Establishing its hotel-in-a-garden concept in 2013, PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering truly lives up to its reputation with 15000 square metres of horizontal and vertical lush greenery weaved seamlessly into its living spaces. The PARKROYAL COLLECTION brand of hotels in Singapore (the other one being PARKROYAL COLLECTION Marina Bay touting a garden-in-a-hotel concept) were designed to have a strong emphasis on greener, more sustainable practices. It’s very heartening to see an increasing number of hotels globally moving towards and really embracing environmentally conscious practices in their businesses.
I had been keeping a close eye on the packages offered by this hotel as I really wanted to do a stay here, but either the package inclusions weren’t what I was looking for or the prices weren’t right. Finally, Klook released one that included access to the COLLECTION Club Lounge without the need to pay for the more expensive COLLECTION Club room (score!).
- 1-night stay in Urban Room
- COLLECTION Club Lounge access
- Champagne breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails (as part of club lounge access)
- Complimentary bottle of wine and box of pralines
- Complimentary parking
- Spent: SGD$246.17
Upon walking into the sunbathed lobby, my husband and I were attended to almost immediately as there appeared to be more staff than guests then. The staff who checked us in kindly offered a late check-out at 1pm (yay!). It was a swift and smooth check-in process and we were on our way to our room in no time.
We were assigned an Urban Room on the 11th floor. First impressions were great in terms of design – the muted wood tones and clean lines gave the space a modern feel, making it very aesthetically pleasing. Sadly, upon closer inspection, there were visible dust bunnies accummulated in the corners, cobwebs in harder-to-reach places and black spots (possibly mould?) lining the sink’s silicone join. I was still willing to close one eye to these issues but what really crossed the line for me was the presence of pesky, annoying drain flies. Insects generally give me the heebie-jeebies and I couldn’t imagine having to share a room and spend the night with these little buggers, so I contacted the front desk to check if anything could be arranged. They helped us to do a room swap on the same level, which I was infinitely grateful for.
Walking along an open-air corridor to our new room (a mirror-image configuration of the previous room), I was thankful that it didn’t have any insects this time round (I made sure to check!). Although this new room belonged to the same category as the previous one, it was actually slightly larger and we felt the difference in spaciousness the moment we entered. Everything else was pretty much similar. One thing I had to get used to though was how dimly lit the bathroom was. It felt a little unnerving initially but I suppose this is in a bid to be eco-friendly.
Service standards were noteworthy! Apparently turndown service is typically not provided on the day of arrival but it was nice that the housekeeping staff still came to do some light cleaning and replenish certain items upon request. Also, our package included a bottle of wine but I called up the hotel earlier to check if they could change it to something non-alcoholic since we don’t really drink. They thoughtfully replaced it with two bottles of organic Remedy Kombucha (made with natural, carefully sourced ingredients – even such choices are so in line with their brand USP), a gesture we truly appreciated ❤ The only teeny tiny gripe I had was how it required 3 phone calls before my firm pillow finally arrived, but other than that, all was good.
Level 2 of the hotel is where the ballrooms and meeting rooms are located. Level 5 is the floor dedicated to wellness facilities, such as the pool, jacuzzi, gym (closed during our stay due to Phase 2 restrictions), spa and terrace (an outdoor space with comfy sofas). This level is also where the colourful Instagram-worthy pavilions reside. According to the hotel’s marketing team, these so-called bird cages are actually inspired by inverted flower buds just about to bloom (#TIL).
The hotel offers various free-to-join activities to enhance their guests’ stay experience. When I called to enquire about the available activities for our stay dates, I was informed that there was a cooking class, a garden tour and a wine-tasting activity. I proceeded to make an advanced reservation for the cooking class and garden tour.
To our dismay, when we arrived at Lime Restaurant for the cooking class, we were informed that our reservation didn’t register in their system and the class was fully booked (sounds vaguely familiar eh, Fairmont?). I should’ve learned my lesson by now and requested a receipt or proof of reservation. Nevertheless, the staff were extremely helpful and offered to see what they could do. After all that back-and-forthing and some anticipatory waiting, we eventually managed to attend the cooking class as there were vacancies from some guests not showing up.
I’d describe our cooking class as more of a cooking demonstration than a hands-on class per se. It lasted for around 60 minutes and entailed us watching Chef Shashitharan walk us through the process while flexing his culinary skills. He was super patient in answering all our questions and generous in sharing his tips. He explained that during pre-covid times, guests could actually try their hand at cooking after watching his demonstration, but this was no longer possible given the current situation.
