So I wanted to write this brief post despite it being my 5th stay at this property (4th stay in a club room) as there were some jarring incidents which I wanted to share my thoughts on.
Apart from the above, I will not be repeating any reviews of the room as I’ve stayed in this same room type before (refer HERE & HERE) and rather will just review the F&B in the Club Lounge as that was the only other difference from my last stay apart from the stay experience.
Making The Reservation / Price – this stay was a little more complicated as I wanted to maximise my hard earned points from 2 platforms to offset my cash outlay:
- Hotelux: $680++ = $801nett for a Grand Marina Room 100% covered with Hotelux points. This was booked under the Stars Authorized Rate and hence included breakfast and a hotel credit of USD100 to be utilized during my stay.
- Trip.com: $711nett for a Club Kallang Room – offset using $244 worth of Trip coins.
After the bookings were done, I reached out to the property’s room reservations to enquire about the cash top from Hotelux’s Grand Marina Room to a Club Marina Deluxe and was quoted $100++ for 2pax which was super reasonable. I also understand that a cash topup to a club access room is not a common practice for the property so thank you for being kind, especially as they agreed to accord the upgrading of room type for my 2nd night so I don’t have to change rooms. Yay.
My total cash outlay for this 3D2N was $584 – not too bad at all for endless bubbles!
I was also really excited about this stay as this is my first early birthday celebration at the property, and after the stellar personalized service from my last stay 5months back, I was expecting to be wow-ed once again.
My Club Deluxe Marina, 2322, was nothing out of the ordinary, only that it was a “lower” floor this time but with great views of the Marina Floating Platform which accorded accidental but very welcomed views of the National Day Parade rehearsals.
A very generous welcome amenity was also sent to my room the afternoon of my check in which was super nice and included a bottle of my favorite Brut heh.
The views from the room rock as always – look at these shots taken by a professional (ie. not me)!
Club Lounge Culinary Offerings
To recap, the Club Lounge’s culinary offerings are as follow;
- Breakfast: 7:30 a.m. to 10.30 a.m.
- Mid-Day Snacks: 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.
- Afternoon Tea: 2.30 p.m. – 4.30 p.m.
- Hors d’oeuvres and Cocktails: 5.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m.
- Desserts and Cordials: 8 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Over the course of my 3D2N stay, I had the pleasure to try 3x mid-day snacks and 2x of everything else which in all honesty was more than enough for a normal human being. Coupled that with endless bubbles – life is good!
Drinks Menu – Brut, Rose, 4 types of white and red wines, and cocktails in the evening. Bubbles were my main staple but I also managed to try all the 4x reds – weren’t very impressed so I very quickly decided to stick with what I liked best. Then of course, there is coffee, tea, sparkling water for the non alcoholics.
Breakfast: 7:30 a.m. to 10.30 a.m – the most peaceful of the sessions, with a fully stocked pantry of breads, cereals, juices, smoked salmon + salads, fruits, cheeses, noodle, fried bee hoon, dim sum (including the most incredible siew mai ever), bread & butter pudding, and a live egg station: ready made hard and soft boiled eggs, with the ever so friendly chef ready to prepare your otherwise desired style (omelette, sunny side up etc) and delivers your orders to your table.
Mid-Day Snacks: 12 p.m. – 2 p.m – still a light load most times, and I ploughed through giant siew mais, seafood rolls, bee hoon, prawn balls, soups, salads, fruits, pastries and cold canapes.
Afternoon Tea: 2.30 p.m. – 4.30 p.m – scones, scones, and more scones. There were also finger sandwiches, tea cakes, and awesome tiramisu which I ate til I regretted it.
Hors d’oeuvres and Cocktails: 5.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m – the most crowded session, and understandably so especially when unofficial light shows from the floating platform entertained quite abit. Hot soups, veg choices, cold canapés, salads, cakes, braised pork, fried pork, a live noodle station – super plenty enough.
Desserts and Cordials: 8 p.m. – 9:30 p.m – for those who have enough restraints from the above 4 sessions, this sweet ending will feed you tea cakes, chocolate pralines, mochis, fruits. If you are lucky, you will see a different variety from the hors d’oeuvres session which was nice.
Views from the Club Lounge
Views from this lounge never gets old – so pardon me while I share more same-same-but-different shots of the swesome views.
Service In The Club Lounge
During my previous visits, I was always addressed by first name, staff recognized me and welcomed me back whenever I revisited the lounge, and the team was very attentive and pro-active in refilling drinks. I also saw the Club Lounge Manager introduce herself to guests who were waiting to complete their check in and made sure we / they know who to look for if anything is needed.
This time, none of that happened.
