[Hotel Review] Mandarin Orchard Singapore

Grabbed from official site

I had an open slot to fit something in due to some staycay shuffling and I thought it’ll be nice to slot in a farewell stay before it becomes the biggest Hilton in APAC region. I’ve stayed in one of their Suites long time ago so also about time to re-visit!

Address – 333 Orchard Road Singapore 238867. Website.

Contact – Tel: +65 67374411. Email: orchard@meritushotels.com.

Price – $141.79 for their Deluxe King with a free upgrade to Superior Deluxe booked via Trip.com + breakfast for 2pax which I thought was a decent enough deal. I think I got a $10 off for using DBS card for payment as well.

Location – Right in the middle of Orchard Road happenings so plenty choices to burn your wallet on, except that it doesn’t offer sheltered access to neighbouring malls so can be quite crappy if it rains, though there is nothing an umbrella from the concierge won’t solve.

Pre-arrival – no pre-arrival email but I reached out to ask for early check in at 12noon (with full knowledge that it was the school holiday week albeit a weekday) as was hopping out during my lunch hour. As expected, I received a non-committal response but I had to go during that hour anyways.

Check In – The age of the hotel was suddenly very apparent as I took the lift from level Mandarin Gallery to level 5:

So anyways, I arrived to a confusing level 5 lobby due to the ongoing renovations – had to wander through a narrow construction hallway to see a staff who directed me to level 8 where check ins are currently processed.

The space is opened up a lot more on level 8 with a single queue for check ins (2 counters) + concierge desk.

Due to safe distancing measures, only 1 guest per room are allowed to stand in queue and those who are not handling the registration itself has to wait in a separate area besides.

I read / heard about horrifying queue times but I was only the 2nd person in line and was attended to in under 5mins, with the process completed within 15mins including filling up declaration forms. I was also given an upgrade to the Premier Room (33SqM) – I would actually have preferred sticking to the Superior Deluxe (28SqM) as the color scheme of that room type is brighter but oh well, can’t complain as my priority was getting an available room then.

Room – My Premier Room 2637 is located right at the end of a long corner and as I stepped in, the first thing that struck me was the unfortunate dark color scheme of the room which is in stark contrast to the bright corridors. The room itself is perfectly fine, rather nice space which is reminiscent of a old(er)-time good class hotel. But whoever decided that dark wooden furnishings + dark color furniture + dark carpets make a good combination?! It made a perfectly fine room look (and feel) super dreary.

Apart from that however, the ‘newly refurbished’ (where?) room is quite quite decent! The main bedroom contains your King bed (2x twin underneath) with 2 bedside tables accompanied by powerpoints and light switches.

I have to give particular mention to the super old-school thermostat which actually worked surprisingly well – although it made sporadic wheezing sounds.

The bed face the -smart TV on a console which doubles up as your mini bar / coffee / tea / fridge area. Unlike similar class hotels of the modern age, there is no coffee machine even for a ‘premier room’, only freeze dried granules (just realized I don’t have pics of them, opps!). The personalized note on the TV was a nice touch though.

Alongside this space is a small-ish work desk and a weary looking work chair, plus a chilling day sofa at a corner.

The closet is alongside your walkway into the room and is fairly basic – the hairdryer is also placed in this spot.

The bathroom itself is thankfully much brighter with double sinks and plenty of counter top space. But I thought placing the non-segregated non-bidet toilet adjacent to the sink was a rather odd placement – is it for easy access to wash your hands I wonder?

Then there is your standing shower space, surprisingly equipped with a sit-down bench of sorts – though no rainshower here. Toiletries are Meritus branded – I only tried the shower gel and it does what it does.

Breakfast – served at Chatterbox 7:00am – 10:00am, with no reservations needed. I walked into a fairly empty space at 7:45am on a weekday, with the space slowly filling up near the 9:00am mark. I actually don’t remember Chatterbox looking like what I saw – it used to be a restaurant-ish sort of place to get your $25 chicken rice fix but now, it feels abit canteen-ish with it’s seating / cheap cutlery choices.

A menu chit is presented for your selection of a main, and a fruit platter + pastries are served to the table after being seated. My choice of the American Breakfast fared badly, with only the overeasy eggs being palatable (then again, how do you mess up eggs?) and the rest on the plate tasting like cheap meats. Brewed coffee was nice though and fruits were fine (did not try the pastries).

Facilities – perhaps due to the ongoing reservations, the facilities of the property felt a little all over the place due to the necessary adjustments to access them.

The Fitness Centre located on level 36/37 and reservations are necessary to access the space but first, to get to it, you have to take the lift to 36/37 and head towards what looks like a staff door, climb up an old stairwell, reach the actual landing, then climb another staircase up. The space is surprisingly spacious and very adequate for a complete workout (don’t be like me and trek all this way without first getting an access card from the concierge!).

The pool is located on level 5 and located behind a temporary hoarding fronted by a manned desk. The squarish pool is quite typical and nothing fancy but I suppose a pool is a fun place to kids nonetheless. Pool bookings are apparently quite tight as slots were already full for the day at the point of my check in.

Service – As expected and nothing to complain about. I even got someone else’s birthday cake placed in my room!

Check Out – My request for a late check out was politely declined and I obediently dropped my keys off for an express check out slightly past 11am.

In Summary,

I had honestly expected a worse stay due to so many negative remarks floating around but my stay turned out to be surprisingly peaceful: a decently priced room (dark but hey, its clean!) though with a not-so-decent breakfast at a great location in town. I can also almost see it’s past glamour as THE hotel to be at despite the obvious signs of ageing. Am glad to be able to squeeze in a quick stay here and now really excited to see the new Hilton!

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