[Accommodation Review] – Sofitel Singapore City Centre (Prestige Suite), Singapore (6 – 8 Nov 20)

Location

Sofitel has three properties in Singapore, two in the city centre and one on Sentosa Island. Sofitel Singapore City Centre is very well appointed and is located at the edge of the Central Business District in Singapore, making it a very convenient location for business travellers. The hotel is within 10 mins walk from Chinatown, one of the tourist attractions in Singapore, where the Chinese community used to congregate during the country’s initial years. The hotel is located right above Tanjong Pagar MRT station, with an entrance right next to the hotel, making this hotel a perfect place to stay for travellers who would want to explore the city-state via the subway system. There are a wide variety of dining options within 5 mins walk from the hotel, from local delicacies found in Maxwell Market, to Japanese and Korean food as well as western dining options within walking distance from the hotel. Residents at Sofitel Singapore City Centre will have no trouble finding food that suits their taste bud. Despite Sofitel Singapore City Centre being situated above a shopping mall and the 100AM shopping mall about 3 mins walk away, there are not much shopping options around the hotel. These shopping malls have limited options when it comes to shopping. Having said that, the convenience of having an MRT station entrance next to the hotel means guests can always shop in other parts of Singapore.

Hotel Signage
Entrance to Sofitel Singapore City Centre
Reception in the hotel lobby

The Suite

I stayed at the spacious Prestige Suite in Sofitel Singapore City Centre, treating its residents to an expansive 76m² of real estate space. The contemporary decorated Prestige Suite comes with hints of French elements, paying homage to its French roots.

Living Room

A parqueted flooring serves as the entryway into the Prestige Suite at Sofitel Singapore City Centre, where residents of the suite can slip into their shoes before heading out to explore Singapore. The placement of a full-length mirror next to the entrance to the suite is a good addition, allowing residents to check themselves before heading out. There is a toilet next to the entrance of the Prestige Suite in Sofitel Singapore City Centre, serving both residents of the suite and their guests.

Past the parqueted entryway, the carpeted area marks the space of the living room. The entire elongated living room can be seen from the entryway, which takes up about half of the space in the Prestige Suite. I find the Living Room space is very well utilised. The amount of furniture in the living room is just nice and does not feel cluttered. There is sufficient space for residents to move around without bumping into the furniture. There is a dining table with four chairs placed to the left of the entryway. The addition of the dining table in the suite allows residents to host their guests for a meal. The clever placement of a large mirror by the wall next to the dining table makes the already expansive living room feel even more spacious. Residents in the Prestige Suite at Sofitel Singapore City centre can find the minibar tucked in one corner of the living room, next to the dining area. The placement of the minibar here optimises the space usage in the suite. The lilac coloured cabinetry hides the mini-fridge (which was empty at the time of our checking-in), electric kettle and some cups. On top of the cabinetry is a Nespresso Machine and space for residents to utilise the electric kettle.

The living room viewed from the entryway

Further, into the living room, residents can laze on either the three-seater fabric couch, which is large enough to seat five persons comfortable or stretch their legs out on the single-seater armchair and be entertained by the numerous local and international TV programmes on the 55″ LED TV mounted to the wall of the living room. The additional Bose soundbar enhances movie experience in the lounge area of the living room. The only flaw I find in the living room is that the TV is fixed and cannot be swivelled to face the dining table or the work desk. There is so much space in the living room of the Prestige Suite of Sofitel Singapore City Centre that even with the black marble coffee table placed in front of the couch, residents still have sufficient space to dance around. The entire lounge area in the living room looks chic and cosy, coupled with the warm lighting used, feels very inviting.

The lounge area in the living room exudes a sense of cosiness
Another view of the living room in the Prestige Suite at Sofitel Singapore City Centre

Placed at the very end of the living room, just in front of the floor to ceiling three-panel window is the work desk. The sizable work desk comes with a fairly comfortable allows residents to do some decent work on and look out into the city from the window for some inspirations. There are several power outlets at the work desk for residents to power up their laptop.

Sizable work desk placed in front of the window
Sizable work desk placed in front of the window
Work desk in the living room
Work desk in the living room
View of Singapore City from the living room
All residents at Sofitel Singapore City Centre get a care kit in the room

Bedroom

The comfortable ambience from the living room flows into the bedroom, with consistent colour scheme and decor in both rooms. The bedroom is a tad smaller but still feels cosy with the lighting and the colour scheme chosen for its decor. The furnishing in the bedroom is much simpler with no unnecessary furniture making the entire bedroom looks clean and uncluttered. The bedside lamps are mounted on the walls on both sides of the bed and even the controls for the curtains, air-conditioning and power outlets are conveniently found on the walls on both sides of the bed. I thought this clever way of placing these important features that not only makes the bedroom looks uncluttered but also frees up space on the bedside table for residents to fully utilise the space on the bedside tables.

