Singapore was the last major stop on our first ‘Mini Round-The-World’ trip using Aeroplan points. We had originally planned to spend a week at The St. Regis Istanbul but the political tension in that region forced us to make some last minute changes.
Having never been to Singapore, I found choosing a hotel less than a week before our departure somewhat overwhelming. The market is flooded with luxury hotels, all competitively priced, and all next door to each other. I managed to narrow my search to three unique properties: The St Regis, Raffles, or Fairmont.
The St. Regis was my first choice since I was previously booked at their property in Istanbul. I was originally planning to redeem SPG points in Turkey and was happy to find availability for free night redemptions at their location in Singapore. Standard rooms were available for 25,000 points per night, and eligible for 5th night free, bringing the cost for a 5 night stay to 100,000 points. Singapore had some fairly attractive last minute paid rates which ultimately dissuaded me from using my SPG points in order to save them for another when I may not be able to find inexpensive paid rates. Also, The St. Regis is located about 10 minutes by taxi from the city centre and marina, where we anticipated spending the most time.
After ruling out the St Regis I made a search through American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts. Singapore had no shortage of options to use the FHR benefits, but The Raffles immediately stood out as a fun option. Raffles Singapore is world renowned for its colonial architecture, impeccable service, and uniqueness in an otherwise very modern city. Paid rates through Amex FHR were approximately $700 per night, which included daily breakfast for two, welcome drinks and amenity, early check-in, late check-out, a $100 property credit per stay and room upgrade based on availability.
Definitely not cheap, but it was the same price as their best available rate through the website and the FHR perks definitely added value. Furthermore, Raffles was offering a 3rd night free for all FHR bookings, meaning we were able to book 6 nights for the price of 4, bringing the average nightly rate down to $467. Ultimately, however, we wanted a view, which the old colonial Raffles couldn’t provide.
Fairmont has a terrific loyalty program in my opinion. Thanks to the American Express Platinum Card, I was able to reach Platinum status in the President’s Club after our last stay at The Fairmont Chateau Whistler.
Naturally, I was curious to see what value could be had in Singapore for our 5-night stay, so I called the Fairmont President’s Club Platinum line and was instantly connected with a very helpful agent. The agent confirmed availability in a standard room for $220 per night, and added that I could use my suite upgrade certificate to confirm a 1-bedroom suite. To my surprise, the agent also confirmed that guests staying in any of the suites would be eligible to use the ‘executive floor lounge’ (Fairmont Singapore doesn’t have the usual Gold Floor).
This is unique to Singapore, as the terms and conditions of the program clearly state that certificate use will not grant lounge access/Gold Floor rooms at any Fairmont property. Lounge access has a lot of value, including: free breakfast for two, dedicated check-in and concierge, evening canapes with complimentary cocktails, wine, and champagne, and afternoon tea and snacks.
It was a really easy decision. For $220 per night I would get a confirmed upgrade to a 1-bedroom suite with lounge privileges. However, before booking, I did a quick search to see if any online travel agencies had cheaper rates than Fairmont was advertising. To my surprise, I found a publicly available rate for $175 per night, to which the Fairmont agent quickly matched, and further reduced by 10 percent, bringing my total down to $157 per night!
We arrived at Singapore Changi Airport at approximately 21:45 and were through customs and at the taxi stand within 30 minutes. Changi airport is renowned for its efficiency, cleanliness and friendliness of staff. Our first experience certainly didn’t disappoint. The taxi stand at the airport had a fairly long line, which moved very quickly. Singapore taxis are heavily regulated, with very clear pricing structure. There is virtually no risk of being ripped off by a taxi driver, unlike in some countries. Within about 10 minutes we were in a taxi headed to the hotel. The taxi driver spoke good English and had us there in about 20 minutes. The total cost for the fare, including airport/weekend surcharge was $28 SGD.
The Fairmont Singapore is nothing special on the surface. Built in the 80’s, this 769 room hotel could be any business hotel in any city from the outside. It is situated right above the Raffles city mall and MRT station, and directly across the street from the Raffles hotel. The location could not be better for a first timer to the city. The MRT connects all of Singapore and is the most efficient and cleanest transit system I’ve encountered.
We were greeted by a very friendly doorman who immediately took our luggage and showed us to the front desk. The main lobby seemed busy for midnight on a Sunday.
I was greeted by name upon check in and asked about our flight, etc. The agent was courteous, and efficient; two things I really value after a long day of travel. Within minutes she was getting the keys ready while explaining the perks of the executive floor lounge. She also thanked me for my loyalty, and explained the benefits of being a Fairmont President’s Club member. When she handed us our keys, the dialogue went like this:
Agent: ‘We have you in the north tower, on the 26th floor’
Me: ‘Great, how many floors are in the hotel?’
Agent (with a grin): ‘26’
We declined assistance with getting to the room and easily found our way to the bank of elevators just off the main lobby. We were surprised to find ourselves in a Junior Penthouse Suite with only a handful of other rooms sharing the floor. We were in room 34.
