Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel Introduction
Singapore is one of my favourite places in the world, but it’s super expensive. It’s not uncommon to see luxury hotels price out at $500+/night, so redeeming points for free-night stays can represent really decent value, and free up a lot of money for other activites, such as eating at the legendary hawker markets or shopping at one of the many luxury malls. Marriott has a bit of a limited portfolio in Singapore, in my opinion, so when redeeming Marriott Rewards for hotel stays you’re limited to two decent choices – The Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, or the recently opened JW Marriott Singapore South Beach Hotel. There is also a Ritz-Carlton, which looks fantastic, but it doesn’t participate in Marriott Rewards free-night rewards (the only property that doesn’t, to my knowledge).
Anyone who knows me knows I don’t like to stay put in one hotel for long, so for this two day trip I decided to stay at both points properties in Singapore, which would provide a good opportunity to compare the two! Both hotels offer Executive Club access for Marriott Gold Members, a benefit of my Platinum Card from American Express, though this will be discontinued in 2019 as Marriott implements their new program fully integrated with Starwood Preferred Guest. Both properties are Category 8 hotels, requiring 40,000 Marriott Points (or 13,334 SPG points) per night.
I decided to stay at The Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel on my first night as they indicated early check-in wouldn’t be a problem in my pre-arrival email to the property. My flight from Tokyo was a redeye, and while I thought I’d be able to get a few hours of sleep (I was wrong, by the way), I knew I would be tired and checking in early would allow for a quick nap and shower before going out to explore.
Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel Arrival
I took a 25 minute taxi ride from the airport (about 30 dollars) and arrived at the hotel shortly after 8am. This is normally where I say I was greeted by the friendly bell staff, but it was just the opposite. There were bell staff, but they were weird. I don’t think aggressive is the right word to describe them, but they were…… aggressive. The man basically ripped my bag out of my hand and huffed at me to go inside. As I walked inside I genuinely wondered if he worked for the hotel, as the entire interaction was really bizarre.
The entrance the the hotel is nice, but quite sterile and has ‘business conference hotel’ written all over it. The entry way is flanked by water features and opens into the main lobby, which features a restaurant on the left, and soaring reception area with seating to the right.
The lobby was packed when I arrived, mostly with business type guests leaving for the day, but the check-in counter was empty. I was greeted right away by a well-intentioned front desk agent, who apologized for the room not being ready, and instead she invited me to use the Executive Lounge while I waited. While I went up briefly, it was full of people having breakfast before meetings, and I felt stinky after 24 hours of flying, so I decided to hang out in the lobby instead where I felt a little less insecure.
The lobby of the hotel is really stunning, with lots of marble and fresh flowers. The soaring ceiling makes it feel like a very luxurious hotel.
I was in the lobby for about an hour, which wasn’t too bad since 8am check-in is a kind gesture from the hotel, and shouldn’t be expected. Thankfully there were plenty of power ports for my computer, so I was able to get a bit of work done while I waited. When the room was ready, the same front desk agent walked over and handed me the keys and invited me to contact her if I had any questions.
The elevators are located just behind the check-in desks and feature the same nice touches as the main lobby with contrasting marble and more fresh flowers.
My room was on the 29th floor, which was second from the top, so I thought I had secured a pretty sweet upgrade. When the elevator doors opened, however, I was a bit shocked at the condition of the hallway. I was under the impression this property had just undergone a complete renovation, with basically every common area and guest room refurbished. The 29th floor hallway was clearly missed.
Between the peeling wallpaper and stained carpet, I was beginning to wonder if I had taken an elevator to a different hotel, or maybe a different decade…..
Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel Executive King Room
Before I get into the details of the room, let me show you what I was expecting, based off of photos from the hotel’s website.
Pretty nice right? Clearly remodelled, fresh, clean, bright. Good. So it came as a bit of a surprise when I opened my door to room 2912 and found this….
Clearly this room wasn’t renovated, so I went down to the front desk to inquire. Now, let me be clear, I actually didn’t hate the room. While the light wood and furniture was dated for sure, everything was immaculate (compared to the hallways) and felt very high quality. My issue was that I like to review relevant rooms for my readers, and it wasn’t very helpful getting a room that 90% of other guests wouldn’t see, and is likely to be renovated soon. The front desk apologized, and admitted the 29th floor had yet to be redone, and said they would put a note on my file for any other floor on future stays. I inquired about switching rooms, but unfortunately they were fully committed, which I found very hard to believe since it was 9am…
** As an aside, a member of management did reach out to me regarding the room, and apologized for not making it clear on the website that some rooms were left un-renovated. They have since updated their website with a disclaimer that room images may not be exactly what you get**
Anyway, hardware aside, the room is basically the same as the renovated rooms. Layout, functionality, etc are largely unchanged – you just need to look beyond the 90’s design aesthetic.
The bed, like all Marriott beds, was incredibly comfortable and featured crisp white linens and quality pillows.
There were bedside tables on either side, with standard amenities such as lighting controls, telephone, alarm clock and in-room dining menu. Interestingly enough, there wasn’t a Book of Mormon, which is usually standard at all Marriott properties.
