[Accommodation Review] – Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa (Imperial Suite), Singapore (15 – 16 May 21)

The Location

Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa is situated in a relatively isolated part of Sentosa, an island in the southern part of Singapore. The location makes it an ideal destination for staycationers and guests who wanted a quiet time during their stay in Singapore. There aren’t any eateries or shops within the vicinity of the hotel. The nearest food place is located at Resorts World Sentosa, a 20 mins walk from the hotel. Guests without cars would have to rely on the hotel’s shuttle service to get around Sentosa for dinner or confined to the restaurants on the hotel premises. There is a flight of stairs at the hotel’s swimming pool that grants hotel guests access to Tanjong Beach located below the hotel.

The Suite

This is my fourth time staying in Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa. For this staycation, I checked into both the Prestige Suite and the Imperial Suite. I have reviewed the Prestige Suite previously, and this review mainly focuses on the Imperial Suite. The decor of the Imperial Suite in Sofitel Sentosa Resorts & Spa takes inspiration from the  Orient-Express train service, embodying the epitome of luxury and travel that once ran from Paris to Vienna. The spirit of Orient-Express is well translated into the Imperial Suite at Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa. There are elements of train travel, and Orient-Express found in some of the doors and furnishings of the 190m² one-of-a-kind Imperial Suite in the hotel. The expansive L-shaped Imperial Suite spreads across five to six luxury rooms at Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa. It has elements of a typical Presidential Suite (although the hotel does not name this suite as a Presidential Suite) and is the highest category Suite in Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa. With impeccably designed rooms and halls of old-world charm, the Imperial Suite screams of luxury and opulence for its guests. 

The Grand Foyer

I was wow-ed by the grandeur of the Imperial Suite the moment I opened its main doors. The Grand Foyer, laid with dark blue marble topped with a carpet that ends just short of the powder room in the suite, screams of luxury and opulence. The warm yellow lighting from the chandelier hanging from the antique-gold ceiling shines onto the dark blue oversized carpet with “Orient-Express” embroidered onto it, coupled with the wooden doors from the study at the side, makes me feel as though I am being transported back in time onto the Orient-Express. A couple of cabinets on either side of the Grand Foyer provide additional storage space for guests of the suite. Sofitel Sentosa Resorts & Spa tastefully decorated the cabinets with art pieces that breathe sophistication into the Grand Foyer.

We were welcomed by an oversized Orient-Express carpet from the entrance to the suite

The Study

The Study is the first room that guests of the Imperial Suite see when entering. Located on the right side of the Grand Foyer, this enclosed space is a great space for one to do their work. The wooden French doors at the Study provides guests privacy and solitude for their work. The parqueted flooring and the choice of brown-toned furniture at the Study give it an earthy vibe. At the centre of the Study is a work desk that is sufficiently large for guests to place their laptops and documents while working. The Study is also furnished with two comfortable fabric armchairs allowing the residents of the Imperial Suite to host guests at the Study and provide an additional option for residents of the suite to read a book. The decor in the Study is by no means bland, exuding a heavy sense of French elements from the small table lamp to the decorative table placed in one corner of this room. The Orient-Express theme is also found in the Study from pictures of the train hanging on the wall in the Study. With such sophistication in its decor, guests will find working in the Study of the Imperial Suite a pleasure.

The Study in the Imperial Suite

Powder Room

I like the inclusion of a Powder Room in the suite as it gives its residents the convenience of using this toilet while they are in the Living Room or Dining Room. On top of that, residents of the Imperial Suite can maintain their privacy if there are guests over in the Suite. These guests would not have to go through the Bedroom to use the toilet. The Powder Room location is very well thought through during the design of the suite, and it is situated straight from the main entrance down the Grand Foyer just before the Bedroom entrance. The Powder Room is very functional and only equipped with a toilet and a sink with huge mirrors. Despite the minimalistic design of the Powder Room, it still looks luxurious with the wood colour walls and the green marble tiles used in the Powder Room. The toilet in the Powder Room does not come with a bidet function (unlike the one in the main Bathroom).

