Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa is located on Sentosa Island, a tourist attraction on the south of mainland Singapore. Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa is situated slightly to the southwestern part of Sentosa Island and is a tad far from the main attractions on Sentosa, which are mainly located in the central and eastern part of the island. Other than a golf course, there are no shopping or food options near the resort. Guests staying at the resort can only dine in the resort or take the island’s complimentary public transport and head to Resorts World Sentosa for more dining options. This isolation is great for guests who want to stay in a resort away from the bustlings of Singapore. Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa provides regular shuttle service to mainland Singapore.
I stayed in the Junior Suite at Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa over the Christmas long weekend for this staycation. Occupying a total floor area of 55m², the Junior Suite has a strong French decor. Entering the main door of the Junior Suite, guests are greeted by a small entryway that also doubles up as a place to change to their shoes before heading out. There is a double-panelled wooden door that gives guests extra privacy from the main entrance. A whimsical 3D art piece, featuring a man climbing the wall, decorates the otherwise plain entryway.
The Living Room
Passing the double-panelled wooden doors, guests will find themselves in the living room of the Junior Suite. The living room occupies a bulk of the real estate in the suite. Emitting a strong French theme, the living room is decorated with furniture that is both functional and chic. I especially like the soft fluffy carpet that lies in the middle of the room. Despite the minimal furniture, I find the living room a tad cluttered.
A black slim-legged work desk coupled with a hard leather chair sits immediately to the left of the entrance to the living room from the hallway facing the TV. The desk does not have a lot of space on it and only allows residents of the Junior suite to do some light work on. There are no power outlets at the work desk which can be inconvenient for guests working on their laptops. The work desk was cluttered with drinking water and fruit basket at the time we checked into the suite.
Running along the wall from the entrance to the suite, a couple of wardrobes and some spaces to stow luggage on sits tucked onto the wall. The placement of the wardrobe is somewhat unconventional as it is placed in the living room instead of the bedroom. I quite like the design of the wardrobe door, instead of the boring plain wood, Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa decorated the wardrobe doors with brass art pieces. The wardrobe provides sufficient space for guests to put away their clothing either hanging or in one of the four drawers inside the wardrobe. This is also where the iron and ironing board is tucked away, out of sight, when not being used. The in-room safe can also be found in the wardrobe. There is more storage space in the drawers and open shelving below the ledge where luggage can be stowed.
Placed right in front of the work desk is a two-seater couch. I find the couch to be a tad soiled and there is even a cigarette burnt hole left behind by previous guests. Despite that, the couch is comfortable to sit on while guests enjoy a variety of local and international channels from the 47″ LED TV mounted on the floating wall that separates the living room from the bedroom. Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa uses an unconventional hard leather top coffee table to add to the chic in the living room. The living room is also furnished with two purple stools, placed by the side of the coffee table, providing additional sitting space for guests of the residents in the Junior Suite. There is a small shelving space underneath the TV for residents of the suite to stow some small items. Sitting by the large windows in the living room of the Junior Suite is a rocking chair, which is very comfortable to sit on while watching TV or to read a book. There is an empty metal shelf placed in one corner of the living room, which would otherwise be decorated with books or ornaments if not for the pandemic. The empty metal shelf provides more space for guests in the suite to store their items.
I like the design of the minibar in Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa. The mini bar in the Junior Suite is very well designed into a cylindrical stand that does not occupy a lot of space, yet have heaps of storage space for your usual minibar needs. The white and gold mini bar cabinet is nicely tucked in the corner of the living room. Guests can find an electric kettle and even a Nespresso machine in the minibar. Wine glasses and champagne flutes are stored on the right of the cabinet. There is even sufficient space for Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa to fit a fridge in the minibar cabinet. Due to the pandemic, the fridge is empty at the time of our checking-in.
The bedroom in the Junior Suite at Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa is separated by a floating wall from the living room and is accessible via the openings on either side of the wall. The floating wall segregates the living room from the bedroom space and gives the bedroom a cosy vibe coupled with the use of purple carpet in this part of the Junior Suite. Unlike the living room, the bedroom is minimally furnished that makes it feel less cluttered, adding to the relaxed feel in this part of the Junior Suite. The lighting used by the hotel throughout the suite gives it a very warm and comfortable feel, which is especially pronounced in the bedroom. The centrepiece of the bedroom is the King bed, which occupies the main bulk of real estate in this area. The sleep quality on the King Bed is excellent, leaving me recharged every morning. Despite not having foam pillows or a pillow menu (perhaps due to the pandemic), I do find the pillows to be comfortable and not too soft. Instead of a traditional bedside table, a couple of ledges with a single draw is mounted on either side of the bed. Here is where guests can find bedside lamps as well as power outlets to charge their lifestyle devices. The mounting of reading lights onto the headboard of the King bed adds to the clean look in the bedroom. There is another metal shelf sitting by the entrance of the bedroom, providing additional storage space for guests of the Junior Suite in Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa.
