[Hotel Review] The Barracks Hotel

I actually never thought I’d want to try this as it was not a cheap property but especially with the impending death of WFHotel possibilities, aiya why not. And there is always something different about staycay-ing in a colonial-esque vibe, no?

Address – 2 Gunner Lane, Palawan Ridge, Sentosa Island, Singapore 099567. Website.

Contact – Tel: +65 67220802. Email: reseasy@fareast.com.sg / frontoffice.TBH@fareast.com.sg.

Location – In the southern end of our little island called Sentosa, the property basically sits amongst the Far East’s cluster comprising Village Hotel Sentosa (currently a Community Care Facility – CCF), Oasia Resort Sentosa (where I had a great stay!), and Outpost Hotel (currently closed but I want to try next!).

Price – $700nett booked via Trip.com which comes with a $100 dining credit – strangely enough, Far East’s website itself was offering the room at $705nett with $50 dining credit only. With no loyalty points to think about, it was a no-brainer. Stacking the booking with a little cashback from Shopback helped too!

Pre-arrival – The term ‘luxury heritage’ is the key word here, which make it seem comparable to Capella (and price points are similar too, sobz) which shares the same positioning. And seems they have adopted the same (attempted) personalized approach by giving guests a pre-arrival call one day prior – my stay details were re-confirmed via this call from a kind staff – my early check in request of 12pm was confirmed and late checkout of 3pm was given (I asked for 4pm) which was nice.

Getting There – My ride there was uneventful due to the clear signages once you enter Sentosa but its useful to note that the official drop off point is located at the basement where the carpark is. Somewhat unusual and sort of diminishes the sense of arriving at an expensive staycay spot I feel. But this arrival spot is nonetheless classily done up and a staff is stationed there to welcome guests so they don’t feel lost. But no assistance with bags here if that’s something you need.

Check In – Once you take the lift to level 1, look out for the indoor reception to your right. Once you step in, its a seated cosy classy check-in affair with 2 check in desks laid out amidst lots of dark leather / wood furnishing reminiscent of a fancy Englishman’s living room. The staff who attended to me was the same person who gave me my pre-arrival call so he almost immediately recognized me and brought me through the quick paperwork, including the Living Room’s offerings as well as booking of my desired slots.

A welcome drink of ice cold Pryce Tea + a hotel-branded cold towel was also served which was a nice touch given the relentless heat that day. I was also informed that there is a need to pre-select breakfast latest by 5pm which the Living Room team can assist with if I cannot decide on the spot. It was the first time that I’ve been asked to pre-select my breakfast but I suppose its because the they can minimize food wastage especially given the small number of rooms. I was also later escorted to my room and brought through some features.

I liked that the key cards are also very classily done, and the envelope could also hold my $100 dining vouchers (2x $50) which was passed to me only later bit instead of at check in – a little weird but ah wells.

Room – My Premier King (39SqM) Room 205 – the website certainly writes up a storm about their rooms – is as exactly as the pictures, only much nicer in person~. I love love love the continued dark leather theme, liberal use of classy cooper colors, and the curated statement pieces peppering the space.

The bedroom space takes up about half of the space, with a firm cushy king bed plonked in the middle flanked by 2 bedside tables with lighting controls (a/c controls are only on one side though). On one corner is a dressing mirror and a rather quaint looking standing lamp as well.

On the other length of this space is a similarly quaint but smallish desk + chair which can be a WFHotel spot though the chair is not conducive for long hours. Crowding the already small desktop space is a few reading materials including an actual book on early postcards of Singapore.

Beside this and facing the bed is a hugh smart TV (got chromecast!) with a little luggage rack below – TV channel selection was good!

At the end of this length is the fancy mini bar made out to look like a trunk luggage of the olden days – super like! The top shelf contains the essential Nespresso machine, glassware, bottled water (still & sparkling which can be replenished), and chargeable mini bottles of liquor. At the bottom of this is your fridge which comes with 4 canned drinks (complimentary), as well as wine glasses / champagne flutes. There is also enough space to chill your bottled water if you prefer.

The bathroom space which can be separated with a sliding door is a pretty sight to behold too! The generous stone-looking bathtub sits in the middle, accompanied by Atkinsons toiletries and a loofah.

Flanking the bathtub is separate but generous toilet and standing shower space – I was particularly enthralled by the fancy dials for the shower for some reason. A separate set of Atkinsons toiletries are provided in the shower in a smaller packaging as well.

You then get a very attractive single sink area with limited countertop space with 2x wardrobe sections on each side – complete with the shiniest hairdryer ever. And the bathrobes are my new favorite! – fluffy yet not overly warm.

Stepping out from the bathroom space leads to your own private outdoor corner, with 2 chairs + coffee table for alfresco chilling if that’s your thing, while taking in the pool view which can be rather lomantic at night.

I later spotted a care pack containing face masks and a hand sanitizer on the desktop – same classy dark packaging but that’s why I missed it in the first place.

My special occasion was also acknowledged with swan towels, a kind note, as well as a box of Awfully Chocolate truffles. Call me suaku but this is the first time I’ve seen a ‘branded’ chocolate amenity and very much appreciated!

If I had to nitpick, I feel they could have incorporated more countertop / desk space for 2pax, and a chilling space which can sit 2pax wouldn’t hurt either (instead of just one chair in the entire room).

Living Room – this is the property’s interpretation of an Executive Lounge with access granted to all guests. The website gives a rather fancy description of what you can expect and I was super excited to finally check it out!

