Tried & Tested

Hotel review: Courtyard Singapore Novena

13 Feb 2019 by Michael Allen

Background

Courtyard Singapore Novena, a Marriott International hotel, opened on November 1, 2017. During a recent trip to Singapore for Chinese New Year, I was invited to stay at the property for two nights, giving Business Traveller Asia-Pacific an opportunity to review it for the first time. The hotel is part of Royal Square at Novena, a mixed-use development combining the hotel, along with medical facilities, F&B and retail.

Where is it?

A short walk from Exit B of Novena MRT station and 20 minutes’ drive (without traffic) from Changi Airport. The hotel is also a 15- to 20-minute drive to Raffles Place, a major business centre. You can also go there directly by the MRT’s North South Line in about 21 minutes.

I wasn’t particularly impressed with Velocity, the shopping centre right next to the hotel. I had some almost inedible Mexican food from a restaurant there and vowed never to return – though, of course, this is not the hotel’s fault. I had to take the MRT two stops to Orchard to find some decent food. However, if you are into durian, there is a great shop called Durian Paradise just across the street from the hotel where you can sample delicious durian ice cream and fresh Mao Shan Wang durians, which the shop claims are the best in Singapore.

The quite beautiful Church of Saint Alphonsus (also known as Novena Church) is also next door, as well as the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) Gallery, which invites you to “embark on a discovery journey” to get “interesting facts on taxes in Singapore and how the administration of tax has transformed over the years”.

The hotel is also well positioned for medical tourism, being close to the in-development Health City Novena. I was a bit disconcerted to see that the property is close to a Communicable Disease Centre, which is used to quarantine patients with highly infections diseases. The hospital was used to house SARS patients in 2003.

What's it like?

The stunning views from the 22nd-floor lobby, the guest rooms, and 33rd floor infinity pool and gym are what makes this otherwise fairly ordinary business hotel unique. The interior decor has a clean and modern feel.

The room

I was in a Premier Skyline room on the 32nd floor…

The stunning view over the city and the lush greenery of the Central Water Catchment was the most impressive thing about my room. You can see all the way to the Malaysian city of Johor Bahru…

The room is furnished with a mixture of light brown and white…

The room doesn’t feel huge, but it has all the amenities a business traveller would need. The bathroom has a shower (including rainfall shower head), but no bath. Among the amenities, I was pleased to see a small bottle of mouthwash is provided. I’ve said before that this should be standard in any business hotel.

Leisure facilities

The infinity pool offers amazing views over the city…

The gym is a little small, but it’s pretty cool – and a little scary – running on the treadmill with a 33-floor drop right in front of you.

Food and beverage

Breakfast is served on the 22nd floor, next to reception. I asked if they had any international newspapers, but they said only The Straits Times and Business Times were available.

The breakfast offers a reasonable selection, though it won’t exactly blow you away. The coffee was so-so and I went back to my room after the breakfast to have a better-tasting one from the in-room Nespresso machine.

It was quite strange to spot these tasty-looking baguettes, only to read that they were for “display only”…

Verdict

This hotel has everything you need for a short stay as a business traveller, as long as you don’t mind a 20- to 30-minute commute to your meetings. The stunning views really spice up the property.

Breakfast fills you up, but is nothing to write home about. Some changes on this front would improve the overall experience.

For business, this hotel is perfectly adequate and the views throughout the property really add a pleasant touch. However, for a staycation or vacation stay of more than a couple of days, it feels a little small. It would be worth splurging an extra US$90-US$100 per night to stay at somewhere grander like Parkroyal on Pickering (see my recent review of the property here).

Quick facts...

  • Best for… the incredible views from the lobby, guest rooms, and infinity pool and gym
  • Don’t miss… a morning run on a treadmill perched perilously close to the edge
  • Price… S$391.94 (US$288) for a one-night weeknight stay in mid-March in a Premier Skyline Room.
  • Contact… (+65) 6250 0303; marriott.com
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Business Traveller July / August 2019 edition
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