This hotel is one that I have fond memories of as I used to frequent its lobby lounge to wait for my husband (then-boyfriend) to knock off work. I guess I’ve unwittingly associated this place with that feeling of elation every time he walks in to meet me ❤ Coupled with its alluring interior that exudes luxurious yet homely vibes, I just couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to stay here when Klook started listing InterContinental packages!
Check-in was smooth without much wait time and the staff attending to us kindly offered us a late check-out due to a system error with the booking. Sadly, breakfast was not included in our package (this inclusion is usually a must-have for me) but for the reasons stated above, I REALLY wanted a stay here so I caved. I would later come to regret this impulsive decision as the March Madness promotions had much better inclusions at lower prices, which only served to add salt to the wound ): Regardless, we were determined to make the most of it!
We were assigned a Premier Deluxe Room on the 14th floor, which is pretty high up considering the hotel only has 16 floors. On our way to the room, my husband was already impressed by the beautifully designed corridors and we couldn’t wait to see the room itself. Man, our expectations were exceeded! We were greeted by clean lines and white walls with extremely well-maintained wainscoting. Peranakan elements were tastefully woven into the hotel’s overall colonial style, making the entire design feel surprisingly contemporary despite its inspiration from Singapore’s yesteryear culture. Oddly enough, there was a full-length mirror right smack in the middle of the windows, which I thought could’ve been placed somewhere else so the room could get more natural light.
The bathroom was also a good size, with both a tub and a standing shower. Those tiles and grout discoloration, however, were a dead giveaway of the hotel’s age. But anyway, most of the room was clean except for a small reddish-orange stain on the corner of one of the pillow cases. This was quickly resolved during the turndown service when we left a note for them to change it out.
Club InterContinental is the hotel’s club lounge situated at level 2. With intricate wood panels, plush seating and warm lighting, it was indeed a very charming and cosy space to be in. Our package and room did not come with club lounge access, a terrible pity. I would’ve loved to unwind here with afternoon tea and a book in hand.
Next up was the pool and gym (also known as the Fitness Centre). On top of the usual gym equipment, it had a separate corner with yoga mats available on the wall. There was also a sauna facility in the same area as the toilets and lockers, but the fact that it was a shadowy black door at the end of a deserted corridor made it rather creepy, like in one of those movies where you’re screaming at the character not to go in. The pool at level 4, on the other hand, was bright and cheery, but its aesthetic felt dated (I blame the floor and roof tiles).
After exploring the hotel grounds, we headed to Josh’s Grill at Bugis Junction for lunch (read about that experience here) as we were saving our $100 dining credit for dinner and tomorrow’s lunch (#forwardplanning).
Once we got over our post-lunch food coma and did some relaxing in the room, it was time for dinner at Ash & Elm. From the woody, rustic exterior of the restaurant, I never could’ve anticipated how the interior would look like. Think eclectic colours and avant-garde metallic panels, as well as a tall ceiling adorned with snazzy chandeliers and tinted with neon hues. Service-wise, some staff were more welcoming than others. I distinctly remember one of the lady staff who gave us a knowledgeable rundown of what went into our bread upon our request and personally checked in on us to see how we were doing during the meal. Two thumbs up (:
The food here was fantastic! The complimentary starter completely blew my tastebuds away as I was not expecting much from bread and butter. It was a sophisticated dish in itself (as explained by that lady staff) – one half was made with sun-dried tomatoes while the other half with mixed herbs. The bread had a thin crusty layer on top and fluffy softness below, with the fragrant ingredients, creamy President butter and salty tapenade melding exceptionally well together. Truly deserving of a whole paragraph dedicated to its praise.
I ordered a main of Norwegian salmon, which had a mild fishy taste on its own but became less apparent once it was dipped in the sauce. Nonetheless, the fish was well-cooked and its skin seared to crispy perfection. I thought the sauce was a tad too salty, but that was the only minor fault I found with this dish. My husband’s main was the French yellow coquelet that was absolutely delicious, although the portion was on the small side. The chicken retained much of its moisture, even the breast meat was more juicy than what you’d typically get. It came with tasty brown sauce, which my husband likened to the IKEA meatball sauce but BETTER.
This was the very first stay that didn’t require us to wake up for breakfast because… our package had none (sigh). But on the bright side, we got to sleep in and wake up later for brunch instead 😀 This time, we dined at The Lobby Lounge, a place full of nostalgia from the days when I used to meet my husband here after work. I really love the high ceiling, cushy sofas and decorated columns (if you look closely, you’ll find ornate Peranakan tiles artfully incorporated at the base of these columns, another successful example of marrying designs from both cultures).
We usually come here for the seafood Hokkien mee, our go-to dish as they do it really well. Alas, it was only available for in-room dining (our dining credit couldn’t be utilized for this) and somehow couldn’t be served at The Lobby Lounge. That was a real disappointed, to say the least ):
Well, we made do with a seafood linguine and Hainanese chicken rice order, which were good dishes in their own right. The seafood broth was savoury (like awesome prawn noodle soup but of a much thicker consistency), the pasta was cooked al dente (although not my preferred way of eating pasta) and the seafood was thankfully neither chewy nor rubbery. Compared to the chicken rice over at Mandarin Orchard’s Chatterbox, we definitely preferred the chicken rice here. Succulent, tender chicken meat with fragrant and flavourful rice, yum! The overly salty soup was a bit questionable though, maybe someone was a little heavy-handed with the MSG.
Something worth mentioning was the genuine manner in which one staff here interacted with us. He spotted us trying to take a selfie and offered to help us take photos. He even gave us directions on where to sit and put our hands (like a pro wedding photographer would), and shared candidly about how he picked up photography at a young age from his father. It was great being able to have such a human-to-human connection with him, adding that personal touch to our service experience here (:
My overall rating of the experience: 4 out of 5 stars. Every space we stepped into was beautiful and elegant, including the gorgeous guest room that made us feel like royalty. The food here was excellent too, both in terms of taste and quality, but wish we got to try their breakfast too. Service was also of a high standard – my husband remarked that the work culture vibe here felt very pleasant as most staff seemed sufficiently at ease to allow their individual personalities to come through when interacting with guests. One main gripe we had was not being able to enjoy our favourite seafood Hokkien mee as it was limited to in-room dining (I recently checked their website and realized they shifted this dish onto the Ash & Elm menu – aww man). Also, for some reason, our package inclusions didn’t show up on their system. The first time round, our 20% dining discount was missing when I checked our tab, and was asked to manually email my package voucher to them. The second time round was during check-out, where the final bill didn’t reflect the deduction of our $100 dining credit. Fortunately, we noticed the error and it was promptly resolved by the staff. Definitely some flaws here and there, but overall, we had a fabulous stay and I wouldn’t hesitate to book a stay here again should the right price and package inclusions come up 😀