I’ve been kind of intrigued by this property ever since it first opened as a Six Senses. Even after it became an Autograph Collection, I’ve never actually though about staycay-ing here until this year. Time to try my first Autograph Collection being a Titanium!
(The Milelion’s experience on the property wasn’t very assuring but ah wells, here goes)
Address – 83 Duxton Road Singapore 089540. Website.
Contact – Tel: +65 69141428. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Location – Nestled within the Tanjong Pagar enclave amongst the very hipster Duxton shophouses, offering plenty of atas (but perhaps noisy and crowded) food choices and watering holes. The upcoming Maxwell station (TE18) should make this property more accessible but meanwhile, Tanjong Pagar station (EW15) is about 10-min unsheltered walk away. Parking is limited to the street side lots and a small-ish open air carpark nearbso you’d be better off grabbing here.
Price – $216++ = $254nett booked for their entry-level room, Shophouse King (16sSqM), under the Marriott Friends and Family Rate (thank you friend!). I thought it was a decent deal since Titaniums would also get breakfast and upgrades.
Pre-arrival – I was randomly auditing my upcoming stays about a month prior and this stay showed the Skylight Suite – Yayyyyyyy. Not sure if a 5-tier upgrade is a common thing at Autograph Collections but if it’s of any indication of how the property treats Elites, I am certainly excited already! But that changed to Duxton Duplex Suite one week later and I had to write in to request to keep the Skyline Suite due to my weak ankles and unfortunate tendency to be clumsy with stairs. The team kindly accomodated.
I also got my pre-arrival email 5 days prior which mistakenly indicates they are still closed for dine-in but that email was quickly recalled. I’d think the rest of the email is still valid though. I also think they should include the breakfast benefits in the list of entitlements as it doesn’t look so at first glance and I had to reply to clarify. I also replied to confirm my choice of welcome gift to be the cocktails and they acknowledged with further clarification on the time and said a reservation will be made at Anouska’s Bar accordingly.
Getting There – I grabbed there and the property is easy to spot with its striking black and gold colors amongst the Duxton shophouse neighbourhood. Alight right at the door step, then a couple of steps up.
Check In – I arrived to an empty lobby on a weekday morning and didn’t see any staff. So I waited and one staff came out wheeling a guest’s luggage for check out. I was invited to take a seat while she processed my stay thereafter. My upgrade to the Skylight Suite and late checkout of 4:00pm was confirmed, but was asked for my preferred choice of welcome gift and desired time for cocktails although I had already furnished via email.
So meanwhile, I had time to grab a few pics of the black+gold lobby:
I was then escorted to my room. While this was a nice touch and I get that they are trying to provide good service, I do feel that perhaps this helping-with-luggage-and-escorting-to-room process can be moderated when there is only one staff on duty as this would mean guests will come into an empty lobby not knowing how to / where the staff is.
Room – My Skylight Suite (41SqM) was simply numbered “Room 1” and located right adjacent to the check in counter. My first impression of the room is…………..man, its dark. I mean, I do know that black/gold are the colors of choice at the property and I have seen reviews of them but I wasn’t quite prepared for especially the living area to be that dark.
The space is cut out into first, a living area as you step in with a long table and sitting options on both sides. This is a particularly useful space to put your barang for the stay.
Next to this is the living area where an L-shaped sofa and an abundance of throw pillows sits with a large coffee table, all facing a TV of course. Placed near the TV are your complimentary bottled waters, Nespresso machine, kettle, and coffee cups for simple beverages. A set of Yellow Pot menu is also placed here for your browsing pleasure.
Above all this is the reason why its called the Skylight Suite – a glass dome roof offering some bits of natural daylight to the space. Unfortunately it looks out to what looks like the window alley of fellow guests upstairs so not much of a view here.
You then have to step up to a platform to go round a corner which will lead you into your bedroom. Along this route, you’ll pass by your luggage rack, closet (almost couldn’t find it), and the fanciest mini bar ever (with similarly fancy prices). The fridge below the mini bar is also fully stocked to tempt you so watch out!