Toilet in the powder room just outside the bedroom in the Imperial Suite

The Bedroom

Further into the Imperial Suite at Sofitel Sentosa Resorts & Spa from the Grand Foyer, past the small corridor that houses the Powder Room, guests will arrive at a double panelled wooden door. Behind the French style doors lies the Bedroom of the Suite. As soon as I walked into the Bedroom, my attention is drawn to the King Bed and the two-seater couch, sitting on top of a red carpet with a floral design that occupies a large real estate in the Bedroom. The decor in the Bedroom is more contemporary elegant, but with hints of French chic in some parts of this room. The choice of gold colour theme in the bedroom adds to the luxurious feel in the room. From the king bed base to the headboard, this room’s gold colour is not too overly used. The king bed, placed by the part of the wall in which the entire wall is the headboard, is comfortable and offers residents of the Imperial Suite an excellent sleep quality, recharging them with good night sleep. I find the pillows on the bed too soft for my liking. However, the hotel does provide firmer pillows upon request though there are no pillow menus in the suite for guests to choose from. On the sides of the bed are two reasonably large side tables. These tables, decorated with retro French-themed glass lamps which illuminate the bedside gently at night, provide guests with ample space to place their lifestyle devices with the abundant charging ports and power outlets by the bedside table. The addition of the two-seater couch in front of the king bed provides an additional option for guests of the Imperial Suite to laze on being entertained by the TV in the bedroom or to read a book. Guests will find comfort being warped by the goldish brown fabric on this two-seater.

Bedroom in the Imperial Suite at Sofitel Sentosa Resorts & Spa

In front of the king bed, next to the Bedroom entrance, sits a TV console topped with a 46″ LED TV that offers numerous international cable and local channels that keep occupants of the Imperial Suite entertained throughout the night. I find the TV console’s height a tad too short that when lying on the bed, one can only watch the TV at a certain angle. The couch also hinders the signal from the remote control, which can only control the TV at a certain angle. The TV in the bedroom is the same size as that found in the Living Room with the same entertainment options.

A 46″ LED TV in the Bedroom

Residents of the Imperial Suite at Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa will be surprised to find a large walk-in closet in the bedroom. The walk-in closet is located behind a wooden door next to the king bed in the bedroom and provides ample space for residents of the suite to hang their clothes with hanging bars around this space. A reasonably large cabinet inside the walk-in closet offers ample space for guests ample space to stow the largest luggage one can find. As the walk-in closet is a tad far from the bathroom, I used this space mainly to put away the bags that I brought for this staycation.

There is a smaller work desk in the Imperial Suite, tucked by one corner further in the Bedroom just by the entrance to the Bathroom. The glass top with metal frame in gold colour work desk, fully equipped with power outlets by the wall behind it, allows guests to do some work in the Bedroom. The accompanying fabric work chair is very comfortable to sit on with its ample cushioning. A single armchair by the other corner of the Bedroom with an accompanying small side table provides guests with another option to read a book from. Together with the art pieces displayed on the shelves next to them in this part of the Bedroom, these furnishings further complement the luxurious French theme felt throughout the suite.

The Bathroom

Further into the bedroom, past another double panelled wooden doors between the work desk and the armchair, one would arrive at the main Bathroom in the Imperial Suite. Laid with a parquet wooden floor and carrying an earthy tone, the Bathroom in the suite is enormous. It is segregated into a wet and dry area. The dry area is the area nearer to the entrance to the Bathroom, where guests would find two sinks separated by the access to the wet area of the Bathroom. Each sink sits on a sizeable marbled countertop that provides ample space for the hotel to place the luxurious French branded Balmain bath amenities on each of the sinks and guests to place their toiletries on. Each sink area is furnished with a large mirror that covers the entire length of the wall. This is the first suite I have stayed in where I find not one, but two couches in the Bathroom, showing the expansiveness of the Bathroom in the Imperial Suite.

