[Accommodation Review] – Capella Hotel (Seaview Premier Room), Sentosa, Singapore (8 – 10 May 15)

Location

Perch on top of a knoll, Capella is not too far from the entrance to Sentosa via the causeway. Despite its location, the entrance to Capella is rather inconspicuous. Guests to this hotel would have to look out for the entrance after driving pass the roundabout after the gantry at Sentosa Gateway. The driveway towards the hotel opens up to a spacious beautiful garden and the hotel appears to be a jewel on a crown. The hotel lobby is situated in a colonial building that is part of Singapore’s history. The hotel is situated right smack centre of Sentosa Island, with the beach as its backyard, guests enjoy direct access to the beach via the hotel’s back door. Despite its central location, guests are required to walk at least 10 mins to get to anywhere else on the island. The hotel provides shuttle service to Vivocity on mainland Singapore as well as Resorts World Sentosa, where one would find the theme park and casino. There is also regular beach tram service on the beachside of the hotel, accessible via the back door of the hotel.
Hotel Signage Outside the Lobby 
Lobby
Corridor Outside the Lobby
Around the Hotel
Around the Hotel
Around the Hotel
Around the Hotel
Around the Hotel

The Room

I had the opportunity to return to this hotel for my advanced birthday staycation, arranged by my friend, after my horrid experience last December. The room I checked into this time round is Seaview Premier Room. The room layout is similar to the Garden Premier Room I stayed in last December. The room combines functionality with a contemporary theme and made use of technology.

Entrance to Room 417

Walk-in Wardrobe

The main door to the expansive 77m² room is oriented to the left of the room. The vanity cum walk-through wardrobe is situated to the right of the main door. The dual-sink massive vanity area with 2 mirrors and separate vanity lighting, stretches across the room. The counter-top where the sinks are located has sufficient space for guests to stow their toiletries. This is also where one would find a comfortable cushioned stool for ladies to sit on while putting on their make-up. One can also find the hairdryer here. Behind the vanity area is the walk-through wardrobe. I like the design of the open walk-through wardrobe, which not only saves space, it looked chic and is also functional. The open-concept wardrobe is convenient that gives guests direct access to their clothing without needing to open wardrobe doors. There is sufficient space for guests to store up to 2 weeks or more worth of clothing. There is also a couple of 3-tiered drawers for more storage space. There is a ledge on top of the wardrobe for guests to stow away their luggage when not in use.

Large Counter-Top with Dual Sink Vanity Area
Quality Aesop Amenities and Amenities Kit Pouch
Wardrobe
Double 3-Tier Drawer

Bathroom

To the end of the wardrobe is where one will find the toilet cubicle. Further into the room is where one would find the bath area. The open walk-in shower features both the rain shower and a massage showerhead. There is a ledge at the walk-in shower where one will find quality Aesop bath amenities. Upon reading the wordings on the bottle, I realise the hotel chose its bath amenities very carefully. For example, the body cleanser, with Geranium scant is chosen so that guests can relax and fall asleep easier; the body balm is chosen with properties that hydrate guests’ skin and to prevent sunburn given the hot and humid climate of Singapore.  The non-slip walk-in area also has a stool placed in one corner for guests who need to seat no to shower. The bathtub is situated opposite the walk-in shower, in front of a large window that overlooks into the balcony. This arrangement makes the bathroom feels bigger than it already is.
Toilet Cubicle
Shower Area
Panoramic View of the Bathroom
Bathtub by the Window
Paint Peeling on the Wall of the Bathroom
Bathtub

Sleeping Area

Further into the room, beyond the vanity area is the sleeping area of the room. Right in front of the vanity area is the king-size bed. The comfortable bed with firmness level just right for my liking enabled me to sleep soundly throughout the night. The bed is large enough to sleep 4 adults comfortably. There are a couple of bedside tables on either side of the bed.  One can find a tablet that controls the lighting, the blinds, etc in one of the bed-side tables. The bed faces a couch that can seat up to 5 adults without squeezing. The couch is situated in front of a large window that offers a magnificent view of the hotel grounds. There is a coffee table between the bed and the couch. The view from the room that I was checked into indeed offers the best view in the hotel. It overlooked the 3-tiered hotel pool and the sea. One can sit by the couch and enjoy the sunset with their loved ones while sipping coffee or even wine. The mix of greeneries and the waters is a sight that one can simply enjoy for hours.
King Size Bed
The artwork on the Wall
Bedside Table
I like the use of Technology. This Tablet Controls the Curtains and the Lightings
Very Thoughtful Housekeeping Staff who took the initiative to coil up my wires so that it will not look messy. The attention to details is superb
Couch with a view
Welcome Fruit and Chocolate
This room has the best view in the entire hotel
View from the Room. I can see the 3-Tier Pool and the Sea