Bedroom in the Prestige Suite at Sofitel Singapore City Centre
The bedside lamps are mounted on the wall to free up space on the bedside tables
One of the two bedside tables in the bedroom of the Prestige Suite

The centrepiece in the bedroom is the King bed topped with a firm mattress. The sleep quality on the King bed would be comfortable if not for the highly uncomfortable pillows. The four pillows on the King bed is very soft and very flat, it feels as though I am not sleeping on any pillows. The sleep quality is so bad that I have trouble sleeping at night and woke up with a headache the next morning. The hotel does not provide any pillow menus for residents to choose from. I called up to request for firmer pillows and the supposedly firmer pillows that were brought up did not improve the sleep quality.

King bed in the bedroom

Opposite the King Bed is another 55″ LED TV mounted on the wall, allowing residents to watch programmes from the comfort of the bed. The entertainment options on the TV in the bedroom is the same as that found in the living room. I like the addition of the ledge below the TV, providing additional space for residents to place small items on. The bedroom is not furnished with any dressing table, which I think is no big deal since the bathroom is steps away.

55″ smart LED TV in the bedroom

An armchair furnished with a small round marble table is tucked in the far corner of the bedroom, next to the floor to ceiling window. This is a great space for residents to relax, read a book, watch the TV in the bedroom or simply to laze looking out into the surroundings in the comfort of the bedroom.

Armchair beside the King bed providing residents a great place to relax by

Instead of using a traditional closet, Sofitel Singapore City Centre employs an open closet concept in the bedroom. The open closet space gives the decor a chic feel and does not make the bedroom feel cluttered. The open closet is well placed in front of the entrance to the bathroom, providing convenience for residents in the Prestige Suite. The in-room safe is found hidden in one of the two big drawers in the closet space. The marble-topped drawer cabinet provides additional space for residents of the suite to place small items or to stow their luggage.

Open closet area in the bedroom
There are two large drawers in the open closet area, one of which houses the in-suite safe

Bathroom

Past the open closet space is the spacious main bathroom in the Prestige Suite. The white marble tiles used in the bathroom gives it a luxurious vibe. The bathroom is fitted with dual sinks and large mirrors allowing both residents to use at the same time. There is a lot of space on the sink countertop for residents to place their personal toiletries. There is even a small TV fitted into one of the mirrors for residents to watch when brushing their teeth. However, residents soaking in the bathtub is unable to watch the TV due to the angel of it being placed. There is a small case in the centre of both sinks that stores bathroom amenities. However, due to the pandemic, only toothbrushes and cotton pads are provided. The rest of the amenities is available on a request basis.

The bathroom is laid with white marble giving it a luxurious feel
Double vanity in the bathroom provides great convienence for occupants of the suite

Next to the sink is a large bathtub, perfect for residents to soak in. The water pressure at the bathtub is strong enough to fill up the bathtub in a relatively short period of time. Sofitel Singapore City Centre does not provide bath salt (not too sure if it is due to the pandemic), residents in the suite have to prepare their own bath salts.

The large bathtub in the bathroom

Opposite the bathtub are two cubicles where the toilet and walk-in shower are located, both furnished with the same white marble tiles in the bathroom. The toilet is fairly large and is very well lighted. The walk-in shower cubicle is even larger, fitted with both rain shower and regular showerheads. There is even a bench in the walk-in shower. Sofitel Singapore City Centre provides the luxurious Hermès bath amenities to residents in the Prestige Suite which has a hint of woody based scent (unlike their sister hotel in Sentosa which provides Lavin products).

The toilet and walk-in shower cubicles in the bathroom
Residents in the Prestige Suite at Sofitel Singapore City Centre are provided with Hermès shower amenities

Service

The service rendered at Sofitel Singapore City Centre is inconsistent. The staffs, including the duty manager at the reception, consistently gave bad service. The bad service at the reception starts at check-in. As I arrived at the hotel during their check-in timing of 3 pm, it is expected that there is a long queue. The check-in situation is chaotic! Guests were left scrambling over the place trying to hunt for the counter with the shortest queue. There is no one at the reception attempting to ease the situation.

In all Accor hotels around the world, there would be a counter dedicated to Accor members. This counter ensures all Accor members are accorded Priority Welcome. The signage for dedicated Accor member counter is not prominent and with the chaotic situation, it is not visible. During check-in, the staff at the reception did not even acknowledge our Accor Gold status and certainly did not honour the benefits that come with our status. It seems that the Sofitel Singapore City Centre is merely paying lip service to the Accor membership. We had to ask for the benefits before the duty manager reluctantly gave us the benefits. Check-in at the reception is slow. The staff managing our check-in seems to fumble during the check-in. The situation was made worst when we were given the welcome letter that was not addressed to us! I would feel better if the hotel gave us a generic welcome letter with no names on it.