After he finished whipping up the meal, we were each given a sizeable portion to enjoy (and enjoy it we did). Every week’s class is a different dish and ours was the seafood and mushroom cream pasta. It tasted superb! The whole experience was like having a private chef specially prepare scrumptious food in an up close and personal setting, just… wow 😀
Once we were done slopping up the last of that delicious pasta sauce, we headed to the COLLECTION Club Lounge at level 16 for afternoon tea served between 3pm to 5pm. The lounge had an amazing ambience and a spectacular view through its tall glass windows, the perfect place to relax. Twinkle, one of the lounge staff, took such good care of us! She made it a point to check in on us every 15 to 20 minutes to ask how we were doing and whether we needed anything. Two thumbs up for her dedication (:
As for the food, the items were generally passable and nothing really knocked it out of the park. If I had to choose, I’d probably pick the egg mayo croissant to have seconds of. We made an earlier request to change out the macarons and hazelnut feuilletine with alternative desserts. They said they were unable to but could give us more savouries instead (hence the lack of the bottom tier on our afternoon tea stack).
The evening cocktail service at the COLLECTION Club Lounge is from 6pm to 8pm. It is served in the new-age post-covid buffet style where you point out what you want from behind a screen and a staff helps to plate it. As with afternoon tea, none of the items were exceptional in terms of taste. In fact, it was worse off in my opinion because there was much less variety available. Out of all the items, I guess the dessert cups were the most enjoyable (think they were the same ones we had during our buffet dinner at Lime Restaurant on a separate occasion).
We had our first round of breakfast at Lime Restaurant the next day as it had a bigger buffet spread. I was so glad to be able to pick and choose exactly what I wanted on my plate as opposed to ordering generically prepared dishes off a QR code menu (sometimes I don’t eat certain elements in those dishes and they end up going to waste).
The food was okay and tasted like they were more freshly prepared than what we had on our previous visit for the buffet dinner. Chicken wings were hot and crispy, pastries were flaky and buttery, even the pancakes and dim sum red bean buns were sufficiently moist and surprisingly not rock-hard (yea, that’s how low my expectations are now thanks to other buffet breakfasts). Drinks like hot chocolate and mocha were chargeable though, which was rather unusual.
Breakfast round two was back up at the COLLECTION Club Lounge. The breakfast selection here was a subset of the items served at Lime Restaurant, but the good thing was that there was a live egg station as well. I guess the main draw that guests pay more for is the free-flow champagne. Not that it mattered to us since we aren’t drinkers, hence my reluctance to fork out full prices for the COLLECTION Club rooms that have this inclusion already factored into their costs. Still, with our hot chocolates and orange juices in hand, admiring the surrounding scenery and soaking in the chill vibes in the lounge was a really awesome experience.
Last but not least on our itinerary was the complimentary 20-minute Garden Tour that took place on level 5. On the 300-metre garden path circling the hotel’s perimeter, our guide showed us the different species of trees and plants grown on the property. Elaborating on the focus of the PARKROYAL COLLECTION brand, she talked about the various ways in which these hotels incorporate eco-friendly practices, like how the gardens in this hotel are self-watered using collected rainwater. But maintaining the aesthetics of these gardens is no mean feat. Apparently their in-house horticulturist team goes across the road to the roof of a particular building everyday to visually inspect the greenery facade, making sure everything is in the right place and removing wilted ones as needed.
She also explained how certain aspects of the hotel’s design were drawn largely from nature, such as the inverted flower buds for the pool pavilions and inverted Bali rice terraces for the reception area. Not to mention the secret hidden waterfall feature we would’ve never found had we not been on this tour! We learned so much from our guide’s sharings and I thought it was a great way to get to know the brand and its hotels (:
My overall rating of the experience: 4 out of 5 stars. Service here was a standout for me! Not only were the staff we interacted with professional and approachable, they were also ready to go above and beyond to render assistance to us when needed. From the housekeeping staff who came to our first room armed with bug spray, to the F&B staff who helped arrange for the cooking class slots (when she could’ve easily told us “sorry, it’s fully booked”), and many more examples. Also, the complimentary activities allowed us to explore the inner workings of the hotel in more intimate settings, which really added value to our stay and increased our connection to the brand. Foodwise, the meals were not too bad – I preferred the variety of breakfast dishes at Lime Restaurant to the afternoon tea and evening canapés at the COLLECTION Club Lounge (but the ambience at the lounge was unbeatable). Of course, the best meal we had was the seafood and mushroom cream pasta thoughtfully prepared by Chef Shashitharan! The main letdown was the state of cleanliness (or the lack thereof) in the room. Playing host to dust bunnies, cobwebs and even insects just doesn’t seem very acceptable for a 5-star hotel. With that said, we definitely had a nice stay nonetheless and I’m glad we had the opportunity to experience what this hotel has to offer (: