With COVID19 dashing all hopes of travel for 2020, I finally got my first (real) excuse to skip off for my very first staycation of 2021 (my last staycay was Jan 2020!). Holding true to the randomly rash decision of spoiling our (me and siblings) parents, this became the choice of an atas belated birthday treat for my dad, part compensating missing our annual Poh United trip in 2020.
I’ve actually been eyeing the Ritz Club experience for a long time but them famously not participating in the Marriott Bonvoy programme has always stopped me. And it can be misleading since they are still bookable on the Marriott platforms. So for the longest time, their 5 meal presentations(!), free flow alcohol all day(!), and the Champagne Barons de Rothschild Ritz Reserve Brut & Rose have always occupied my staycation-obsessed brains.
It was also between this and Shangri-La’s Valley Wing offer (hovering around/ less than $500 per room per night) which honestly is very tempting given the value. But ……the room just looks sad. And given the never ending supply of rain these days, I wanted sheltered options to jalan jalan if it pours.
So we bit the bullet (thank you siblings for sharing costs!) and decided we will just whack for the best.
ADDRESS – 7 Raffles Avenue Singapore 039799. Website.
CONTACT – Tel: +65 6337 8888. Email: RC-Singaporeleads@ritzcarlton.com.
PRICE- Club Escape @ $629++ for a Club Deluxe Kallang King/Twin = $740.33. So $1,480 for 2 rooms.
This hotel-direct promotion is suppose to be a 15% off the usual rates so I shudder to think what it was pre-COVID. I did also check out options for using my SingapoRediscovers Vouchers (SRV) but I would have paid the same nett prices as the $100 would have been used to fund the mark-up. No thanks.
** Check out its more recent prices on TripAdvisor here **
I also appreciated the very clear notice on the hotel’s booking page informing guests of the ongoing renovations and the (sad) fact that they do not participate in Bonvoy.
LOCATION – Located in the Marina Bay area, the property offers sheltered access to Marina Square, Suntec City, and Millenia Walk (and Raffles City Shopping Centre with a further walk). So plenty of wine, dine and spend options if you book a base room without breakfast (but why would you at the Ritz?). Public transport is also accessible via the nearest MRT Station, Promenade (CC4 / DT15) with a perhaps 6-8 mins walk.
PRE-ARRIVAL – 3 days prior to my stay, I received my pre-arrival email from the Ritz Carlton Club Concierge attaching my welcome letter listing the hotel’s Safe Management Measures (including the need to book facilities) and the daily Club Lounge menus for my days of stay. The email also required a response on the full details of all staying guests.
I enquired about the possibility of getting connecting rooms and was told that Club Deluxe Kallangs don’t offer any such configuration and an upgrade to the Club Deluxe Marina would be $100 per room per night which I declined. I politely requested for the hotel to consider a complimentary upgrade due to the special occasion (parents’ birthday + wedding anniversary) and was told it can’t be guaranteed (fair enough) but they will closely monitor the situation for availability.
I also asked for a 12noon check in and was confirmed accordingly.
The Club Concierge also asked for a photo of my parents to “make the special occasion memorable”. I sent that over as well but there was no further details of what they would do to it.
GETTING THERE – Was driven there and parked at the basement carpark for the stay but otherwise, you can drop off at the level 3 driveway and enjoy the VIP-ish experience of the staff opening your door for you and helping you with your luggage.
*Side note: my 2D1N parking fee was $37 in total. I had the complimentary parking as in-house guest but the paid rates is not as expensive as I thought~ **
CHECK IN – Due to Safe Management Measures and the ongoing renovations, the pre-COVID fancy check in area on level 3 is non existent and the front desk operation has been moved to level 1 instead. If you are coming from the carpark, you can only take the lift to level 1 and you’ll see the above area once the lift doors open. Other than serving as actual check in area, this also serves as a ‘screening’ of sorts to make sure guests do their SafeEntry and temperature checks etc.
The Duty Manager, Douglas, checked me in and was very warm and welcoming. There was no queue at all given that it was a Tuesday 12noon. Douglas also kindly granted me a 4pm late check out upon request and confirmed that I had been given an complimentary upgrade to the Club Deluxe Marina King/Twin connecting rooms
Then on the other side of this is the bigger (and more fancy) check in area:
ROOM(S) – The 2 Club Deluxe Marina King / Twin I was assigned were 2202 and 2206. They stand at 51SqM each, offers panoramic views of the Marina Bay Precinct and are simply gorgeous!
The connecting layout was also slightly unusual – it is one main door that opens up to a little hallway where the doors to each of the rooms are. Much like a dual key floorplan and adds that little touch of special to the stay.
The rooms are big by non suite standards and very well appointed. Each comes with its own little “living area”, plushy beds, a large wardrobe area, big work desk, and mini bar area containing a Nespresso machine. The club room benefit of “24-hour complimentary coffee or tea served direct to guestroom” offered in pre-COVID times has been replaced by coffee and tea kits in-room which I presume refers to the Nespresso stuff and tea bags in the mini bar.
Bathrooms were spotless (though no double sinks), and the legendary bathtub were quite a sight (even though I didn’t have time to try). Separate shower and toilet facilities made it convenient for 2pax, and toiletries were in my favourite hue of purple from Asprey Purple Water – which I actually really liked!
Welcome letters, special amenities for the special occasion, and care kits were placed in each room as well:
When we came back in the evening, we spotted little Ritz chocolates, pralines, a second round of personalized letters, as well as a towel origami! The turndown service rocks!
CLUB LOUNGE – their website sums up the experience quite nicely, but I was here mostly for the champagne guzzling and the 5 meal presentations:
- Breakfast: 6.30 a.m. – 10.30 a.m (11.00am on weekends)
- Mid-Day Snacks: 11.30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- Afternoon Tea: 2.30 p.m. – 4.30 p.m.