The service level at the reception is horrendous that every time I walk past the reception, staffs here always pull a long face and did not even bother to acknowledge the presence of guests. A few times I observed the staffs at the reception, who had eye contact with me, simply looked the other way. There was one time I left my key card in the suite and requested for another one from one of the staffs at the reception, the staff pulled a long face as though I was giving her problems.

The welcome letter than was not addressed to me

The hotel does not provide complimentary parking to in-house guests. I had to speak to the duty manager before she reluctantly gave me one. I was informed by the duty manager even told me that the hotel only provides complimentary parking for restaurant guests and I might not get one at the time of check-out. This makes me wonder if the primary clientele in Sofitel Singapore City Centre is in-house guests or restaurant guests. For a manager to communicate in such unfriendly and unthoughtful manner to guests, little wonder the rest of the staffs at reception display such poor attitude.

The bad service did not stop at the reception. When checking into my suite, I release that in-room slippers are not provided and requested for them. It took the hotel 2 hours and after 3 calls to have basic amenities like the in-room slippers to be delivered. The Prestige Suite comes with complimentary mini-bar items and is replenished daily. One would expect these items to be replaced during housekeeping. However, we had to call the operator to arrange for these items to be delivered and it again took the hotel 1 hour to have these items delivered to the suite.

Having experienced the bad service at Sofitel Singapore City Centre for the first day of our stay, we were fortunate to have met several gems in the hotel who understood the meaning of good service. I requested to speak to managerial level staff the next day regarding the bad service I received at the hotel barely 4 hours at the hotel. Adi was there at Racines Restaurant waiting for us, keen on understanding what happened that caused our unhappiness. Instead of forcing the conversation during our breakfast, Adi patiently waited for us at the lounge so we relate to him what had happened. During the conversation, Adi listened with empathy and attentively with no trace of being defensive. We met Adi at the Club Millésime Lounge during the Apéro Chic cocktail hour, as my nephew insisted on sitting on sofa seats despite all the sofa seats are being occupied, Adi displayed excellent adaptation skills and took the effort to arrange for a make-shift sofa seat by the pool that my nephew was happy with. Adi even arranged for the lounge staff to bring the food all the way to the poolside, ensuring that we do not go hungry. Adi occasionally popped over to check if everything is alright and if we needed more food. Adi went all way out to ensure that we were well taken care of.

The staffs at Club Millésime Lounge were a group of staffs who understood what customer service is all about. As my nephew was a tad noisy, instead of denying entry to the lounge, we were given a room so that we were able to enjoy the evening cocktail. I am pleasantly surprised that the staff brought all the food that was on the menu for the evening cocktail for us to sample. They occasionally came into the room to check if we require more food and drinks. The staffs at Club Millésime Lounge were very accommodating and made guests visiting the lounge feel welcome. There was an instance my sister requested the staff to help her heat up some food for my nephew, the staff instead of rejecting went all way out to ensure that the food was being heated up. We were made to feel welcome whenever we visited the Club Millésime Lounge. One of the staffs, Daniel, was always seen with a huge smile on his face whenever we met him at the lounge. He always ensured that we had drinks and we were comfortable.

There is another group of staffs at Racines Restaurant who made us feel welcome every time we visited. I am surprised to know that Charmane, who showed us to our table on the first day, took the effort to remember our seating preference and even our room numbers on the second day we were there for breakfast. Service at the restaurant is always impeccable. Food always comes within minutes of placing the order on our mobile phone and the staffs at Racines is always very attentive to ensure empty plates do not stay on our table for too long. The staffs at Racines are also very patient in waiting for us to decide what food to order when we did takeaways from them.

Hotel Facilities

Club Millésime Lounge

Residents in the Prestige Suite at Sofitel Singapore City Centre are given access to the Club Millésime Lounge. Located on the 6th floor of the hotel, the earthy themed lounge is a great place for residents to chill out while waiting for their suites to be made up by the housekeeping staff. There are not many people visiting the lounge at the time of my stay, making the lounge an alternate excellent place for residents to do some work. Unlike the lounges in other hotels, Club Millésime Lounge at Sofitel Singapore City Centre does not serve finger food or snacks outside their fixed Apéro Chic cocktail hour. Guests visiting the lounge outside their evening cocktail timing can only find soft drinks, coffee and tea served at the lounge (not even beer).

Club Millésime Lounge
Club Millésime Lounge
Club Millésime Lounge
Inside the Club Millésime Lounge
Inside the Club Millésime Lounge
Sitting in the Club Millésime Lounge

The only time any food (and beer) is served at Club Millésime Lounge is during the Apéro Chic cocktail hour, with two seatings for guests to choose from (due to the pandemic). I am pleasantly surprised that the hotel serves up sample sizes of all the food available in the menu for guests to sample and place further orders, which the staff at the lounge is happy to top up. I find the variety of food offered during Apéro Chic cocktail hour is a tad limited. Despite that, the food served during the evening cocktail is delicious, leaving us asking for more servings.

