Unbelievable value

30 Jun 2006 by intern11

Singapore's four-star properties are redefining the meaning of luxury with their designer interiors and range of corporate-oriented benefits. Margie T Logarta checks them out

Mid-range properties in Singapore are offering value like never seen before. Accompanying the rates are staple perks such as breakfast in the coffee shop, pressing of at least one garment set, welcome drink and fruit platter and use of the swimming pool and gym. And it’s not uncommon that for the rate of a standard room in a five-star hotel, a four-star establishment would offer travellers the luxury of club floor accommodation and extra benefits like complimentary in-room broadband and free use of club lounge meeting room (sometimes up to two hours). Certainly, this is a welcome boon for customers, many of whom belong to small or medium-sized companies, and hence, have to keep an eye on expenses. Circumstances are also on their side as past years have seen these smaller hotels embark on and complete major refurbishments with spectacular results. It’s now a bit hard to tell who’s not in the deluxe category anymore. One thing for sure, competition will forever drive hoteliers to improve, and that can only be good for the market. 

Amara Hotel

What’s it like? Clean lines permeate the property, starting with the spacious lobby. Front office staff are very switched on.

Where is it? In a quiet area of Chinatown but a skip away from an MTR station and the marvelous Maxwell hawker centre.

How many rooms? 380 guestrooms, including the airy Tropical 6 rooms near the spa and pool.

Room facilities: Shower stall and tub, electronic safe, cable TV. Broadband connection though tended to be slow to connect, a problem being addressed.

Business facilities:
Column-free ballroom seating 850 classroom style with fibre optic ceiling; business centre on the premises.

Five, with the newest Hue Restobar offering authentic Vietnamese in air-con or alfresco surrounds; Café Oriental is 24 hours.

Hue and Alphabet has the fine wines, liquor, cigars and band music.

Leisure facilities:
Balinese style pool good for laps and the Apsara Spa for toning seaweed wraps.

Bells & whistles:
Unbeatable location near an MRT station and great dining experiences.

Internet deals for a first week of August stay from S$175 (US$109.8)

Contact: 165 Tanjong Pagar Road, S088539, tel 65 6879 2608, www.amarahotels.com


What’s it like? A two-year renovation has yielded a much improved and expanded product

Where is it? A landmark in the city’s Historic Distict and walking distance to Raffles City shopping malls and Suntec exhibition complex.

Number of rooms?
630 guestrooms occupying the newly refurbished Premier Wing and the original Carlton Wing.

Room facilities: Large picture windows, broadband internet access, IDD lines with bathroom extension and in-room safe.

Business facilities: Full secretarial services at the business centre and meeting space for 10 to 400 delegates.

Multi-awarded Wah Lok Cantonese Restaurant is still a foodie magnet, while Café Vic and its new sister Café Vic Terrace display popular local fare in open-kitchen style.

Palm-fringed Lobby Lounge invites quiet talks, while it’s definitely chill out time at the Pool Bar (also known for steamboat).

Leisure facilities: Outdoor pool with two-tiered sundeck, modern gym and steam and sauna and massage therapies.

Bells & whistles:
A fine renovation job that blends contemporary feel and cosy elegance.

Price: Internet deals for a first week of August stay from S$160 (US$100)

Contact: 76 Bras Basah Road, S189558, tel 65 6338 8333, www.carlton-hotel.net

Copthorne King’s Hotel

What’s it like? Bougainvilla-decked balconies provide a refreshing change from the usual glass and concrete structures nearby.

Where is it? Opposite the Singapore River and a short ride away from Chinatown and Orchard Road.

How many rooms?
314 newly renovated guestrooms with the Superior Plus Rooms a standout.

Business facilities: 5 multi-purpose function rooms and a guest hospitality room and a business centre.

Tien Court serves authentic Chinese cuisine, while the Penang buffet of Princess Terrace Café remains unrivalled since the 1970s.

Bar: Connections Lounge feautures live band music after early evening.

Leisure facilities: Outdoor swimming pool and sundeck and gym.
Bells & whistles: The Penang cuisine at Princess Terrace Café – may it continue for many more years.

Price: Internet deals for a first week of August stay from S$150 (US$94)

403 Havelock Road, S169632, tel 65 6733 0011, www.copthornekings.com.sg

Holiday Inn Atrium

What’s it like? Enormous lobby features a soaring atrium ringed with Tivoli lights.

Where is it? Near Tiong Barhu estate famous for its Bird Corner and hawker centres, Chinatown and Orchard Road.

How many rooms? 515 guestrooms, including 18 suites.

Room facilities: Wireless broadband access, IDD lines with bathroom extension, satellite TV channels, radio, hair dryer, iron and ironing board(?).

Business facilities:
Atrium Suite is for 12 persons and comes with a lounge and bar; a range of meeting rooms and Atrium Ballroom seating 480 guests.

