My husband and I enjoyed our previous stay here at The Fullerton Hotel so this time, we brought our dad and uncle along to share in the experience too. Thanks to the extension granted for the use of the SingapoRediscovers Vouchers (SRV), we managed to score some pretty awesome deals on Traveloka. As usual, my dad and uncle prefer to stay for at least two nights while I, as much as I want to, can only do one night given my work schedule. Thus, I made 3 separate bookings (so that we could utilize 3 sets of $100 SRV) that comprised 2 rooms with club access for the first day and 1 room with the “Taste The Good Life” package for the second day.
Interestingly, it was also the Christmas period when we last stayed here so we got to see the hotel all decked out in Christmas decor again (:
- Inclusions (Day 1):
- 1-night stay in Straits Club Heritage King Room – upgraded from Straits Club Courtyard Room (my husband and I)
- 1-night stay in Straits Club Heritage Twin Room – upgraded from Straits Club Courtyard Room (my dad and uncle)
- Champagne breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails (as part of club lounge access)
- 20% discount on spa treatments
- Complimentary parking
- (Fullerton Monument Tour)
- Inclusions (Day 2):
- 1-night stay in Heritage Twin Room – upgraded from Premier Courtyard Room (my dad and uncle)
- $200 dining credit
- Late check-out 6pm for Monday to Wednesday stays
- Complimentary parking
- (Maritime Journey Tour)
- Spent: SGD$978.79
The day before our check-in, I received a call from guest services informing us that we had been accorded an early check-in (yay!). There were about 3 groups of guests in front of us in the queue when we arrived. This time, instead of squeezing everyone in Post Bar like they did during our last visit, they ushered guests to The Courtyard (south) to sit comfortably while waiting for their turn. They even provided water and colouring materials for the kids, a great improvement over previous conditions.
Warren, the staff checking us in, was super helpful and thorough in explaining our package inclusions. He also confirmed that both our rooms had been pre-upgraded to the Heritage Room category courtesy of my I Prefer Hotel Rewards membership! Do note that the key cards only allow access to your designated floor, a tad inconvenient as we were assigned a different level from our dad and uncle.
My dad and uncle’s twin-bedded room was ready first so we made our way to level 5 (out of 8 floors) where their room was located. It’s no secret that within the Heritage Room category, room sizes and configurations are vastly different because the hotel had to work within the boundaries of what this heritage building already came with. When I found out that we’d been upgraded, it was a feeling of gratitude mixed with a little anxiety as we really wouldn’t know which room configuration we were going to get. It could vary from a room with a fantastic view or one with nothing but a tiny rectangular window as the only source of natural light.
Unfortunately for my dad and uncle, their room was one of those with a huge structural wall right smack in the middle of their would-be window. Well, it was a good thing they weren’t too fussy about it. It was fairly spacious though, which was wonderful. As we were celebrating a special occasion with my dad, his room was thoughtfully decorated with nice stuff from both the guest recognition team and the housekeeping team, so sweet! Legit touched ❤
Our king-bedded room on level 7, on the other hand, had a lot more natural light and a balcony with views of the nearby buildings but was much more compact in terms of space. I guess we generally didn’t fare too badly in the game of room roulette this time.
There was a large bathtub and a separate standing shower area, not to mention a warm-seated Toto toilet bowl equipped with a motion-sensor. As much as I appreciated the automaticity of this contraption, it started getting annoying when the seat would noisily open up each time we entered the bathroom. During our previous stay, the toilet bowl was safely tucked away in its own corner so we didn’t encounter this issue. Now that our bathroom was way smaller, it really felt like it was watching our every move
Also, we entered our room to a loud beeping dial tone from the phone. At first, we switched it off and all was good. But the phone started randomly calling the operator and even triggered the emergency number at one point (I had to pull the plug out from the phone). The in-house engineer was called in to replace the entire thing, which then solved the problem.
Before we left the room for evening cocktails at the lounge, I put in a request for turndown service. Sadly, we returned to find our room in its original state. Only after requesting a second time did housekeeping come by to tidy up.