  • Breakfast (menu): 7 am to 11 am
  • All-day refreshments (menu): 8 am to 8 pm
  • Afternoon tea (menu): 2 pm to 4 pm
  • Wines & canapés (menu): 4.00 pm to 8.00 pm

The space is located at the lobby level and is a surprisingly small space even for a property with only 40 rooms (80pax?). That being said, it is decked out like a very fancy living room (but of course) indeed – with mostly indoor seating plus a smattering of outdoor options. The full glass panels means an abundance of natural lightings with clear views of the pool happenings on both sides.

Service is efficiently attentive most times and a quiet place to get some work done if need be. Unfortunately, some of the bigger sofa tables suffer from this impractical designs where your legs will almost surely hit the table legs as you sit across from each other so if you are 2pax, you should either take the window seats or sit on the same side of the sofa.

Other than the afternoon tea which is a paid option, I tried to get maximum value out from the rest of the offerings – starting in chronological order with menu image appended:

All-day refreshments (menu): 8 am to 8 pm

Pryce teas, barista coffees (hello macchiato!), and sparkling waters amongst other non-alcoholic choices are available all day, complemented with 6 different types of chips and salted nuts. Good enough for me as lunch substitute while I prepped myself for evening cocktails.

Wines & canapés (menu): 4.00 pm to 8:00 pm

Booking of your desired 1-hour slot is required to manage the crowd which I imagine can be necessary during peak periods for the small space. Canapes are served to you as a set – you can ask for more of any item if you like, and drink orders are promptly taken. I had the Tuesday menu and the canapes were of reasonable quality, especially the shrimp wantons.

For someone who usually goes for bubbles, I started with the tea-based cocktails instead and liked the French 75 and Whiskey Sour so much that I kept to those. The team was kind enough not to kick us out as it was a weekday and the space was only 3-4 tables full so we sat for a total of 3 hours going through the 5 different types of cocktails – the friendly staff even made us a potent off-menu cocktail which was great. He also took the initiative to serve us some hot tea towards the end which was a very thoughtful gesture. I am admittedly a little bummed that I didn’t get to try the wines but I probably didn’t need more alcohol in my system at that point in time haha.

Breakfast (menu): 7 am to 11 am

We were the first guests at 8:30am on a weekday and we choose to sit outdoors as the a/c was blazing indoors – the staff proactively advised which seats to avoid the rising (and blazing sunrays) which was much appreciated. Our selection of Bread Basket, Dim Sum (special request for no pau), Scrambled Eggs on Brioche and Nasi Lemak (kosong) were all pretty tasty and the meal ended with refreshing fruit bowls. Really strong coffee too.

$100 Dining Credits: – We were advised that the credits can be spent at Bedrock Origins, Mess Hall (a small cosy cluster of rather expensive eats), or in-room dining (menu). I already tried Bedrock once (great food!) so attempted to checkout the options at Mess Hall instead – but the first outlet we asked said they don’t accept dining credits, and the 2nd said we can only cover 50% of the bill with credits and pay the balance.

If its easier, the hotel website lists out the array of options, with a separate dining menu for in-house guests (menu here). Eventually, we settled on for in-room dining instead for later that night (last orders at 9:30pm) and turned out to be a great choice!

Facilities – Other than having its own 2x pools, the property shares some common facility with the other Far East properties in this cluster ie Oasia Spa, Mess Hall, and the gym at the Village Hotel which I think is still closed during this period. But the 2x pools they have are so pretty – even for someone who don’t swim, I liked that they have 2 mirroring pools to mitigate crowding since no bookings are required to use them. Due to the layout and orientation, the sun falls on either side at certain timings so good to plan ahead if that bothers you.

The property also has a lesser-known service – their in-house buggy are available to take guests as far as Palawan Beach upon request, and guests can also call to request to be picked up thereafter. Okay fine, I admit that I requested for a joyride instead – and it was so fun!

Service – For a property at this price point, I came in expecting stellar service. And I got mostly that, especially from Hafiz and Farez who were both stellar!

However, a little dent happened towards the end when I asked for a paper bag for packing and was told that they had ran out. I was offered a laundry bag instead to be delivered by housekeeping but that never came as well. Its no big deal but I would not have expected that it’ll be so hard to get a simple item for a property of this caliber.

I also experienced (and observed) some situations where the few staff are occupied with other guests, leaving the check in area empty and it took some time for me / other waiting guests to get attention which can be bothersome to some. I know that staff here multi-tasks – the staff who checks you in will be the one serving drinks in the Living Room and also the same guy who will be driving you on the buggy so they are really stretched but for its price point, I do feel this can be improved.

Other Things – the property makes for great photography due to the multiple lush spots but super hot under the blazing sun.

Check Out – Efficiently done at 4pm (I had to ask to extend by 1 hour due to a late lunch).

In Summary,

The staycay has been a really interesting mix of Raffles + Capella – equally gorgeous colonial hardware but smaller rooms (versus Capella) and warmer service (versus Raffles). At the current value, I would say its a very worthy contender to both although I would hesitate more to book it without the $100 credit.

I do believe that the experience could be very different if the stay is during peak periods due to the staffing issue so YMMV.

And since Far East does not have a points/nights loyalty programme (only Far East Insider programme which only offers preferential rates), it doesn’t hurt to check out OTA’s prices like Klook for ongoing promotions!


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