This was the last hotel we stayed at as part of our one and a half week stay in Singapore. Being a Fairmont Premier Member, I had experienced upgrades in most of the Fairmont properties I stayed in. This time round, I reserved a deluxe harbour view room using the room upgrades and the 2 nights 1 free voucher. With the vouchers I got to stay at a nice harbour view room as well as paid a rate similar to that of Marina Bay Sands on a per night basis. Having been suprised by my last stay at Fairmont Yangcheng Lake in China recently, I was hoping for another great experience in Singapore. But alas, I was to be disappointed sorely at the state of this property. The first disappointment comes in the email sent by their reservations desk a week prior to my arrival which states that I was expected in a normal Fairmont room, though this was rectified with my original reservation slip.
We checked out of Marina Bay Sands and took a short taxi ride to the Fairmont Singapore, checking in at slightly past noon and it was quite a busy time at the reception so there was a short wait before a check in agent was available. I was given a Harbour View room as per my reservation. Check-in was as usual, and didn’t exude the warmth and very business-like, which was a neither bad nor memorable. It’s like ‘yeah you’re staying with us for 3 nights and then most probably, we’re not seeing you again’ that kind of feeling. One interesting note was how the check in agents were all dressed up in Indian costumes for the Deepavali weekend in Singapore during that time.
The hotel location could possibly be one of the best as far as it goes for public transport and amenities in Singapore. The hotel is part of Raffles City and has a convention centre, a large shopping mall, office tower and another hotel – the Swissotel – as part of the complex. Being on top of the major MRT or subway interchange in Singapore has its advantages as it makes it ultra-convenient to head to various parts of Singapore to sightsee or to go shopping. Various bus options are also available and it is within walking to distance to Funan IT Mall for electronics gadgets, the Esplanade for some shows and music, to the Esplanade Park and the Downtown for sightseeing.
After taking the elevator to our room, the first signs were ominous. The carpeting at the common corridor was in such a sorry state and really needed some renovation. This meant that the rooms had a stale smell and really needed some airing, which was lucky since I think all rooms have a balcony and for our particular room, the balcony provided a great view of the War Memorial Park, the Esplanade by the Bay, the Marina Bay Sands and the financial district of Singapore. It had a nice view of the city skyline providing an overview of the landmarks in the city which I liked better. Comparing this to the Marina Bay Sands view, I think it loses out only on height and aerial overview. The room itself is decorated in a contemporary style and had a more distinct character compared to Marina Bay Sands. The furniture was old and in need of replacement though the room was clean and comfortable enough. There was 2 large double beds in the room, a comfortable working chair and desk as well as a large LCD TV which could be rotated to face towards the desk while one is working on the desk. It was comfortable enough for a stay and seems very much business-oriented. Comparing the original prices of the hotel, though, I do think the Pan Pacific offers more value for the money given the much more impressive rooms and newer furnishings. There was also an extensive TV channel list as well as sports programming geared for Canadians with Ice Hockey showing on TV. The latter was nice since I do enjoy ice hockey matches, as I think they are one of the most exciting sports matches shown on TV.
The bathroom was also large enough and follows the room decor in its modern design, with stainless steel washbasins, extravagant use of clear glass and a bathtub which is enclosed with the shower cubicle in one end while the toilet is at the other end. The white tiles of the bathroom gives it a clean and minimalist look to the whole space, making it comfortable even while being old. Though not luxurious in nature, it exudes a certain style in the whole overall theme of the hotel which differentiates it from the cookie-cutter style of Marina Bay Sands. Amenities provided in the bathroom were by Miller Harris, similar to the amenity provided in all other Fairmont properties. It should be noted that I like the scent provided in the Gold floor rooms, as they are more special compared to the citron scent in the Fairmont Singapore. I might be wrong here, but I think no Gold Floor exists in the Singapore property or they might be fully booked during my stay.
Since our room rate does not include breakfast, it meant we had to either purchase our own breakfast or have it in one of the numerous cafes in the shopping mall, which was really convenient if one gets tired of hotel-style breakfasts. The hotel also had facilites like a swimming pool and tennis courts, though I think these were shared with the Swissotel property. The small scale of the pool on the top of the shopping complex also meant that it was pretty crowded and I gave it a miss after the spectacular pool experience at Marina Bay Sands. Being a business-oriented hotel, there was a good business centre located in the hotel, and as expected, charges were quite high for basic fax and photocopying services. The service at the centre was really good, however, as it was manned by a well-trained staff who clearly knew what they were doing. The good part of staying in a Fairmont property for President’s Club members is the complimentary internet and wi-fi in the room and in this property, one can actually request for the Adidas fitness apparels which allows members to borrow jogging shoes, shorts and t-shirts for daily fitness needs. Its close proximity to the bayfront means it allows guests to go for a morning jog along a scenic route before heading for the daily business activities. And if one chooses for an indoor sports, there is even an option to get the WiiFit to be installed in the room. I had the chance to try out WiiFit and it was installed promptly by a great maintenance guy.
Service and amenities provided in the hotel was really good compared to the Marina Bay Sands, as evening turndown service was provided daily and room was cleaned with requests for more mineral water attended to promptly without questions. The bottled water, though was generic distilled water with a Fairmont brand replacing the generic brand. I was also provided a platter of snacks for the welcome amenity, though it wasn’t really nice and I rather appreciate a good plate of fruits. The 3 night stay in the hotel was nice in a way that we were able to shop, eat out and have easy access to various places in town. The neighbouring CHIJMES has some excellent restaurants including Lei Garden for Chinese and Cantonese cuisine, and Gyu-Kaku for Japanese/Korean BBQ. Overall, if one can get low prices for stays at this property, it offers great location, though the property is in dire need of a renovation to keep up with the new hotel offerings from newer competitors. I do believe several hotels nearby like the Swissotel beside and Pan Pacific across at Marina Square offers a an equivalent room for a lower price. While it is one of the few Fairmont properties in Asia, it doesn’t seem to offer much recognition to its higher-tier members even though it offers some very good amenities like the Adidas fitness apparels and the WiiFit equipments.