Mounted on the bedroom side of the floating wall is another 47″ LED TV facing the King bed. The entertainment options on this TV is exactly the same as that in the living room. Like that in the living room, there is a ledge beneath the TV that allows guests to put away some small items.
The bathroom in the Junior Suite at Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa can be accessed from the living room. The French decor in the entire Junior Suite flows into the bathroom with the use of colourful mosaic tiles in both shower and toilet cubicles. The lighting in the bathroom is great thanks to the numerous lighting in the bathroom as well as the mirrors installed here. As one enters the bathroom, a large vanity mirror and sink countertop greet the occupants of the Junior Suite. Having only one sink in the bathroom provides generous countertop space for guests to stow their personal toiletries. Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa provides its Junior Suite guests with Lanvin bath amenities which is very fragrant and luxurious. All toilet amenities are packed in plastic bags due to the pandemic. On the right of the sink area is a large bathtub which guests can enjoy a relaxing and comfortable soak. The hotel also provides bath salts for guests to soak in the tub.
Across the bathtub is where the walk-in shower and the toilet cubicles are located. The walk-in shower cubicle is large and comes equipped with both a regular shower head and a rain shower. Water pressure is excellent in the shower cubicle, with hot water readily available when the tap is turned on. The toilet cubicle is pretty standard.
The overall service at Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa is a mixed bag. Having said that, I find there are more positive than negative services rendered at the hotel. Our first service point of contact is during check-in. Despite the small space at the check-in reception, the hotel managed the flow of guests checking in very well. The hotel opened up an additional two counters to cope with the flow of guests during their check-in time. Only one guest is allowed into the check-in reception room and there is a staff at the door ensuring that all guests maintain safe distancing during this pandemic period. We notified the staff of our status with Accor and was promptly ushered to the sit-down counter for our check-in to be processed. Check-in took a little longer than expected, and there was no mention of Accor benefits that should be accorded to our membership tier. There was also no briefing on the details on how we can go about claiming the benefits that come with our package or the Kid’s Club package that we booked. At the end of our stay, we did not utilise the Kid’s Club package (the package was taken off the final bill when I raised this issue to one of the duty managers).
Our package comes with vouchers for lunch or dinner and we had our first dinner at Kwee Zeen Restaurant. The service at Kwee Zeen was horrendous during the times we were there (we were there for breakfast and one of the dinners). During our first meal (dinner) at Kwee Zeen, we had a hard time getting the attention of the staffs to place the order for our meal. We stepped into the restaurant at 7 pm and finally got our orders placed at 7.51 pm. It took them 51 mins just to get our orders. Staffs were seen crowding in one corner chatting away throughout our stay at the restaurant, leaving plates on the table after guests had left the restaurant. The staff handling our order did not seem to understand the product offering. After taking our orders for an appetiser, main course and dessert, the staff then came back to us and told us that our meal only includes two courses instead of three when their menu stated three courses for dinner. The staff also failed to inform us that some of the choices we made for our meal require additional charges. Frustrated, I asked for the manager and the manager told me there is some printing error on the menu and we should be getting two courses instead. I subsequently raised my unhappiness to the hotel’s duty manager and she verified that for dinners we should be getting three courses and not two. The horrendous service at Kwee Zeen did not stop there. When I requested for chilli sauce, the staff pretend not to hear by request. I had to approach the bunch of staff crowding and chatting amongst themselves for someone to bring us some chilli sauce. We had our breakfast at Kwee Zeen on the third day, at the restaurant reception, one of the staff informed us that our table will be ready after they clean up. She then told us to sit on the sofa by the entrance in a derogatory manner. The staff raise her voice and commanded: “go there and sit”. I do find this inappropriate. During breakfast, we faced the same problem as the first day during dinner. Staffs were nowhere to be seen to take our orders and plates were left around not cleared when guests vacate the table.
