Capella Singapore is an ultra-luxury hotel located in the heart of Sentosa Island. Despite its central location on the holiday island, the hotel remains isolated from the rest of the island. One is expected to walk a good 10 – 15 mins to Resorts World Sentosa. The hotel also allows guests to access to the Palawan Beach via the back door. The hotel provides daily shuttle service to Resorts World Sentosa (however only 2 trips per day each way) and numerous services to Vivocity Shopping Mall on mainland Singapore.
Part of the building of the hotel
The hotel building
The Garden Premier Room, which I checked into has an expansive 77m² floor area, very large for a standard room in comparison with most other hotels. The room has 3 main sections: the bedding area, the bathroom and the outdoor area. The room shall be reviewed in the order of bathroom, bedding area and the outdoor area. I checked into room 203, located on the second floor. To access the room, guests would have to take a flight of stairs down from the lobby (the lobby is located on 3rd storey). This room remains isolated from the rest of the room and does provide guests checking into this room maximum privacy being a corner room.
Upon entering the room, a vast open styled wardrobe greeted us on the left side of the main door. This open wardrobe, also doubles up as a walk-in (more like walk-through) wardrobe spans the entire length of the room to the toilet area. The huge wardrobe allows guests to stow away at least 2 weeks of clothing, it also comes with a tie cum belt rack which is lacking in most of the hotels. On the base of the hanger bar, one will be able to find a couple of short cabinets with 3 drawers each. The addition of these cabinets allows guests checking into this room more storage space. As the cabinets are rather short, it does not intrude into the hanging bar right above it, allowing guests to hang their pants and evening gowns. There is single shelving on top of the hanging bar, where one will find a couple of additional pillows. This area also provides guests with additional storage space, ideal for their luggage. In front of the wardrobe is where one will find the sink area. The dual sink, with vast space for one to store your toiletries, is ideal as guests do not have to fight over the sink in the mornings. There are vanity lighting on each side of the 2 mirrors in front of the sink, which adds a certain classiness to the style of the room. There is more storage space beneath the sink area (under each sink), a large comfortable stool is stowed away in the space between the 2 sinks for ladies guests to rest while putting on makeup.
The expansive Walk-through wardrobe
Dual sink and double mirrors
View of the bathroom area
Amenities placed between the 2 sinks
The amenities bag consists of a dental kit, cotton pad, cotton buds, comb, emery board, and shower cap
Further down the sinks, on the right is where one will find a huge door (in fact bigger than the main door). Behind this door is where the toilet bowl is located. However, there is no lock on this door, making this room ideal for couples and honeymooners. Past the toilet area is where one will find the bathing area. To the right is where one will spot the open walk-in shower, featuring both a rain shower and a regular shower head. There is a stool placed at the shower area to provide for guests who wish to rest their legs after a long day of exploring Sentosa Island or mainland Singapore. Opposite the shower area is where a huge bathtub greets guests. 3 knobs on the side of the bathtub controlling the hot and cold water output as well as a switch for guests to choose between running water for the tub and the showerhead, which is located next to these knobs. The bathtub is placed in front of a huge glass panel, allowing guests to look out into the balcony while taking a soak, giving guests a feeling of soaking in the open.
Walk-in shower featuring rain shower and regular shower head
View of the bathtub looking out into the balcony area
Aesop bath amenities used essential oils such as geranium, bergamot for a more relaxing shower
The biggest area on the room gotta be the bedding area. Walking past the vanity mirrors, which doubles up as a partition segregating the bathing area and the bedding area, the room opens up to a massive bedroom. Located right in front of the partition for the bathroom is a large King bed. The bed is large enough to sleep 3 adults comfortably. The sleep quality of the bed is fantastic and has the right amount of firmness to the mattress. Sleeping on this bed will also not disturb the person sharing the bed due to movement. The only downside to this bedding is the pillows. They are too soft for my liking and gave me neckaches. There are bedside tables on each side of the bed. The one on the left side (where the main door to the room is located) has a tablet embedded into the drawer. The inclusion of this table serves the function of controlling the lighting in the room, the curtains and blinds, the air-conditioning and even the notification such as the “Make-up room” and “Do not disturb” lights as well as any messages that the reception left for the guests. I thought this tablet is a very nice touch and unique to Capella. Looking in from the main door, a working desk greets the guests. The table is of a good size. Capella is rather thoughtful in the placement of stationery in a leather box for guests to use, which adds to the elegance of the room. The is another box placed on the table where one will find 2 PowerPoint outlets in the Singapore standard 3-pin plugs. Only one of the outlets has a multi-pin adaption. Despite having 2 outlets, the one in the room that I was assigned only has one that is functional. I highlighted this issue to the hotel staffs, but yet nothing was being done about it. Beneath the working desk is a 2-tiered cabinet, with the upper tier being home to the safe.
