Tried & Tested

Hotel check: The Fullerton Hotel

31 Mar 2014 by Clement Huang

BACKGROUND

One of the most iconic hotels in Singapore, The Fullerton is housed in a neoclassical landmark built in 1928. Prior to opening as a hotel in 2001, the striking granite building housed the General Post Office, The Exchange and the Singapore Club.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

A very elegant property that exudes the charm one can expect from a heritage hotel. The sizeable atrium lobby was initially disorienting, but as I familiarised myself with it, I began to admire its airiness and touches of art deco. There are graceful design details to admire at almost every corner of the premises, such as the grand pillars, carved ceilings and wood-frame doors as well as thoughtfully placed porcelain vases and floral arrangements.

WHERE IS IT?

Located on the south bank of the Singapore River, this property is just a few minutes’ walk from the Raffles Place, the city’s very first urban centre and today a financial hub. It is also where one can catch the Mass Rapid Transit. Further down along the waterfront there is Boat Quay, a restaurant and bar district. Across the Cavenagh Bridge lie the Asian Civilisations Museum, Raffles’ Landing Site and Singapore Symphonia.   

ROOM FACILITIES

I stayed in a Loft suite with two levels spread between the second and the third floor, and large windows overlooking Marina Bay. The lower level is divided into a living and dining area with a table that can comfortably seat six, and a study area with a good-sized rectangular wood desk, shelves of books (including a number written by the country’s founding leader Lee Kuan Yew) plus display cabinets showcasing vases
and sculptures.

This is also where the mini-bar is located, offering soft drinks (S$8-S$10/US$6.3-US$7.9), beer (S$16/US$12.7) and snacks. Nespresso coffee and tea are complimentary. By the desk, which faces the dining area, there are three sockets, with one of them universal.

The living area has a three-seater sofa and two chairs plus an entertainment cabinet with flat-screen TV, Blu-ray player and a sound system with iPod docking. From here, the tall original French doors open out to the balcony overlooking Fullerton Road. By the main door, there is a small wardrobe and a guest bathroom. The layout makes the lower level ideal for private meetings.

Accessible by a curved staircase, the upper level houses the bedroom, which features a master marble bathroom with bathtub, individual shower stall and two sinks, and a door that delivers an exit to the third floor. The mezzanine setup enables you to look down to the living area, and through the large wood-frame doors out to Marina Bay. The curtains, when drawn, make the space feel like a cosy bedroom on its own. The bedside light control works the whole upper level but not the lower level. A minor problem with this setup is services all come through the main door so I did have to run between the two floors from time to time.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS

Dining options at the hotel include modern Chinese fare at Jade; international all day dining at Town Restaurant, where the breakfast buffet is served; The Courtyard lobby lounge for light meals, afternoon tea, a chocolate buffet and cocktails; and The Lighthouse Restaurant & Rooftop Bar for fine Italian dining and alfresco wining. Featuring a lofty coffered ceiling and original wall motifs from the General Post Office, The Post Bar is the perfect place for quick bites over drinks.

Outdoor infinity pool

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES

There are nine distinctively furnished function rooms as well as The Ballroom for up to 480 guests in a banquet setting, The Straits Room for up to 200 in a reception, and the outdoor East Garden.

The recently renovated Straits Club, reminiscent of an enclosed verandah, is where a more exclusive breakfast is served with champagne, while evening cocktails with canapés are also served here. It’s also a respectable place to meet clients, although when we used the facility, service was at times slow and a little erratic.

LEISURE FACILITIES

Perhaps one of the most striking features of the hotel is the outdoor infinity pool that looks at the building’s colonial façade on one side, and the city skyline on the other. There is also a decent-size gym with all you need for a good workout, and The Spa Artisan for Asian spa treatments. The Fullerton Heritage Gallery features an exhibition detailing the history of the area, and there are also free guided heritage tours on offer.

VERDICT

You pay a premium to stay here, but if you plan to meet important clients when you’re in town, or want to have meetings in the Straits Club or even your own duplex, this is the hotel where you know you’re well set up.


FACT FILE

  • HOW MANY ROOMS? There are 400 rooms and suites, with five different room types from the entry-level Post Master to Esplanade, located on the top floor of the hotel. Grandest of all is the 199 sqm presidential suite with its own private elevator. 
  • HIGHLIGHTS The historical charm, prime location and stunning outdoor infinity pool.
  • PRICE Internet rates for a Loft suite inclusive of Straits Club access with free breakfast, in-room internet access and evening cocktails for a flexible mid-week stay in May start from S$500 (US$395.4) per night.
  • CONTACT 1 Fullerton Square, Singapore; tel +65 6733 8388; www.fullertonhotel.com

Reggie Ho

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