[Accommodation Review] – Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa (Junior Suite), Singapore (24 – 27 Dec 20)

Location

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. 

The Suite

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 entrylway that greets guests as we enter the Junior Suite
A whimsical 3D art piece in the 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.

Living room in the Junior Suite at Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa

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. 

A small work desk in the living room of the Junior 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.

The wardrobe is found in the living room in the Junior Suite

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.

The Living room is furnished with a two-seater couch and a couple of purple stools

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.

Minibar in the Junior Suite at Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa

The Bedroom

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.

Bedroom in the Junior Suite of 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. 

TV in the bedroom

The Bathroom

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. 

Bathroom in the Junior Suite
Bathtub in the bathroom

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.

Service

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.

Hotel Facilities

Swimming Pool

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.

Main Swimming pool in Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa

Gym

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

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.

Overall

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.  

[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] – Marina Mandarin (Marina Bay Suite), Singapore (24 – 26 Mar 17)

The facade of Marina Mandarin

Location

Marina Mandarin Singapore is located in Marina Centre, right in the centre of Singapore. The hotel is connected to the Marina Square Shopping Mall and is also well connected to other nearby shopping malls such as Suntec City and Raffles City. Marina Mandarin is situated right in front of the Marina Bay area, next to the Esplanade Theatre. The hotel is accessible to 2 MRT stations, making it convenient to access anywhere else in Singapore.
Interior of Marina Mandarin Hotel
Marina Mandarin Singapore is located above Marina Square Shopping Mall

The Suite

I checked into the Marina Bay Suite, which is facing the Marina Bay area. The expansive 66㎡ suite is the 2nd most luxurious suite in Marina Mandarin, just one category below the President Suite. The suite makes up of a living room, a bedroom and a bathroom.

Living Room

Guests would find themselves in a large living room upon entering the Marina Bay Suite in Marina Mandarin Singapore. Immediate to the left side of the spacious living room is the dining area. Designed by the wall is the mini bar, where guests would be able to enjoy complimentary drinks and snacks, topped up daily. There is no lack of storage space for guests who prefer to bring their own snacks. However, there is only one power socket at the minibar area which is to be shared between the Nespresso Coffee Machine and the electric kettle. The glasses and mugs are found in the rightmost cabinet in the minibar area. The fridge is found inside the left most frosted glass cabinet in the minibar area. There is a small glass round table with 3 chairs, serving as the dining table by the mini bar area.
The dining area of the Marina Bay Suite
Minibar area in the Marina Bay Suite
All the contents in the fridge are complementary and are topped up daily
Complimentary snacks
The hotel even gives complimentary signature pineapple tarts, but these are not topped up daily

Further into the classy decorated living room is the couch area. There is a generous 3 seater couch placed close to the balcony in the living room. A single-seater armchair is placed next to the 3 seater couch. Diagonally opposite the couch is a large flat-screen TV, placed on top of a TV console. As the TV console is placed on the TV console, there is no swivel function on the TV and guests would have to shift the TV to angle it to face the couch. There is a glass top coffee table placed between the couch and the TV console.

Spacious living room in Marina Bay Suite
TV console and the entrance to the bedroom from the 3 seater couch in the living room of Marina Bay Suite
Armchair in the living room, next to the 3 seater couch
The interior of the Marina Bay Suite seem a little dated with the analogue switches for air conditioning
Living room in Marina Bay Suite

Further into the Marina Bay Suite, placed in front of the floor to ceiling glass panels separating the living room and the balcony is a work desk. The work desk is of a fair size, sufficient for one to do some decent work on. There is a small cabinet tucked by the wall side where one can find the telephone and a complimentary mobile phone on top of this cabinet. There are 2 power sockets hidden in a ledge on the work desk. However, these sockets are used to power the table lamp on the study table and the charger of the mobile phone. There are no additional power sockets in the entire suite.

Work desk in the living room, just before the balcony in Marina Bay Suite
The work desk is rather big. A copy of the newspaper was placed on the table when I checked in. The newspaper was not replaced daily
There are limited power sockets in the entire suite. There are only 2 power sockets at the  work desk but both are used for the desk lamp and the complimentary mobile phone in the suite
Telephone and a side cabinet at the work desk
Marina Bay Suite guests are provided with a  mobile phone that one can make complementary calls locally and selected countries. Guests can also enjoy 4G network on this phone

Balcony

The Marina Bay Suite in Marina Mandarin Hotel has 2 balconies, one of which is located in the living room and the other is located in the bedroom. Despite being next to each other, these balconies are separated by a solid wall, which means there is no access from the balcony in the living room to that in the bedroom. The balcony in the living room faces Marina Square Shopping Mall and one will be treated to views of Marina Bay from the balcony. The balcony in the living room is decked with 2 chairs and a table, whilst the balcony in the bedroom has no furniture placed in it.
The balcony at the living room with chairs and table
View of Marina Bay area from the balcony
Balcony in the bedroom, which is bare and has no furniture

Bedroom

The double panel large wooden door opposite the 3 seater couch separates the living room from the bedroom. Entering the bedroom, guests will be greeted by a large King-size bed with a bedside table on both sides of the bed. The king bed is very comfortable to sleep on and I fell asleep shortly after lying on the bed and felt very refreshed the next day. The sleep quality is excellent and the pillow is of the right firmness. There is an armchair placed next to the king bed, in front of the floor to the ceiling glass panel that separates the bedroom from the balcony. Diagonally opposite the bed is another TV console with a large flat-screen TV on top. Left from the entrance to the bedroom is where one will find the bathroom and a dressing area. A 2-panel wardrobe is placed opposite the entrance to the bathroom. The wardrobe is a tad small for travellers who prefer to hang their clothes and will be staying there for more than 1 week, as the capacity is rather small. There is a cabinet with 3 glass drawers on the left panel of the wardrobe, capable of storing more clothing folded up. An in-room safe is placed on top of the 3 drawer cabinets. Further into the suite, next to the wardrobe is a small power area. Here is where one can find a huge ledge for one to place large luggage on. There are 4 large drawers beneath the ledge. In the corner is where one can find the dressing cum power table.
King bed in the bedroom
TV console in the bedroom
Armchair in the bedroom by the balcony
Phone and clock by the bedside in the bedroom of Marina Bay Suite
Wardrobe and powder area in the bedroom
The right closet is for the hanging of clothes. The space is rather limited
The right closet has more storage and an in-room safe
Powder area in the bedroom