King size bed with bolster
Another view of the bed
Tablet to control curtains, lightings, air-conditioning and door signals
Tablet nicely tucked into the bedside table
On the other end of the area is where one will find the mini bar area. This is where one will find the Nespresso machine being placed on top of the table. One thoughtful gesture I though Capella has is that when I checked into the room, the water tank of the Nespresso machine is already topped up. Most of the 5-star hotels in Singapore does not do that for guests. Beside the Nespresso machine is another box, identical to the one on the working desk, where one can find 2 PowerPoint outlets. However, one of the outlets is plugged to the coffee machine, leaving only one free for guests to use. Despite that, the room does not suffer from insufficient PowerPoint outlets. One can find an outlet on each side of the bed, semi-hidden behind the bedside tables. On the minibar table is where the hotel placed a DVD player as well. This is player is connected to the huge 46 inch LCD TV, mounted on a swerving panel, that allows guests to swing the TV to angled for watching on the bed. However, there are no connection ports on to the TV on either the working desk or the minibar desk. To connect one’s computer to the TV, one would have to plug it directly behind the TV, making this a losing point for Capella compared to other 5 star hotels in Singapore. Underneath the minibar table, one can find a well-stocked fridge with complimentary non-alcoholic beverages, sets of glasses and cups for coffee and tea in the room, as well as an electric kettle. In between the working desk and the minibar, is a nice comfortable couch that spans across the room. This couch faces the large wall to wall window in the room, allowing one to relax in the room looking out into the hotel grounds. It is a pity that the room I was assigned has a depressing view of a huge tree. It can be chilly on this couch as it seemed that the air-conditioning is directly blowing onto the couch. Between the couch and the bed is where the hotel places a rather solid coffee table for guests to place their drinks and snacks.
Minibar area with Nespresso Machine
View of the minibar desk and entertainment area
Complimentary drinks in the fridge
Nespresso Capsules and Gryphon tea bags are provided in the room
Ice bucket and electric kettle
View of the bedroom area from the toilet
Nice comfortable couch between the 2 desks
The room I was assigned has a larger than usual outdoor area. Compared with the rooms above me, where one has only a balcony, Room 203 has an outdoor area that spans to the front of the room. There are an elongated couch and a single-seater armchair placed beside the door, in front of the glass where one can look into the bathtub. There is also a table for guests to place their stuff on. Right around the outdoor area, in front of the room is another stone chair for guests to relax one while looking into the somewhat depressing view of a tree. This area can be dark at nights as there is no lighting in the night to illuminate the outdoor area. One would have to rely on the somewhat dim lighting from the room at night. On the whole, the design of the Garden Premier Room in Capella is classy and provides guests with a comfortable stay, though there are still some rooms for improvement.
The outdoor area extends to the edge of the building
Having a rack rate of SGD1,000++ a night in the Garden Premier room without breakfast (at the time I stayed), the services rendered does not match up to 5-star standard. There is a huge gap between the services one would expect from an ultra-luxury hotel from the actual service delivered when I was there. 2 days before my checking in, I received a call from the hotel confirming my checking in date as well as to check if there are any special occasions that I will be celebrating during my stay at the hotel. This is a very nice gesture and certainly adds a nice personal touch from the hotel. The first impression given by the hotel is befitting of its stature. I requested for an anniversary cake for my sister and her fiancee, who will be visiting me in the hotel during my stay. The staff took note of my request and informed me that it will be delivered at the timing of my request. I took the chance to check if early check-in is possible. I was informed that it is too early for the staff to determine, ad the staff offered to call me back the next day (which is Christmas Day) to confirm early check-in with me. However the next day I did not receive any calls from Capella, hence I waited another day, thinking the hotel might be busy due to the festivity. On the day of my check-in, there are still no calls from the hotel. I decided to call back at around 1130am to enquire about the early check-in. When contacted the staff asked what time I would like to check-in and I asked if 1 pm is possible. I was pleasantly informed that the hotel will have my room ready for check-in at 1 pm.
I reached the hotel at around 1.30 pm and proceed to the reception for checking-in. One of the staffs took care of the check-in and another staff promptly appeared with welcome drinks and a wet towel. This is a very nice gesture and I was impressed with the level of details in service the hotel paid attention to. The pleasant experience seemed to take a dive from here. I was informed by the staff who was processing my check-in that she would need 15 mins to check with housekeeping if the room is ready and invited me to the Library (their lounge) for refreshment while waiting for our room. The staff even mentioned that she will look for me at the lounge in 15 min’s time. However, I waited at the lounge for a little more than 30 mins before heading back down to the reception to check the status of my room. I was disappointed to find out that another set of staffs who were at the reception had no idea about my checking-in. I was made to wait for another 10 mins, while they check with housekeeping and re-process my check-in. By the time I reached my room, it is already 2.15 pm. There is a time-lapse of more than 1 hour as promised by the hotel.