Wow. This upgrade really took me off guard. We walked into room 2634 and were immediately taken aback by the view. This was the most gorgeous view I’ve ever had in any hotel. The room featured two patios with 180 degree views of the city skyline, The Marina Bay Sands, and the harbour. It was absolutely breathtaking.
The suite didn’t have a separate bedroom, but rather featured a sitting area and bed with office space and television and Bose surround sound in a large open concept. The sitting area was large and comfortable and featured very high quality furniture and unique art.
The living area featured an adjacent patio with stunning views of the Marina Bay Sands, The Singapore Eye, and some neighboring hotels.
In between the sitting area and bedroom was the television and mini bar. The TV was large but lacked a lot of quality programming. The mini bar was adequately stocked and featured a sensor fridge- something I find somewhat annoying if wanting to store personal items. The hotel did have a small space reserved at the bottom for guest use.
The office space was one of the highlights of the main room featuring a very high quality desk and stunning views of the marina and city skyline just in front of the second patio door. This space also featured a matching bookshelf with unique books, guides, and magazines which were changed once during our stay.
The bed is amazingly comfortable, and features high quality linens and pillows.
The room is serviced twice daily, once in the morning and again for turndown. Four bottles of water and fresh fruit and provided daily.
The Bathroom was one of the largest I’ve seen in a hotel suite and featured two large closets, a deep Jacuzzi soaker tub, double basins, toilet with bidet, steam shower and a full sized sauna.
The Bathtub was deep and plenty large for two. The massaging jets were a great feature to have after a long day in the city. Le Labo Rose 31 bath salts were replenished daily.
The bathroom provided plenty of counter space around the double basins and had opening mirrors for extra storage. There was also a small television that could be viewed from the bathtub. Fresh robes were provided daily and were of the highest quality.
The bathroom featured two large closets and acted as the main storage area for the suite. The closets were plenty large for 4 suitcases and were well designed with a large space with hangers and different size drawers. The closet also housed the ironing board, safe, and umbrellas.
Surprisingly the toilet was not separated from the rest of the bathroom. The bidet was a nice touch but went unused.
Like all Fairmont’s, this suite came fully stocked with Le Labo bath amenities, which are some of my favorite. The suite 3oz bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and lotion as well as 4 bars of soap. The amenities were always replenished new during room servicing.
The hotel also provided a variety of other amenities including mouthwash, sewing kit, shower cap, dental kit, vanity kit, and comb.
The steam shower was enormous and featured 4 body jets and a wonderful rainforest shower head and separate wand. It was easily one of the best showers I’ve used and the water pressure was fantastic.
Unique to the penthouse suites are private saunas. Although I was initially impressed at the idea, the sauna went largely unused due to the tropical climate of Singapore.
Admittedly we didn’t take advantage of many of the service or amenities offered by the hotel outside of the executive floor lounge. The lounge was large, and seating was never an issue even during peak hours such as breakfast.
The breakfast buffet was large and featured hot and cold foods from various cultures. The food varied daily, with only a few of the staples being repeated. There was also an omelet station and various fresh juices and smoothies available. There was a coffee maker and snacks as well as complimentary non-alcoholic beverages available at throughout the day.
The lounge also featured a small business station tucked away in the back corner with internet, printer and fax services. There was also a variety of reading magazines and daily newspapers from around the world.
The pool area was nice, but felt a little bit small considering the size of the property. The Fairmont shares the pool with neighbor hotel The Swissotel Stamford and can get a bit crowded during peak times. There are two circular pools separated by a food and beverage outlet. The two pools are identical in size, although the one nearest the Fairmont is deeper and tends to attract less children, although there are no adults only areas. The sauna and hot tub are both located inside near the Willow Stream Spa, which we didn’t access on this trip.
The only food or drink consumed on property outside of the Executive Floor Lounge were two Singapore Slings by the pool. They were served quickly by friendly staff and came with some chips and wasabi snacks. The drinks were delicious and a must have while in Singapore, considering they were invented just across the street at the Long Bar inside the Raffles Hotel.
The Fairmont Singapore is a lovely hotel located in one of the best locations in the entire city.
It’s obvious that the hotel was built in the 80’s and is beginning to show its age in certain areas. Although well designed with quality finishes, the rooms in the south tower (including the junior penthouse suite we were assigned) are beginning to feel tired in their décor. Rooms in the north tower have been completely renovated and look amazing! Hopefully management will continue their efforts to the south tower.
That being said, I couldn’t find a single fault in service from check-in to departure. We interacted with various hotel staff and always found them to be courteous and professional. Being above the MRT was fantastic, especially considering the summer heat, and having a mall in the basement was great for little purchases. Having lounge access while using a suite upgrade is unique to this property and presents a lot of added benefits. The cost of breakfast, canapes and evening cocktails consumed likely surpassed the actual rate paid for the room. Unbelievable value!
I wouldn’t hesitate returning to this property, especially with Platinum status in the Fairmont President’s Club.
- Flawless customer service
- Exceptional Value using President’s Club Certificates
- Tired décor in some rooms
- Pool area can be crowded
- Extortionately priced minibar