Facing the window, to the right of the couch is where one can find the work desk. The desk is large enough for one to do some decent work on. The hotel provides standard stationeries, placed neatly in a box on the desk. There is a 2-plug PowerPoint on the desk. The desk has 2 drawers, creating more space for storage. The in-room save can also be found in the cabinet under the work desk. To the left of the couch is where one can find the minibar and in-room entertainment. 3 cabinets tucking away the complimentary mini-bar, Nespresso capsules, tea and electric kettle. The Nespresso machine is placed on top of these 3 cabinets, together with Bose sound system and iPod dock. Here is where one can find a 46″ flat-screen TV, mounted on a rack that allows guests to swivel to allow one to watch cable channels on the TV on either the couch or on the bed. One feature I like about the room is the automatic blinds. Somehow the sensor in the room would detect prolong periods where guests are not in the room, upon entering the room, the blinds and curtains automatically draw up to allow light into the room.

Work Desk with Stationeries
Entertainment Area with Nespresso Machine and Bose System
Complimentary Wine
Contents of the Minibar are Complementary. The Staff already placed my birthday cake with compliments from the hotel in the fridge before my arrival.
Coffee and Tea
Electric Kettle and Ice Bucket

Balcony

Between the Bathroom and the entertainment area of the room is the doorway to the balcony. The balcony has a single-seater armchair and a 2 seater long couch for one to enjoy the sea breeze. The balcony in this room is rather small, nonetheless, it is still a great spot to chill out or even smoke from.

Seating in the Balcony
View from the Balcony

The Library

The Library is the lounge of Capella, which is located on the floor above the lobby. Guests are invited to enjoy and chill out in the Library regardless of the type of room one stays in. The Library is rather cosy and is decorated that gives one a homely feeling, more akin to a posh study room in a mansion. There are 3 areas in the Library, one where guests can find a considerable amount of reading materials, including major newspapers. This is the area where one can help oneself to the beverages, which included coffee, tea and soft drinks. This area has 2 sitting areas, catering to larger crowds. The next area in the Library has more natural light. This is where one can find some finger food and during High Tea timing, one can find pastries being placed in a buffet style for guests to enjoy. Other than a couch, most of the seating here is for 2. On either side of the wings of the Library is the outdoor seating with seating that is as comfortable as the ones indoor.

Library Signage
The Library is located on the Second Level
Cosy feel inside the Library
The couch in the Library
Books in the Library
Complimentary Drinks in the Library
Finger Food for High Tea

Swimming Pool

Capella has a 3-tiered infinite pool that overlooks into the sea. The top two tiers featured a free form pool and the lowest tier features a lap pool. The pool is a great place to soak in the sun on the sunny island of Sentosa. I did not utilise the pool on my previous stay as it was raining most of the time. This time around I had plenty of time to relax by the pool. The pool on the top tier is adult-only, while the middle tier is more of a family pool, with a shallow end for children to swim in. There is no lack of deck chairs around the pool. The water in the pool is not too cold and provided us with a great place to cool off the scorching sun during the period of my stay. The pools are not too deep (1.2m), which is rather “friendly” even to those who are not strong in swimming.

Gorgeous Pool
Panoramic View of the Pool

Gym

The gym in the hotel is located next to the spa. The gym, though small has all the necessary equipment that tones one’s body from abs to arms to legs. There are also treadmills and stationary cycles for one to burn off those calories. There are only one toilet and no changing room in the gym, however, I spotted a sign that directs guests to the changing room next door where the spa is (I subsequently checked with the staff at the spa and was told to use the toilet in the gym for changing). Despite the small size and its emptiness, there are drinks such as plain water and 100 plus for guests to keep themselves hydrated after a good workout. There are also cold towels for guests to use.

Small but well-equipped gym 
Small but well-equipped gym 

Business Centre

The hotel also caters to business travellers. There is a Business Centre in the hotel where one can surf the internet and get work done as well as printing facilities. The Business Centre has 2 rooms for guests to get their work done. There are also some meeting rooms in the Business Centre where guests can utilise for their meetings.

