Previously a dedicated stay-home notice facility, Conrad Centennial finally reopened its doors last December to the general public. As part of their reopening celebratory offers, they launched a Lavish Retreat package that came with complimentary breakfast for two, $80 dining credit and a late check-out at 4pm. This package was available on Trip.com at a pretty reasonable price after applying promo codes, so here we are to check it out (:
When my husband and I arrived slightly before our 2pm assigned check-in timeslot, we didn’t have to wait long for our turn at the reception counter. It was a fuss-free process assisted by a friendly front desk staff, who informed us that we had been upgraded to a room on a higher floor (yay) but that the room wasn’t ready yet. Oh well, looks like it was lunch first at the Lobby Lounge then. Once our room was ready, a staff personally came to pass us our keycards instead of the usual “we’ll call you when your room is ready”, which I felt was a nice touch.
Our Deluxe King Room was located on the 29th floor, sporting a clean contemporary look with calming warm tones that made the space an inviting one. My favourite part of the room was the long sofa spanning the entire length of the room, creating a bay window-esque feel. I lounged here for most parts of the day reading, writing and relaxing. Not forgetting the iconic Conrad teddy bear and rubber ducky souvenirs that are yours to bring home (:
The marble-clad bathroom was rather spacious (appearing much bigger with multiple mirrors) and housed a full-sized tub, a double vanity and a larger-than-usual rainshower area. Bath salts came sealed in packets for your soaking pleasure (hopefully Mandarin Oriental follows suit). However, there were a few icky corners with black spots in the silicone and grout, as well as some mild peeling in the tub, sure signs of the hotel’s age.
One thing I have to commend is the staff’s standard of service recovery. When we discovered leftover food particles (eew…) under the bed and some grease stains on the side table, the housekeeping supervisor and the manager on duty were quick to respond and rectify the situation. Shortly after, we were offered an upgrade to the Executive King Room on the 31st floor with club lounge access and an extended late-checkout at 7pm, something we completely didn’t expect but were extremely appreciative of. Their level of initiative and commitment to ensuring an excellent experience was truly impressive!
Earlier while waiting for our room to be ready, we had our lunch at the Lobby Lounge. There were limited seats available as it is a relatively small space (on top of the safe-distancing measures), so we almost couldn’t get a table since we didn’t have a prior reservation. Thankfully, they managed to squeeze us in-between two reservation timeslots but that meant we needed to rush a little. Lesson learnt, make a reservation.
My husband ordered a plate (or rather, a boat) of Hokkien mee while I had a salmon sandwich. The Hokkien mee tasted quite decent and possibly comparable to our favourite one at InterContinental Hotel – the chilli was savoury and flavourful, and the seafood elements were cooked just right such that they weren’t chewy. My salmon sandwich wasn’t too bad either, with the richness of the salmon and cream cheese nicely balanced with the sourness of the capers and pickled onions. Great start to our dining credit spending.
After putting our bags down in the room, I headed to the pool and the club-lounge-turned-kids-club on level 4 to have a look. Wow, they really made the lounge super kid-friendly, what with the beanbags, colouring materials and all. I had some trouble locating the spa and gym until a very helpful staff at the pool walked me there (apparently the spa and gym are situated at the other end of the pool). He kindly showed me one of the spa rooms upon request and genuinely asked how my stay was so far, even offering to check whether any staff was attending to the issue we were facing with the room cleanliness. These guys really go the extra mile for their guests, fantastic!
Having had a late lunch, we had a later and smaller dinner at Golden Peony, where we spent the last of our dining credit. Walking into the restaurant, the first thing that greeted us was an entire wall of awards and accolades, including the Michelin Plate. With that kind of title, I had high expectations of the food and boy, those expectations were far exceeded!
We shared a plate of sautéed Angus tenderloin cubes and a bowl of stewed river prawn with crispy egg noodles, both of which were incredibly delicious. The beef was cooked to perfection and the sauce was very tasty (my husband commented that he could eat anything coated in this). The noodle gravy was light but had subtle yet complex flavours, so good that we lapped up every last drop. However, at this price point, we were certainly hoping for the portions to be larger ):
It was breakfast at Oscar’s the next morning, but it didn’t get off to a good start as we had to queue for a bit behind 4 to 5 groups of guests before getting a table. Breakfast was a somewhat noisy affair as our timeslot was teeming with crying toddlers, an unfortunate situation that was understandably out of anyone’s control. It didn’t help that our tiny table was right in the middle of all these large families, trapping us in an unwelcome surround-sound wall of wailing.
We scanned a QR code to retrieve the menu before proceeding to place an order with a staff. The food arrived promptly despite the restaurant being packed with guests. I’d recommend the seafood nasi lemak (the rice and chilli were really fragrant) and the freshly made waffles (crispy on the outside, soft on the inside). If you’re like me and can’t handle pungent cheeses the slightest bit, you might want to avoid ordering the poached eggs dish as it comes with strong-tasting goat cheese chunks. Other than that, everything was pretty decent.
Then came afternoon tea at the executive lounge! We made a reservation for the later slot at 4-5pm (the earlier slot being 3-4pm). I must say I really enjoyed every element of the afternoon tea, which is quite rare as there are usually one or two items that don’t tickle my fancy. It would’ve been great if there were no walnuts in the brownie and the cheesecake, but the dessert as a whole was so well done that I didn’t really mind them. The scones were firm but not rock-solid nor dry like many others we’ve had. We ordered second helpings of the savoury first tier and the golden baked banana friands, so yummy!
The staff here really take their sanitizing measures seriously. We were gently prompted to finish up our tea and exit the lounge as housekeeping was about to come in to do a full sanitization. Even though such measures are important in a time like this, it was still a bummer for me as I really wanted to soak in the ambience and skyline views here while reading my book.
Evening cocktails are served from 6pm to 8pm in a similar fashion to afternoon tea. Gosh, it was appalling that what we had during evening cocktail came from the same kitchen (I’m assuming) as that of afternoon tea. It was night and day in terms of quality! They tasted like they were made yesterday and kept in the fridge overnight before being presented to us. Given that we were one of the first few to be seated and served, I wouldn’t be surprised if what we got were indeed yesterday’s leftovers.
Some of the major issues were that the buns were soggy, the tart bases were much harder than expected (like they were refrigerated and then reheated) and the desserts were overwhelmingly saccharine. The only thing I ordered seconds of were the grapes, and that implies a lot.
My overall rating of the experience: 4 out of 5 stars. Our room was comfortable and well-appointed – that extravagant wall-to-wall sofa was the perfect spot to spend our extra hours. The service we received was also top-notch as many of the staff we interacted with went out of their way to make our stay a pleasant one. Foodwise, almost all our meals here were enjoyable, except the items from the evening cocktail service (not sure how the standard and quality could have differed so much). One other concern was the lack of attention to detail by the housekeeping staff, resulting in cleanliness issues (those unsightly food particles under the bed were fairly sizeable). But what I did appreciate was how they acknowledged the issue at hand and swiftly provided outstanding service recovery. Definitely left us with a good impression!