Menu during Apéro Chic cocktail hour

Swimming Pool

Due to the COVID pandemic, Sofitel Singapore City Centre has put in place measures to control the number of residents who can use the swimming pool. Residents are to book the usage of the pool on their mobile phone from the QR code that was given in the letter during check-in. The swimming pool is closed for 30 mins after every slot for the hotel to clean the facilities. I thought these arrangement goes to show the emphasis the hotel place in their guests’ well-being.

The swimming pool is located on the 6th floor in Sofitel Singapore City Centre. Guests are to exchange their key card from the staff at the pool area for another key card to gain access to the pool. Perhaps due to the pandemic, the swimming pool was not crowded (at most only 6 pax including us) during our visits to the pool. There is no lack of deck chairs at the swimming pool, we were able to choose the place we wanted during our visit to the pool. The infinity lap pool feels as if it is planted in the middle of a garden. We were surrounded by tall buildings, making the pool a great place to chill out. The 30m infinity pool is large enough for guests to do some decent swim. The jacuzzi facility at the pool was closed during our visit due to the pandemic.

The 30m infinity pool in Sofitel Singapore City Centre
The vegetation at the pool feels like swimming in a garden
The vegetation at the pool feels like swimming in a garden
Wading area for children in the pool area
Wading area for children in the pool area

SOFIT Gym

The SOFIT Gym is located on the 6th floor of the hotel. Similar to the pool, guests wanting to use the gym would be required to book through the QR code found in the letter during check-in. There is a limit of four users at the gym at any given slot. The gym is closed for 30 mins after each booking slot for the hotel to clean. The gym is some the small side and is equipped with four treadmills and two elliptical machines. There are a weight machine and some dumbbells for guests to do a decent workout. There is even space for guests to practice yoga at the gym.

SOFIT Gym in Sofitel Singapore City Centre
SOFIT Gym in Sofitel Singapore City Centre
SOFIT Gym in Sofitel Singapore City Centre
SOFIT Gym in Sofitel Singapore City Centre

Overall

Despite the convenient location and the spacious suite as well as the wonderful staffs like Adi and Charmane we met at Sofitel Singapore City Centre, I would hesitate to recommend the hotel. The first impression that we received at the reception coupled with the consistently bad attitude displayed by the staffs at the reception counters is enough to deter me from returning. The Prestige Suite in Sofitel Singapore City Centre is spacious and luxurious, but the sleep quality on the pillows and the lack of pillow menu for firmer or foam pillows (unlike their sister hotel at Sentosa) is also another factor that would deter me from returning. Parking charges that would have to be incurred by guests is also another factor that would discourage me from returning. It seems the hotel values their dine-in guests more than their in-house guests by providing complimentary parking to the former group. During this period when the entire world faces border restrictions, most of the in-house guests at Sofitel Singapore City Centre would be locals, without complimentary parking, I rather opt to stay somewhere else.

[Accommodation Review] – Raffles Hotel (1-Bedroom Presidential Suite), Singapore (28 – 30 Aug 20)

Location

The renowned Raffles Hotel Singapore is an iconic hotel in Singapore. Opened in 1887, Raffles Singapore is one of the few remaining 19th-century hotels in the world. The low rise hotel is located in the heart of Singapore, within walking distance to the business and civic district. Raffles Hotel Singapore is within walking distance to several attractions such the Merlion Park, Esplanade Theatres, Gardens By the Bay and Marina Bay Sands. There are several shopping malls within 5 mins walk from Raffles Hotel Singapore.  Raffles City Shopping Centre, Bugis Junction and Suntec City are a stone’s throw away from the hotel.  Other than the shopping malls, there is no lack of eateries to suit all budgets within and nearby the hotel. There are also several 24-hour convenient shops across the street from Raffles Hotel Singapore. Raffles Hotel Singapore is very well connected by buses and the MRT subway system in Singapore, making it an excellent base to explore the country.

Raffles Hotel Singapore was renovated and reopened in 2019, bringing a refreshing new life to the hotel. The hotel reopened in Aug 2020 with some very good staycation deals after two months of government efforts to curb the COVID-19 in Singapore. The hotel is offering 1-for-1 night stay, coupled with daily breakfast and a $100 dining credit, making a staycation in Raffles Hotel Singapore affordable.

Raffles Hotel Singapore Facade

The Presidential Suite – Sarkies Suite

I originally booked a 1-bedroom Residence Suite and was pleasantly surprised to learn that I was upgraded to the epitome of luxury, the 1-bedroom Presidential Suite. The Presidential Suite is named as The Sarkies Suite after the original owners of Raffles Hotel Singapore and is the one of the two 1-bedroom Presidential Suite in Raffles Hotel Singapore. The 1-bedroom Presidential Suite located in the Main Building, overlooking the tranquil Palm Court and Raffles Hotel’s legendary porte-cochère. The 1-bedroom Presidential Suite in Raffles Hotel as a massive floor area of 260m² spreading across a foyer, parlour, dining room, bedroom, dressing area, balcony and pantry.