Entrance to the bathroom from the bedroom in the Imperial Suite
Double vanity sinks in the Bathroom of the Imperial Suite
Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa provides Balmain bath amenities for its Imperial Suite guests

Behind the sink area is where guests can find two additional closets for them to hang their clothes. I thought having extra closets in the Bathroom is an excellent idea as it provides greater convenience for guests in the Imperial Suite to access their clothing after a shower. Guests also do not have to walk to the walk-in closet in the bedroom to gain access to their clothes. These closets, together with the four-drawer cabinets inside the closets, are large enough to stow a week’s worth of clothing. Both closets are almost identical, except for the in-room safe being installed in one of the closets. The iron and ironing board are also tucked inside one of these closets.

Beyond the sink areas are the wet area of the Bathroom where guests do their showering. Tucked in the windowed corner of the wet area is an oversized Jacuzzi tub that gently massages the stress away using bubbles. The use of bamboo blinds at the window gives the tub area a spa feel to it. To take the boredom away when soaking in the tub, Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa install a small TV by the Jacuzzi tub to entertain guests. However, the cable and international channels found in the other TVs in the suite is missing, and this TV is only limited to local channels.

Standing Jacuzzi tub in the wet area of the Bathroom
There is a small TV by the jacuzzi tub in the Bathroom of the Imperial Suite

Opposite the Jacuzzi tub is where the toilet and walk-in shower cubicles are located. The white marble in these two cubicles gives it a luxurious feel. The toilet in the Bathroom is equipped with bidet functions, while the walk-in shower has regular and rain shower heads with perfect water pressures. I like the small ledge installed in the shower cubicle, which has sufficient space to place the bath amenities provided by the hotel and still has room to place personal toiletries and even a glass to place your toothbrushes in.

Toilet and walk-in shower in the wet area of the Bathroom

The Living Room

The Living Room in the Imperial Suite is located to the left of the Grand Foyer and is one of the largest areas in the entire suite. The use of mahogany coloured walls with an antique gold ceiling, coupled with yet another chandelier hanging from the centre of the ceiling, screams of poshness.  The French style highback couches furnished in the Living Room reminds residents and guests of the Imperial Suite the French root the Sofitel brand entails. The Living Room in the Imperial Suite can further be separated into entertainment and reception areas. Upon entering the Living Room, a two-seater highback purple French couch catches the attention of occupants of the Imperial Suite. Placed in front of the 46″ LED TV, this couch is very comfortable to sit on while enjoying the numerous international and local channels on the TV mounted on the feature wall that separates the Grand Foyer from the Living Room. The addition of a table beneath the TV provides additional space for guests to stow small items and snacks.

The living room of the Imperial Suite

Behind the purple couch lies the central part of the Living Room. The set of large golden brown French-style couch set furnished in this area compliments the chandelier and the purple floral designed carpet to exude classic French charm. The comfortable fabric highback couch set, comprising a three-seater couch and four armchairs, provides ample seating in this area of the Living Room for residents of the Imperial Suite to host guests. Right in the centre of this couch set is a large dark-brown wooden coffee table that adds to the grandeur of the Imperial Suite. The addition of numerous art pieces elevates the sophistication and luxury vibe in the Living Room. I find the number of art pieces in the Living Room is just right and not too accessive. The only thing I find a tad disappointing is the size of the TV in the Living Room. Due to the spaciousness of the size of the Living Room, having the 46″ TV here seem a tad too small, especially for guests who are sitting on the three-seater couch, which is placed furthest from the TV.  Looking out from the window in the Living Room, residents in the Imperial Suite can get a commanding view of the resort grounds and even the sea afar.