Bathroom

The spacious white marble laden bathroom is enclosed with frosted glass, giving it a very clean and bright feel. Entering the bathroom, the walk-in shower separated by the glass is the first thing that greets guests in the Marina Bay Suite. There is only a regular shower head in the walk-in shower. Next to the entrance of the bathroom is a single sink with loads of storage area for additional toiletries that guests might bring with them. A bathtub sits next to the sink, in the furthest end of the bathroom. The bathtub seems rather low, however, when soaked in it, one would find it rather spacious. The toilet bowl is located next to the bathtub and opposite the sink. Even the toilet bowl seems a tad low.
Entrance to the bathroom
Walk-in Shower
Sink area
Bathtub and toilet bowl
Marina Mandarin provides quality bathing amenities for their suite guests

Meritus Club

Guests staying in Marina Bay Suites in Marina Mandarin Hotel are entitled to visit the Meritus Club lounge located on 21 floors of the hotel. The dark wooden themed lounge is a rather comfortable place to hang out. The lounge maximises the use of window to allow guests to sit by and relax. There is a substantial amount of dining and sitting area in the lounge. Guests get to enjoy breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails in the Meritus Club. As the lounge has a no children policy, the lounge is exceptionally quiet and a great place to chill. The food served during breakfast is a scaled-down version of what is being served in the breakfast restaurant, however, guests get to enjoy the breakfast without crazy queue and at a peaceful environment. The hotel serves sandwiches and pastries during their afternoon tea time and a selection of local food as well as some finger food together with wine and beer are available for guests during the evening cocktail at the lounge.

Meritus Club is located on the 21st floor of the Marina Mandarin Hotel
Plenty of seating in Meritus Club
A more dinning area in Meritus Club
Snacks are available all-day
More snacks for guests in Meritus Club
Afternoon tea
Evening cocktail
Evening cocktail
Evening cocktail
Buffet area in Meritus Club

Swimming Pool

The swimming pool in Marina Mandarin is located on the 5th floor of the hotel. The hotel has a mineral pool, which means the chlorine content in the pool is rather low. This is a great place to swim, with the amount of sunlight one can get at the pool and the poolside area. There are a large number of suntan deck chairs around for guests to enjoy themselves at the pool. There are several gazebos by the side of the pool for guests to enjoy at no extra charges. The pool itself is rather big and has a depth of 2.5m at the deepest end of the pool.
Entrance to the swimming pool on the 5th floor
Mineral swimming pool
A small pool for children
Great place for suntan at the pool area
Hotel facade at the swimming pool

Gym

Gym in Marina Mandarin is located on the 5th floor of the hotel. The smallish gym has a few treadmills, stationary bicycles and an area for weights. One can still get a decent workout at the gym despite its size. Throughout my stay at the hotel, the gym usage is rather low as it is empty most of the time (including no staff manning the gym).
Entrance to the gym on the 5th floor
Gym in Marina Mandarin hotel
Some gym equipment
Weight area in the gym on level 5

Breakfast

Guests in Marina Bay Suite has the option of having breakfast at Aquamarine Restaurant. The restaurant is large with heaps of sitting to cater for the guests in the hotel. There is a huge selection of food from local dishes to the more international dishes available for breakfast in the restaurant. As the restaurant is halal certified, no pork is served in this restaurant. The quality of the food served is good and flavourful, however, dining here for breakfast can be a nightmare due to the number of guests coming here for breakfast.
Breakfast in Aquamarine Restaurant
There is a huge variety of food for breakfast

Guests staying in Marina Bay Suite also have the option of having their breakfast in the Meritus Club. The variety of food for breakfast is limited in the lounge, however, the quality of the food is good. Having breakfast here means one does not have to crowd with the rest of the guests at Aquamarine Restaurant. However, the chef at the egg station seems to be producing a lacklustre quality of eggs. I ordered pouch eggs with no mushroom, which usually comes with a muffin, but was given just the pouch egg with hollandaise sauce. My friend’s sunny side up came with egg yolk that is damaged.

 

Breakfast in Meritus Club
Breakfast in Meritus Club
Badly made eggs by the chef who does not seem to listen to guests and shabby effort in making eggs

Service

The service in Marina Mandarin is impeccable. The staffs make me feel welcome and are eager to do their best to satisfy my requests. I requested for baby cot and baby bath amenities before my checking into the hotel, these items were already placed in the suite when I enter. When I requested for extra towels from the housekeeping department, the items were brought to my suite without me having to wait for too long. The staff who delivered the items to my suite were always smiling.

The great experience in Marina Mandarin started with the moment I stepped into the hotel for checking in. The staff at the concierge processed my check-in without me having to wait unnecessarily, after which I was escorted by another staff – Vivy to my suite. Vivy was very friendly and introduced me to the various facilities in the hotel. She even recommended me to try out the Meritus Club lounge during evening cocktail time for the food that will be served. At the suite, Vivy introduced the facilities inside the suite.

Whilst at the lounge, I met with one of the staff Maria, who was as welcoming as anyone else I have met. She kept on checking if I need more food or drinks during afternoon tea. Maria cleared the empty plate on my table as soon as I left my table. Maria was attentive and friendly. She shared with me her experiences working with the hotel and recommended me to return for an evening cocktail. Chatting with Maria is like chatting with a friend.

I am surprised by another staff at the lounge, Richie, who seems to have a photographic memory. My interactions with Richie was minimal and he only asked for my room number. I was surprised the next day, Richie recognised me and even welcomed me back to the lounge despite the short interaction time. This showed that Richie is very observant to all the guests who come into the Meritus Club Lounge.

Nurjarnah the housekeeping staff who made up my suite during my stay is a gem in the hotel. She kept the suite clean and tidy, ensuring that I have a clean and comfortable suite to return back every morning. Nurjarnah also smiled and greeted me whenever I saw her at the corridor. There were a few occasions I went up to her to request for additional bath amenities, despite her being busy cleaning up another room, she always smiled and fulfil my requests. When I apologised for disturbing her work, Nurjarnah assured me that I wasn’t disturbing her at all.