Crystal, one of the lovely staff from The Straits Club, met us during our check-in and helped us to make all our bookings for afternoon tea, evening cocktails and breakfast. The club lounge, situated on level 4, was just as I remembered it, modern and cosy with Peranakan design elements throughout the space.
We headed to the club lounge around 2pm, the earlier slot for afternoon tea (the later slot being 3.30-5pm). Afternoon tea was served on 3 tiers and could be refilled unlimitedly. I thought all the items were yummy but we particularly ordered multiple rounds of salmon pancakes and pandan cakes. My dad was having a field day with the scones and the accompanying clotted cream and jam too.
Once we were done with afternoon tea, I took a walk to check out the pool, which could only be accessed via The Fullerton Spa entrance at level 1M. The gym can also be found here. Sadly, as with our stay last year, it was raining again and the pool was closed due to the lightning warning. I could only return later in the evening for photos when the skies were clear.
During our recent stay at The Fullerton Bay Hotel, we learnt that there were complimentary guided heritage tours organized for in-house guests but when I attempted to sign us up, the slots were already filled. As such, I made it a point to sign up in advance this time so we could get to experience the tours!
The first tour we went on was the Fullerton Monument Tour, which lasts for about 60 minutes. Jagjit was our tour guide who met us near the concierge desk at 5pm. Walking us through The Fullerton Heritage Gallery, he shared that this building, built in 1928, started out as the General Post Office and was constructed in a neoclassical fashion with granite Shanghai plaster. It then became a hotel in 2001 where the Merlion cocktail was founded. An interesting fact was that there are 59 lion heads around the hotel as it was apparently seen as a symbol of power.
He also took us to see the original British postboxes that are still actual functioning postboxes today (your letters will get the official Fullerton stamp on it, plus an additional one if you post it at the one outside the Philatelic Store located in the basement). I would love that as a souvenir (:
Next, he explained how The Straits Club today used to be a space for the rich and powerful back then. We were unable to go up and have a proper tour as there was an event going on. However, he suggested for us to pop in at our own time once the event was over.
The final location we went to was right outside the other entrance of the hotel where the legendary Mile Zero was. This spot right here was the reference point from which all of Singapore was measured back in the day. Transportation distance and fees were calculated based on how far your destination was from this very point, super cool! You can really sense how historically significant this place is.
By right, this tour usually ends with a visit to The Lighthouse on level 8, where the beacon that guided mariners safely to port used to be housed. Alas, due to the pandemic, it was closed. Otherwise, we could’ve enjoyed panoramic vistas of the Marina Bay, what a bummer ):
Rounding up our first day here was evening cocktails and canapes at The Straits Club. We opted for the second seating from 7.30pm to 9pm as the earlier seating (6-7.30pm) would’ve been a rush if the Fullerton Monument Tour didn’t end on time.
Similar to afternoon tea, everything tasted pretty good. I found the chicken salad exceptionally flavourful – the umami of the chicken, the tangy-ness of the sauce, as well as the freshness of the capsicums and onions just made it really enjoyable (I stopped counting after my fifth bowl). My dad and uncle were repeatedly ordering the yakitori sticks so that also seemed to be a crowd favourite. It was mildly amusing that being the old manly fogeys they are, they were totally not used to the notion of dainty little portions and lamented how their bellies would never be full with such fare.
They did, however, appreciate the free-flow alcohol, going all out with the red wines and beers. I personally don’t do alcohol but the staff was able to get the right ratio of orange juice to Chandon that I had two lovely glasses of it! It was a bit of a shame that we picked the second seating as it wasn’t near enough time for my dad and uncle to drink their fill.
Breakfast (with free-flow Chandon) was likewise served in the club lounge the next morning between 7.30am to 11am with 3 seatings. We opted for the last seating at 10am so that we could sleep in a little more, heh. As with all meal presentations here, the food and beverages could be refilled without restrictions.
