As of this writing, Pullman Singapore Hill Street is the newest hotel under the Accor group in Singapore, having opened about one month earlier. The unique, rustic, copper-coloured 19th-century train travel theme can be seen throughout the hotel, from the entrance to the lounge and the rooms. At the main entrance, a train carriage first introduces guests to the theme. The two luggage-filled walls reinforce the theme right off the main entrance. Even Pullman Singapore Hill Street’s mascot plushy is a train.
Pullman Singapore Hill Street is located in the heart of the island Country of Singapore. The hotel’s entrance faces some old commercial buildings that do not seem to have any activities going on inside, even the shopping malls next to the hotel look like it was lifted from the 80s. However, there are some modern shopping malls facing the back of the hotel, accessible via one of the small alleyways, away from the main street where Pullman Singapore Hill Street is located. The nearest shopping malls within five minutes from the hotel are Raffles City Shopping Mall and Funan Centre. There are a few more shopping Malls, such as Suntec City, Marina Square and Marina Bay Sands, within walking distance from Pullman Singapore Hill Street. There are plentiful dining options within all these shopping malls, on top of various shopping options ranging from budget-friendly to high-end luxury goods. Pullman Singapore Hill Street is also a stone’s throw from attractions such as the iconic Singapore River, Merlion Park, Fort Canning Hill and the National Gallery. The hotel is well connected with buses, and the MRT system allows guests to reach anywhere in Singapore. The nearest MRT station, City Hall station, is just three minutes from Pullman Singapore Hill Street.
The Studio Suite
Pullman Singapore Hill Street essentially has only two types of rooms (although the hotel creates more categories based on the view and lounge accessibility), with the Studio Suite as the highest category and the only type of suite the hotel has. The 33m2 Studio Suite is a Junior Suite with a larger sitting area than the Deluxe or Executive rooms. The rustic train travel theme of the hotel is apparent the moment we enter the Studio Suite. The suite’s copper and brown theme is coherent with the main theme employed throughout the hotel. The small entryway in the Studio Suite at Pullman Singapore Hill Street was only fitted with a full-size mirror for guests to check themselves before leaving the room.
The entrance to the bathroom is next to the main entrance to the suite. Decked in shades of grey, the bathroom decor feels luxurious and spacious. A standalone bathtub sits by the translucent wall behind the door to the bathroom. I thought the bathtub placement in this location was very smart in that it did not obstruct the walking space in the bathroom. The bathtub is of a good size and great for soaking. The bathroom is large enough for the hotel to fit with dual sinks, enabling both guests to use the sink simultaneously without the need to fight over who to use first. The large mirror by the dual sinks enhances the sense of spaciousness in the bathroom. Pullman Singapore Hill Street treats its guests with the luxurious and fragrant-smelling American brand C.O.Bigelow bath amenities and a full set of toiletries, easing the need for guests to bring their own.
The toilet with bidet functions and the walk-in shower is tucked furthest into the bathroom. The toilet is placed behind a small wall, which serves the function of segregating the toilet/shower and the sink area and hiding the toilet away to give the bathroom a more classy look. The walk-in shower, fitted with rain and regular shower heads, is enclosed in glass, effectively creating a wet and dry area. I like the large walk-in shower, which did not result in an elbow battle with the walls and the glass while showering. I thought the small shelving space on either side of the shower panel was a great addition, as it gave us space to place our dental kits and facial wash.
The lounging area peeks at guests from the moment the Studio Suite guests enter the suite. The lounging area occupies half the space in the suite and is furnished with a three-seater fabric couch with a small side table, which is ideal for placing small items like drinks or snacks while being entertained by the only TV in the suite. The couch is very comfortable to sit or laze on. Instead of a coffee table, Pullman Singapore Hill Street placed a small round dining table between the couch and the large LED TV mounted onto the wall. The round table serves the dual function of a coffee and dining table. Another single-seat armchair is placed by the floor-to-ceiling windows next to the dining table. This armchair creates additional sitting space for guests and doubles up as an alternate work area, where guests can work on the table.