Throughout my 3 days, I wasn’t addressed by first name, didn’t experience much proactiveness in refilling champagne and in fact had some difficulty in getting attention especially during evening cocktails.
I understand that the Club Lounge is now obviously alot busier with the borders re-opened and I can understand somewhat that attention and staff strength is now unfortunately spread thinner than before.
However, it is the Ritz Carlton Club Lounge after all and I believe it is reasonable to expect the same level of service somewhat. As a returning guest, I was disappointed that the stellar and personalised service I’ve come to associate with the property’s Club Lounge with was not available this time round.
A Bumpy Check In Process
I also had a much bumpier check in experience than necessary this time round.
The Club Lounge staff who attend to my check in said she will check on the availability of a Suite and my late check out request of 4pm. One hour later, she has not returned nor has anyone updated me, so I reached out to another staff in the club for help. To his credit, he returned fairly quickly to let me know that all the Suites are fully booked and I’d have to call on the morning of my checkout day to request for the 4pm. There was also no explanation why the 1-hour wait and what had happened to the staff who first attended to me.
I am actually okay with the answers but I thought it was not appropriate that a club guest was left to wait for an hour without any proactive updates – it felt like my enquiries were forgotten? I wondered what had happened if I did not reach out proactively to ask for updates. There was also no apologies for the wait and I really would have appreciated it if someone had explained what had happened to the staff who attended to me first, even if it was as simple and honest as she had forgotten about it.
Difficulties in using my USD100 hotel credit / Republic Bar
I was not explained about the use of my hotel credit at check in so I reached out to the team via the Bonvoy app and was told that the credit can be used at the spa or any of the hotel’s F&B except Shiraishi. So on my last day, and after confirming that I was only accorded late check out until 1pm, my plan was to purchase items from Colony Bakery and Republic Bar for takeaway prior to checking out.
I first went to Colony Bakery and made my purchase of about $50+ which I charged them to my room (I did not inform them that I was using hotel credits as I didn’t think there was a need to) .
Thereafter, I waited at Republic at 12pm as their website indicates an opening time of 12pm – but there were no staff and the space was still roped off at 12:15pm. So I went to the concierge and asked – I was surprised to be told that Republic only opens at 2:30pm. I showed the concierge what was stated on Republic’s website and he offered to make some calls to reconfirm the timing but could not get anyone from restaurant reservations. Eventually, he managed to confirmed that indeed, Republic only opens at 2:30pm and hence not available for lunch takeaways. He said Republic forgot to update their website.
With this new info and after this wasted time, I went back to Colony Bakery to use up the remaining of my credits and this time, I brought up the hotel credits I was intending to use. To my surprise, the staff said the credits cannot be used at the outlet and only valid for dine-in at Colony and Summer Pavilion and any Colony Bakery charges will be charged to my card accordingly. I was surprised and asked to clarify but she was insistent that it was correct.
I decided to leave to go to the Club Lounge to ask for clarity on the matter and the Manager was very helpful – he confirmed that it is correct that my credits can indeed be used at Colony Bakery and offered to call the staff at Colony Bakery to communicate this accordingly. I was very glad and said that I will then be heading back down to Colony Bakery to finish my pending purchase in this case.
When I got back to Colony Bakery, the staff just about ended her phone call with the siad Manager, turned around with an extremely annoyed look on her face and rudely said I cannot make any further purchases using the credits as the usage of credits was only applicable for my earlier purchase and not any further ones.
I replied that was not what I was told and she called the manager on the spot while I was with her.
After the call ended (I was not within hearing distance of the conversation), without a word and still apparently very unhappy with me, she packed my items and simply said there is no need to sign anything and the manager will sign off on it.
The incident was unnecessarily unpleasant and wasted a good amount of my time especially when I was rushing to check out. Til today, I am unsure what the issue was. Were those credits actually applicable for purchases at Colony Bakery or not?
If not and if the manager had made a kind exception to let me proceed, then I really appreciate his help and would like to convey my thanks to him once again.
If they were indeed applicable for Colony Bakery in the first place, then perhaps a explanation at check in would have helped to mitigate this entire incident.
BUT the way the staff at the bakery had handled the process was not professional and very unbecoming of a Ritz Carlton representative. I was in no way rude to her and her attitude was uncalled for.
Lastly, I still do want to be fair! The hotel was very generous with my welcome amenity, and some new faces at the Club Lounge did try their best in providing service.
Would I come back?
Probably not at this price point with the current service level. I am somewhat sad that the stellar personalized service I was so used to was out of stock this time. I hope the hotel brings it back because THAT is what a Ritz Carlton Club experience should rightly be.
And since the property does not participate in any loyalty programme, its a case of “best deal wins”. Check out Klook‘s deal for the property below~