The public area outside the Presidential Suite is mostly empty during my stay at the Sarkies Suite, feels like having additional private space outside the suite

The Foyer

I was ushered by one of the staffs at the main entrance of Raffles Hotel Singapore directly to the Presidential Suite for an in-suite check-in. The main door to the suite opens the foyer decked in a black and dark grey colour theme. The foyer, furnished with a green table and a white couch, is where guests changed into their in-suite slippers. The dark-themed foyer coupled with the chandelier gave me a preview of how posh the Presidential Suite will be. Three large window planes let in natural lighting and allow residents of the suite to lookout into Raffles Hotel’s porte-cochère.

The dark colour themed Foyer gives the entrance a sense of classiness
View of the Raffles Hotel Singapore’s porte-cochère from the Foyer
Old school switches furnished in gold plating in the Foyer

Powder Room

From the foyer, the black and dark grey colour theme extends to a small corridor that leads to the Parlour of the suite. There are two doors along this corridor with the door closest to the foyer leading to the Power Room. The dark colour theme from the Foyer extends into the Powder Room, matched with a couple of wall-mounted lightings plated in gold, making this small space an elegant feel. The fore part of the Powder Room is furnished with a large mirror and a marble sink as well as a wooden round side table where the hotel places a box of tissue on. Further into the Powder Room is another door that leads to a toilet equipped with bidet function. Despite the dark theme, the Powder Room is very well lited and does not feel claustrophobic. 

The Powder Room has another toilet further in
Bidet controls in the Powder Room

Pantry

The door next to Powder Room along the corridor that ushers residents into the Parlour lead to the in-suite Pantry. The Pantry is equipped with some kitchen facilities such as a full-size fridge, dual kitchen sink, electric kettle and a microwave oven. The Pantry even has its own wine fridge. Raffles Hotel Singapore provides a full set of crockery, with cups and various wine glasses in this pantry. The pantry is also fitted with a Nespresso machine for guests to enjoy with the complimentary Nespresso capsules and tea. There is another door in the Pantry for butlers to gain access into the Presidential Suite to serve its residents’ in-room dining.

Dressing Room

The third door along this corridor opens into the Dressing room, which essentially is a walk-in wardrobe. Furnished with open cabinets and open shelving space, the Dressing Room is meant for residents of the Presidential Suite to hang their coats and jackets. This space also provides an additional storage area for guests to hang their clothes and stow away their luggage. There is another entrance into the dressing room from the other corridor that leads to the Bedroom.

The Dressing Room is an additional space for residents of the Presidential Suite to hang their clothing

The Parlour

At the end of the short dark-themed corridor, residents of the Presidential Suite is ushered into a bright, elegant and spacious Parlour, decked out in yellow lighting. The Parlour in the Presidential Suite occupies a bulk of real estate in the entire suite. The high ceiling in the Parlour makes the already expansive living room feels even bigger. In the centre of the Parlour is a pair of black with gold patterned five-seater couch, placed to face each complimented with a large black marble coffee table. This placement makes the Parlour an ideal place for residents of the Presidential Suite to entertain their guests. The addition of a cushioned stool comfortable enough to sit three beside the pair of five-seater couch allows residents of the Presidential Suite to entertain more guests. Placed near a couple of pillars in the Parlour is a pair of white and brown cosy armchairs with a coffee table in between. I find the placement of these armchairs an excellent spot for residents to read one of the books on the shelf or one of the literature Raffles Hotel Singapore places on the coffee table.

Another view of the Parlour in the Presidential Suite in Raffles Hotel Singapore
The Parlour in the Presidential Suite from the entrance corridor
The two armchairs in the Parlour before the Dining Area
Even the chandeliers in the Parlour and the Dining Area of the Presidential Suite in Raffles Hotel Singapore looks like a piece of artwork

A pair of large wall cabinets quietly sits on either side of the 55″ TV in the Parlour, facing the couch area. Rather than leaving them empty, Raffles Hotel Singapore furnishes these cabinets with books, antiques and art pieces, making the vast Parlour appear less empty. These cabinets serve more as a decoration than functional. The 55″ TV appears a tad small due to the large space in the Parlour, especially when viewed from the couch facing it. Walking into the Parlour feels like walking into an art exhibition hall. Raffles Hotel Singapore adorned the Parlour of the Presidential Suite with numerous art pieces and antiques, exuding a heavy sense of luxury. 

There is a 55″ TV and a pair of wall cabinets in the parlour of the Presidential Suite
Shelving with some antiques in the Parlour

A work desk can be found behind the black five-seater couches furthest from the TV. The wooden work desk is of a good size, allowing guests in the Presidential Suite to do some decent work. USB and HDMI inputs are tucked underneath a removable wooden panel on the desk. There are, however, insufficient power outlets on the desk. Guests wanting to keep their laptops charged can use the power outlet on the wall behind the desk. Guests can connect their laptops wirelessly to the TV in the Parlour via a touch of a button on the tablet.