Restaurants: The Melting Pot, resembling Old Singapore’s kopitiam, dishes up mouth-watering hawker fare like laksa, while Xin Cuisine is for Cantonese and dim sum.

Bar: The Lobby Lounge rocks nightly with sounds from the Filipino band.

Leisure facilities: Gym looks out to the pool; an tennis court is on the premises.

Bells & whistles: Authentic Singapore fare in the long-running Melting Pot that keeps diners coming back for more.

Internet deals for a first week of August stay from S$144 (US$90).

317 Outram Road, S169075, tel 65 6733 0188, www.holiday-inn.com/atrium-sin

M Hotel

What’s it like? Style and function blend seamlessly. Dominating the lobby is a huge bull sculpture, probably representing Singapore’s robust fortunes.

Where is it? Within walking distance of government and commercial offices, Shenton Way and the Port of Singapore.

How many rooms? 413 guestrooms and suites, including 67 Club Rooms which have access to the Club Lounge.

Room facilities:
High-speed broadband connection, cordless phone, bath and separate shower and flat-screen TV

Business facilities: Wide range of secretarial services is available at the business centre; exclusive serviced offices can be rented on flexible lease terms.

Café 2000 is for all-day dining; The Buffet attracts for steamboat and Restaurant J lay s out Chef Toshi’s Japanese delicacies.

Bar: Chill out at sunset at J Bar or relax over different kinds of tea at the Tea Bar in the lobby.

Leisure facilities: Pool is open from 0630-2200; The Waterfloor contains a spa offering hydrotherapies and luxurious suites.

Bells & whistles: Stylish room interiors that provide comfort and work conducive environment.

Price: Internet deals for a first week of August stay from S$200 (US$125)

81 Anson Road, S079908, tel 65 6224 1133, www.m-hotel.com

Orchard Parade

What’s it like? The Mediterranean ambience is clearly evident with its low ceilings and earthy interiors.

Where is it? On the doorstep of Orchard Road’s retails and dining attractions.

How many rooms? 387 guestrooms including Executive Club Rooms and Suites.

Room facilities:
High-speed internet connection, wake-up call service, air-con and radio with remote control, coffee-and-tea making facilities, hairdryer and electronic safe among others

Business facilities: Meeting rooms for 10 until 300 persons.

Restaurants: Mexican at Chico’s & Charlie’s, Steak at Stuart Anderson’s Black Angus and Chinese at Club Chinois.

Bar: Three: Lobby Lounge, Manchester United Red Café/Devil’s Bar and Modesto’s

Leisure facilities: Gym, outdoor swimming pool and services of tour consultant in the lobby.

Bells & whistles: Location, location, location.

Internet deals for a first week of August stay from S$155 (US$97).

1 Tanglin Road, S247905, tel 65 6737 1133, www.orchardparade.com.sg

Plaza Parkroyal

What’s it like? Renovation has lightened up a formerly staid-looking product, giving it a cool and contemporary feel.

Where is it?
Suntec City is just down the road and so is Bugis Junction shopping complex.

How many rooms? 341 guestrooms and suites.

Room facilities: Broadband internet access, IDD lines and voicemail, cable and movie channels and tea and coffee-making facilities.

Business facilities: Full-serviced business centre, ballroom for 200 for cocktails and five meeting rooms and the poolside.

Restaurants: Famous Si Chuan Dou Retraurant and Tian Fu Teahouse command a loyal following; Plaza Brasserie is all day dining.

Bar: Unwind at Club 5 with live music in the evenings.

Leisure facilities: State-of-the-art gym, ap swimming pool, sundeck, aerobics studio, health bar and Indonesian style spa.

Bells and whistles: It’s quiet but accessible location makes it ideal for those who avoid bustling areas.

Price: Internet deals for a first week of August stay start from S$180 (US$112.93)

Contact: 7500A Beach Road, S199591, tel 65 6298 0011, www.plaza.singapore.parkroyalhotels.com

Rendezvous Hotel

What’s it like? Open-air courtyard lends a quaint charm as does the patterned rug in the lobby and classic furniture.

Where is it?
In the city’s historic section and near to landmarks like Orchard Road, Singapore Art Museum and the National Library.

How many rooms?
299 guestrooms in the Deluxe, Premier and Plaza Club categories.

Room facilities:
Both wi-fi and broadband internet access, in-room safes, IDD lines, iron and ironing board, hairdryers and cable TV and movies.

Business facilities:
7 function rooms accommodating from 7-240 persons.

Straits Café is always packed for its international buffet spread, while Gourmet Gallery also does well because of its regional fare.

Palong Lobby Bar looks out onto the courtyard.

Leisure facilities: Gym and sauna, Balinese-inspired pool, and outdoor Jacuzzi

Bells & whistles:
You never feel overwhelmed in this cosy property.

9 Bras Basah Road, S1895559, tel 65 6336 0220, www.rendezvoushotel.com

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