I did not know there is a Wiki page on room service. Wah.
In-room dining, or room service, has for the longest time been a luxury to me. And an unnecessary one at that.
Why would you pay a premium to have food sent to your room, especially most times, its the exact same thing you can get from the hotel’s F&B outlets, but at a higher premium? So lazy meh? Even for me, getting an atas hotel room and eating at a club lounge is enough – I had no context to appreciate the value.
Ever since I embarked on this money-burning escapade of (almost) weekly staycations, I’ve started to see how an in-room dining experience can be that cherry on top of your staycay frosting. Without the need to rush off somewhere to explore a new place when travelling, staycations can become the perfect excuse to (sometimes) pay through your nose for your meal to come to you.
How should I explain this?
Sometimes it’s about having your food delivered to you on a tray with starched linens, in a proper plate and cutlery. Sometimes it’s about the almost too polite staff greeting you and asking if they can come in to set up your meal for you. Sometimes it’s about the little extra touches on the table like salt and pepper shakers, a glass of water, a surprise bowl of bread. Sometimes, it’s about browsing through the in-room menu and deciding what you want to eat at your own time and not being harassed by overly enthusiastic staff.
For me, its mostly about being able to enjoy a meal at my own time of my own choice. Sure, Club Lounges have sometimes fantastic offerings including bubbles but the need to keep to their stipulated timings for my meals was starting to be a little tiring. Plus, I struggled to decide between working out and pigging out due to the conflicting timings and found myself rushing through my workouts “because evening cocktails have started!”.
Best of all, I can be in an utter and various state(s) of unglam:
BUT the above said, in-room would not be my first choice if I had no dining credits to burn.
Thankfully, hotels have come to realize that dining credits is a huge draw for the staycay crowd and can give them a competitive edge. So while this in-room binge started out innocently enough, I’ve since decided to just whack and try as many as I can while I’m on this marathon.
For some reason, I really like local / asian selection for in-room dining (I know, I know). And also the perfect chance to do my Satu Kosong kosong test: trying to get them to do no carbs (rice / noodles) for my order.
My current ranking based on my experiences (it also helped that it was mostly the same amount spent – USD100 equivalent) for most of the stays which then made the value comparison a little easier:
- St Regis Singapore (most accommodating and best Nasi Goreng so far)
- Four Seasons (2nd most accommodating and second best Nasi Goreng)
- Westin Singapore (most reasonably priced in-room dining)
- Ritz Carlton (average value for price and taste)
- Andaz Singapore (most value in terms of how far my USD100 went but less than traditional in-room experience)
- Fullerton Hotel (most expensive in-room dining prices)
- Yotel Orchard (avoid unless necessary)
P/S: menu links and prices are reflected as at the point of my stay. Those without price indication – I forgot / no online reference. More to be added as I go along!
My virgin in-room dining / dining credit experience in a Singapore hotel! The menu was a printed copy in the hotel booklet and I recall prices were reasonable enough for me to have the below 4 within $130 credit (USD100). Of course helped that I did not need to allocate a budget for alcohol + had 1x platter of canapes due to the Plat Elite aperitive hours. Kosong orders were happily accommodated and extra ingredients were given with no issues upon request.
Food orders took ~30mins and delivered by a super polite butler. My kosong requests were acknowledged with no problems, almost like they get these requests all the time (do they??).
- Mee Goreng (kosong) – I really liked this interpretation as chef gave more vegs and accompanying seafood was super fresh. Wok hei was also present which was rare in a hotel. Score!
- Cesar Salad with chicken – fresh crunchy lettuce not drowned in dressing and generous serving of grilled chicken strips. I liked that the cheese came in shavings instead of grated as it allowed me to pick them off easier.
- Nasi Goreng (kosong) – Everything was super tasty, from fried chicken to satay to the crackers. Chef was more than happy to give extra chicken and extra satay too. Score!
- Salad Nicose – high quality salad with fresh lightly seared tuna chunks, fresh greens, and an onsen egg. Yays to more clean proteins.
Currently top of my list for an in-room dining experience for taste.
The in-room dining menu is in a form of a QR code [menu] (link works better on a mobile than desktop for some reason) – its really extensive and takes some time to run through everything. Not good for the indecisive. Items are super reasonable and dining credits can go a long way even with alcohol factored in.
Food orders took ~20mins – the fastest fulfilment so far – complete with a classy black linen instead of the usual whites. My kosong orders were met with a hesitant acknowledgement but very quickly affirmed. They did not seem very alarmed.
- Pad Thai River Prawn (kosong) ($23) – not bad and chef gave me more beansprouts and veg, yays. The one prawn was big and was enough protein to make the meal satisfying.
- Angus Beef Kra Pao ($23) – tasty generous beef slices but too spicy for me, gah. Not kosong as was not my meal.
- Salad with avocado and prawns – a very clean protein meal in a generous serving enough to make a full meal.
- Wines – white wines ($13) and prosecco ($17) – not siap and would definitely reorder any time.