The inner Living Area for residents of the Imperial Suite to host their guests
The art pieces placed in the Imperial Suite gives it a luxurious feel
The 46″ LED TV looks a tad too small for the Living Room in the Imperial Suite
The Imperial Suite at Sofitel Sentosa Resorts & Spa has a commanding view of the hotel gardens and even the sea

The Dining Room

The Dining Room, located behind the Living Room of the Imperial Suite, continues the French-inspired theme throughout the suite. The two French wooden style doors on either side of the entrances to the dining room provide its diners with the privacy they require. When all the doors in the Dining Room in the Imperial Suite at Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa are closed, it resembles a dining car on the Orient-Express thanks to the colour theme on the walls green carpet. The addition of the chandelier hanging on the antique-gold coloured ceiling, together with the art pieces, makes the Dining Room feel elegant. In the centre of the Dining Room sits a long dark brown table and six comfortable fabric chairs. The size of the dining table is large enough to be able to sit eight to 10 people. Despite being one of the smaller parts of the Imperial Suite, the use of mirrors on the Dining Room walls makes this space feel larger than it actually is and adds to the luxurious feel radiating in the Suite.

The Dining Room in the Imperial Suite

Kitchenette

Past the Dining Room, guests of the Imperial Suite will come to a kitchenette. This small space houses some common kitchen appliances that one can find in a typical hotel room on top of the mugs and glasses. The kitchenette is furnished with a mid-size fridge, the top range Nespresso machine with frothing functions and even double sinks. There is even a wine rack in the kitchenette. Opposite the entrance to the kitchenette is a second entrance to the suite, where staffs can access from for in-room dining. However, during our stay, this door was not used by the staff.

Sizeable kitchenette in Imperial Suite with wine rack

Service

During this stay at Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa, the service received during this stay is impeccable and a stark difference compared to my last visit in Dec 2020 with the hotel. The excellent service started even before we stepped into the hotel. Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa honoured the Platinum status of my friend with an early check-in at noon. As soon as I stepped into the hotel grounds walking towards the reception, I was warmly welcomed by Aaron from the concierge team. He diligently ensured that all guests entering the hotel grounds did their check-in and had their temperature taken. Aaron then showed me the way to the reception for the reception team to process my check-in.

The service at the reception was nothing short of excellent. I witnessed what makes great teamwork during check-in. I was initially served by Synedrella (I hope I got her name right), who greets us with warm welcomes. As our room arrangement is a tad complicated (we had two suites for the first night and another night in the Imperial Suite), seeing that she was overwhelmed, Synedrella’s colleague, Timon, standing at the next counter immediately jumped in and helped her to process the check-in for one of the suites. Timon and Syndrella split the check-ins amongst themselves to not have to wait too long for the check-in process to be completed. As the arrangement for my stay involves switching suites the next day, Wai Wai stepped in to help out with the complicated arrangement. Wai Wai even went the extra mile to check if the Imperial Suite is being occupied at the time of our check-in and offered to upgrade us to the Imperials Suite if available, so we do not have to go through the trouble switching suites during our stay. As there is only one Imperial Suite at Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa, Wai Wai apologised for the inconvenience of making us go through the hassle of switching suites (although by no means was her fault). She also offered to send help with our luggage during the suite swap the next day, which we declined as we did not have a lot of baggage. Wai Wai promised a seamless suite swap the next day. Wai Wai honoured the benefits of Platinum Accor member status and gave us a late check-out for the Imperial Suite. The suite swap was seamless the next day, and keycards were brought to our suite when the Imperial Suite was ready for us to move into.

The service at Kwee Zeen was also significantly improved from our last visit. This time around, we were welcomed by Kour at the front of the restaurant, who immediately got us seats and even helped us swap seats when my nephew insisted on indoor seating. The staff at the restaurant were observant and immediately cleared the plates when we are done with the food. The team at each buffet counter were superb and always ready to serve up the choice of guests during breakfast.