The star of the hotel during my stay got to be Vignes, the Duty Manager. Vignes was very welcoming and went all out to ensure that my stay was comfortable and without incident. Vignes will always come up to me and chat whenever he saw me around in the hotel. Chatting with Vignes is like chatting with an old friend. Vignes shared with me his experiences working in the hospitable industry and running a hotel from his perspective. I learnt a lot chatting with Vignes. Vignes never fail to check if everything is okay during my stay in the hotel and would get things sorted out whenever I made requests to him. Vignes even took the trouble to find me in the lounge to check if he can do anything to make my stay at Marina Mandarin more comfortable before he knocks off during my stay in the hotel. On the day of my checking out, Vignes came to my suite and bide me farewell. He personally processed my check out swiftly.

Overall

My stay at Marina Bay Suite in Marina Mandarin Hotel is a great experience. Despite showing signs of ageing in the suite, the suite is very comfortable and well maintained by the staffs in the hotel. The view from the balcony in the suite is superb, great even when sitting in the balcony relaxing. The suite is very spacious and the sleep quality is excellent on the king bed in the bedroom. The staffs are very friendly and welcoming and they are not stingy with their smiles. My guests and I had a great time in Marina Mandarin and I highly recommend one to check out Marina Mandarin.

Atrium in Marina Mandarin Hotel at night from the floor I was staying

 

[Accommodation Review] – The Fullerton Hotel (Postmaster Room), Singapore (10 – 12 Sep 16)

Location

Occupying the former General Post Office, The Fullerton Hotel is located in the centre of the CBD in Singapore next to Singapore River surrounded by office buildings. The nearest shopping mall is about 20 mins on foot, however, Fullerton Hotel provides regular shuttle service to the nearby shopping malls. There is an MRT station about 3 mins walk from the hotel. The Fullerton Hotel was accorded National Monument in 2015, staying here is like staying in a part of the history of Singapore.
The facade of The Fullerton Hotel from across the street
The Fullerton Hotel was accorded a National Monument in 2015 printed on its keycard
Hotel Atrium
The reception area in The Fullerton Hotel

The Room

Bedroom

I checked into the Postmaster Room during my stay at The Fullerton Hotel. The earthy tones of light brown and beige colour running throughout the room elude a cosy feel for guests entering the room. The three-panel wardrobe resembles a traditional Japanese door, with white panels and thin wooden trimmings. Although occupying but a small part of the room, the wardrobe is large enough for guests to put away one week worth of clothing. The panel immediately next to the main entrance has shelving and drawers, which gives ample space for guests to put away smaller pieces of clothing. Guests can also hang up their clothes in the two-panel wardrobe next to it. A small foldable stool can be found inside this part of the wardrobe for guests to put their cabin-size luggage onto. I was able to put away my duffle bag on the stool and have the wardrobe doors closed.

The corridor outside the Postmaster Room
Main Entrance to the room with the three-panel wardrobe
Space in the wardrobe to hang clothes
Single-panel side of the wardrobe with three drawers to put more stuff in
The wardrobe is located next to the main entrance to the room

With the wall that makes up the bathroom opposite the wardrobe creates a small corridor that leads guests into the room. Stretching from the wardrobe through the entire depth of the room is hip height cabinet, using the same coloured wood as the wardrobe the hotel was able to achieve consistency in the colour scheme of the room. This makes the room look comfortable and not too confused with the minimum use of colour schemes in the room. This cabinet houses the mini bar fridge as well as a safe nicely hidden away from sight. Right smack on the centre of the cabinet is the 42″ LED TV, which is placed directly opposite the King Bed. Facing the main entrance to the room, tucked away in a corner is where the work desk is located. The work desk is rather sizable and doubled up as a dining table for me during my stay there. On the work desk, the hotel provided a mobile phone which guests can use as a mobile wifi device. Local calls on this mobile phone are complimentary from the hotel. There are also various media inputs located next to the work desk for one to plug in their lifestyle devices to be projected from the TV. There are several options in the menu of this TV, including movies which are chargeable. Otherwise, guests can choose from the many local and international channels for entertainment.

Other than the TWG tea and instant coffee, the rest of the items in this rack are chargeable 
The safe is well hidden below the electric kettle
Mini fridge
Large 42″ LED TV
Some reading materials are provided in the room
A large workweeks cum dining table tucked in one corner of the room
Media input that connects to the TV located next to the work desk
Stationery can be found in a drawer next to the work desk
The hotel provides this mobile device that allows guests to make unlimited local calls for free. This can also be used as a mobile wifi device

The King bed is placed opposite the LED TV. The large bed can sleep thee comfortably and the sleep quality of the bed is superb. I had a great rest on the bed throughout my stay at the Fullerton Hotel. The pillows placed on the bed are soft, however, Fullerton Hotel does provide a pillow menu with varying degrees of firmness to suit their guests. I opted for the buckwheat and firm feather pillow. As I prefer firmer pillows, I find the firm feather pillow to be more comfortable. As with many international hotels, a couple of bedside tables are placed on either side of the bed. There is a master control on the right side of the bed which controls the lighting as well as curtains to the balcony. There is no lack of power outlets in the room, with two on either side of the bed. Placed slightly in front of the bed, tucked to the wall of the bathroom is a single-seat armchair with footrest. There is a small coffee table placed beside it. I find myself sitting on this armchair watching TV and reading a book whilst in the hotel. The armchair is rather comfortable to sit one. The placement of this armchair does not seem to come across as an obstruction for movement in the room.

A very comfortable King bed that gave me a good night sleep 
One of the bedside tables. The plush toy is not complementary
Armchair right in front of the bed with the TV and work desk
This panel is located on the right side of the bed that controls the lighting as well as the curtains to the balcony
Dirty spot on the telephone that was missed out by housekeeping staff

Balcony

The main difference between the Courtyard room and the Postmaster Room is that the latter has an attached outdoor balcony. There are a few types of rooms in the hotel that comes with a balcony. Furthest into the room is where one can find the door to the balcony. The balcony spans across the entire width of the room. There are a couple of chairs and a table placed on one side of the balcony. Though the view (the room that I stayed in faced an office building) isn’t that great, I enjoyed relaxing by the balcony as it is rather windy. There is no direct sunlight onto the balcony, making it my favourite spot to hang out. There are two double panelled doors to the balcony. One would have to be careful with the outer door as it tends to slam back, thanks to the hydraulic door closer. Not too sure if the glass panel of this door will shutter with prolonged slamming of the door.