We tried just about everything on the menu, which consisted of classic scrambled or sunny-side up eggs, asian favourites and Straits Club specials. Most of them were quite decent, especially the juicy fried chicken that came with the nasi lemak. The “Irish” breakfast (organic scrambled eggs with vodka and avruga caviar) was rather unique and worth a try. One dish to avoid though is the “British” breakfast (beef hash with onsen egg), which was basically tasteless minced meat in a terribly watery sauce.
Right after breakfast was our second tour, the Maritime Journey Tour, which lasts approximately 60 minutes. We had to make our way to The Fullerton Bay Hotel to meet our tour guide, Cindy, at the concierge desk next to the entrance. Initially scheduled for 11.15am, our tour didn’t begin until quite a while later as the earlier tour dragged on longer than expected.
As Cindy began sharing, we could tell that she had some level of passion as opposed to our guide yesterday, telling us stories instead of simply recounting facts. She even brought along a clear folder of relevant photos to show us as we learnt about the various landmarks. Thumbs up for effort (:
Our first checkpoint was Clifford Pier, established in 1933 and better known as the red lantern pier to the less educated during that time. Subsequently, it became a ferry terminal until 2006 when Sino Group took over to begin hotel construction, officially opening as The Fullerton Bay Hotel in 2010. The cast-iron red lanterns you see along the sides of Clifford Pier today are the restored original ones as the pier had been gazetted for conservation.
She then went on to describe the design of the hotel and some of its surrounding buildings, and how they are in line with the maritime theme. The hotel itself is shaped like a boat cruise, with 3 smaller boats docked at its side, while The Fullerton Pavilion appears to be in a shape of a life buoy.
Next, she brought us to the floating event pods and asked us to guess what the subject of this massive keystone heritage art piece on the wall was. She instructed us to take a photo so we could compare the image with the answer – the frontal view of The Fullerton Hotel’s entrance!
After that, she got us access to the pool area on the rooftop so that we could soak in the views of Marina Bay. She also pointed out Customs House, a base from which police boats used to be deployed. Now, it has been transformed into a classy dining and shopping destination.
Lastly, she led us to the open space along the boardwalk and showed us the Window Of Hope sculpture, explaining how it encapsulates and symbolizes what the immigrants approaching Singapore’s shores back then must’ve felt.
Once the tour concluded, my husband and I went back to our room to pack up and check out at the club lounge. I joined some friends for afternoon tea in the meantime while my husband headed home. We then made our way back to Jade restaurant to have dinner at 6.45pm with my dad and uncle.
Jade is one of the hotel-operated restaurants we decided to use our $200 dining credit at as it is well-acclaimed, plus we had a good experience here during our last stay as well. We ordered an array of dishes to share and boy, I had trouble picking a favourite as every dish was delicious! However, my main gripe remained that the portion sizes were incredibly small (3 tiny cubes of wagyu for $46++, come on). Safe to say, any dish you order will likely taste good but whether you come away having eaten your fill without bursting the bank? That’s another issue altogether.
One thing that aroused my husband’s curiosity was the fact that there were two sets of chopsticks on the table for each person. Apparently, as explained by the staff, one pair was for poking into shared dishes while the other was for putting the food in your mouth. So hygienic, I love it.
My overall rating of the experience: 4 out of 5 stars. All in all, I felt the stay was as memorable as the last time we were here (read about that experience!). Clean, comfortable and luxurious rooms, delectable food and drinks, pretty awesome service from most of the staff and value-added complimentary heritage tours for guests. Huge shout-out to the guest recognition and housekeeping teams for their thoughtful gestures and kind well wishes to my dad, we’ll always remember it ❤ There were a few issues though, like our room phone going rogue, the lapse in turndown service and the exorbitant prices for awfully minuscule portions at Jade. Also, if you prefer greater certainty in how your room configuration will turn out, you might want to avoid booking the Heritage Room category. Taking all things into consideration, this hotel is still one I’d recommend (especially if you’re into buildings with a rich history) and would personally come back to if the price is right!