The new government measure of dine-in restriction occurs during our stay, the F&B team at Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa were ready to comply with the new restrictions. I am impressed with the readiness of the hotel team in complying with new government policies. We received a call from Kour on the second night, informing us of the new measures and to take our orders for breakfast and the timing for our breakfast to be delivered to our suite. Kour was patient during the call and answered all my queries on the food arrangements. As the Imperial Suite has a proper dining table, the initial setup was for my sister’s family’s breakfast to be delivered to our suite to dine together. However, close to 11 pm, my sister told me that they wanted to have their breakfast in their suite. I called the One-Touch service to alter the breakfast arrangement. The team helped us change the arrangement, and the breakfast was delivered correctly and on time the next day.

On top of the great service we experienced with the staff at Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa, the hotel’s hospitality is also felt when we entered our suites. We were pleasantly surprised to discover a high tea set (which was not common in hotels) was placed in the Imperial Suite waiting for us, on top of a fruit platter and a bottle of wine. Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa also provided its guests with care kits comprising sanitising wipes and sprays, and hand sanitisers in each room to ensure guests stay safe during the pandemic.

Hotel Facilities

Breakfast @ Kwee Zeen

Guests staying at Sofitel Sentosa Resorts & Spa will be having their breakfast at Kwee Zeen restaurant, located opposite the reception. Unlike most of the hotels in Singapore that I have stayed so far during this pandemic, I am pleasantly surprised to find that breakfast is served as a buffet-style instead of pre-determined sets. Each station has a plastic shield and is manned by a staff readily serving guests’ choices at their station. There is a good spread of local and international options for breakfast at Kwee Zeen. Due to the new COVID-19 measure of banning dine-in announced by the government, which starts on the second day of my stay at Sofitel Sentosa Resorts & Spa, breakfast was served to guests in the room. Each guest is entitled to one set of the pre-determined breakfast sets, which was promptly delivered to the suite during my stay.

Our order of in-room dine-in breakfast for the second day of our stay at Sofitel Sentosa Resorts & Spa

Swimming Pool

There are two pools in Sofitel Sentosa Resorts & Spa. The main pool is situated in the heart of the hotel grounds, near the hotel’s lobby. The black tiled pool is large by any hotel standards is segregated into three parts catering for families with children and guests who wanted to do a few laps in it. It is also one of the deepest pools in any hotels around Singapore, with the deepest end of the pool measuring 2.3m deep. This is one of the few hotels in Singapore that has a lifeguard on duty. There is no lack of sundeck chairs and cabanas around the pool for guests to laze their day away. As part of the COVID-19 measures, Sofitel Sentosa Resorts & Spa control the crowd at the pool very well. Guests wanting to utilise the main pool are to make a booking for the usage of the pool. Each room is entitled to a 2-hour time slot per day. The other pool at Sofitel Sentosa Resorts & Spa is located off-site at the SO Spa premises. Sofitel Sentosa Resorts & Spa offer its suite guests staying complimentary access to the facilities at SO Spa. As the SO Spa is somewhat out of the way, I did not use the pool at SO Spa during my stay.

A swimming pool at Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa

Gym

There is a small make-shift gym on the hotel premises, occupying the lawn space next to the pool. The gym in Sofitel Sentosa Resorts & Spa is a tad small compared to other hotels or the SO Fit that it once occupies. Despite its petite area, the gym at Sofitel Sentosa Resorts & Spa is well equipped with machines and gym equipment that allows guests to do a decent workout. However, the gym was close due to new government restrictions to curb the rising COVID-19 infections in Singapore. When the gym was operational, guests are entitled to a daily 2-hour booking slot per day.

Overall

We had a wonderful stay at Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa. The Imperial Suite is tastefully designed with old world charm that blends the essence of Orient-Express and classic French elements. The suite is very comfortable in every part of the suite, from the Living Room to the Bedroom. I am most impressed with the Jacuzzi tub in the suite that relieved the stress and provided a great night sleep in the king bed in the bedroom.  The service is nothing short of excellent from the moment we stepped into the hotel to the time we leave the hotel. The hotel is also agile in complying with the new governmental pandemic restrictions. The only room type in Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa that I have not stayed in is their villa, which might be on my list the next time I return for another staycation.