Door to the balcony
Chairs in the balcony for guests to chill
I can see part of Singapore River from the balcony. The room I was assigned faces directly to the office building

Bathroom

The bathroom is located opposite the wardrobe and next to the entrance. The marble laid bathroom is rather spacious. There are two entrances to the bathroom, one by the main entrance and another next to the King bed. There is a large bathtub opposite the sink top, tucked in a corner of the bathroom. The sink top has ample space for guests to place their toiletries. There is a three-tiered shelf carved out of the wall that provided additional storage space. Next to the bathtub is a walk-in rain shower stall, enclosed by glass providing a wet and dry area. I like hotels that designed their bathrooms with a separate walk-in shower, which not just make showering easier (without the need to climb in and out of the bathtub for shower), it also separates the wet from the dry area. This means the wet flooring in the bathroom is kept to the minimum. Next to the shower is a toilet cubicle, which comes with an additional door.
Bathroom at a glance
The bathtub is very large, however unlikely some hotels, The Fullerton Hotel does not provide bath salts
Single sink in the bathroom. There is a lot of space to store additional toiletries
Walk-in Shower stall with rain shower
Toilet cubicle
The bath amenities provided by The Fullerton Hotel feels luxurious
Additional Amenities

Swimming Pool

The swimming pool in The Fullerton Hotel is located on the 2nd floor. The 25m infinity pool, overlooking Singapore River, is rather small. There is a Jacuzzi area built in the pool. The number of sundeck chairs available is rather limited. On a busy day, one can forget about visiting the pool. The Fullerton Hotel allows guests to use the pool at the adjacent sister hotel, Fullerton Bay Hotel. However, one is expected to walk about 5 mins to Fullerton Bay Hotel. There is a bathroom next to the swimming pool, where lockers are available. There are a sauna and a steam room inside the gent’s bathroom.
Small pool with limited sundeck chairs
Swimming pool area
The facade of the hotel from the pool
Steam room and sauna inside the toilet next to the swimming pool

Gym

Gym in Fullerton Hotel is located at level 1M, opposite Fullerton Spa. The gym is rather small, however, is well equipped with treadmills, static cycles as well as limited weights machine. Though not elaborate, one can still get a decent workout in the gym.
The Fullerton Hotel has a very small gym, but sufficient for guests to get a decent workout
Drinks and apples are available for guests using the gym

Breakfast Service

Breakfast is served at Town Restaurant located one the first floor of the hotel. There is no lack of variety served up at during breakfast. Other than the standard American and Continental Breakfast, there are also local fares being served up during breakfast. I find the providing of local fares to be a very good way of the hotel introducing local food to their guests.
Breakfast is served in Town Restaurant
Most of the food can be found in the centre of the restaurant
The restaurant serves up local fares on top of the standard American and Continental Breakfast

Service

The service levels in the hotel are befitting of five-star standards. As I arrived at the hotel during the check-in time of 3 pm, there is several guests waiting to check-in. Staffs were seen coordinating with guests, assuring them that their turn to check-in will not take too long. I saw a pregnant lady in the queue and thought that the staffs can do better by providing her with a seat or place her in a priority queue.  I did not have to wait too long to get myself checked in. However, the check-in process is rather slow and took about 15 mins, excluding the wait time.

Other than the slow check-in process, the staffs around the hotel seem to be eager to do their best to ensure guests have a comfortable stay. I called up reception several times to request for amenities and pillows. Whenever I called the reception for amenities or pillow, there will always be a call back to confirm that the items that I requested for has been delivered. I find this check back is a good way to ensuring guests get what they requested for. I ordered room service, before entering the room, the staff would introduce himself to me. I thought this is a good way of establishing rapport with the guests.

The biggest star would have to be Izan, a staff working at the pool. He was welcoming when I hit the pools. Izan offered to bring us to the chair that we wanted and even took the initiative to lay out the towels on the chair for us. I saw Izan working hard to provide the same service to all other guests coming to the pool tirelessly, in the hot afternoon sun. He religiously removed towels that were left behind by guests, rearrange chairs to the way they were on top of helping guests to the sundeck chair.

The staffs at Town Restaurant are very welcoming as well. I received a greeting from a staff member before being led to my table and handed over their colleagues on the restaurant floor. The staffs in the restaurants are very efficient and obliging to requests from guests. Coffees and teas came very fast, and no empty plates are left on the table. As soon as I returned to my table, the plates are already cleared. Staffs would pop by and check if I needed more coffee.

Overall

I had a comfortable stay at The Fullerton Hotel. The sleep quality on the king bed was superb, the size of the room is just nice. I particularly like the balcony and find it a great place to hang out. In terms of service, they are good but not memorable, except for a few individuals, like Izan.

[Accommodation Review] – Hard Rock Hotel (Deluxe Suite), Sentosa, Singapore (13 – 16 May 16)

Location

Hard Rock Hotel is located right at the doorstep of Sentosa Island, within the grounds of Resorts World Sentosa, and is one of the several hotels managed by Resorts World Sentosa. The hotel is located in the heart of the action with theme parks such as Universal Studios Singapore, Adventure Cove right next to the hotel. There is no lack of eateries around the hotel, making it a very convenient place to stay for guests to explore Sentosa Island and Mainland Singapore. The hotel is very accessible, thanks to the monorail system that ply between Mainland Singapore and Sentosa.
Iconic guitars at the entrance of the hotel
Hotel signage
Artefacts such as items used by rock stars were seen throughout the hotel
The corridor leading to my suite
Hard Rock Hotel signage on the ceiling at the lobby
Lobby
Spacious lobby
Charges of the rooms in Hard Rock Hotel Singapore

The Suite

The Living Room

Upon entering the suite,  a dark purple themed suite greets guests. The main entrance opens up to the living room of the suite. To the right of the entrance to the suite, one can find a dark themed toilet. The functional toilet houses a toilet bowl and a sink. I find this toilet a tad dark. Further into the suite, one can find a black dining table with two chairs tucked by the wall to the suite. Next to the dining table is the mini bar area, with a small bar fridge well hidden in one of the three cabinets. On top of the cabinet is a huge countertop with a sink located in the middle of the countertop. A Nespresso machine and kettle is placed on the left of the sink, while the cups and Nespresso capsules, as well as the coffee and tea, are placed on the right of the sink. One can find two purple single-seat armchairs located further into the living room of the suite. There is a huge coffee table placed in front of the armchairs. A LED TV is mounted onto the wall in front of the armchairs. The wall separating the living room and the bedroom is mounted with dark mirrors, which makes the suite looked bigger. I liked the high ceilings in the living room of the suite, making it feels bigger. However, I do find the suite a little bare without a 2-seater couch, making the living room look under furnished. The absence of a couch also discouraged guests from spending more time in the living room, as the armchairs are a tad uncomfortable to laze in. I spent most of my time in the bedroom of the suite. There are artefacts of rock stars apparent throughout the entire suite.