Signage of the Business Centre
Reception Area in the Business Centre
Facilities inside one of the rooms
Outside the Business Centre
Outside the Business Centre

Service

The service I received this time round is impeccable and different from my last experience. This time around the service rendered around the hotel truly reflects its 5-star status. I was well taken care of by the staffs in the hotel and almost everyone is friendly and warm.

Before my checking in, I received a call from one of the personal assistance, Jayce. She checked if there are any special occasion during my stay in the hotel and my preference for the room. I mentioned that I will be in the hotel for my birthday celebration and that I would like a room that faces the swimming pool and the sea. I also requested for firmer pillows from Jayce and to my delight, these pillows where found in the room waiting for me when I checked in. Jayce called back a few days later to inform me that she has gotten the best view room in the hotel. She even checked the timing that I will be at the hotel so that the room can be ready. Indeed when I reached the hotel, the room was already ready for my occupancy. Jayce took the initiative to arrange for a birthday cake and a bottle of wine in the room with compliments from the hotel for my birthday. Jayce not only followed through my requests and even went above and beyond my requests.

I met with Emanuel who was the duty manager at the time of my arrival at the hotel. Emanuel greeted me with the warmest smile.  The efficiency of processing my check-in by Emanuel ensured that I will be in my room in no time, comparing to my previous experience this is heavens and earth apart. Emanuel personally showed me to my room and took the pains to explain the features of the room. Emanuel repeatedly requested me to call the front desk if there is anything they can do to make my stay more comfortable. A few occasions I walked past the front desk and met Emanuel, he checked with me if the room was alright and if there is anything else that they can do to make my stay more comfortable. Whenever I walked up to the front desk and met Emanuel, he would address me by my family name, taking note of me as a guest in the hotel. This gesture shows that Emanuel bothered to remember his guests by face and addressed them by their family name. This has made me felt welcome and somewhat important.
Daniel is the Front of the House Manager and remembered me from my previous stay. He ensured that I was well taken care of by his staffs and my requests are being attended to almost immediately. I brought to Daniel’s attention that the air-conditioning in my room did not seem to be working well. Without delay Daniel personally sees to it and brought a technician staff with him to my room to investigate the air-con issue. Daniel has done what most managers of other hotels have not, he actively engages his guests and ensuring that all are felt welcomed in the hotel. Whenever I bumped into Daniel, he would always ask how was my day and how’s the stay so far. Daniel shared with me the architecture of the hotel and the different rooms there is in the hotel. He even volunteered to show me some of the other category rooms, unfortunately, I was not able to visit these other rooms due to clash in the schedule. Daniel displayed what being customer-centric is all about and went all way to ensure that my stay is fantastic.
I met Sherwin at the Library, who is one of the personal assistants in the hotel. Sherwin recognised me and my friend and addressed us by our family name whenever we visited the Library. This small but warmth gesture made us felt welcome. Sherwin would always ask how was our day and initiate a conversation with me. There was this instance we met Sherwin at the Library, he immediately recognised me (my sister and brother-in-law popped by the hotel to visit and was pleasantly surprised at the impeccable service Sherwin rendered). My sister is very impressed with the service that Capella has rendered through the acts of Sherwin. He even brought us freshly baked pastry from the kitchen before it is being displayed during high tea without asking. This thoughtfulness and the passion in customer service is being embraced by Sherwin.
I called up in-room dining at 11.30 pm as me and my friend wanted to have some fish and chips. Michael took the call and ensured that we got the fish and chips that we wanted despite this dish is not in the in-room dining menu. The fish and chips that were delivered to our room are fresh and tasty, thanks to Michael, who went all out to meet our request. In some establishments, if the item is not on the menu, the food will not be made available. However, Michael did not do what the others would, instead he checked with his colleagues and made it happen for us.
When we were at the pool, Jani, one of the staffs working at the pool, saw us laying towels on the deck chairs and immediately brought two buckets of ice with bottled water in it for us to drink while we were at the pool. This was done without asking. The pool area is always tidy as I had witness Jani cleaning up after guests left the pool tirelessly. Jani even did his rounds with complimentary apple and cranberry juice for guests at the pool to enjoy.