A work desk is placed between the couch and the king bed. I saw this work desk as the boundary between the lounging and the sleeping area. The black marble top work desk is of a good size, allowing guests to place their work stuff on the desk, yet it does not take up too much space. The thoughtfulness of Pullman Singapore Hill Street was apparent in the design of the work desk, where we found three power outlets with two USB charging ports each (yes, a total of six) fitted onto the desk, making it convenient for guests to keep their laptops and lifestyle devices full of juice. The only flaw with these power outlets is the narrow space afforded, which did not provide sufficient space for my huge Macbook power brick.
The mini bar area is fitted into the wall space next to the work desk. The mini bar area is elegantly designed with a two-tier open shelving. I like how Pullman Singapore Hill Street places sufficient equipment on the open shelving without making it too cluttered to be useful. A top-of-the-range Nespresso machine and a redundant kettle are placed on the open shelving of the minibar area. The hotel does not provide bottled drinking water. Instead, a slim distilled water machine was placed in the mini bar area, capable of providing hot and cold water in an instant. The machine was so useful that I did not even bother using the kettle to boil water for the Dilma tea the hotel provided. Cups and glasses are neatly placed in the drawer in the mini bar area. The mini fridge is nicely hidden in the cabinet in the mini bar area. The hotel provides its guests with non-replenishable complimentary drinks of juices and sparkling water in the mini-fridge.
The centrepiece of the sleeping area is the large king bed sitting in the centre of this area. The king bed, facing the large TV in the lounging area, was comfortable to sleep on. However, I did not get good sleep quality owing to the soft pillows that Pullman Singapore Hill Street provides, which are a tad too soft for my liking. These soft pillows gave me a stiff neck after a night’s sleep. It does not help that Pullman Singapore Hill Street does not have a pillow menu to cater for the pillow firmness preferences of its guests. The idea of mounting the bedside lamps onto the headboard was excellent as it afforded more space for guests to use on the bedside table. Speaking of bedside tables, those in the Studio Suite at Pullman Singapore Hill Street were rather sizeable, and I found no problems placing my mobile phone and Apple watch charger. I like how Pullman Singapore Hill Street fitted two additional USB charging outlets on all its power outlets, which are also found on either side of the king bed. A wireless charging dock is found on the alarm clock on one of the bedside tables.
Perhaps the wardrobe space was the biggest flaw in the Studio Suite at Pullman Singapore Hill Street. I get that, given the space allocated to the suite, which does not allow the hotel to fit doors to the wardrobe, making the open wardrobe concept ideal. However, it is the lack of shelving and drawers that bugged me. This meant that we would have to leave our smaller garments on the ledge of the open wardrobe. It does not help that there are only two drawers at the lower part of the wardrobe, where one was taken up by the in-room safe and the other for shoe amenities like shoe shine, shoe horn and in-room slippers. Having said that, the open wardrobe is large enough to hang up to one week’s clothing for two guests, but the number of hangers the hotel placed limits the amount of clothing we can hang.
My first impression of the level of service rendered by the staff at Pullman Singapore Hill Street was cold and unwelcoming. At the time of my check-in, the staff seemed uninterested in engaging guests or even making eye contact to acknowledge the presence of guests. Staff were loitering around the hotel premises, either engaged with their mobile phone or staring into the blank. Smiles hanging on their faces seem like a rare commodity. When we checked out the rooftop pool, we found the staff at the rooftop bar were not welcoming, and they were seen engaging in small chats amongst themselves instead of acknowledging guests and providing assistance.
My impression of the service changed when I met Syed at the Executive Lounge. Syed’s warm and bubbly personality brightens up my stay at the hotel and offers a glimmer of hope for good service at the hotel. Syed was very welcoming and great to engage in small talk with. He was knowledgeable in his job and the hotel industry, and I learned a fair bit about the hospitality industry while chatting with him. Syed was very welcoming, whenever he spotted us walking into the lounge, he’d approach us and check our drink preferences. Syed is also seen to be observant and diligent in helping us clear the empty plates and glasses when we are at the lounge during evening canape hours. He even brought us hot food options during our stay at the lounge during evening cocktail hours.
