I’ve always known Ascott Raffles Place to be the building with that fancy flight of carpeted stairs leading up to its entrance. Although there are other hotels like The Fullerton and Goodwood Park that have similar grand stair entrances, it is quite a rare sight to see for buildings within the CBD area. Hence, this interesting feature of Ascott Raffles Place has stuck with me ever since.
Typically, serviced apartments aren’t on my to-explore list as I prefer the full suite of facilities and services from hotels. Opportunity knocked when I won a 1-night stay here from one of the giveaways on a CapitaStar livestream episode (thank you, CapitaStar!).
- 1-night stay in Cutler Suite
- (Chinatown Walking Tour by Monster Day Tours)
- Spent: SGD$0
The lobby was quiet when my husband and I arrived around 2pm, with only one other guest waiting to be checked in. I was grateful we didn’t have to wait too long for our turn as the sofas weren’t very inviting with those faint black smears. We were offered a view upgrade to the 12th floor out of 21 floors, which was kinda sorta facing the bay area (not bad, I guess?). As we were informed that our room wouldn’t be ready until about an hour later, we decided to grab a late lunch nearby.
There were quite a few food options within walking distance. We eventually settled for fishball noodles from Food Folks at Lau Pa Sat (also known as Telok Ayer Market). According to my husband, that bowl of fishball noodles was the best he’d ever tasted (overtaking the previous contender from Million Fishball Noodle) and has become his new favourite. We also bought back some goodies from the Food Folks Retail store, just in case we got peckish during the day.
When we came back from lunch, the same front desk staff promptly handed us our key cards without us having to wait in line. I also appreciated how she was very patient, even going out of her way to assist us with our queries and requests.
Opening the door to our Cutler Suite, the entry level room, I took a moment to let the sheer size of the room (and its atypical layout) sink in. The bed is right in the middle of the room facing the windows, which was a first for us. Along the long entryway is a well-furnished kitchen and a dressing table. There is a bathtub, rain shower and regular shower in the bathroom, but you need to turn on the heater 10 minutes before you head into the shower if you want hot water. I’m not sure if they have a pillow menu but I managed to request for my usual firm pillow. Do note that housekeeping is available daily except on Sundays and public holidays.
At first glance, everything looked modern and well-appointed. However, upon closer inspection, there were a few aspects that were less than ideal. The built-in furniture and bathroom fittings were showing signs of age with their scuff marks and patches of mould. Sofas and carpets felt and smelled like they had been Febrezed a million times. Plus there was a very apparent musty smell when the aircon was switched off. This room is incredibly spacious, but it is definitely wearing out.
There was no booking system in place to use the gym, infinity swimming pool and the living room (residents’ lounge), which are all located on the 19th floor. That meant guests could use these facilities as and when they wanted on a first-come-first-serve basis. Don’t think this is much of a problem as it wasn’t very crowded even though we were there on a weekend.
As there were no restaurants open within the premises, we ordered food delivery for dinner. Cali, their only in-house restaurant, is closed on weekends and public holidays for both lunch and dinner service. This means no in-room dining is available and you’ll have to venture out for your meals (except breakfast) if you’re doing a weekend stay. That evening, after I collected our dinner delivery from downstairs, the lifts unexpectedly broke down! I was stranded in the lobby for a short while together with some other guests, but nevertheless thankful that the breakdown didn’t happen while I was IN the lift heh.
Our stay initially did not come with complimentary breakfast, a detail we unexpectedly found out during check-in. We asked whether it was possible to extend this benefit to us, and after discussing with her manager, that same front desk staff very graciously accommodated this request of ours (‘: We were absolutely grateful!
Cali serves up a basic, no frills continental a la carte breakfast menu with unlimited ordering for $25++ per person. Although it wasn’t a large selection, all the items were done decently well! We finished everything we ordered as a result (my husband rarely partakes of the bread basket so that says a lot). Unlike many other recent hotel breakfasts we’ve had, they actually serve fresh juice here (yaaassss!). We were attended to by a wonderful staff who was very professional and amiable in his interactions with us. I really liked the ambience despite it being a relatively small space – the environment was clean and well-lit, the furniture was contemporary and comfortable, and there was relaxing jazz music playing in the background. Truly value-added to our experience here (:
Our adventure didn’t end after we checked out as we still had a Chinatown Walking Tour to go for 😀 Ascott Star Rewards, Ascott’s free-to-join loyalty programme, has partnered with the award-winning Monster Day Tours to offer complimentary walking tours to staying guests. These guided tours explore the iconic cultural heritage neighbourhoods of Singapore like Chinatown, Kampong Glam and Little India. This offer is available until 31 December 2021 so remember to sign up for it if you’re staying at Ascott! Read about our Chinatown Walking Tour experience here (:
My overall rating of the experience: 4 out of 5 stars. I do need to qualify this rating, in that if I were to rate this experience purely based on the hardware (ie. aging furnishing, blemished upholstery, possible lift breakdowns), it’ll probably be deserving of only 3 stars. So if you’re looking for a super new and modern serviced apartment, this is likely not the place for you. For us, we found the room exceptionally spacious, pretty clean and sufficiently comfortable, so we weren’t too bothered by those little inconveniences. What really took this rating to the next level was the staff’s awesome service and value-addedness to the guest experience! Many of the staff were friendly and polite, greeting guests spontaneously with a smile as they walked past. They were genuinely helpful (especially with the whole breakfast situation) and made us feel so welcome. The collaboration with Monster Day Tours was also a nice way of adding value for their guests. These two aspects truly brought our experience here up a notch!