The in-room menu is presented via their in-room tablet which sometimes does not work. Also the most expensive in-room menu to date with rather scary prices. So the below menu x 2 sets knocked out my $130 (USD100) dining credit.
Food orders took ~45mins and efficiently delivered. My kosong orders were confirmed with no issues too.
- Nasi Goreng (kosong) ($31) – quite nice! Chef was happy to give extra chicken and satay. My 2nd favorite nasi goreng kosong below St Regis’.
- Merlot ($12) – special price for any order of mains for in-room. Unexpectedly nice and a very generous pour on my repeat order the next day. This is also the only hotel who pours the wine from the bottle on the spot. I like.
Their definition of in-room dining is closer to tabao-and eat-in-your-room kind of meaning but I thought I’d include them anyways. You pick what you want from Komyunit’s menu, order through dialing them on your in-room phone, and Yoshi or Yolanda will send them to you.
Food orders took the longest time so far ~45mins and my kosong order for my nasi goreng without rice was rejected as chef did not want to add other ingredients to the special request. The Yotel in-house robots Yoshi or Yolanda are in charge of the delivery and you’ll know your food has arrived when your in-room phone rings and hears a chirpy “Hello! Please open the door! Your friendly neighbourhood robot is here!”.
- Brussel sprouts ($9) – very nice and because they are brussel sprouts.
- Nasi Goreng ($12) – barely passable, very average.
- Laksa ($15) – not too bad, nicer than nasi goreng.
- Bibimbap ($10) – had to toss this one because too much food.
Ritz Carlton Millennia Singapore
I actually had high hopes for this one , because its Ritz after all. The in-room dining menu can be accessed vis scanning a QR code placed in the room. Prices are not as high as I had anticipated but by the time I got to needing this, I had burnt $61 of my credits at super fancy Republic Lounge and could only afford a main dish. #Sadness.
Food order came within 30mins and my kosong order was hesitantly negotiated but eventually accepted, with an apology that they would not give me more of anything except an egg.
Nasi Goreng ($28) – not as nice as I expected with the fried chicken a little soggy but the presence of prawns made me feel better. All in-room orders also are slapped with a $5 “delivery charge” so you really should order everything you want AT ONE GO.
Breakfast ($49/$39) – this was part of my stay but if we had to pay, the American set would be $49++ and Healthy Set $39++. Ordered for 830am and food came slightly early at 8:20am. Food was delicious and the healthy set turned out to be a great choice!
By now I was excited to try this one because the rest of the stay had been such a great experience so far. The in-room dining menu is laid out in a printed form in your room (I forgot to take pics of the reverse side opps) and I was pleasantly surprised that prices were super reasonable:
Orders took 30mins to arrive, maybe due to the fact that I was ordering a very late lunch at 3pm on a weekday. My Nasi Goreng kosong order did not faze them at all and happily accepted, plus the staff proactively detailed what else I the plate I would be getting. But this was one of the more lonely in-room trays I’ve seen so far – feels a little blank.
My Nasi Goreng ($29++) was an absolute delight – even the crackers were very fresh which to me is an indication of paying attention to details (you have no idea how many places serves up stale and lao hong crackers). I also had to (yays!) order a glass of Taittinger Brut ($28++) to burn off my remaining credits and it was poured fresh from a half bottle. I would like to have more of such problems please.
I was curious to see how in-room dining by this hip/millennial hyatt property is. The menu is only accessible by their digital concierge Andy but sample snapshots as follow:
Orders can be placed via Andy with a section for special requests and my food came within 30mins. My first attempt to order a Char Kway Teow without kway teow was an epic failure – the chef said it cannot be done because “the taste will be different” and it wouldn’t taste the same and if I wanted additional vegetable, I should order the stir fry vegetables for $12++. Food came cling-wrapped neatly in a tray carried by hand by a staff (instead of a trolley) – they are not allowed to enter guest rooms so you take over the tray from them at the door.
Andaz Club Sandwich ($22) – After the above failure, I decided against asking for no bread but my special request for no fries did came through, and chef very generously replaced with a mini portion of quinoa salad. Taste wise it was what is expected of a club sandwich and I reckon it should be better if eaten as how it should be with its toasted carbs.
Auntie’s Laksa ($18) – I managed to ask for no noodles but more ingredients via Andy and it came exactly like it – yays to chef taking my special order seriously! I actually liked this laksa alot, and not just because I think I got extra prawns but the flavour was quite lemak and I would say beats most hotel laksa I’ve tried so far. Sorry no separate pic because all laksas look the same.
I have to say, it’s been really fun! And in an attempt to make full use of the recent Amex staycay offers and Hotelux bookings, I figured I would be able to do my random kosong tests on the below properties in the coming months (in sequential order):
- Parkroyal COLLECTION Marina Bay
- Pan Pacific Singapore
- Kempinski Capitol Singapore
- Hilton Singapore
- Orchard Hotel
- Fullerton Bay Hotel
- Shangri-La Hotel Singapore
- W Sentosa
In-room binge here I come 😛