I had the opportunity to meet Belina at the restaurants on Level 1. Belina welcomed me with the warmest smile and was patient in recommending food options at the hotel when I had issues deciding what to eat. She took the time to explain the options and oriented me in the different parts of the restaurant. I also spotted Belina engaging other guests during breakfast service to seek feedback and ways to improve the service offerings around the hotel.
Then, there were the porters at the main entrance of the hotel. I had the opportunity to meet Kel, who was always smiling and greeted us whenever I headed outside the hotel for a smoke. Despite the humid weather, Kel and his colleagues always stood by at the main door, reaching for the door to ensure guests gained access to the hotel without lifting their fingers.
Indeed, my impression of the service by the Pullman Singapore Hill Street staff changed during my stay at the hotel (we had a lot of time wandering around the hotel for this staycation). The staff warmed up, and we were greeted with smiles everywhere we went. Staff were seen ready to jump in and provide assistance whenever they saw us looking lost. The staff seemed to take some time to warm up to the guests.
The Executive Lounge at Pullman Singapore Hill Street is located on level 3 of the hotel. Despite the lounge being a tad small, it feels very cosy. The Executive Lounge is decorated with the train travel theme and has a more rustic vibe, with the unique seethrough tungsten bulbs chandelier. There are several seats with a section resembling a train’s booth seats. A small section at the rear end of the lounge is where food is served buffet style. There is an outdoor sitting area for guests who want to chill by the pool and a hot food section where the chefs prepare a small selection of hot food during the evening cocktail. The Executive Lounge serves evening cocktails from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Breakfast at Madison’s
Breakfast is served at Madison’s, located on Level 1 of the hotel. The restaurant mainly serves Western cuisine during breakfast, with only one station serving local food. The food is organised into warm food, a pastry and salad bar, cold food, and three stations that offer ala-minute cooked food. The food options were tasty but not impressionable, as the offerings were your standard run-of-the-mill breakfast that many hotels serve. Guests have to self-serve the coffee during breakfast using the commercial Nespresso machine.
There are two swimming pools at Pullman Singapore Hill Street. The main pool is located on level 3, outside the reception area. Three cabanas and eight sundeck chairs dotted around the main pool, providing spots for guests to relax while using the pool. However, due to the layout of the hotel, guests wanting to get a good tan are only limited to 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The main pool is of good length, allowing guests to do some decent laps. There is also a wading pool to cater for those with young children. A jacuzzi can also be found opposite to the wading pool.
The other pool is located on the rooftop level, with great sun throughout the day due to the obstruction in the pool area. This pool is smaller than the main pool but still allows guests to do some decent laps. However, those who want to get some tan will find it challenging here as there are no proper sundeck chairs, and guests would have to make do with the furnishings at the rooftop pool. On top of that, guests would have to patronise the Mexican bar to use the pool. I like this pool better as it affords guests a better view of the Marina Bay area, aside from the unobstructed suntanning opportunities.
There is a small gym at Pullman Singapore Hill Street, located on level 3 of the hotel, next to the main pool. There are two parts to this gym: the indoor and outdoor sections. The indoor section of the gym is rather small and is equipped with very basic and limited workout machines. The workout equipment in the indoor gym section is limited to three treadmills, two cycling machines and one strength workout station, along with some free weights. I find the outdoor section a little interesting. This is the first time I have seen a hotel use the empty spaces outside the gym to expand the gym facilities. The outdoor section has more strength and cardio stations like a roping station and a rowing machine. On top of these, there are a couple of punching bags for guests to practise their MMA moves and a rack filled with medicine balls.
Pullman Singapore Hill Street is the newest hotel in Accor Group’s list of hotels in Singapore at the time of this writing. There are still facilities that are not ready for operation, but 90% of the hotel is ready to welcome guests. I find the train travel theme around the hotel to be unique and refreshing. I thought the Studio Suite was a tad small but comfortable. Thankfully, Pullman Singapore Hill Street did not place unnecessary furniture inside the suite to clutter the space. The sleep quality on the king bed could be better due to my preference for firmer pillows, which were unavailable in the hotel. The service at the hotel was bad at first, but as our stay with the hotel lengthened, we found the staff were friendly and helpful. Kudos to stars like Syed, Belina, and Kel, who made our day whenever we bumped into them.