While visiting Singapore late last year over New Year’s Day, I stayed at 2 new hotels in the SPG/Marriott portfolio ever since their merger. The first one is the Courtyard by Marriott Novena. Located above the Royal Square shopping mall near the Novena MRT, I am familiar with the neighbourhood since I used to stay in the area a decade ago. Across from the hotel is one of Singapore’s largest hospital, Tan Tock Seng Hospital and thus the hotel is convenient to get around town with an MRT station nearby and a plenty of buses and taxis around. Arriving at the porch, guests will be asked to take the elevators to the 22nd floor where the lobby is located at.
Upon exiting the elevators, is a small lobby with a reception desk where the process was conducted quickly. On top of welcoming me as a Platinum member, the check-in staff mentioned Platinum benefits includes 2 complimentary house pour beverages and light snacks at Urbana Rooftop bar on level 33 from 5pm to 7pm. Breakfast, on the other hand, was served on the Sky22 restaurant next to the check-in desk.
Room No: 2625 Category: Premier Skyline King Room
As a relatively new hotel, the floor plan is a basic rectangle with rooms on both sides.
Inside the hotel room, it was fairly compact (read: small) and aside from a wall mirror on the right side of the entryway, the bathroom with its open sliding partitions is the first thing most guests will notice. Basically the corners of the bathroom is actually open with 2 sliding partitions so the bathroom becomes part of the room and to make the whole room appear larger than it is. But it does result in a smaller mirror and inconvenience when guests have to close both partitions before a shower.
Inside the bathroom, there is a toilet that faces the bathroom and a separate shower cubicle where there are both a handheld and rain shower with a glass door. The shower cubicle is basic and can get a bit dark since there are no lights inside.
Amenities in the shower are supplied by a brand called Nirvae Botanicals. This was the same one I encountered in another Courtyard by Marriott stay and it felt like a generic hotel supplies brand that offers no differentiation.
The rest of the room is occupied by the King bed in the center with 2 bedside tables. Power outlets and light switches are located above the bedside tables while the bedside table on the right side of the bed extends into the window to hold the electric kettle and the hotel stationery and magazines.
By the window, there is a comfortable seating area with an elliptical glass table. There was a packet of chips as a welcome amenity here. I am not sure if the hotel had telepathic powers and knew my love for Torres chips or what but I am sure glad it was a snack I enjoy.
At the other end of the seating area was a cabinet with space for a luggage bench. The minibar is located underneath the bench. For such a small room, the design of the furniture works very well and the whole room feels like an Ikea showroom showing how to create useful storage spaces in a small setting.
Bottled water are complimentary here even though Singapore has safe and clean tap water to drink. It was easy to request for additional bottled water as well.
Since the rooms are much smaller than other SPG/Marriott hotels I have stayed at in Singapore except The Vagabond Club, I am not a big fan of the room size. However the views from this hotel has got to be one of the nicest from a SPG/Marriott property as it faces the greenery of the Thomson area with skyscrapers around it.
Breakfast at Sky22
Buffet breakfast was served at the Sky22 restaurant from 6:30am to 10:30am daily and the restaurant itself is a nice space to enjoy your food due to the bright space from the large windows.
Starting with the continental selection, there was a baked goods area by the entrance of the restaurant. There was several bread varieties with croissants, sweet pastries and muffins with a toaster for the classic white and whole wheat bread.
Located along the wall on the adjacent side was a fridge section which holds the cheese selection along with fresh vegetables, toppings and yogurt inside bowls.
Underneath the cheese and vegetables was the chicken ham and pepperoni selections. There was smoked salmon slices found here as well.
Next to the chilled foods area there was several bowls of sliced fruits with the choices being rockmelon, pineapple, papaya, grapes, dragon fruit, longan and mixed fruits along with fresh bananas in baskets.
Another chilled section contains plain yogurt which has been placed in small individual bowls along with bircher muesli. Cut oranges and strawberries are placed above these 2 for toppings.
The final chilled food section contains pre-packed yogurts like those you get in supermarkets along with fruit juices in large bottles guests can pour into glasses. There was fresh apples, oranges and pears in baskets that guests could grab on the go as well. An espresso machine sits next to the fruit juice chiller and it is self-serve for guests.
Other chilled beverages includes several kinds of milk placed in glass bottles and kept cool by placing them on a container of crushed ice.
For hot food in the buffet, there was the ubiquitous egg station and a local style chilli crab omelette was offered as a daily special when I visited.
Also found in the buffet was a noodle bar which is common in Asian hotels. This one featured a chicken broth for the soup and fillings choices that includes some ‘yong tau fu’ options.
On the buffet table, there was cooked side dishes like scrambled eggs with grilled vegetables, pork and chicken sausages, bacon, hash brown and pan-fried carrot cake.
There was choices like curries and paratha as part of the Indian selection since roti prata is a classic favourite of a Singaporean’s breakfast. There was a cooked broccoli and fried samosas as well that could work out for Indian guests on a vegetarian diet.
Chinese style choices in the buffet includes a congee station serving plain congee with simple condiments like spring onion, fried shallots and chicken floss. There was a basket serving steamed kaya pau or buns filled with kaya.
Side dishes like baked beans, mushrooms, boiled eggs and tomatoes can be found in the buffet as well. There was French toast beside the hot oatmeal as well.
In case the food are not filling enough, there was the option of steamed rice or fried noodles on the buffet as well.
As far as breakfasts in hotels go, the one here compares well in terms of variety. There was various made-to-order food stations and plenty of choices in beverages. The taste of the food is above average as well and I especially enjoyed the local selections like yong tau fu in the noodle stand, the prata and the carrot cake in the buffet and the wide variety of fruits available.
Other Dining Venues
Sky22 is the main restaurant in the hotel, but there is the Urbana lounge and bar at the rooftop area where most of the hotel’s facilities can be found.
The outdoor deck with bar table seating and deck chairs to chill out in makes this a very nice place to spend time in the evenings and early morning. Having a couple of beer along with some snacks would be very enjoyable while admiring the skyline of the city here.
Swimming Pool & Fitness Centre
Next to the Urbana lounge, the main draw on the rooftop is the small pool with several deck chairs around it. The outdoor swimming pool here is small but has a nice setting.
Guests could easily spend a lazy afternoon here with a book under the fine weather.
Also located on the rooftop is the fitness centre which is found next to the Urbana lounge. The small fitness centre is well supplied with fresh towels and bottled water.
With a small footprint, there was only limited workout equipments here ranging from treadmills and cycling machines to a weights area.
The best thing to enjoy from being on the rooftop is the vantage view. With most of the nearby buildings being lower, it was actually possible to spot Marina Bay Sands and the waterfront from the rooftop deck.
It was not just the skyscraper view that fascinated since guests staying here gets the greenery view of the Thomson area as well and that showed another side of Singapore.
Room rate for the night was around S$280 exclusive of taxes which meant the price was around S$300 per night (~$220) on a paid rate. Singapore’s hotel prices have gone up and this was amongst one of the cheaper hotel in the Marriott portfolio. It could be due to the holiday season, but I would definitely favour the older SPG/Marriott properties at these prices. Alternatively I might even go with other hotel chains since the small rooms here does not warrant the high rates. Furthermore, a Courtyard by Marriott ranks quite low in the brand pecking order and I would rate a Courtyard as a notch higher than an aloft or Four Points.