Leveraging on being situated on level 65 which I believe is the tallest club lounge in Singapore, the entire space is decked out with every seating permutation possible for both big and intimate group sizes: booth seats, cushy sofa seats, couch spaces, and otherwise proper dining tables, most of which offers a sweeping view of the city landscape.
The official food offerings hours are:
- 0700 – 1000 Breakfast
- 0530 – 1930 Evening cocktails
I’m surprised that for a high end property, afternoon tea is not served at Level 65. But cookies and nuts alongside soft drinks and coffee / tea were available off-hours.
Come evening cocktails, there were a handful of hot bites alongside simple salads, nuts, cheeses, fruits, small selection of desserts. Alcohol selection included your usual spirits and white / red wines. No champagne and nothing sparkling. I asked if they have champagne and the staff said he’ll ask, then came back to say champagne is only for suite guests who has exclusivity to a private section of the lounge, but he’ll give me one glass since I asked. Thanks for the bubbles!
Facilities – I went for a quick swim at around 3pm and found the pool nicely sheltered from sun rays and water temperature pleasant. Also did a pitstop at Willow Stream Spa which is a shared facility with Fairmont – the jacuzzi and whirlpool were very relaxing.
Breakfast – Breakfast starts at 6am in the main restaurant, Clove, so we decided to head there as we woke early. Clove looked great after the recent refurbishment with modern seatings and colors. I would imagine a lot of natural sunlight later in the day. Food wise, plenty of options and quality was fair – egg station made a great omelette for me too!
Service – Spotty at best and I am bummed that the service was not up to par as a 5-star establishment. The check in and housekeeping issues aside, I felt staff at Level 65 was clinical and offered no warmth to the service experience. No one offered any coffee or tea the numerous times when I walked in – though staff did smile politely and greeted me – but after that you are left to your own devices while they stood at the counter and chatted. For such a beautiful space, it would have elevated the experience if someone has bothered to show first-time guests around the space and explained a little bit on what the space has to offer. During evening cocktails, staff was mostly around to clear soiled plates and cutleries but again, no ‘can I get you a coffee?’. I get it that it is easy to figure out how to get your coffee etc but simply making the effort to ask the guest makes a whole of difference. The spirits and bar was also tucked away at one corner of the floor and it would have been easier if each table had a small placecard explaining the bar offerings as I didn’t even know that spirits and cocktails were being served until I asked.
Check Out – Unfortunately, not without hiccups as well. Headed to Level 65 for my check out the next day 3pm as the main lobby was absolutely brimming with people. There was a couple of guests standing there so I figured I’ll have another coffee while waiting and picked a table where I had a clear view of whether the reception is available. After the queue whittled down to only 1 guest, I walked over and stood in line. A young lady approached me, found I was checking out, and asked that I take a seat to wait and she will let me know when they are available to assist me. So I gestured to her where I was seated and walked back to continuing enjoying my coffee and cookies.
After 30mins, I could see that the reception was available but no one came to me. So I waited a bit more – maybe those staff were managing some matters? After another 15mins, I decided to walk up and asked if I can check out. I could and they processed it on the spot. And the lady who asked me to take a seat earlier on? She was nowhere to be found.
I would have no issues standing in line and waiting for my turn. But the problem is if you offer the guest to take a seat and wait to be informed for assistance, then I expect it to be fulfilled. To ask that, and then to disappear, leaving the guest wondering if its their turn? Absolutely not good, especially for a club lounge.
Both the hardware and software leaves much to be desired.
Some parts of my stay did have merits but the overall experience did not wow me. In particular, the automated check in process strips away all the warmth and personal touches a regular traveller has come to expect when arriving at a luxury property. It made me feel like “just another guest” instead of a valued one, especially for club level guests. Sacrificing those personal touches in exchange for mechanical efficiency didn’t work for me.
I also did eventually find out what was causing the smell in my room. It was the fabric headboard at the bed. We only found out when we laid down to sleep and my mum was out like a light very soon so it was too much of a hassle to ask to change room then. We had to end up leaving the window to the balcony open the whole night so the smell is diluted. I gave this feedback upon check out but again, there was nothing much the team could do then.
BUT a newly refurbished room should NOT have that issue in the first place.
A disappointing birthday stay.