The layout of the floor I was put up
Entrance to my suite
The dark toilet next to the main entrance of the suite
The living room of the suite. The absence of a couch makes the living room look empty
Minibar area and sink in the living room
Minibar. The price of the drinks are rather expensive, a can of coke will set guests back by S$6.
Complimentary coffee and tea
Nespresso machine and electric kettle
Dining table in the suite
Close up view of the armchairs in the living room
Only 2 armchairs in the living room. No couch for guests to entertain guests or to laze onto
Reading material on the coffee table in the living room
Night view from the living room in the suite

The Bedroom

Entering the door to the bedroom, guests will find a King bed sitting by the wall greeting guests. The purple coloured room feels spacious with an interesting chandler hanging from the ceiling of this part of the suite. An LED TV can be found mounted on the wall to the left of the door (from the bed). There is a day bed fixed by the window for guests to laze on and enjoy the superb view of HarbourFront and the dolphin lagoons of Adventure Cove. From the window, one can see the dolphins swimming freely in the lagoon. To the right of the door is where one can find the work desk equipped with the standard fixtures like a reading light and the phone. There are limited power outlets in this area of the bedroom. Guests can also find a single sized pull out bed between the King bed and the day bed. The sleep quality on the King bed is great. Guests can be assured of great night sleep on this bed. The pillows are just right, not too soft to my liking. I was able to sleep peacefully and wake up afresh sleeping on the King bed. There are no side tables on either side of the King Bed, however, there is a long bench-like table that stretches from the King bed to the entrance of the toilet. There are no wardrobes in this part of the suite.

Very comfortable King bed greets guests in the bedroom
Day bed by the large window in the bedroom. This is a nice spot to laze in.
Work desk
Very limited power sockets in the suite
There is a dock for iPhone users on the work desk
Single-sized pull out bed
A very unique chandler in the bedroom
A long bench served as bedside table found on only one side of the bed
View from the day bed in the bedroom

The Bathroom

Separated by a panel of translucent glass from the bedroom is the bathroom. The bathroom feels a tad cramp compared to the bedroom and the living room. As one enters the bathroom, one can find the bathtub sitting on the right of the entrance to the bathroom. The bathtub is rather large, sufficient for two to have a romantic soak in. Opposite the bathtub, by the entrance to the bathroom, tucked into part of the wardrobe is where guests can find a small TV. Despite having a remote control here (there are three remote controls in the entire suite, one for each TV), I was unable to switch channel using the remote control. It seems that the channel on this TV is a duplicate display from the TV in the bedroom. There is no lack of wardrobe space in the bathroom, guests are treated to two large wardrobes in the bathroom. The safe and extra pillows and blankets, as well as iron and ironing board, can be found in the wardrobe further from the entrance to the bathroom. I find it a tad weird and somewhat inconvenient for the wardrobes and a ledge for guests to stow their luggage to be located in the bathroom. Having the wardrobe with the rest of the bathroom fixtures makes the entire bathroom feels cramp. Next to the bathtub is a single sink, decked with a large Hollywood styled mirror. There is ample space for two to stow their toiletries on the sink area. There is an outlet for guests to charge their electric shaver, however, it does not seem to work in the suite that I was assigned to. Next to the sink, between the sink and the bathtub is where the walk-in shower is located. The walk-in shower has both the regular shower head as well as the rain shower. I find the water pressure to the rain shower head is a tad weak. When I first entered the suite, towels are placed inside the walk-in shower area on one of the three glass shelvings, which I find it weird as the splashes from the shower would have the towels wet. Behind the sink area, in front of the wardrobe furthest from the entrance to the bathroom is where one can find another toilet cubicle. There are no lack of handles in the bathroom area for one to hand their towels to dry.

Huge bathtub
Sink area with a large Hollywood style mirror
Sink
A unique stand to store some of the bathroom amenities. The guitar brings out the “rock and roll” vibe
Walk-in shower. The placement of the towels here seems weird as the splashes from the showerhead might wet the towels
Regular and rain showerheads. The water pressure from the rain shower head is rather weak
Standard shampoo and shower gel in the walk-in shower. The quality of these feels cheap and does not give guests paying S$1200++ per night a premium feel
Toilet cubicle in the bathroom
Art pieces in the bathroom outside the toilet cubicle
Wardrobe with TV opposite the bathtub. This is one of the many lightbulbs that were fused and not rectified
Wardrobe outside the toilet cubicle. Guests can find bathrobes and extra blanket and pillow here together with the in-room safe. Together these wardrobes provide ample space for guests to store their clothing

The Pool

The key feature of Hard Rock Hotel Singapore gotta be the pool, which the hotel brings the beach into the pool area for guests to play with the white clean sand. There are several other pools for guests to enjoy their day in the pool area. Other than the Beach area, there is also a lap pool, a free form pool with a pool sidebar, where guests can order snacks and drinks, as well as a sheltered jacuzzi pool. There is also a pool for children with water slides and fountains for children. Beside the pool is a beach volleyball court, tucked at one corner of the pool area. Guests can spend the whole day in the pool area. Unfortunately, there is some sort of upgrading works at the time of my stay, the shower rooms beside the pool and the gym were closed.

Beach pool at night
Swimming pool in the day

Breakfast

The breakfast service in the Hard Rock Hotel Singapore runs from 7.30 am to 10.30 am. Breakfast is served at the Starz restaurant located next to the reception area of the hotel. There is ample space seemingly catering for maximum capacity for the hotel. There is a huge spread of food available for breakfast ranging from local cuisine to Asian cuisine to western cuisine, catering to a wide range of palates. Despite the huge variety of food available, I find the taste average.

