This hotel has always been on my bucket list of die-die must-try hotels ever since it became one of my hideouts where I’d wait for my husband to get off work at his previous workplace. The restaurants and hotel spaces in general just looked so classy and alluring, plus the photos of the gorgeous rooms completely won me over.
I initially managed to score a deal on Trip.com for the Club Deluxe Kallang Room ($520.70) early last year but unfortunately, covid hit and the hotel became a designated quarantine facility. As a result, that booking got cancelled. Many months down the road, another opportunity on Trip.com arose. Although not as sweet as the first deal, it was still a hefty shave off the best available rates from the direct website. There was no time like the present to finally experience what this hotel has to offer!
- 1-night stay in Club Deluxe Marina Room (upgraded from Club Deluxe Kallang Room)
- The Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge access
- Breakfast, mid-day snacks, afternoon tea, evening cocktails, desserts and cordials (as part of club lounge access)
- Spent: SGD$633.77
My husband and I received such a warm welcome the moment we stepped through the doors of the hotel, with the staff being all smiles and showing us to the reception area. When Christine, the reception staff, verified that we had a club room reservation, she informed us that our upgraded room was ready and promptly escorted us to the club lounge on level 32 for our check-in.
Again, we met with warm smiles and friendly greetings at the club lounge, where we had our first round of mid-day snacks while waiting for our turn to register. What an amazing start to our stay (:
Upon entering our room on the 23rd floor, the first thing we gravitated towards was the breathtaking view of the bay! There was so much space everywhere, even the sofa could legitly double up as a bed for a third person. I did see some signs of wear and tear but generally, it felt very well-maintained.
Turndown service was provided on request and it came with bookmarks (just like at Shangri-La), as well as two pieces of chocolate each on top of the usual tidying and replenishing. My firm pillow was also sent up very quickly. It was a bit of a pity that the bed was slightly softer than I would’ve preferred.
The bathroom was clean and spacious, with a counter that could easily fit double vanities. Of course, not forgetting that quintessential Ritz-Carlton money shot with the iconic hexagonal bathtub window, albeit one with an obstructed view. One rather amusing thing was that the shower was absolutely deafening when switched on (maybe the design of the shower stall made the sounds from the water hitting the tiles echo even more).
There were some issues with the room though. For instance, given that our room was located next to what we presumed were service lifts, we’d hear sudden random loud thuds and clangs, which made me jump in shock from time to time. Also, a puddle of water had pooled in our walk-in closet from some leakage above but this was promptly addressed when we flagged it up to the lounge staff. Lastly, the aircon temperature couldn’t be adjusted to anything higher than 20 degrees – freezing conditions for me as mine is usually set to 26 degrees (no, this is not equivalent to “outside” temperature lol).
The club lounge here is known for its extravagant five culinary presentations of breakfast, mid-day snacks, afternoon tea, evening cocktails, as well as desserts and cordials (whereas most other lounges have two to three only). Mid-day snacks are served between 12pm to 2pm, which we got to enjoy during our check-in. I liked the seared tuna with avruga caviar and capellini the most as it was light yet flavourful. The fried beehoon was not bad as well.
Service was beyond impeccable here, everyone was always so ready to help and if they have to check on something for you, you can be sure they’ll get back to you in a jiffy. Big shout-out to Jaena, Audrey, Levene and Brandon for hosting us wonderfully.
Shortly after settling down in our room, it was time for afternoon tea served between 2.30pm to 4.30pm. This time, we chose to sit in The Drawing Room, a section within the lounge that’s furthest from the entrance. Alas, this would be our first and last time sitting here as we were right in the line of fire of the air freshener, which spritzed a sneeze-inducing aroma every so often.
We opted to have our afternoon tea served in a three-tiered presentation. Out all of the items, the creamy smoked salmon with salmon roe buns were my favourite. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought this way as these buns were quickly snapped up, leaving in its wake sandwiches with paper-thin slices of salmon in them as the alternative.
Once we were done with afternoon tea, we set out to walk the grounds of the hotel. On level 1, you can find the pool and gym. There were many lounge chairs along the perimeter of the huge pool so I don’t think there’d be concerns over space here. The gym was sizeable as well and seemed well-equipped.
The spa is also situated on level 1, which all in-house guests have complimentary access to. Gender-segregated facilities here include hot mineral pools, a steam room, a sauna and a relaxation lounge. I’d say it was a pretty relaxing experience (though the mineral pool water was too hot for complete immersion) but it does pale slightly in comparison to my favourite spa facilities at The Westin and The St. Regis, where the spaces are more brightly lit by natural daylight. According to my husband, the men’s side only has one mineral pool surrounded by walls, making it a tad darker.
As all club rooms have access to the limousine drop-off service within the bay area, we decided to take a brief spin. Availability is on a first-come-first-serve basis so you can’t make a prior reservation per se. Inform the lounge staff shortly before you need the ride and they’ll check whether it’s available before making the arrangements on your behalf.
By the time we got back to the hotel, it was time for evening cocktails and hors d’oeuvres (5.30-7.30pm) at the lounge. What is different about this culinary presentation is that the chef freshly prepares one hot main as per a rotating menu, which happened to be beef bourguignon that evening.
Just about everything was divine – tender, flavourful and melt-in-your-mouth chunks of beef, hearty black chicken soup that reminded my husband of his mom’s cooking, succulent fish in fragrant curry. With these salads, I had no trouble eating my greens at all. I also ordered my usual mimosa with a higher juice to alcohol ratio (:
The last culinary presentation of the day was desserts and cordials, served between 8pm to 9.30pm. This entailed a small serving of a macaron and a praline, both of which were surprisingly delightful and not overly sweet.
Breakfast is served from 7.30am to 10.30am and it was one that I was hard-pressed to find fault with. All the items were delicious! The sausages were juicy, the hashbrowns were hot and crispy, the eggs freshly and perfectly cooked, and the pain au chocolat was buttery and flaky. There was one minor aspect that was rather unexpected though. The crispy noodles with crab meat sauce supposedly had real crab meat in it but all I could see was its artificial counterpart of shredded crabsticks. Nevertheless, the sauce was tasty indeed.
The staff used to host brief guided art tours for guests but since covid hit, they’ve converted this into a self-guided augmented reality hotel art tour experience. Head down to the concierge so they can point you to the specific art pieces you can explore via scanning a QR code.
The Cornucopia (the majestic centrepiece at the foyer) and Moby Dick (two strikingly coloured wall sculptures at the entrance to the pool) were both created by artist, Frank Stella. It was quite a unique way of bringing these art pieces in a hotel to life.
With a gracious extension of our check-out time, we were able to have a second round of mid-day snacks at the lounge. The menu remained largely the same except for a few differences, such as the crab meat fried rice, which had visible chunks of real crab meat unlike the noodle sauce at breakfast. Similar to yesterday’s conclusion, I liked the seared tuna capellini the most.
My overall rating of the experience: 5 out of 5 stars. I truly have trouble deciding which aspect was the most memorable during this stay! The extra-mile service was unbelievable and I commend the fact that the staff here endeavoured to make every part of our stay as pleasant and comfortable as possible. Most staff also made an effort to remember us, addressing us by name in our interactions. The incredible Marina Bay view from our very spacious room was a strong contender too, as we would just stare out the window for ages admiring the scene. And the club lounge served a generous total of five culinary presentations a day, taking care of all our meals with pretty delicious food no less. Though there were some minor inconveniences with the technical maintenance of the room, these were overshadowed by so many more positive experiences throughout our stay (: We’ll definitely be back without a doubt!