Right in the heart of town, this hotel is conveniently located above Orchardgateway shopping mall with direct links to other malls such as Orchard Central and 313@Somerset. During the pandemic, it was used as a quarantine facility for people serving out their stay-home notices. Towards the tail end where covid restrictions began easing up, that was when Traveloka started having pretty decent prices for a stay here, so I took a chance and bought one even before it officially reopened for leisure stays. Since I heard and read positive reviews of the club lounge offerings, I thought it’d be interesting to try it out.
- 1-night stay in Club Room
- Club Lounge access
- Breakfast and evening cocktails (as part of club lounge access)
- Spent: SGD$201.97
Upon arriving at the drop-off point, my husband and I took the lift up to the hotel lobby and reception area situated on level 10. It was a bright, airy and welcoming space. Our check-in here was a smooth process with pleasant interactions with the staff assisting us.
We were assigned a room on level 16 (out of 20 floors) which had quite a good view of Orchard Road. The room itself was rather small with some signs of wear and tear but fairly clean and comfortable, though I did find a strand of hair on the telephone. Both of us liked how firm the bed was but the firm pillow I requested for was softer than I would’ve preferred.
As for the bathroom, it has an odd design where you can’t completely seal it up as the brown sliding door merely acts as a one-sided partition. This might be an issue if you’re rooming with someone you’re not very close to as the only thing preventing that person from peeking into the shower is his or her integrity. Another point of contention was that there was no conditioner provided, only shower gel and “conditioning” shampoo (us folks with long hair know this is a complete sham).
The reception staff explained earlier during check-in that they no longer have afternoon tea as part of their lounge offerings. As a replacement, we were given a welcome gift box of snacks and a one-time complimentary mini-bar of drinks. Truth be told, I didn’t find this to be an equitable replacement and it was disappointing, to say the least.
One little perk, I suppose, was that we got to catch Jeno, the hotel’s robot butler, in action when it delivered the mini-bar items to our room. My husband just happened to open the door while it was turning and adjusting itself to face our door. Then, the telephone rang and it was an automated voice saying that our items were here. Pretty cool!
In the evening just as we were about to head out for evening cocktails, there was a sudden slew of electric and bass guitar noises that were so loud and present they sounded like they were coming from right below our room. After sharing our concerns with the staff, she very kindly moved us to another room on level 15 that was further away from the main Orchard stretch where live bands typically perform late into the night. This room had a slightly different configuration as it had an additional lounge chair, the bed was closer to the window and the work desk was next to the wardrobe instead of the window.
You will find both the gym and the infinity pool on level 19 of the hotel, as well as the pool bar called Baywatch@JEN. The rooftop views of the city from here were quite surreal and the strong, cool breeze was super refreshing. There are also jacuzzi jets fitted along the side of the pool. In a little corner at the other end of the corridor on this level is the bamboo sky terrace, an open-air event space with beautiful greenery.
The original club lounge is on level 19 too, but sadly, as it was closed during our visit, we had our evening cocktails and canapes (served between 5.30pm to 7.30pm) at Lounge@JEN on level 10 instead. Nevertheless, it had a relaxing ambience with its contemporary design and plush seating. We were seated right at the corner of the lounge with a nice view of Orchard Road, giving us a bit of privacy as well.
Food-wise, it was yet another round of disappointment. Items came in a bento set box, and despite most of them being refillable, we didn’t really ask for seconds because they weren’t that enjoyable to begin with. Everything was merely passable, reminding me of our evening canapes at Shangri-La’s Valley Wing comprising mainly average-tasting fried food and sushi bites. It was a surprising first to see abalone slices as one of the evening canape items but it was understandably restricted to one portion per guest.
Food aside, the staff here were fantastic, always ready to offer their assistance and pre-empt our needs. It was a shame they didn’t serve mimosas here as there was no sparkling wine on the very limited menu, so we settled for orange juice and teh tarik.
Assisted buffet breakfast was served at the Makan@JEN restaurant instead of the club lounge, an unfortunate common practice during the pandemic to manage costs. There was a fair bit of variety, with unique items like teh tarik ice cream, and a dedicated live egg station. The food generally tasted okay, although nothing stood out in particular. Of all the dishes, I preferred the fishball noodle soup the most because the soup was flavourful.
My overall rating of the experience: 3 out of 5 stars. You might be better off paying for a base room as opposed to forking out extra for club lounge access, whose offerings seemed to have taken a deep nosedive compared to pre-covid times. We were served a lot of nasties like fried food, soda drinks and instant noodles – I truly felt like I needed a detox after this stay. Rooms here are quite basic but definitely sufficient, do note that it can get noisy if your room faces the main Orchard stretch. Remember to bring your own conditioner too as it isn’t provided! What I did appreciate was the warmth and helpfulness from the staff we interacted with, as well as the fact that the hotel’s location allows direct, sheltered access to three shopping malls, which meant a ton of dining options to make up for the less-than-ideal lounge meals.