- Hors d’oeuvres and Cocktails: 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
- Desserts and Cordials: 8.30 p.m. – 10.30 p.m.
Perched on the 32nd floor of the property, the space offers a good mix of class and cosiness with different seating arrangements for small – medium groups, window seats (very popular), semi private booth seats, and a drawing corner at one end of the space.
Upon exiting the lifts, you are greeted by a sometimes-manned club desk and then you turn right towards the actual entrance of the space (SafeEntry and temperature taking is required).
The window seats in particular offers breath-taking views of the Marina Bay area and I can see why they are so popular:
Remember they asked for a photo of my parents? They did a personalized QR code which pulls up the photo as the 1st page of the club menu when scanned – such a nice touch! This same stand also serves as a table ID and the staff would bring it and place it on our table whenever we were in the lounge.
(Though, the first version of it had the wrong last name but was quick rectified when we told them).
CLUB LOUNGE MEAL PRESENTATIONS
- Breakfast: 6.30 a.m. – 10.30 a.m (11.00am on weekends): we all ordered the American set (versus the Asian and Continental) which includes your choice of 2 eggs, hash brown, chicken sausage, baked beans, and bacon. You can have your eggs fried, sunny side up, over easy, scrambled and omelette. All sets come with a basket of assorted bread, pastries, and pancakes which I just remembered we didn’t receive 🙁
- (The siew mai were requested from the asian set – delicious!)
- Mid-Day Snacks: 11.30 a.m. – 2 p.m: this comprise of a hot soup, light bites, and fruit platter. My pics of the day 1 choices was deleted by accident (I miss the super nice jumbo steamed siew mai!). You can also ask for refills of your desired item(s). One set would be sufficient for a meal though.
- Afternoon Tea: 2.30 p.m. – 4.30 p.m: All the treats are served to you on a 3-tier tray and they can combine up to 3 sets in one tray if need be. Refills of only selected items are of course possible. The warm scones (both regular and chocolate) are impossible to resist even for the low carb me, made more luscious by the cream served alongside it. Kueh lapis also scored, but the rest of the items were just passable.
- Hors d’oeuvres and Cocktails: 5 p.m. – 8 p.m: Unfortunately the poorest showing of the 5. Or maybe its just the Tuesday menu that doesn’t look good. Bread basket, a set of 3 appetizers, and your choice of main course. We all picked the pork belly but it was too fatty and flavors were not on point.
- Desserts and Cordials: 8.30 p.m. – 10.30 p.m (9:30pm in current times ): your choice of a selection of pralines and cookies (where?), or a cheese platter. Both were suitably nice and a sweet ending to the evening.
BEVERAGES – Ah the highlight of my stay. FREE FLOW CHAMPAGNE ALL DAY. ALL. DAY. I’m not super technical about champagne as long as its champagne and all I can say is that its good bubbles! The Champagne Barons de Rothschild Reserve Ritz Brut and Rose are exclusive to Ritz Carltons and both were super easy to guzzle . I think I probably went through 2 glasses per meal. If you must know the technicalities, I found some info online here. I was also told each bottle costs $180++ per bottle if you want to get it as in-house guests.
Beer choices were Heineken and Asahi which was generic. I also tried their espresso martini but it wasn’t my cup of tea (best I’ve tried still goes to the SilverKris Lounge at Incheon Airport).
SERVICE IN THE CLUB LOUNGE – It was nice to be addressed by last name obviously, and there really was no bad service throughout my stay. A handful of individuals stood out as being super warm and seemed genuinely happy in their roles, with the rest being sometimes clinical but nonetheless attentive and politely efficient. Soiled plates were cleared quite quickly and our glasses were never empty. It was a great complement to the cosy space and completed the Club Lounge experience for us.
FACILITIES – Like all other hotels in COVID times, bookings are required for their gym, pool and spa facilities which is complimentary for in-house guests. I only managed to try the spa facilities by squeezing that in on day 2 when we were abit more sober.
They also offer a membership package for anyone rich enough
LIMO SERVICE – All Club rooms guests are able to book a limo to anywhere in the Marina Bay area subject to availability on a first come first served basis (one way only – you have to make your way back on your own). I actually tried to book a slot via the pre-arrival email but was told they don’t take bookings in advance. Upon checking with the front desk, I was advised to enquire for the availability 1 hour prior to my desired departure and sure enough, the Club staff confirmed the car shortly after. They also made arrangements for a bigger vehicle for us 4pax as the usual car can only sit 3pax.
If you must know, we took a super short joyride to MBS to walk off all that food and bubbles.
Why? Why not?
ISSUES DURING MY STAY – the otherwise excellent stay was unfortunately marred by an attempt to use the pool. We enquired with the Club staff about using the pool at 7:30am on Day 1 evening and were told the spa was closed but they will pass the message accordingly. We were also assured that we can just head down the next day at the said time as it was an early timing anyway. So we did…..only to see that the pool was being cleaned.
I feedback to the Club staff thereafter and highlighted that the Club team should be aware of any such maintenance schedule (cleaning of pools can’t be done on a spontaneous basis right?) so guests don’t have to make a wasted trip like we did. I mean, we did have to get up especially early for the swim and all that. Was told that they will take note etc, but no further service recovery was done.
CHECK OUT – Check out was done painlessly and swiftly at 4pm.
Apart from the hiccup above, Ritz did live up to its Ritzy reputation after all! We were well fed, well drunk (drank?), rooms were more than spectacular, Club Lounge was amazing, and (mostly) no bad service. To be honest, at this price point considering all the inclusions, it is rather fair value for what the experience offers.
I would want to come back again hopefully to try their full fledge offerings post COVID!