There is however one instance of service lapse and this time is in the Knoll restaurant, where breakfast is being served. I was at the juice bar wanting some freshly squeezed juice. The bar was not manned and I waited for around 10 mins. Numerous staffs walked passed me without even acknowledging my presence. I was left hanging until one of the staff, who was responsible for the tables in the area I was seated, saw me standing and there was no one serving me. She quickly asked what I would like to have and the drinks would be delivered to me. Almost immediately after I returned to my seat, the fresh juices were delivered to me.

Overall

The hotel has great hardware as can be seen from the room and the facilities. The room is spacious and comfortable. What I like most about the room is the view that overlooks the pool and the sea. In terms of service, it is 180 deg from my experience in December when I first stayed in Capella. This time around it felt like an old friend returning the hotel for a stay. At the end of the stay, my friend and I agreed that we do not feel like checking out. We will definitely return to try out the other category accommodations. The services that were rendered this time around truly reflects the 5-star status of Capella.

[Accommodation Review] – Equarius Hotel (Deluxe Room), Sentosa, Singapore (1 – 4 May 15)

Location

Equarius Hotel, one of the few hotels managed by Resorts World Sentosa is located on the island of Sentosa, famed for its sun and sea. It is also home to Universal Studios theme park as well as casino in Singapore. The hotel is located near the theme park and casino, but in a more isolated corner as compared to other hotels like the Hard Rock Hotel and Festive Hotel, which is closer to action. It will take around 15 mins to walk to the theme park, luckily the hotel provides regular shuttle service connecting to the other parts of Resort World Sentosa. The hotel is situated right in front of the Adventure Cove water theme park, where there is direct access to the theme park from the hotel.
Hotel Signage in the car park
Hotel signage by the main entrance of the hotel
The facade of the main building
Hotel lobby with simulated waterfall
Hotel lobby and check-in area

The Room

The room that I checked in is the expansive 51m² deluxe room, located in the main building of the hotel. The decor of the room, as with most hotels, is rather contemporary. To get to the rooms, guests would have to take a 3 mins hike through a maze of rooms to reach the lift that will ferry you to the floor that your room is located. Entering the room, the wardrobe area is located on the left of the main entrance. There is a ledge for guests to stow their luggage just before the wardrobe. The wardrobe is of a good size, allowing 2 to store about 5 days worth of clothing. There is an ironing board stowed away in the wardrobe and 2 bathrobes. The safe is located inside the wardrobe as well, placed on a 3-tiered drawer, providing more space for guests to stow away their clothing.
Storage space for luggage
Wardrobe

Bathroom

Opposite the wardrobe is the entrance to the bathroom. Decked in marble, the spacious bathroom has both a toilet cubicle and a walk-in shower, featuring both rain shower head and regular shower head. What I like about the bathroom is the ledge in the walk-in shower, with sufficient storage space for guests to stow their bathing equipment. There is a quirky chair in the toilet cubicle, which seemed out of place. The bathroom has dual sinks and a lot of countertop space for guests to put their facial products on. At the far end of the bathroom, just next to the walk-in shower is the bathtub. The bathtub is large enough for 2 to comfortably enjoy a romantic soak. There is also a 14 inch TV in the bathroom, however, the TV is tucked away into the wall of one corner of the bathroom that does not allow guests to have a good view of it whilst soaking in the tub. There is a glass panel right by the sinks that allow guests to peek into the sleeping area of the room. There is a switch by the TV that controls the blinds to this glass panel providing more privacy for guests who desires it.
Dual countertop sinks
Large Tub for 2
Toilet Cubicle with the quirky chair
Walk-in shower with sufficient space for personal toiletries
High-quality ESPA bath amenities
Switch to control the blinds in the bathroom
Oddly placed TV inside the bathroom