Work desk in the Parlour of the Presidential Suite

Dining Area

There is a sizeable space dedicated to the Dining Area in the Presidential Suite tucked in the corner of the Parlour furthest from the main entrance. The Dining Area is delineated by a pair of pillars and a couple of screens. The size in the Dining Area is large enough for Raffles Hotel Singapore to furnish with an elongated wooden dining table that comfortably sits 12 diners. There is space for guests to move around and mingle before dining in this area, and even space for the hotel to place two additional dining chairs. The elegance of the Presidential Suite extends into the Dining Area. Raffles Hotel Singapore decorated this area with the same chandelier like the one in the Parlour. A large painting hanging on the wall brought colour to the Dining Area. A frosted large mirror hangs on the other wall also contributes to the elegance of the Dining Area and at the same time, makes the area appear bigger.

The large dining table in the Presidential Suite that sits 12 pax

Bedroom

The Bedroom in the Presidential Suite is tucked in one corner of the suite, accessed via another corridor parallel to the one where residents enter the suite from. In the centre of the Bedroom is a two posture King Bed placed in front of a brass wall feature, which enhances the elegance of the Bedroom. The two posture bedding in the bedroom is a great choice as it does not block my view of the TV when lying on the bed. The mattress on the King Bed is firm and comfortable, provided me with a great night’s sleep. There are four pillows on the King bed, which are too soft for my liking. Raffles Hotel Singapore does provide its residents with a pillow menu, as stated on its website. However, this pillow menu is nowhere to be found in the Suite. I had to call the butler to ask for a firmer pillow. A pair of side tables with identical large bedside lamps are placed on both sides of the King bed, providing additional storage space for residents of the Presidential Suite. I like the design of hiding the charging ports in the top drawer, as it does not make the Bedroom look too messy. Residents, however, need to leave the drawer open when charging their lifestyle devices on the bedside tables. A pair of reading lights, providing residents with extra illumination, are also found on the headboard of the King bed.

The King Bed in the Bedroom

The space in the Bedroom is large enough for Raffles Hotel Singapore to place a comfortable three-seater couch and a coffee table in front of the King Bed, facing the 55″ TV with a Bang & Olufsen soundbar tucked in one corner of the Bedroom. Despite the addition of the couch and coffee table, there is ample space for residents of the Presidential Suite to move around in the Bedroom. The placement of the TV in one corner of the Bedroom allows residents to be able to watch TV on the King bed and having an unobstructed view of the courtyard through one of the four large window planes in this part of the Bedroom at the same time. A table is found next to the entrance to the Bedroom, which the top part can be flipped open to expose a mirror. The design of this table so flexible that residents can choose to use it as a dressing table or another table to place their stuff on.

The large window planes in the Bedroom allows residents to lookout into the courtyard

The feature wall that the King Bed is placed by doubles up as an open concept wardrobe at the back. The wardrobe has plenty of space for guests to hang their clothing on both ends of the wardrobe as well as to store smaller clothing items. One side of the hanging wardrobe is installed with six drawers for guests to store away smaller clothing items. In the centre of the wardrobe is another six open cabinet shelving. This is where the in-suite safe can be found. There are spaces at the wardrobe for guests to put away their luggage if they choose not to store it in the dressing area.

Open wardrobe behind the King Bed

Bathroom

The main Bathroom in the Presidential Suite can only be accessed from the Bedroom. The entire Bathroom is clad in marble, together with the gold plated taps, gold plated trim on the doors in the Bathroom, and the gold plated chandelier, this Bathroom looks luxurious. Next to the entrance to the Bathroom is a double vanity sink, with two huge mirrors. The luxurious feel in the bathroom is further enhanced by a glass box with gold trimming where residents can find grooming amenities. I find the countertop space at the sink area a tad tight, mainly due to the size of the sinks, leaving not much space for residents to place the toiletries they might bring to the hotel. 

The gold trimmings in the double vanity makes the bathroom look posh

Sitting in one corner of the Bathroom, under the chandelier, is a free-standing bathtub. The bathtub, both large and deep, is great for guests to soak away the fatigue after spending a whole day exploring Singapore. Raffles Hotel Singapore provides a bathtub pillow which enhances the soaking experience in the tub. The hotel even places a gold plated rack on the bathtub that has a tablet stand, allowing guests to watch movies while soaking in the tub.

The white marbled bathroom with golden trimmings
The deep free standing bathtub with gold plated taps

Two cubicles housing the toilet and a walk-in shower are found opposite the bathtub. The walk-in shower fitted with both gold plated regular showerhead and rainshower. The addition of a marble bench in the walk-in shower allows residents to sit on while showering. Similar to the toilet in the Powder Room, the toilet in the Bathroom is fitted with a bidet and comes with heating function on the toilet seat.