Pastry section
Asian section
Dessert and fruit section
Pancakes and sausages

Service

The service throughout my stay in the hotel was nothing short of excellent. I was warmly welcomed by Yugen at check-in. Due to the time of my arrival, there is no queue and Yugen checked me in swiftly. Yugen also informed me about the location for breakfast and the timing of breakfast. He pointed me to the correct side of the lobby to take the lift to the level where the suite is located. Yugen even took the initiative to checked with me if everything in the suite was okay. When I highlighted that the TV in the bathroom was not working, Yugen took into account the time of my checking in and asked if I would prefer to have the TV fixed now or tomorrow. The staff came at the time I told Yugen the next day to fix the TV. The great service is even showed by the housekeeping staff, Lavinia, who is not just excellent and meticulous in her job, she presents herself as warm and friendly staff. Lavinia ensured that the suite is always in a pristine condition every time she made up my suite, she is also meticulous in ensuring all corners are cleaned. I took some ice from the ice machine the night before, Lavinia even took note to ensure the ice bucket (which was covered) is cleared of melted ice. She is always smiling and greeted me whenever I bumped into her along the corridor. Siew Lam the staff from the poolside issuing towels to guests was also great in her service. She remembered my suite number when I signed out the towel every day. She even advised of the best timing to enjoy the pool. When returning the towels, she recognised me and signed the towels in without me informing her of my room number. The hotel provided welcome fresh welcome fruit and a personalised card signed off by the duty manager of the hotel. The hotel also provides shuttle service to ply through the all the hotels managed by Resorts World Sentosa with 15 mins interval providing guests with the convenience of moving around without much walking. However the hotel does not provide complimentary wifi in the room and guests are expected to pay for each device hooked onto the wifi at a rather expensive rate, even for guests paying a premium staying at a suite. The hotel also does not provide newspaper for their suite guests.
Welcome fruit on the dining table in the living room
Welcome card
Shuttle service

Overall

In terms of hardware, the suite is very spacious and comfortable. The air conditioning the suite was excellent. However, I find the living room to be rather empty with the existing furnishing. The absence of a couch also does not make me feel like spending time in the living room of the suite, making the living room a wasted space. The sleep quality on the bed was excellent, ensuring guests of good night sleep and waking up feeling afresh. The service rendered by the staffs in the hotel is excellent, staffs were seen smiling and greeting guests. Overall I had a pleasant stay in Hard Rock Hotel Singapore, with the proximity to amenities and attractions in Sentosa, Hard Rock Hotel is a great place to stay.

 

[Accommodation Review] – Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa (Prestige Suite), Sentosa, Singapore (25 – 27 Mar 16)

Location

Sofitel recently took over the former Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa and reopened its doors under Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa in Nov 2015. The hotel is located on the western part of Sentosa island somewhere between the entrance to Sentosa Island and Sentosa Cove. In terms of location, the hotel is some distance from the major attractions on Sentosa Island, however with shuttle regular shuttle service plying to Resorts World Sentosa and mainland Singapore, guests are still able to gain access to some of the major attractions on the island. Since it is somewhat isolated, guests can be assured of spending some peaceful time in the garden hotel. The hotel has direct access to one of the beaches on Sentosa island via a stairway next to the swimming pool of the hotel.
Hotel Signage
The facade of the hotel

The Suite

I checked into the Prestige Suite for a long weekend staycation over the Good Friday Holidays. The Prestige Suite has a total floor space of 64m sq, according to the hotel website. Opening the door to the suite, I was greeted by the artwork of two sculptures hung onto the wall of the small lobby. The in-suite lobby serves as a walkway, separating the living room and the bedroom.
The lobby in the suite linking the bedroom to the living room
Interesting artwork in the lobby of the suite

Living Room

To the right from the main entrance to the suite, passing through a double-panelled wooden door, guests will find the location of the living room. Decorated in a soft earthy tone, the living room is a very comfortable place to hang out. Entering the living room, a study table facing the TV, placed behind a 3-seater couch greets guests living in this suite. Behind the work desk is a wall of mirror, which makes the room looked more spacious. Tucked in one corner away from the door is the minibar. The minibar is housed in a white roundish cabinet, which houses the mini-fridge, glasses/mugs, the coffee machine and the kettle. I find the design of this cabinet rather unique and the placement of this cabinet is accessible yet non-obstructive.
Entrance to the living room
I like how the work desk was placed to face the TV
Minibar counter
Fully stocked minibar. The price of the items is very pricey. A can of coke and a standard packet of Milo sets you off $7 (GST and service charge extra)
Glasses are stored on the side panel of the minibar counter
Minibar fully opened
In front of the work desk is a 3 seater couch, facing a 42″ LED TV. A good 2/3 of the space of the living room space is dedicated to this couch area. The coffee table is rather unconventional. The beige coloured square shaped coffee table blends in very well with the other furniture in the living room. The side chairs in the living room look like a smaller version of the coffee table, giving this part of the furnishing a retro look. There is a rocking armchair by the side of the living room. There are also a couple of shelves placed by the walls of the living room. These shelves served more like decor pieces rather than for guests to stow their stuff.
View of the living room with the couch and a rocking chair at the side
Another view of the living room with the TV
These shelves served more as a decorative item than for practical usage
Shelves in the living room
Outlets under the work desk, which is not at all obstructive
Welcome fruits and sweets were placed on the coffee table with a card signed off by the Hotel Manager
The suite that was initially assigned to me had garden access, however, the so-called garden access suite overlooks a carpark and a patch of dead grass. The view from this suite was so depressing and so bad that there hardly was any tranquillity.
A depressing view of outside the suite, facing carpark and a patch of dead grass
I wonder how can anyone sit here to look at the depressing view of the carpark and a patch of dead grass

Bedroom

To the left of the entrance tot he suite, from the suite lobby through another double wooden door is the bedroom. Extending the comfortable feel from the living room, the bedroom is also decorated in earthy tones, with numerous art pieces scattering around the bedroom. There is no lack of storage space in the bedroom. Entering the bedroom, guests can find a ledge to store their luggage. Beneath the ledge is a couple of drawers, providing guests additional space to store their stuff. next to the luggage ledge is a couple of wardrobes decorated with some art pieces, taking the boredom out of these wardrobes. The wardrobe nearest to the entrance of the bedroom has two parts to it. The left half of the wardrobe is where the iron and iron boarding is nicely concealed into the room as well as a short bar that serves as an extra space for guests to hang their clothing. The right panel of this wardrobe has a 4-tier drawer with the in-room safe placed on top of them. There are a couple of open shelvings above the safe. The wardrobe furthest in the room is purely for the hanging of clothing. The combined wardrobe space in the bedroom allows guests to store up to two weeks of clothing. The centrepiece of the bedroom has to be the super King size bed. The bed is large enough to sleep three comfortably. The sleep quality on the bed is superb, which is not too soft nor too hard. The sleep quality on the pillows are rather bad, my friend had a neckache after sleeping on them. The pillows are too soft for my liking. The hotel provides a pillow menu, the oddly shaped oversized square pillows offered under the pillow menu is hard to sleep on comfortably. I find even the firmest pillow offered on the menu to be too soft for me. There are a couple of bedside tables, built onto the walls, on each side of the bed. These bedside tables both have PowerPoint sockets for guests to charge their lifestyle gadgets. On the other side of the bed, there are more PowerPoint sockets, with international outlets that guests can charge their gadgets. There are also a couple of bedside lamps on each side of the bedside table. On the headrest of the bed, there are additional reading lamps that guests can use as night reading lights. There is a side couch placed beside the bed, near to the windows. This side couch is very comfortable both to sit on and lie on. Another 42″ LED TV is placed facing directly to the bed. The angle of the TV is perfect for one to laze on the bed and catch their favourite shows. There is no lack of channels from movies to talk shows as well as news channels and local channels that guests can choose from.