Sleeping Area

Further into the room, next to the wardrobe is the minibar area. There is complimentary instant coffee (this room does not come with the Nespresso Machine which is common for a hotel these days) and premium TWG teabags. The bar fridge is located under the shelve where the electric kettle and the cups are located.  There is an L-shaped couch next to the minibar area, where guests can relax onto or simply entertain their friends who come visit them. The couch is large enough to seat 4 guests comfortably. Facing the TV in the room, the couch is a good place to relax into while watching TV on. There is a marble coffee table in front of the couch. I reckon the placement of this couch and the coffee table is excellent. Though sizeable, the couch is tucked into a corner of the room which does not obstruct or make the room feel cluttered. I particularly like the modern chandelier that hangs above the coffee table, providing more lighting to guests.
In-room fridge
Couch tucked in a corner of the room
Modern lighting perched above the couch area
The centrepiece of this room would be the King size bed. The bed is large enough to sleep 4 adults comfortably. Placed just right beneath the glass panel in the bathroom, the bed is very comfortable to sleep in. The mattress is of the right firmness, coupled with the comfortable sheets, guests are ensured to have a great night’s rest in it. I do find the pillow a tad too soft for my liking. There are also a couple of bedside tables on either side of the bed, providing space for guests to put small items such as mobile phones. There are also a couple of PowerPoint by the bedside tables for guests to charge their electronic gadgets. The room has no lack of powerpoints for guests to charge their electronic gadgets.
Very comfortable King Size bed
King Size bed in the room
Tucked to the other corner of the room, opposite the couch is a decent sized work desk, where one can do their work. This area also has more PowerPoint. A 42″ TV can be found mounted on a swivel arm on the wall by the study desk. However, the reception of the TV is rather bad for the room that I checked into. Opposite the bed is a floor to the ceiling glass panel and a door leading to the balcony. The balcony oversees the Adventure Cove water theme park and can be rather noisy in the day. In the balcony, there is only one chair and one table, guess the balcony can only allow one person to relax while watching activities in the theme park. The flaw with this part of the room is that guests are not able to control the blinds electronically, to draw the blinds one would have to do it manually.
Work Desk and 42″ TV
Balcony
View from the balcony

Swimming Pool

The swimming pool in the hotel is located about 2 minutes walk from the hotel building. It is located where the pool villas are situated. The free form pool is rather large, but it felt more like a pond than a swimming pool. The pool is rather quiet at the time of my visit, which could be partly due to the distance from the hotel building. There are limited deck chairs by the pool, which means a limited amount of guests can use the pool. What I dislike most about the pool is the grass patch where the deck chairs are placed on. To access the pool, one would have to step onto the grass patch, which can be thorny for those with sensitive skin. The saving grace for the pool is that guests staying in Equarius Hotel can use any of the pools under the management of Resorts World Sentosa. I had the chance to visit the pool at the Hard Rock Hotel, which is a better pool, however, with the number of guests coming to this pool, it can get very crowded.
Pool at Equarius Hotel
The pool at the Hard Rock Hotel

Gym

I walked past the gym on my way to the swimming pool. Although I did not enter the gym, I did had a peek into the gym. The gym looks large and well equipped. As with most gyms in hotels, the gym at Equarius Hotel looked underutilised. The in-house spa – ESPA is located next to the gym.
Entrance to ESPA, located next to the gym

Forest Restaurant

Breakfast is served at Forest Restaurant. Ran by a celebrity chef in Singapore, the food offering for breakfast is rather limited in variety and the variation each day remains minimal.
Outdoor sitting at Forest Restaurant

Service

Checking into the hotel was not a good experience. The check-in is slow despite the queue being short and many counters around to help check-in guests. My checking in took around 15 mins, with staffs checking and checking and excused himself for around 5 mins into the office behind the check-in counter, processing some stuff that seemed to be a mystery for guests checking in. I was left hanging for this period, wondering when will the staff get back to me.
The room does not seem to be ready for my checking in. Upon arriving at my room for a mere 30 minutes, staff from the dining department knocked onto my door and came into the room to check if items are missing from the minibar. I thought this should be done before the room was ready for occupancy and not when the guest checked into the room.
There seem to be other service lapses as well. I called reception to request for additional towels and bath amenities, it took them about 1 hour to have the items delivered to my room. I had to call several times to check on the status of my request.
The only saving grace was the chambermaids who were cleaning the rooms on the level I stayed. I approached the staff to get some bath amenities. Despite being disturbed whilst while getting another room ready, the chambermaid still smiled and asked if they are sufficient. I apologised to her for disturbing her work and the reply I got was that I was not disturbing her at all and the staff told me not to put it to heart.

Overall

The room in the Equarius Hotel is large and comfortable, allowing guests to entertain their friends. The bathroom is large and the balcony provides a good spot for people-watching and relaxing in. The bed was comfortable and large. However, the other hardware such as the swimming pool and the variety for breakfast in the restaurant is rather limited. There are more misses than hits in terms of service. Nonetheless, the hotel room provides guests with a rather comfortable stay.