The journey to stay here at this hotel was such a precarious one fraught with impediments since I first bought the Stay & Feast package with SingapoRediscovers Vouchers (SRV) on Traveloka. This stay was initially scheduled to happen in June 2021 but the hotel was suddenly closed off to serve the government in their covid management efforts. I managed to postpone the stay to December that same year, the month when the validity of the SRV supposedly ends. Then the hotel further extended its contract with the government, essentially negating our stay, but by a strange turn of events, the government also decided to extend the validity of the SRV to the end of March the next year. So here we are, our stay finally materializing from the ashes after 9 arduous months.
While all that drama and uncertainty ensued, I chanced upon another good deal on Trip.com for a decently priced club room. During our previous stay here a few years back, my husband and I were only given a teaser tour of the club lounge. With this two-night stack, hopefully we get to maximally experience what the hotel has to offer!
- Inclusions (Day 1):
- 1-night stay in Pacific Club Room
- Pacific Club Lounge access
- Champagne breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails (as part of club lounge access)
- Late check-out 2pm (subject to availability)
- Complimentary non-alcoholic mini-bar drinks
- Inclusions (Day 2):
- 1-night stay in Deluxe Balcony Room (upgraded from Deluxe Room)
- $400 dining credit
- Spent: SGD$631.81 ($347.41 Day 1 + $209 Day 2 + $75.40 excess F&B/spa charges)
When we arrived at the GHA Discovery members counter, there were just two groups of guests in front of us but for some reason, they were taking an enormous amount of time with the staff (they were still there after we checked in). Thankfully, Sel, one of the available reception staff, rescued us by ushering us to another counter to complete our check-in process.
As we were staying for two nights but with separate room categories, she very kindly extended a complimentary room upgrade by having us stay in the Pacific Club Room for both nights (without lounge access on the second night, of course). She also secured us a late check-out at 3pm so that we wouldn’t have to rush our dim sum lunch buffet on the last day. What a fantastic start (:
Our assigned Pacific Club Room resided on the 35th floor, the highest guest room floor in the hotel. With the anticipation building as we ascended in the outward-facing bubble lift, I was all ready to be blown away by the view that awaited us. Alas, the view was probably the only redeeming quality of the room. Everything else made my OCD self rather uncomfortable (the hotel is admittedly old and the last refurbishment was more than a decade ago). The carpet felt grimy, the room smelled musty, the desk was peeling badly under the glass and the roller chair had years of accumulated dust in its hard-to-reach crevices.
As for the bathroom, it was hands down the most unbearable part of the room for me. The tub was of a yesteryear design where one had to use a good old plunger on a chain to plug the drain when filling it up, though I must say it is fairly well-maintained for a tub this old. Unfortunately, those darkened rust stains on the drain itself was a huge turn-off.
I could still choose to look the other way by not utilizing the tub, but the alternative that was the shower area was also rather repulsive. Grout lines on the walls and floor were pervasively stained, reminding me of the shower we encountered at Orchard Hotel. I felt really uneasy and couldn’t imagine enduring this for two whole nights.
After checking if we could shift to another room with a refurbished bathroom (like the one in the Panoramic Room during our previous stay), Bobby, the duty manager, explained that all the rooms in our current category were as such. Instead, he offered us a Deluxe Balcony Room on the 15th floor. He even personally showed me the room first to see if I was comfortable with it, which I was very grateful for. I was so much more at ease with this option despite the room having a dated vibe and being a downgrade from what we paid for. It was a huge anxiety relief and I appreciated the fact that I could shower with greater peace of mind.
Turndown service was provided upon request with the usual tidying and replenishing of items. The bed was sufficiently hard but the firm pillow requested for could afford to be way firmer.
The swimming pool, gym, tennis courts, recreational area and the newly opened Urban Jungle Village (indoor play area for kids) are on level 4 of the hotel. Entry to the Urban Jungle Village is free for in-house guests, you just need to make a prior booking via the online concierge system.
One of the perks of having lounge access is being able to book a private dining room for 2 hours (subject to availability). Since a few of my friends were also staying here that day, we convened at one of the private dining rooms nested within the Pacific Club Lounge on level 38. These were nice spaces for us to gather throughout the day to catch up over drinks.
Afternoon tea is served at the lounge between 3pm to 5pm, but unlike our previous visit, this came on a 3-tier stand with a much smaller variety of items instead of a full self-service buffet. Granted, the items were replenishable but it wasn’t quite the spread I was looking forward to.
The savoury ones were a clear standout compared to the sweets, which were either overly tart or saccharine. We ordered seconds of the charcoal brioche bun with corn and crab meat, as well as the salmon quiche with sour cream and ikura. The presentation of the food was quite intricate and I appreciated the effort spent to construct and garnish every item.
When it came time for evening cocktails and canapes (6pm to 8pm), I completely forgot to take my own advice from our last visit and wore my usual shorts that saw me through many a club lounge. However, they are really strict here so I had to hop across to Suntec City to find the cheapest decent-looking skirt from the shelves of H&M, thankfully only setting me back a mere $9.
Similar to afternoon tea, I liked the way the food was presented. Out of all the cold items, we had seconds of the tangy tuna and mango ceviche, as well as the flavourful parma ham with arugula and peppers. The fried mushroom spring rolls were okay but the grilled lemongrass chicken was atrociously dry and hard.