Balcony

The space of the Presidential Suite in the Raffles Hotel Singapore is so big that even the balcony is huge. The balcony spans across the entire length of the Presidential Suite. Residents can gain access to the balcony from one of the six doors spreading across the parlour and the dining area. Raffles Hotel Singapore is very generous in furnishing the balcony. There is sufficient furniture in the balcony, yet does not make this space look too cluttered. The balcony is furnished with three single-seater armchairs complemented with individual side tables, a set of outdoor cushioned sofa and a coffee table. There is even a smaller dining table that sits four where residents of the suite can enjoy alfresco dining, with the view of the Palm Courts. The balcony boasts a view of the courtyard in Raffles Hotel, the tranquillity of the courtyard makes me forget the hotel is situated in the middle of a busy part of Singapore.

The massive balcony in the Presidential Suite
View of the courtyard from the balcony in the Presidential Suite in the day
Night view of the courtyard from the balcony in the Presidential Suite

Service

My first impression of the service at the Raffles Hotel Singapore is positive. As soon as I arrived at the main entrance of the hotel, I was warmly welcomed by a brigade of the front door staff despite the humid climate. These front door staffs never fail to welcome residents back to the hotel or wishing us a good day whenever I walk past them at the main door. 

Due to the pandemic, check-in at the hotel is no longer at the traditional reception area.  Guests are encouraged to complete the check-in online for a seamless check-in experience. As I have completed my online check-in, after scanning a QR code, the front door staffs sprung into action like a well-oiled machine and I was immediately escorted by one of the staffs directly to the suite that I was assigned for the in-suite check-in. Information such as the location of the pool and gym and the breakfast location and timing was given. I was also briefed on the facilities in the Presidential Suite.

A personal care kit is placed in the suite for residents during this pandemic period
Fruit platter welcomes residents to the Presidential Suite

I find the service rendered by the butler team to be a mix. The service by the butler team is generally negative when I called them over the in-suite phone. The butler team seem to be impatient over the phone when asked some questions on the hotel and the suite. Most of the times, it seems that the butler who took the call wanted to end the call quickly and did not bother to offer alternate solutions or additional information. I called to ask about the pillow menu and pillow options, the butler just gave a bunch of names of the pillows they have in an impatient manner and did not even bother to describe the pillows options. The butler ended the call by saying one of the pillows in the suite is already the firmest they have, which was not true. He did not even try to solve my problem and his attitude felt patronising. Subsequently, I was given a firmer pillow by another butler when I brought up the pillow issue to the staff at the front desk. There is another instance where I called regarding food delivery, the butler at the other end of the call provided information in an impatient manner, as though I was disturbing him so late at night.

Despite the negative experience with the butler team over the phone, the service rendered by the butler team who came to the suite is pleasant. I met Yujun on the second day of my stay, she is very friendly and amicable. Due to the rain, I was not able to utilise the swimming pool slot that I booked 11 am. I explained the situation to Yujun and mentioned that I only managed to get a book for one pax despite there are two of us staying in the suite. Yujun patiently listened to my situation with empathy and managed to secure a slot for two pax at the pool. Yujun even left a note in the suite stating that she managed to secure the additional slot when I was not in the suite. On top of that, Yujun clarified the several questions that I asked which were information not given at the point of my check-in. I bumped into Yujun, after checking out on the hotel premises. I was surprised that she was able to recognise me and even stopped for a short chat on my stay at the suite. 

Amelia was the other butler who I encountered during my stay at the Raffles Hotel Singapore. She brought the food that I ordered for room service. Amelia carefully placed the food on the dining table in the suite in a professional manner, cognizant of where we were seated on the table, ensuring the food were within reach of everyone on the table. Amelia also demonstrates excellent listening skills and patiently answered the queries I had. Amelia even welcomed my guests as though they were staying at the hotel and checked if we require anything else to make our stay comfortable. As my guests stayed near the turndown service time, instead of assuming that I do not require turndown service, Amelia took the initiative to check if I require turndown service. When I declined the turndown service, Amelia checked if there are any items that I need replenishment. She subsequently brought the item that I requested for replenishment.

It was unfortunate that my interaction with the butler Akira was brief and late, whom I met when I was leaving the Raffles Hotel Singapore. During my check-out timing, Akira called the suite to confirm the charges that I incurred during my stay in the Suite. Upon learning that we did not have the time to claim our welcome drink, instead of letting things slip, Akira took the initiative to bring the welcoming drink, Raffles Hotel’s signature Singapore Sling, to the suite. When Akira checked how was my stay at the hotel, I brought up to him the negative experience I had with the butlers on the phone. Instead of being defensive, Akira took responsibility for his colleagues and apologised on their behalf. When learnt that I require complimentary parking coupon, Akira immediately headed to the concierge to help me get one. He even got me extra face masks in case the one that I use gave way. Akira also informed me that I had extra unused credit with the hotel and suggested for me to head to Raffles Boutique to utilise the credits. When I was at the Raffles Boutique, I was surprised that Akira had made the call to the boutique about my arrival.