Complimentary High Tea at the Library
Coffee and tea area in the Library
Hot water dispenser
Only Coke Light and plain water is available other than coffee and tea
Cosy Lounge area
I called the reception the next day at around 8.30 am the next morning to request for extra bath amenities. I told to staff to send 3 sets in case we ran out of them later in the day so that we would not have to trouble their staff to make a second trip again. I was informed by the staff that the third set is chargeable at $45. I find this arrangement ridiculous as guests paid $1000++ a night staying at a normal room in Capella (with this price, one can get a suite in some other 5 star hotels in Singapore), the hotel still charges for extra amenities set. When I sounded my unhappiness with the staff whom I spoke over the phone stating how ridiculous that sounded, the response from the staff was “I agree it is ridiculous, it is what it is. Shall I proceed to charge the room $45 for the bath amenities?”. I later got to find out from the manager of the hotel that there is no such policy in charging guests for extra amenities. Only at this point, I found out I was being lied to by the staff of Capella.
The bad services I encountered did not stop there and continued to be manifest themselves at the lounge. The hotel provided complimentary high tea between the hours of 3 to 5 pm. I went to the lounge for high tea on the first afternoon of my stay. The staffs at the lounge seem to be sitting behind a glass wall, where they do not even bother to take notice of guests coming to the lounge. There were no greetings, no staffs even bothered to check with guests their preference for beverages. No greetings were offered even when the staff walked past the guests. It seems to suggest that the hotel staff do not seem to be bothered to establish a relationship with the guests, which is certainly not the way a 5-star hotel staff should behave. The attitude of the staff remains the same throughout my stay at Capella. When I was waiting for my room to be ready for occupancy, I saw an ashtray at the outdoor area of the lounge, with cigarette butts in it, giving me an impression that the area is a smoking area. When I was at the lounge this time round, I did not see the ashtray and requested one from the staff at the lounge. The staff seemed to be irritated by my request and told me that there is no smoking allowed in the lounge. When I explained that I am smoking in the outdoor area of the lounge, the staff insisted that smoking is not allowed. When I mentioned that I saw an ashtray outside the lounge just a few hours ago and pointed out to her that if smoking is not allowed, the ashtray shouldn’t even be there in the first place. This is when the staff barged and brought me an ashtray. I was bemused by the attitude portrayed by this staff.
Discriminatory services were also apparent in the lounge by the staff there. When I was there for high tea the next day, I witnessed a Caucasian guest at the drinks station trying to make a pot of tea (all along no staff offered any guests any drinks). A member of the staff walked past and offered to help the guest with the tea. She even invited them to take a seat and would deliver the tea to them. While she was preparing the tea, an Asian guest came up to the drinks station. The same staff asked how can she help. The Asian guest mentioned that he wanted hot water to top up his cup of tea. The reply from the staff was simply out of the world. She told the guest where the water is and to help himself. I was astounded by the response from the staff. It seemed that she is willing to serve the Caucasian guest with drinks and not offer the same service to her Asian guest!
The only saving grace regarding the service at Capella is from the staffs at the Knoll Restaurant, where guests have breakfast every day. The service at the restaurant is impeccable and is the only place in the hotel that I have found service befitting of 5-star. The restaurant staff welcomed all guests tirelessly at the door every single day without fail. Empty plates are never left uncleared and the staff even took notice at the low levels of my coffee and asked if I would like more coffee, without even asking them for it. The restaurant offered specials menu every day, where the staff would volunteer them without asking about it. Throughout my stay in the hotel, I witnessed a couple of heart-warming situation where excellent service was being rendered without even asking for them. I saw a chef (later found out that he is the Executive Chef of the restaurant) prepared something for a guest to soothe her throat. It seemed that the Chef had noticed that the guest had irritation to her throat and took the liberty to prepare something for her throat. A little later, I saw another guest who seemed that he was about to depart the hotel, coming to the restaurant to tip and bid farewell to the Chef. The Chef must have done something extraordinary for the guest that he felt the need to tip and bid farewell to him before his departure. The staffs at Knoll were welcoming, and warmth which is directly opposite to the rest of the staffs in the hotel whom I have come across.
Knolls Restaurant where breakfast is served daily
The location of the hotel does provide guests with a peaceful and quiet stay, with it seemingly isolated from the hustle and bustle of Sentosa, yet it is close to the actions on the Island. The hotel has rather great hardware, although there can be some improvements to the infrastructure of the room to better enhance and bring more convenience to guests. The view from my room is a big let down, with a huge tree blocking the view, doesn’t scream “garden view”. The biggest let down is the service of the staffs throughout the hotel, with staffs lying to guests. The service that I have experienced during my stay in Capella is certainly not even worthy of 3-star standard, letting alone 5-star. The only place I can find 5-star service is only limited to the Knoll Restaurant. Despite the non-changing daily breakfast menu, the food quality is good and most importantly the service one would receive at this restaurant is truly 5-star. To spend $1000++ a night for such service is certainly not worth the money. I will not return to this hotel whose staff would lie to guests.