A multi-million dollar refurbishment – its first since opening in 1987 – has done away with the confusing two-lobby design, which, in the past, led to some missed appointments with one party waiting on the ground level, while the other party waited on the fourth storey where check-in used to be located). Now, there is only a single guest entrance. The water features and atrium, designed by renowned architect John Portman, have been retained, while brighter and strategically placed lighting create a lively sense of arrival.


One of the triumvirate of hotels forming the Marina Square complex that also houses a plethora of shops and offices. A quick link to Suntec City, housing top-calibre multinational HQs and an enormous convention and exhibition venue, ensures high occupancies most months of the year,and more so during high profile events.


527 guestrooms and suites, facing sea, harbour or the CBD, which can be enjoyed through spectacular floor-to-ceiling windows. Light sleepers in the harbour-facing rooms should be warned that sounds from waterfront activities can penetrate at times (although it stops before midnight),and so should reconsider their choice if this will pose a problem.


Clean lines, muted hues and tasteful décor, inspired by natural elements, blend effortlessly to create an atmosphere conducive for rest, and yes, even some serious brainstorming. I was glad the desk in my spacious Harbour Suite was set against the wall and not facing the glorious Marina Bay outside – or it would have been a real struggle to focus on some work that needed to be done. I had everything I required: conveniently placed outlets, an adjustable lamp, an ergonomic chair and no-hassle broadband internet connection.

TVs are found in both the living room and the bedroom which come with balconies. The bath has a separate shower stall and tub.


Five,with MELT – the World Café literally offering a virtual food trip even during breakfast, which features an Indian station! Cherry Garden, which survived the makeover, continues to present creative servings of traditional Chinese favourites, while Morton’s of the US chain still attracts the power lunchers.


Axis Bar and Lounge has an unobstructed view of the harbour and skyline of one the world’s most design-conscious cities. High tea here can slip into evening cocktails so seamlessly.


On level four with wired and wireless broadband internet access, printing of business cards and courier as some of the many services. Open daily but hours vary.


Glassed affair that’s well equipped and has a clear view of the 25-metre pool. Steps away is The Oriental Spa, consisting of 620m of walnut timber and darkened tranquility, offers its own line of leisure wear and unguents.


Shutting down the hotel for several months was worth the gamble. The results speak for themselves. The Club Lounge is a stunning facility that should be frequented as often as possible during one’s stay.


Internet booking yields attractive rates for as low as US$164 during certain periods.


5 Raffles Avenue,Marina Square, Singapore 039797, tel 65 6338 0066,


Margie T Logarta