[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 Sentosa Resort & Spa (Prestige Suite), Sentosa, Singapore (31 Dec 19 – 1 Jan 20)

Location

Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa is located near the western part of Sentosa Island, a resort island south of Singapore. Most of the attractions on Sentosa Island are located to the east of the island, hence Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa is very much isolated. The hotel does provide scheduled bus services to the other parts of the island as well as to mainland Singapore. Getting around the island is not a problem just a little time-consuming. The only other non-hotel establishment around Sofitel is the golf course opposite. This means that guests staying at the hotel, who are too lazy to step out of the hotel, will have to rely on the overpriced food options on the hotel premises. Being isolated also means guests can relax and enjoy the tranquillity the hotel offers and have a true resort feel when staying at Sofitel Sentosa Resorts & Spa.

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Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa Hotel Signage

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The main lobby of Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa

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Check-in counters in Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa

The Suite

We originally booked to stay in a Junior Suite, however, due to my friend’s status with Accor group, we were given a free upgrade to the massive 64m² Prestige Suite. The Prestige Suite at Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa has three main areas, the living room, the bedroom and the bathroom. As we were assigned the ground floor, the suite also comes with outdoor patios both at the bedroom and the living room.

Entryway

Unlike most suites in hotels where one will usually get a view of the living room from the main entrance, entering through the main entrance of the Prestige Suite in Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa one will come into an entryway. This entryway is situated between the living room and the bedroom, which both has doors for added privacy.

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We were greeted by an entryway that separates the living room and the bedroom

Living Room

The decor of the Living Room in the Prestige Suite of Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa has a heavy retro French flare to it. The squarish living room is cosy thanks to the use of the soft and fluffy carpet and the placement of the furniture, coupled with the use of soft yellow lighting.  A bulk of the living room is occupied by the lounge space consisting of a three-seater sofa, a soft leather coffee table and a couple of stools on the side. Tucked in one corner, by the floor to ceiling window, is a rocking armchair for guests to relax in while doing some reading. There are a couple of shelvings placed by the wall that does little than for decoration purposes. I did found spaces for putting small nick-nacks on this shelving though. In front of the couch is a large LED TV that features locals and international channels. Speaking of the couch, the couch does have a mouldy smell the moment we sat on it. There is an outdoor patio from the living room which can be accessed via the sliding door next to the TV.

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Overview of the living room in the Prestige Suite

Behind the couch, facing the living room is a sizable work desk, which allows guests to do some decent work. The low-back office chair clad in leather is more comfortable to sit in then it looks. However, I do find the placement of the power outlets on the floor a tad inconvenient for guests to charge their lifestyle devices. Next to the work desk, tucked in one other corner of the living room is the minibar cabinet. The cylindrical minibar houses a coffee machine, a kettle with complimentary tea and coffee as well as a fridge together with cups and mugs. I like the design of this cylindrical minibar as it can be closed fully, hiding its purpose when not in use.

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Work desk in the living room

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The cylindrical minibar is well stocked with drinks and snacks

Bedroom

The door on the left from the entryway leads to the bedroom. The retro French decor theme is also apparent in the bedroom, using mainly purple and soft colours, the bedroom feels cosy and comfortable. In the centre of the bedroom sits a large King Bed that provided me with excellent sleep quality. To ensure guests get a good night sleep, other than the comfortable King bed with its luxurious duvet set, Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa also provides a limited choice of pillow menu (the menu can be found in the wardrobe). There is a side table mounted to the wall on either side of the King bed complete with power outlets, which allows guests to charge their mobile phones and tablets. Opposite the King bed, sitting on a metal stand is a large LED TV with the same entertainment options like the one in the living room. The metal stand also provides additional space for guests to place small nick-nacks onto.