Beside the bed was a huge built in closet, which I actually kind of liked. While really outdated, the room design kind of grew on me, and in a lot of ways reminded me of the Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel, which while dated itself, remains one of my favourite hotels in the world. The closet space was enormous, and featured the in-room safe, luggage rack, iron, slippers, and plenty of space for hanging items.
The office space was really comfortable, and featured a supportive chair and plenty of plugs for electronics. There was also a large television mounted on the wall which could be pulled out for easy viewing from the bed.
Between the desk and the window was a small seating area with table, which featured a nice welcome amenity consisting of sparkling water, mineral water, and a bottle of red wine. There was no note, so I’m not sure it was actually a welcome amenity, but it was separate from the main minibar and I didn’t notice any of the items on the minibar price list, so….
While there was no coffee maker in the room (available in the lounge), there was a kettle and supplies for tea.
The bathroom was located to the right just inside the room entrance, and featured a separate soaking tub, walk-in shower and vanity area with single sink. Apparently the renovated rooms feature larger walk-in showers and no tubs, with much improved finishes. While the bathroom was perfectly adequate, I found the colours awful, and always prefer a partitioned toilet.
Amenities were plentiful, and toiletries by Thann (yuck) were provided, along with dental kit, comb, sewing kit, etc. There was also bottled water which was replenished daily, though in Singapore it’s completely fine to use tap water when brushing teeth.
The hotel must have had a problem with guests taking the amenity box, as there’s a sticker indicating the box can be purchased should you want to take it home (I don’t know who would… it felt cheap and wasn’t especially nice).
Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel Executive Lounge
The Executive Lounge is located on the 27th floor and features plenty of seating and a wide variety of food offerings throughout the day. Like most Marriott properties, the lounge was busy during breakfast and evening canapés, but was designed in a way that it didn’t feel like a food court (children under 12 are not permitted, which probably made a difference). Marriott Gold elite members get guaranteed lounge access, though that will be changing in 2019 as Marriott introduces their new Rewards Program and tier levels.
Full privileges of the lounge, open 6am until midnight, are as follows:
- Complimentary wireless internet access
- Complimentary continental breakfast
- Monday to Friday – 6.00am to 10.00am
- Saturday,Sunday and Public Holiday – 6.00am to 11.00am
- Complimentary cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and desserts
- Hors d’oeuvres – 5.30pm to 7.30pm daily
- Cocktails – 5.30pm to 9.30pm daily
- Desserts – 7.30pm to 9.30pm daily
- Additional guest access
- Gold and Platinum Elite members are able to invite only one (1) guest into the lounge. This is complimentary for the guest.
- Each additional guest will be charged at $45++ per meal period.
- Complimentary pressing service
- Complimentary pressing for one garment per day (non-accumulative) during your stay. The garment will be returned to you after 7.00pm the next day. Express pressing services will be chargeable at prevailing rates. The pressing service remains an exclusive service. It cannot be transferred or exchanged for cash.
- Food and beverages served are for enjoyment in the Executive Lounge only. Kindly refrain from bringing food out of the premise.
- To preserve the serenity / exclusivity of a Business Lounge experience, guests below 12 years of age are not allowed admittance. Children below 12 years of age may enjoy the Buffet Breakfast at Marriott Cafe at $19++ and children below 5 years of age may dine for free.
I had breakfast the morning of my departure, and found the spread to be decent, though not quite as good as some other properties I’ve visited. There were a few hot items and an egg station with made to order dishes, along with a variety of bread, cereal, fruit, smoked salmon and cold cuts.
I also went for the evening canapés and drinks the day of my arrival, and found the items to be fresh and high quality. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get pictures of the food, as the space was constantly full of people. The cocktails are complimentary and I was surprised to see a full bar service, which was a nice feature compared to most lounges which are self-serve.
Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel Pool And Fitness Centre
The hotel features a really nice fitness centre and outdoor pool, which is unheated, but gets plenty of sun during the day. The fitness centre is large and features modern equipment, along with areas for stretching and weight-lifting. There’s also a refreshment centre with towels, bottled water, and headphones.
The pool was fantastic, and featured plenty of seating around the perimeter, in addition to some cabanas (presumably for rent). The pool got lots of sun throughout the day, which made the unheated water very refreshing. There was also a poolside restaurant serving a variety of casual dishes and cocktails.
Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel Bottom Line
Dated room aside, this was a really great stay, especially since I was able to redeem 40,000 Marriott Reward points for a room that was selling for roughly $500/night, which translates to about 1.25 cents/point – very good value for Marriott Points.
The service was professional and friendly, save for the awful bell staff, who really stood out (While I was leaving I asked about where to get picked up by Uber, and the guy just shrugged his shoulders and said he didn’t know). Front desk and Executive Club staff were very friendly, if not a bit robotic, but that’s a bit to be expected at a business/conference hotel.
As for the location, Orchard Road isn’t actually my favourite in Singapore. It’s a mix of office space and high-end shopping, so unless you’re visiting to buy luxury goods or attend meetings, I think the Marina Bay area could be a better location for sightseeing. The Singapore Botanical Garden is about a 25-minute walk from the hotel, though transit from anywhere is cheap and readily available (and air conditioned).
Would I stay there again? Maybe, but probably only if the JW Marriott South Beach Hotel wasn’t available on points (look for that full review coming soon).
Have you stayed at The Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel? Where’s your favourite place to stay in Singapore?