The main bedroom area is a simple blockish layout of a 4-poster king bed facing a non-smart TV, alongside 1 bedside table with your in-house phone on it. Behind the bed is oddly a space of narrow corridor which is non-functional. A friend also reminded me that the windows along this corridor is a public area so close them if you don’t like random people peeking in!
The entrance to the smallish bathroom is located right beside your bed, so the person on this side of the bed may have the unfortunate problem of lights / movement / smell(?). The single sink sits in the middle offering limited countertop space. On one side of this is standing shower space, separated by a half panel. On the other side is a basic non-bidet toilet area. Toiletries are Etro branded (same as Vagabond).
The gripe I have about the shower space design is that things gets rained on when you do – the floor, the countertop space plus whatever you place on it gets splattered during a shower. Nothing that a little drying won’t help of course but its just annoying.
Apart from the dark interiors, I do feel that the property can be better maintained. At closer inspection, a lot of the dark wood interiors had scratches and random marks on them, the floors feels sticky in some spots, and especially the L-shaped sofa in the living room is rather sunken in and definitely has seen better days. For the OCDs, there also seems to be no thought in attempting to hide some dangling cables from TVs and lamps.
Though I have to say, I had one of my best staycay sleep ever here. Either there is zero traffic in this area during these times or the room is so sound-proof that I hardly hard any noise at all. And of course with the bedroom windows closed, the dark interiors probably helped.
This stay was also the first trying out the mobile key function in my Marriott app – yays!
Welcome Cocktails – I redeemed mine at Anouska’s Bar in the evening and the place was really sexy at night with the continuing black / gold decor – but of course with the “Bond Girl” thingy going on. Robbee was at her very welcoming best and made sure my cocktails were promptly delivered. I could pick any 2 from their Signature Cocktails selection which I thought was rather generous as each order is $26++. My choices of Escape to Kaifeng and Date, served with a little pot of spiced cashews (refillable), were quite nice with the alcohol unexpectedly kicking in only later.
Breakfast – Past reviews indicates that elite breakfast was limited to only the continental breakfast (no hot food) but I guess the property took this feedback seriously because I was able to enjoy the full breakfast experience during my stay. Yay!
Breakfast is served at Yellow Pot from 7:00am – 10:30am and a printed menu is laid out on the table. I was the 2nd occupied table at 8am and Robbee (how long a shift does this girl work?) gave me a warm welcome remembering me from the night before.
Guests are to pick one main of their choice and can add on most other things on the menu, with the exception of the breakfast cocktails and sides being chargeable. I picked the Lobster & Crab Omelette (really nice!), Breakfast Bakery Basket (hefty portion), Apple Lemon & Ginger Cold Pressed Juice (didn’t taste cold pressed), and Fresh Tropical Fruits (rare to see mango and starfruit!). Everything was good – superb quality breads which tasted house-made and I was particularly impressed by the effort to offer more than your regular run-of-the-mill fruits. Coffee was very strong too.
Facilities – No facilities as expected at a boutique property, other than the F&B offerings.
Service – Dalia at check in was great and took her time with me even though there was another guest waiting to check in after me. Robbee at cocktails + breakfast were exemplary with her warm and welcoming demeanour and an absolute delight to interact with.
Check Out – Seamlessly completed at 2pm on a weekday (had to run errands). I was offered for the checkout folio to be emailed to me but still waiting on that one day later.
I’m really glad I decided to take a night here! What seemed like a rather meh start ended on a much better note taking into consideration the entire experience including the Titanium benefits. Now having stayed at both Garcha properties in Singapore, I will have to say I had a much better experience at Duxton than Vagabond 🙂
[Afternote: I later realized the property charged me $232++ at check out instead of my booked rate of $216++ – I emailed them to which they asked for proof of my original rate – and I sent my confirmation email across. One week later – still silence. So I sent a chaser and this time got a reply to say that the refund is in progress. I had to reply AGAIN so I have the refund amount in writing. 10days later, I’m still waiting for that refund to come through. Overcharging guests is not a small issue to me and it feels like they could have dealt with this more proactively – by keeping silent, it made me feel they are being sneaky. Moral of story: check your invoice!]