During my stay, I met Ales the housekeeping staff who cleaned the suite. I arranged for housekeeping at 12.30 pm on the second day but only vacate the suite at 12.45 pm. Ales patiently waited outside the suite. When I apologised to Ales for making her waiting, Ales gave the warmest smile and told me not to worry about it. Ales cleaned up the massive suite efficiently and diligently leaving the suite in the same state as when I first checked in. I returned to the suite shortly after vacating it, as it was raining that there are limited places I can go. I waited outside the suite for Ales to finish her job. The moment Ales saw me, she apologised for making me wait. Ales even updated me that she was almost done cleaning up the suite and she was on her way to get a vacuum and apologised again for letting me wait longer. When I returned to the suite after Ales worked her magic, the suite smells fresh and was in tip-top condition.

Lay Hoon is the staff who works at the Gym & swimming pool area. Lay Hoon, upon learning that I was checking out the facilities in the gym, showed me around the various equipment in the gym. She also took the time to show me to the pool on my request. On the second day, while waiting for Ales to clean up the suite, I popped by the pool again. Lay Hoon was there welcoming guests. I told her due to the rain, I was not able to enjoy the pool or go anywhere. Lay Hoon brought me to the pool area and told me I could wait at the sheltered area while waiting for my room to get ready. 

Hotel Facilities

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Raffles Hotel Singapore has in place measures to ensure the safety of their guests. Residents in Raffles Hotel wanting to use the swimming pool and gym facilities are to pre-book in advanced. As there are limited slots, each room is allowed to book for one 90 min slot per day.

The Gym and Swimming pool is located on the third level in the main building of Raffles Hotel

Swimming Pool

I made my booking with the hotel via email before my arrival and was able to secure relatively good time slots to use the pool. The swimming pool in Raffles Hotel is located on the third floor of the main building (where the hotel lobby is) and shares the same entrance as the gym. Despite the rooftop saltwater swimming pool being a tad small, guests are still able to get a few decent laps in it. With the restrictions Raffles Hotel has in place due to the pandemic, the number of residents that can use the pool was tightly controlled. The number of guests allowed at anyone is strictly controlled by the number of sunbeds at the pool. I had no problems getting an ideal spot for sunbathing. 

Rooftop swimming pool in Raffles Hotel Singapore
Another view of the swimming pool

Gym

Similar to the policy for the swimming pool, residents are to make a booking for the gym before we are allowed to use it. The gym in Raffles Hotel Singapore comprises of several “rooms”, instead of a big area like most hotels. By the entrance to the gym is an area for gym users to practise yoga, do some weight training or simply to stretch. Further into the gym, there is a room where most weight machines together with some dumbells and barbells are placed. There is yet another room for cardio training where treadmills and gym bikes, as well as rowing machines, are located. The gym is well equipped with facilities allowing its residents to do some decent workout.

Breakfast

Breakfast was served in the Tiffin Room, located at the main lobby of Raffles Hotel Singapore. There are seatings outside the restaurant, in the lobby area, as well as an outdoor courtyard area on top of the tables inside the Tiffin Room. Due to the measure to curb the pandemic, the sittings are well spaced out and instead of the usual buffet-style, breakfast is served in ala-carte buffet style. The choice of food for breakfast is rather limited and there are no variations during my two days of dining. Notwithstanding, there are still options for Western, Chinese and local cuisines. The food was flavourful and delicious. The Belgium waffles that I ordered tasted crispy. However, when it comes to local delights, I find the sambal chilli to be a big let down. It is not spicy nor fragrant, but the Nasi Lemak tasted great. Upon seated, orders were taken for beverages. The serving for breakfast took quite a while, on the first day of my visiting, food were served around 45 mins to 1 hour after orders were being placed. I also find there seem to be inconsistency in the service at the Tiffin Room. On the first day, we were not offered breadbasket, while on the second day, we were asked if we would like breadbasket. The staff also mixed up my order of omelette with my friend’s on the first day of our visit. I am not too sure if service standards took a dive due to us visiting the Tiffin Room nearing the end of breakfast timing.

Overall

I am privileged to have the experience of staying in the Presidential Suite. The Presidential Suite in the Raffles Hotel was luxurious and comfortable, with ample space, both indoors and at the balcony for residents of the suite.  The Presidential Suite faces the tranquil courtyard, making spending time in the balcony a pleasant experience. The sleep quality on the King Bed is superb, providing me with great night sleep. Despite facing the main road, the soundproofing is excellent. Most of the staff that I met during my stay were welcoming and friendly. My stay would be perfect if not for the less than ideal experience I had with the butler team over the phone.