Hotel Fort Canning is one of Singapore’s heritage hotels that have been conserved to retain its historic colonial charm. Situated atop a hill within the massive Fort Canning Park, this building used to be the command headquarters for the British during World War II and has changed hands many times ever since. Getting here can be a little cumbersome if you’re planning on taking public transport as it would involve lots of uphill walking (I recommend getting a ride). But what a sight to behold when you reach your desination!
I remember setting foot here when my husband (then fiance) and I were scouting for wedding venues. Even though we eventually didn’t hold our wedding here, I’m glad we got the chance to experience this hotel thanks to Traveloka’s awesome prices (:
- 1-night stay in Deluxe Room
- 20% dining discount for Friday and Saturday stays ($25 dining credit per night for Sunday to Thursday stays)
- Complimentary parking
- Up to 30% discount on selected spa treatments
- Spent: SGD$143.08
A few days before our arrival, I received an email informing us that we had been accorded an early check-in at 1.30pm, along with a link to pre-book pool, gym and breakfast slots. On the day itself, however, the staff checking us in informed us that our pre-booked pool slot was full. I was confused, explaining that we had already registered our bookings in advance. How was it that we were given confirmation then, only to have it rescinded now? She responded by saying that these guests made their bookings earlier than ours (but if this were the case, wouldn’t our initial bookings have failed to register in the first place?). Anyway, we let the matter go, though we left feeling highly doubtful. It didn’t help that she came across as being perfunctorily polite and a little intimidating as well, not exactly someone I’d put as a first point of contact with guests.
We were assigned a Deluxe Room on the second floor (the hotel only has three guest room levels). The room seemed a little smaller than usual but the high ceiling helped it feel more open and spacious. Most elements were quite well-maintained but there were some aspects that made me feel less at ease. First, the bathroom was showing its age with its mouldy silicone joins, greenish substances around the toilet flush and pink algae on the shower floor. Second, there was a fly buzzing around the room, but luckily we managed to eliminate it. Third, I found an orange stain on one of the towels, and on yet another one from a new batch I requested for. Also, the bed was very much on the soft side (not for folks like me). Even the supposed firm pillow they provided (which took 3 phone calls to be delivered no less) was not as firm as I would’ve liked. As a result, my sleep wasn’t too comfortable. I guess the main draw of the room would be the freestanding tub in a naturally lit marble-clad bathroom, which makes for pretty luxurious soaking.
There are two main swimming pools and one kids’ pool located at the far end of the hotel. These pools are touted to be filled with NASA-system levels of treated mineral water in place of the typical chlorine treatment. Due to covid restrictions, many pathways have been sealed off to better manage the flow of people. To access the pools, we were given instructions to walk through the basement carpark and enter via the members’ lounge, where we could also collect our towels if we so wished. Another possible route is up the stairs via the Garden Terrace, though I’m not entirely sure whether this is a legit entry point as there was no staff present to perform the usual checks and scans.
The members’ lounge, located in the basement, is apparently a space dedicated for members of The Legends Fort Canning Park town club. Strangely enough, we were able to access it as the lifts didn’t require a key card or anything of the sort. Interesting that they chose to situate the lounge in the basement as it felt rather dark and dingy, not the most welcoming of ambiences. In this same club building, you can also find the gym and the spa on level 1.
Once we were done exploring hotel grounds, we took a (really long and winding) stroll down to the National Museum of Singapore to have late lunch at Food For Thought. This place brought back memories of the day we collected our marriage certificate from the Registry of Marriages! If you’re looking for other food options, you’d be spoilt for choice given the number of malls in the area.
For dinner, we initially decided to utilize our 20% discount and dine at The Salon restaurant. As we were about to order, the wait staff informed that there was an ongoing 1-for-1 Citibank promotion, which made for a better deal. My husband ordered the Hokkien mee and a cup of teh tarik while I had the Impossible meat ragout spaghetti, all of which were fairly tasty but not particularly memorable. Given that our meal was basically 50% off, I’d say it was still of passable value.
After dinner, we stepped out onto the Garden Terrace, the venue we contemplated holding our wedding at. There’s something magical about twinkling fairy lights against the charming backdrop of colonial architecture, setting up a romantic ambience and beautiful photo opportunities ❤
Breakfast the next morning was served at The Salon restaurant. Our egg orders were pretty yummy but unfortunately, they stuck strictly to the policy of one main dish per guest (what a bummer). The free-flow items like salad, cereal, fruits and croissants tasted okay. What was appalling though was the service from one of the wait staff. He had a very cold demeanour as he took our orders, simply reciting a scripted set of instructions before hurrying away. There also seemed to be a whole lot of clanging whenever he handled the crockery. Not sure if he was having a bad day, but it was not the most pleasant thing to encounter.
My overall rating of the experience: 3 out of 5 stars. All things considered, I’d describe our stay as an average one. The room was alright and sufficiently comfortable, although certain aspects of cleanliness left much to be desired. Food at dinner and breakfast was also not too bad. I really liked the ambience at the Garden Terrace, where we enjoyed a brief but nice evening stroll. However, service standards here were extremely lacklustre. It felt like the staff were delivering only the bare minimum and we honestly didn’t feel very welcome. Having said that, I shall not generalize this sentiment to all staff as those in the housekeeping team were ten times friendlier and warmer than the staff from other departments. I would be hard-pressed to recommend this hotel unless you’re looking for a relatively affordable stay (in the current covid climate) that comes with a gorgeous sun-bathed freestanding tub and is also steeped in heritage and history (though for the latter, I could easily think of Goodwood Park Hotel and The Fullerton Hotel that might fit the bill).