Grabbed from official site
I booked this on a whim (sort of) during the 12.12 Flash Sale which offered a 30% off four Accor properties in Singapore – and this was the only one which appealed to me.
[Then I found out later that the rate remained the same up to few days prior but oh wells].
ADDRESS – 35 Robinson Road, Singapore 068876. Website.
CONTACT – Tel: +65 67016800. mail: H8655@so-hotels.com.
LOCATION – Located in the heart of Robinson Road right beside Lau Pa Sat, the property does not enjoy sheltered access to public transport but plenty of food options nearby specially if its a weekday stay. The nearest MRT would be Downtown station (DT17) about a 5-min walk away, otherwise Raffles Place station (EW14/NS26) is about 8-min walk.
PRICE- $414++ = $487nett for 2nights in a SO/ Cosy (24SqM) which I felt was decent after adding on the Platinum benefits of breakfast, welcome drink vouchers, and welcome amenities.
PRE-ARRIVAL – I actually received 3 separate emails prior to the stay which I felt was a little unnecessary when all the info could have been consolidated into one.
[5 days prior] In a few days you’ll be in Singapore! – standard welcome email I think.
[3 days prior] Upgrade Your Stay at SO/ Sofitel Singapore – an encouragement to add-on to your stay although strangely enough there was no room upgrade options.
[2 days prior] The pre-arrival email proper which contains some info about the facilities during your stay as well as invitation to fill up a pre-arrival form online.
GETTING THERE – If you are getting dropped off, it is useful to note that the hotel’s drop off point is behind the hotel exterior that most are familiar with, off Boon Tat Street –> Boon Tat Link. However, vehicular access via Boon Tat Street is closed off for Lau Pa Sat’s alfresco Satay Street on selected weekday and weekend slots – so please refer to the hotel website’s advisory here before you plan your journey.
CHECK IN – I arrived to an empty lobby at 1pm on a weekday and was reminded of how I used to like coming to this property for lunches / dinners because of its Parisian chic furnishings.
I approached the front desk only to be informed told that the manager is ‘in a meeting’ and I’d have to wait for him to return to check me in. While the approach was polite, I can’t help but wonder if it is reasonable for a 5-star property to only have one person authorized to check guests in. It was a 15min seated wait for me so I cannot imagine the horror on a weekend or during peak periods.
I was eventually attended to and process completed within 10-mins but with no acknowledgement about my Platinum status, no explanation about the according benefits, and no proactive offerings about a late check out as well. A generic welcome letter was handed to me.
Lastly, I was told that their Studio Rooms are not available hence they weren’t able to upgrade me – this made me assume I didn’t receive any upgrades at all which led into a brief conversation about this until they clarified that the room I was assigned is the SO/ Urban, ie a one-category upgrade. What a miscommunication.
But first up, the hallway to the rooms is quite cute!
ROOM- SO/URBAN (40SqM)
I was assigned 328, a SO/Urban (40SqM). Located on the lower levels and in their Heritage Wing (versus Hip Wing where the SO/ Cosy rooms are), the room opens up into a long corridor layout which made it feel much smaller than it actually is.
In chronological order, you get a rather isolated-looking toilet to your left – clean and functional!
Further down the corridor, you get a rather hidden looking wardrobe (I walked right past it) where you can find bedroom slippers, laundry list / bag, and an ironing board. I’m surprised that the property does not offer any bathrobes – I realized this is why the wardrobe feels empty. They also really need to fix the squeaky doors too because they sound like a crying mouse whenever I open it.
And then you get to the bathroom space which was clean and classy – a single sink with plenty of countertop space containing a super cute His & Hers amenity box, a clean-looking bathtub (with a transparent glass panel with curtains for privacy if necessary, but if not allowing for some TV-ing during your soak), and a separate standing shower space. Toiletries are Citron Fresh branded which was just okay for me. I was quite amused with the whimsical red hand hangers in this area too heh.
The main bedroom area is occupied by a Hollywood King bed (2 super single pushed together) with separate bedside tables with light switches facing a good-sized TV – the bed is supposed to be super comfy but a little too soft for me. There’s also an empty turquoise box labelled “SO Precious” on one of the beside, I suppose for jewellery and small (but valuable) items.
I also found the lightbox on the roof of the bed a nice feature.
The mini bar is a cute area – loaded with a nespresso and tea bags and stuff + multiple compartments with varying labels to check out. The snacks and drinks in the fridge are one-time complimentary while the payable sections are left empty so I presume you can request if need be. I didn’t find a mini bar menu though.
The work desk + chair here is adequately set up with easily accessible powerpoints but the chair is not meant for long hours so take note if you are on WFHotel. A care kit comprising wet wipes and hand sanitizer is also placed here for your use.
The techies will be pleased to know that most of your in-room stuff is controlled via an IPad set up in the room – the TV, curtains, lights etc. The temperature controls and requesting for extra amenities are still manual though – speaking of which the in-house phone is a older model IPhone (IPhone 5?) and you can ONLY dial ‘0’ for assistance (any other functions are disabled).
Those looking for a view will be sorely disappointed at this:
After come clarification, my welcome amenity was delivered to my room that evening.
Unfortunately, I later discovered two cleanliness issues (more details below) – and this led to the Duty Manager proactively offering an upgrade to a Suite on the second day, albeit at 4pm. But hey, who says no to a Suite at Sofitel? So I re-packed my stuff and was escorted by the very kind Duty Manager personally to my new home for the next day/night.
ROOM – SO/ VI SUITE (92SqM)
I admit that I was a little blown away when I was escorted into my SO/ VIP Suite (92SqM), 236. Wow was the space big – same size as my flat!
The layout is kind of block-ish, with a very generous wardrobe space to the left as you step into the Suite. The wardrobe here is samey samey, also no bathrobes, and another separate 2x sections on the opposite side of this length. More than enough space!
On the opposite of this, to your right, is the very gorgeous marbled bathroom space. A very large bathtub is the centrepiece here, so big that it takes a good amount of time to fill up. Next to it is the long counter with double sinks, with a dressing table behind containing the same His & Hers amenity box. Then comes the separate toilet, and finally, a party sized standing shower area – is it I suaku or is the dual (rain)shower set up so rare? Toiletries here are the same – Citron Fresh.
The rest of the space is the bedroom, work desk + chair, dining area, and mini bar.
The bed here is surprisingly smaller than the Hollywood King – just a regular King which was the same softness. The same dual bedside table setup is here too – but the IPad controls is upsized heh. At the end of the bed is a chaise lounge chair + 2 throne seats with a coffee table. I love this set up and honestly, velvet is such a luxurious finishing if maintained properly. All these faces a could-be-bigger smart TV equipped with Chromecast ability – I guess this is a Suite benefit?
The work desk is samey samey here, but with additional furnishings which is quite cute. The powerpoints here are below the table in one corner though so accessibility could be problematic if your plugs are oversized like most are these days.
The dining area is marbley and equipped with 3 chairs which is very….parisian looking (reminds of Macau anyone?). Beside this is the 2-panel min bar which is pretty much the same.
Finally (phew, this is a big space!), there are extra seating / luggage area in 2 corner of the Suite.
BREAKFAST – Served at Xperience located at lobby level from 7:30am-10:00am, no bookings are required. The restaurant is actually quite a nice space – I remember coming alot when I still had Accor Plus.
Each pax is limited to one main course from the breakfast menu
All orders come with a set of carbs, oats, yoghurt, and fruits. I tried the Big Breakfast and Laksa over two mornings and unfortunately they were all no good – eggs and sausages were bland, tomatoes and bacon were good (hard to mess those up), and laksa also bland. Coffee was decent though but hard to go wrong with Nespresso.
OTHER F&B – I visited Xperience on 2 more occasions to redeem my welcome drinks as well as their generous Anniversary amenities. Welcome drink choices were the usual coffee / tea, wines and beer – the white I picked was decent. Their Anniversary amenities is a sweet printed note which you present to redeem 2 glasses of ‘bubbly’ (ie Prosecco) and a slice of cake – both were delicious and I wished I had more anniversaries haha.
FACILITIES – I hopped by SO/ Fit located on level 2 and it was decent. The rooftop SO/ Pool is on level 6 and seems sufficient for a leisure few laps and some suntanning – accompanied by a poolside bar of sorts as well.
My 2nights were sadly peppered with unfortunate service issues. While I am super appreciative of the proactive service recovery and the chance to experience So/ VIP Suite, a honest review of their service should be reflected too.
The cleanliness issues with my SO/ Urban are important to highlight because I feel it shows the lack of attention to details for a property almost freshly out of their SHN contract. My antiseptic wipedown of the headboard resulted in really yucky black wipes which horrified me enough to feedback to front desk and asked for housekeeping to come by to clean it while I leave for some errands. I left the bed as it is – ruffled – and I returned a few hours later to see the bed exactly as how I left it. So off I went to front desk again to ask if housekeeping had indeed come by and the staff said yes, they did. But…if they really did, the least they can do is to re-make up the bed? If not, how would I know for sure that it was indeed cleaned up?
Later into my first night around 9pm+, I also discovered the mini fridge had disgusting yellow stains on the top panel so I asked for a clean replacement. The response I got from dialing ‘0’ for assistance is that the engineering team is “engaged” and they won’t be able to come by so soon (I had previously said I prefer to settle this and rest for the night early if possible). I asked if they had an estimated time and the staff asked ME for a time instead (eh?). So I said fine, maybe in 30mins (so I can go wash up for the night before they come by) and the staff acknowledged. 10mins into my shower, I got a call saying they are at the door with the replacement fridge and I had to suddenly finish up. The funniest thing is, the new fridge also had yellow stains, but only less. It was hardly a seamless process.
Requests for extra amenities took a while with one particular wait lasting 20mins and I had to call to ask them to bring the requested items the next day as I wanted to rest for the night. The items never came the next day too.
Lastly, I asked about parking on the premise as I saw a few cars parked at the drop off point. I was told that parking is not allowed on-site and the cars I saw belong to their engineering team who is only allowed to park because they need to shuttle between this and the other Sofitel properties. But when I left the hotel on the next few occasions, I saw some really expensive cars parked on the same spots (they must be paying their engineering staff really well!) But seriously, just tell me the lots are for VIP guests la, even if it’s only for guests spending above a certain amount. But don’t lie can?
So I suppose my experience is very much swayed by the excellent service recovery and I really appreciate the proactiveness of the Duty Manager but why do I get the feeling that no one cares about guest experience other than him?
CHECK OUT –
I’m glad to check off this property at a somewhat reasonable rate (especially considering the value I got out of it!), and I can completely understand how it can be an attractive staycation option if only they upped their cleanliness. I was lucky to meet a Duty Manager who cares and I dread to think how different it would turn out to be if not.