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King bed in the bedroom

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One of the two side tables in the bedroom

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Power outlets by the side table

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TV in the bedroom

Two wardrobes are tucked onto the wall in the bedroom. These wardrobes provide ample storage space for guests to put away their clothing. The wardrobe on the left mainly consist of shelvings and cabinets and is also where the in-room safe can be found. Despite having a small space for guests to hang their clothes, the storage of iron and ironing board here makes it impossible to do so. The wardrobe on the right mainly serves the function for guests to hang their clothing. Tucked along the same wall as the wardrobes and runs all the way to the door to the bedroom is a ledge where guests can stow their luggage. Some drawers underneath the ledge provided more storage space for guests.

The bedroom has a large floor to ceiling window panel that can be open for guests to gain access to another outdoor patio, complete with deck chairs and table. The view from the patio of the suite that was assigned to us leaves one to be desired as it faces the main driveway to the hotel. Nonetheless, this is a great place to relax.

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Outdoor patio from the bedroom of the Prestige Suite

Bathroom

The retro French theme that is consistent in the living room and bedroom of the Prestige Suite at Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa flows into the bathroom as well. The bathroom can only be accessed from the bedroom. The bathroom has a separate walk-in shower, tiled with predominantly red mosaic tiles, it features both a rain shower and a regular shower head. I like the fact that the hotel installed a fairly large stone shelf in one corner of the walk-in shower for toiletries and bath amenities. Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa pampers its guests with the luxurious Lanvin bath amenities. The toilet cubicle, located next to the walk-in shower, also uses retro red mosaic tiles making the decor consistent not only in the bathroom also throughout the entire Prestige Suite. The sink area occupies the entire width of the bathroom, features a single sink with ample countertop space for guests to put away their toiletries. The large mirrors installed at the sink area makes the entire bathroom feel larger than it actually is. Next to the sink is a bathtub where guests can soak their worries away. Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa provides its guests with bath salt for them to soak in the bathtub.

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A large bathtub in the bathroom of the Prestige Suite

Service

The service we received at Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa was good. There are instances where the staffs portrayed the hospitable value of the hotel. Queuing at check-in feels a little chaotic at first, however, the moment the staff processing our check-in realises my friend’s status with Accor Group, they immediately sprung into action and invited us to the counter for Accor Members to process our check-in. Another staff member got busy and prepared welcome drinks and cold towels for us. Our check-in was processed by a staff member named Harshpreeb. Harshpreeb processed our check-in with great efficiency and even escorted us to our suite and ran through every feature and corner of the Prestige Suite. We enquired about late check-out before Harshpreeb left our suite, and instead of calling us, the industrious Harshpreeb personally came to our suite and updated us on the information that we asked for. Our requests for additional bath amenities and ice buckets were met with great efficiency by members of the housekeeping team.

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Dedicated check-in counter for Accor members

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We were served welcome drinks during check-in

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Fresh fruit platter was provided in the Suite

Hotel Facilities

Swimming Pool

Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa has a very large swimming pool that guests can relax by. The swimming pool is also large enough for guests to do some decent laps. There is no lack of sundeck chairs and sofas around the pool for guests to relax on. Despite not having a separate pool for younger guests, the hotel did a great job by cordoning the shallower part of the pool to cater for their younger guests. There are more facilities at Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa, such as a gym and a spa, however, they are located in another part of the hotel that requires some walk from the main hotel buildings. We did not visit these facilities during our stay this time around.

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Swimming pool in Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa at night

Overall

We had a great stay at the Prestige Suite at Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa. The suite was large and certainly makes our stay feels comfortable and cosy. The air conditioning in the suite was great, keeping us cool amid a typical hot climate in Singapore. The sleep quality on the King bed makes us feel recharged the next morning. The service at Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa was great with staffs paying attention to details and made us feel welcome. Sofitel Sentosa Resort & Spa is a great place to stay and relax if one can overlook the inconveniences of its location.

[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.