WHAT’S IT LIKE? During our 10 enjoyable years in the Lion City, we attended many functions in this hotel, savoured several meals in its restaurants (especially Hai Tien Lo) and even slept over a couple of times. So we were really keen to see the changes that a S$14 million (US$9.4 million) refurbishment had made to one of our favourite Singapore corporate addresses.
We noticed first the relocation of the reception counter from the second floor to ground floor (an innovation also recently adopted by the Mandarin Oriental and Marina Mandarin, which along with Pan Pacific, form the triumvirate of John Portman-designed hotels in the Marina Bay area). This seemed to us a practical move as many a past appointment had gone awry with one party waiting in the upper level for the other who was cooling his heels in the lower level (mobile phones were still objects of desire at the time).
Likewise, the Pacific Club Floor has been totally refreshed.
WHERE IS IT? In the Marina Bay area, which began life in 1986 with the three hotels and adjacent mall, and was always a chore to get to from the more conveniently located Raffles City complex, until an underground air-conditioned link lined with shops (this is buy-crazy Singapore, remember?) was built in the late ’90s. The rise of Suntec City, anchored by a humongous conference facility, also helped herd traffic to the area. Now, with the nearby ambitious Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort taking shape (financing hiccups are being sorted out), Pan Pacific and its neighbour hotels – the Ritz-Carlton, Millenia and Conrad Centennial included – are very well located.
HOW MANY ROOMS? 778 guestrooms including the Pacific Club Floor (with two Loft Suites among others) and Executive Business Floors. Pacific Club patrons have access to the Pacific Club Lounge, which offers, among others, butler attention and 24-hour pantry services of light snacks, ice-cream and beverages at the Sunrise Lounge on level 33.
ROOM FACILITIES: The double-storey Loft Suite (pictured left) is much too spacious for the business traveller, who’s bound to be out of the hotel all day, but if he or she intends to call in the partners for meetings, then it’s an ideal category choice. Discussions can be held in the lower-level living room with a view of Singapore’s skyline and continued in the dining area over a catered meal.
A spiral staircase leads up to the bedroom that has well-defined sleeping and work zones. The bathroom is blindingly pristine and contains two sinks, couple’s Jacuzzi bathtub, shower and wooden sauna. Flat-screen TVs (37 inches) are found in the bedroom and sitting room. The only problem we found with this kind of unit setup is that forgetting something in one level requires making a trek up (or down) to retrieve it.
RESTAURANTS: We were delighted to find Hai Tien Lo still providing the excellent Cantonese fare (the crispy chicken is to die for) it has been renowned for since the hotel opened 22 years ago. Other cuisines are provided by Keyaki (Japanese), Rang Mahal (Indian), Zambuca (Italian) and Global Kitchen and Brunch for international.
BARS: The Atrium and Zumbuca stock a wide range of wines and spirits. Live entertainment can be heard nightly at The Atrium.
BUSINESS FACILITIES: Pan Pacific has made a sizeable effort to go after the meetings market. Its Executive Centre occupies the hotel’s entire 22nd floor, supervised by the Business Concierge who arranges anything from a hearty breakfast to laptop rental.
Wired or wireless internet access throughout the building allows guests to work from their rooms or three Business Offices in the Centre. Conference spaces, for varied group sizes and complemented by full-length windows letting in natural light, are available along with packages tailored to fit every budget. The pillarless Pacific Ballroom, off the lobby, can take up to 800 people for cocktails and boasts its own entrance, while the Ocean Ballroom one level up, can be divided into 13 partitions.
LEISURE FACILITIES: The Wellness Village is 1,858sqm of space dedicated to guest pampering, centred by a large pool ringed with landscaped greenery and inviting deck chairs. Other components include a gym, open-air exercise studio, spa with seven private therapy rooms, steam room and the Pool Bar.
PRICE: For a stay in the second week of January 2009, internet promotion rates start on the first night from S$290 (US$195).
VERDICT: It is good to see an old friend refreshed and armed for the challenging times. Top-notch service came from all departments.
CONTACT: 7 Raffles Boulevard, Marina Square, Singapore 039595, tel 65 6336 8111, www.panpacific.com
Margie T Logarta