View of the bedroom with the wardrobe and a decorative chair
Wardrobe with drawers and shelvings for guests to store their belongings. An ironing board and an iron were nicely concealed inside the other side of the wardrobe
The other wardrobe where guests can hang their clothing in
There are no lack of artworks around in the suite
View of the bed and the side couch in the bedroom
TV facing the bed and the entrance to the bathroom
Powerpoint sockets in the bedroom. There are plenty of PowerPoint sockets in the entire suite
Powerpoint sockets on the other side table
Artwork on the headboard of the bed

Bathroom

The Bathroom in the suite is only accessible from the bedroom. The size of the bathroom feels a tad small, however, it has all the stuff that one needs. The bathroom is decorated in a retro theme, with bright mosaic colours. Entering the bathroom, the first thing that caught my eyes is the sink area. The use of mirrors in the bathroom makes the bathroom look bigger than it is. Despite being a single sink bathroom, the countertop is large enough for guests to stow their additional toiletries. On the left to the sink is a couple of cubicles. The cubicle furthest into the bathroom is where the toilet bowl is located, and the cubicle closest to the entrance to the bathroom is where the shower is located. The shower has both rain shower and regular shower head. There is a small ledge in the shower cubicle for guests to place the bath amenities. There is also a see-through glass that looks into the bedroom in the shower cubicle. For privacy, guests have the option of lowering the blind from the shower cubicle. Opposite the cubicles, one can find the bathtub. The bathtub looks smaller than it is. The bathtub is large enough for one to have a good soak in without having to squeeze into it. The hotel uses the luxurious Lanvin bath amenities and even comes with a large size loofah and bath salts.
Sink area in the bathroom
Toilet cubicle
Walk-in shower with rain shower and regular showerheads
A large bathtub in the bathroom
Toiletries provided
The hotel uses the luxurious Lanvin bath amenities
Loofah and bath salt are available for guests to use

Swimming Pool

The swimming pool in the hotel is a great place for one to laze and spend the day under the sun. The large pool is over 2m deep on one side. There is a safety line that demarcates the shallow from the deep area of the pool. There are plenty of chairs and cabanas around the pool for guests to enjoy. One may spot the resident peacock and peahens occasionally strolling by the pool. I found the temperature of the pool water to be warm, which allows guests to swim comfortably in. The pool closes at 7 pm which limits the time guests can spend at the pool area.
View of the pool
Large day beds and cabanas are available at the pool
View of the pool
View of the pool. The safety line demarcates the shallow and the deep area of the pool

SO Spa

The in-house spa, SO Spa, is located off the main hotel site. The spa is around 5 – 10 mins walk from the hotel grounds. Buggy service is available to ferry guests to and from the hotel to the spa. Guests staying in a suite room are given complimentary access to the outdoor facilities of the spa area. The outdoor spa facilities is a tranquil place to spend an afternoon. There is a smaller pool, where one can soak the sunrays by, or float on the mat found at the pool. There is also another shallower pool with artificial waterfall for guest to cool off the sun. However, the water in this small pool is a tad too cold. There is a mud pool at the outdoor facilities where guests can apply mud onto their skin to rejuvenate their skin and a separate pool to wash away the mud. There is also females only outdoor spa facilities catered to female guests. In the changing room of SO Spa, there are steam rooms and indoor jacuzzi as well as a cold dip pool for guests to enjoy.

SO Spa signage
The spa is located in a colonial building away from the main hotel grounds
SO Spa porch
The reception area of the spa
Swimming pool at SO Spa
This pool is a lot quieter than the main pool in the hotel
Another pool at SO Spa. The water in this pool is rather cold and the pool is only 0.9m deep
Mud pool. Guests are encouraged to apply the mud that is available and dip in the pool
Container with mud for guests to use
Outdoor garden at SO Spa
Entrance to Spa villas
Spa villas
Another view of the pool at SO Spa
Rest area outside the men’s changing room
A cold pool and jacuzzi inside men’s changing room
The steam room inside the men’s changing room
Shower facilities inside the men’s changing room
Lockers inside men’s changing room

SO Fit

The hotel gym (named SO Fit) is located in a separate building next to the spa. The gym is rather large and is very well equipped, with machines for a full-body workout. Other than the standard treadmills, there are machines for abs, back and biceps workouts to name a few. Water and apple are available at the entrance of the gym for its users to enjoy after a great workout. There is a shower area in the gym area for guests to freshen up after a good workout.  A steam room can also be found in the changing room, ideal for gym-goers to relax their muscles after a workout.

SO Fit signage
The lounging area outside the gym
Entrance to the gym
Well equipped gym
Well equipped gym
Lockers are available in the men’s changing room
Shower cubicles inside the men’s changing room
The steam room inside the men’s changing room

Breakfast

Breakfast is served in the Kwee Zeen restaurant located opposite the lobby of the hotel. Guests are treated to both local and Asian cuisine as well as international flare for breakfast. The Asian option is located in the outdoor area. There is numerous type of bread for guests to choose from, coupled with the generous choice of spread from better to an assortment of jams.