Fortunately, the horrendous service is only limited to Kwee Zeen restaurant, which is also unfortunate as this is the place designated for breakfast for guests. I spoke to two duty managers – Juliana and Samantha to raise my unhappiness with Kwee Zeen. I spoke to Juliana on our first night with the hotel after our encounter with Kwee Zeen. Juliana listened with empathy and expressed her disbelieve that such service standards exist at Kwee Zeen. She also clarified that the package that we booked comes with three-course dinner and not two courses as the restaurant claims. Juliana helped us arranged for our dinner location to change to another restaurant following our feedback to her at Kwee Zeen. She promptly got back to us and managed to arrange a table for us at the other restaurant despite being late at night. I also spoke to the other duty manager – Samantha after our horrendous experience at Kwee Zeen on our third day at the hotel. Similar to Juliana, Samantha listened with empathy and provided solutions so that our staycation will not be spoilt again by Kwee Zeen. Samantha helped us arrange for breakfast to be delivered to our rooms instead of having it at Kwee Zeen. Samantha also helped us arrange for late check-out despite the hotel was fully booked.
The only time we experienced any form of good service at the restaurants at the hotel was at The Cliff restaurant. We made a booking for dinner on our third-night stay and we were warmly welcomed by the staffs at the restaurant. Faith ensured that we were well-taken care off and was very observant in clearing the empty plates on our table, despite us being seated in one corner of the restaurant. We were pleasantly surprised when Nataliya approached us to recommend the food that we should try. Nataliya was very detailed in her introduction of the food on the menu and demonstrated excellent knowledge of the items on the menu. We heeded her advice and we did not regret Nataliya’s recommendations. We were also very well taken care of by Jason, who brought us our food. Jason came back shortly and checked with us if we were satisfied with the food.
The other staffs at the hotel were also very pleasant. We were always greeted with “Bonjour” whenever we bumped into any staffs in the hotel property, including the housekeeping staffs. When requested for additional items, the housekeeping staff brought them to our suite promptly. The staffs at the pool were excellent and promptly reply to our call button. We were always updated on the progress of our food preparation by the diligent staff at the pool bar.
The main swimming pool in Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa is one of the larger pools in the hotels in Singapore I have seen. It is also one of the deepest pools at 2.5m at its deepest and is capable of allowing its guests to do some decent laps while on vacation. There are ample deck chairs and cabanas at the pool for guests to enjoy their time at the pool. The use of tropical plants and trees around the main swimming pool makes it a great place to chill and relax and gives a resort vibe to the property. There is no wadding pool for young guests, Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa used some floats to demarcate the shallower parts of the pool for their younger guests. To improve on the safety, lifeguards are deployed at the shallower part of the pool watching their young guests under their eagle eyes to ensure their safety at the pool. The crowd at the pool is very well managed due to the pandemic. Guests are required to make prior bookings via a QR code provided before using the pool.
There is a small gym in the hotel, located opposite the entrance to the main swimming pool. The gym was shifted from its original location offsite to the current site due to construction of a new property under Accor. Despite its size, the gym at Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa comes well equipped with machines and weights for guests to do some decent workout. The hotel seems to take safety measures for the pandemic very seriously. Guests using the gym are required to book a slot via the QR code and some of the machines are also closed to ensure safe distancing between guests. The gym was empty most of the time during my stay.
SO Spa is the spa centre at Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa where guests can opt for massage sessions during their stay at the hotel. SO Spa is located a tad far from the main hotel premise. Guests wanting to visit the SO Spa can arrange for a buggy transfer from the concierge. Guests staying in suites at the Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa are entitled to complimentary usage of the SO Spa facilities. There are a lap pool and another waterfall feature pool that are open for suite guests to use. The other facilities like the steam room and jacuzzi as well as the mud pool are closed due to the pandemic. As the facilities at SO Spa is exclusive to suite guests and patrons of SO Spa, coupled with the isolation from the main hotel grounds, I find the pool at SO Spa to be very peaceful. I did not use the pool at SO Spa as I thought the water is a little dirty from the pollens and leaves from the trees around the pool.
The facilities in the suite and the hotel seem to show signs of ageing. There are some stains and a cigarette burn hole on the couch in the living room of the suite. Some tiles in the bathroom also fell off during our stay. Having said that, the Junior Suite in the hotel was comfortable and the sleep quality on the King bed is good. The state of the main swimming pool at Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa was worse off as compared to our stay less than a year ago. In terms of service, our experience was marred by the attitudes and the lack of knowledge of the staffs and the manager at Kwee Zeen. Calls to the main operator on the in-house phone took some patience before someone answers the calls at nights. The only saving grace in terms of service in the hotel was the great staffs at The Cliff Restaurant.