Kwee Zeen is where breakfast is served
Bread station
International cuisine selection
Asian selection located in the outdoor section of the restaurant
Decor of the Kwee Zeen

Service

Part of a hotel stay that is equally important to me is service quality. The service quality in Sofitel Sentosa has more misses than hits. The horrid service starts at check-in. Two days before my stay with Sofitel Sentosa, I received an email from Accor informing me of their online check-in service. This online check-in is touted to cut short on the check-in time required so guests can get their rooms early. I have done online check-in before my arrival at the hotel. I arrived at the hotel at the check-in time of 3 pm. At this point, queues are forming up with guests waiting to check-in. I waited in the queue for a good 15 mins before it is my turn to check-in. Despite having done the online check-in, the check-in process is slow. The whole check-in process takes around another 15 mins, which makes no difference between having done online check-in. The whole check-in process took around 45 mins, from the moment I started to queue for check-in, to getting to settle into my suite. Despite the Accor website’s claim for a priority queue for Accor members, the Accord counter was unmanned throughout my stay, making the claim rather redundant.

An unmanned counter for Accor members
The state of the suite was also unacceptable. Other than the lousy view of the carpark from the so-called “Garden Access Suite”, when we arrived at the suite, the air-conditioning in the living room was not working. The living room felt like a sauna at the time of our arrival into the suite. Initially, I thought the warmth in the living room was due to the hot climate in Singapore. After staying put in the suite for about 30 mins, the temperature in the living room does not seem to come down. I notified the “One-touch” centre and a technician came moments to fix the air-conditioning. After 1 hour of fixing, we were assured that the air-conditioning should be working. After waiting for another 30 mins, the temperature does not seem to come down. It seems as though the air-conditioning is not working at all. Technical staff came by after my call to the reception to fix the air-conditioning, which wasted 1 hour of our time.

When the technical staff was fixing the air-conditioning, I gave a call to the “One-touch” Centre to request for extra bath towels and bath amenities. A housekeeping staff suddenly barged into our suite without knocking or ringing the doorbell to place the items that I had requested for when her colleague was in my suite trying his best to solve the air-conditioning issue. I find this act as an intrusion of privacy and not professional for a 5-star hotel standard.

When I arrived at the suite assigned to me, I was delighted to find a welcome plate of fruits and sweets for guests. I thought this is a very good gesture as not many hotels provided such welcoming gestures. However, my delightfulness was short-lived. Together with the welcome fruit is a card. The card that was in my suite was NOT addressed to me, but someone else. I am not too sure if there has been a foul-up or the card was a leftover by the previous guests. This also left me wondering if the welcome fruits and sweets were leftovers from the previous guests and that housekeeping did not clear them. What is the point of having a welcome gesture and not addressed to the guest but someone else?

A welcome card that was not addressed to me was found in the suite

The lapse in service standards did not stop there. The “One-touch” service on the phone remains unmanned most of the time, especially at nights. I tried to order room service and request for pillows, most of the time I was kept on hold with no one answering to the phone call. The ringing went till the tone was dead for waiting for too long. Luckily I was able to reach the operator by pressing “0” (which I was trying my luck after a few unanswered calls from the “One-Touch service line”). The operator sounded empathetic of my situation and quickly took note of my requests.

Whilst at the spa using the outdoor facilities. After we decided to leave SO Spa, I approached an Indian (female) staff at the counter checking out if they sell essential oils. The first response I got from the Indian staff was “It is very expensive” in a very demeaning tone. I am not too sure if it is the hotel policy for its staffs to judge the guests by the way they are dressed (I was in bermudas, singlet and slippers). I find this response uncalled for and very unprofessional of the staff.

Amidst all the negativity, there were a few stars of the hotel which made me felt welcome. Firstly is Mr Steven, the uncle driving a buggy that ferried us to the spa from our suite. We managed to get through to someone from the “One-touch” service line after a few tries. Steven came and picked us up to SO Spa. Steven was welcoming and initiated a conversation with us. He even introduced to us some of the facilities in the hotel as he was driving us to SO Spa. His exemplary service does not stop there. After we were done using the spa facilities, we headed to check out the gym. As we were done, standing by the road wanting to get back to SO Spa to get a staff member to arrange a buggy service to send us back to the hotel, Steven spotted us. We saw him making a U-turn and came towards us, asking if we are heading back to the hotel. Such a gesture is fondly welcomed and a stark difference from the experience of the service we had in the hotel thus far. During the drive back to the hotel grounds, I mentioned a different room number to Steven. Steven can even remember the room number we were put up in.

Other than the housekeeper who barged into our suite, the other housekeepers we came in contact with were fantastic. In the evenings, there are a couple of housekeeping staffs came ringing the doorbell to our suite, presumably doing their turndown service. When seeing we were in our suite, these ladies passed us some cookies and additional bath amenities with a smile. Other than these ladies, there was a male Indian Staff who came after we requested for the pillows. After managing to get someone to answer the call on the “One-Touch” service line, I attempted to call them again to request for additional bottled water. As I was waiting for someone to answer the “One-Touch” service line (after attempting a few times), an Indian staff came ringing on the doorbell with the pillows that I had requested. After explaining to him that I was calling “One-Touch” service for bottled water, this staff apologised for the non-answering service line and requested me to wait for him to get back to his store to grab the water that I requested for. I apologised to him for making the extra trip, the staff replied with a smile and told me it is not trouble as his store is nearby. Such empathy from this staff astounds me. In the first place, he did not have to apologise for someone not doing their job. He did it anyway. He responded to my request for extra bottled water instead of brushing the request aside.

Overall

My experience with Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa was a mix. Despite the comfortable bedding and the spacious suite, the non-functioning air-condition in the living room of the suite we were assigned was a great disappointment. We wasted time in waiting for the air-con to be fixed, so much so that we did not manage to use the pool (which closes at 7 pm) nor the outdoor SO Spa facilities (closes at 6.30 pm). The surroundings of the hotel are rather peaceful and the pool was fantastic. SO Spa facilities and SO Fit facilities were awesome as well. However, the amount of service lapses we have encountered makes us wonder if Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa is worthy of its 5-star rating. There are more misses than hits during my stay at the hotel.

[Accommodation Review] – Hotel Michael (Deluxe Suite), Sentosa, Singapore (31 Jul – 3 Aug 15)

Location

Hotel Michael is located in Resorts World Sentosa, next to the train system that plies between Singapore and Sentosa Island. It is located at a precinct where eateries and entertainment, such as Universal Studios Singapore, the S.E.A Aquarium, Trick Eye Museum are located. The location of this hotel, as with other hotels managed by Resorts World Sentosa, makes it a great place to explore and have fun in Sentosa and Singapore mainland.