Orchard Hotel Singapore is a landmark in Singapore with a history of over 60 years, having begun life in the late 1950s as a four-storey, 34-room hotel before being demolished and reconstructed in the 1970s. The property we see today has undergone several refurbishments during all these years, and remains one of the city-state’s most renowned hotels.
Business Traveller Asia-Pacific last reviewed the property in 2006, and we felt it was worth an update to see what the property is like now more than a decade on, especially seeing that it finished the first phase of its recent renovation in late 2018, giving a facelift to the hotel’s 260 Grande Deluxe Rooms, lobby, meeting spaces, as well as its food and beverage outlets, Orchard Cafe and Bar Intermezzo.
Where is it?
The hotel is located at the western end of Orchard Road, Singapore’s famous shopping and entertainment belt. It’s a roughly 10-minute walk from the nearest Orchard MRT Station, and it takes around 30 minutes from Changi Airport to the hotel by taxi. The hotel is interconnected with the adjacent Claymore Connect Shopping Mall, the former Orchard Hotel Shopping Arcade, with two entrances on both the lobby level and the second floor.
What's it like?
When I entered the lobby, the first thing that caught my eye was the hotel’s iconic clock tower that stands at the centre, adding a historic touch to the newly renovated lobby.
From the lobby, you can also see the hotel’s three main food and beverage outlets, including the Orchard Cafe and Bar Intermezzo on the same floor as the lobby, and Hua Ting Restaurant on Level 2. There’s also a piano placed between two escalators linking the lobby and the mezzanine level behind the clock tower.
The hotel has 656 guestrooms and suites across two towers – Orchard Wing and Claymore Wing. I was staying at a renovated 28-sqm Grand Deluxe Room on Level 11 at Orchard Wing with a king-sized bed. Though small in size, the room was quite cosy.
In order to avoid luggage taking up too much of the limited room space, there’s a dedicated space for guests to place their suitcases.
A long sofa beside the bed is outfitted with as many as six cushions and a small desk in front. The window behind affords a city view of the busy Orchard Road and Tanglin Road area.
Each room is equipped with a Handy smartphone, providing guests with unlimited Internet data, local and international calls to 15 countries and regions, as well as a digital city guide. The mini bar beneath the TV was stocked with some chargeable soft drinks, beer and snacks. Tea and coffee-making facilities can be found here as well.
The bathroom is also small, but is nevertheless outfitted with both a bathtub and a standing shower.
One remarkable feature that impressed me was the hotel’s Automated Room Service Associate – essentially a robot. I requested some additional bath amenities from the reception, and not long later I received a phone call being told that my amenities had already arrived at my door. I was then greeted by this lovely robot called Aura, which delivered my amenities in place of a human member of staff.
What I needed to do was simply follow the instructions on the tiny screen and take out my amenities from the hidden compartment on its “head”. I was also asked to rate how I found my stay. It’s quite interesting to see such advanced technology being featured in a hotel. If you are interested in reading more about the latest technologies being deployed in hotels, we recently published a feature on the subject here.
There’s still renovation work being carried out in some guestrooms and other parts of the hotel. While I didn’t hear any noise from the renovation work during my two nights’ stay, I could clearly hear other guests talking and walking along the passage, especially in the morning.
Food and beverage
As mentioned above, the hotel’s three newly refurbished F&B outlets are easily accessible via the lobby.
Hua Ting Restaurant is an award-winning Chinese fine-dining restaurant that features authentic Cantonese cuisine for lunch (11.30am-2.30pm from Monday to Friday, 11am-2.30pm on weekends) and dinner (6pm-10.30pm daily).
The restaurant consists of a main dining hall, seven private dining rooms and three semi-private dining tables, decorated with traditional Chinese style furnishings and specially designed delicate tableware. In addition to the lunch and dinner set menus, the à la carte menu offers a wide array of appetisers, dim sum, barbecue or soy marinated dishes, Chinese soups, seafood and desserts. Business Traveller Asia-Pacific also reviewed the restaurant.
The Orchard Cafe, located on the lobby level, serves buffet breakfast (6am-10.30am), lunch (12am-2.30pm) and dinner (6pm-10pm). The food selection was decent, with a range of seafood, salad, local dishes, ice-cream and fruit for all three meals served.
There’s also a tiny semi-open terrace. However, with a total seating capacity of 207, the all-day dining eatery seems a bit too small to host a good number of the hotel’s in-house guests. When I checked out at around 10am on Sunday morning, there was a long queue of guests in the lobby waiting for a seat to have their breakfast. I also felt a bit crowded inside, as the cafe was full of guests.
The hotel’s lobby bar, Bar Intermezzo, is just located opposite the Orchard Cafe and is open from 10am to 1am. The bar, just like the room that I stayed in, is small but cosy. The wall paintings are inspired by the historic location of Orchard Road and the surrounding area. A resident live band performance starts at 7pm from Tuesday to Sunday.
There are two other restaurants located at the adjacent Claymore Connect Shopping Mall, though I didn’t have a chance to check them out this time. Hua Ting Steamboat is a Chinese hotpot dining restaurant offering a good choice of soup bases.
Mon Bijou, which means “my jewellery” in French, is a 66-seater bistro featuring an all-day dining menu, a “grab-and-go” counter and a selection of handcrafted French pastries and desserts.
Premier Club Lounge
The hotel’s Premier Club Lounge is located on Level 17 in the Claymore Wing, exclusively open to guests staying in Premier Club Rooms, Signature Suites and Premier Suites. In addition to the public seating area, there are two private rooms, which can be used as meeting rooms too.
Buffet breakfast is served between 6.30am to 10am from Monday to Saturday, and from 6.30am to 10.30am on Sunday and Public Holidays. I usually sleep late on weekends, so I found that I had to get up earlier in order not to miss the breakfast, which ends as early as 10am on Saturday.
Compared with the Orchard Cafe, there are fewer food options, but it’s much quieter and, most importantly, you don’t need to queue for a seat. You’ll also see an egg-making robot here (you can see it in the Orchard Cafe as well), called “Egg-xecutive”, and “ask” it to prepare an omelette or eggs sunny-side up for you. Guests just need to select the condiments they’d like.
Guests can also enjoy afternoon tea from 3pm to 5pm, and happy hour from 6pm to 8pm. Due to the renovation work on the upper levels, guests staying at the Orchard Wing currently have to take the lift down to the lobby first, and walk to another side of the lobby to take another lift to access the Claymore Wing.
The hotel has a swimming pool on Level 4 in the Claymore Wing, open from 7am to 10pm along with a poolside snack bar open from 10am to 7pm. The 24-hour fitness club is just next to the swimming pool.
Meeting and event facilities
The hotel has a total of 20,000 sqft of meeting and event space in different settings on Level 2 and 3.
The largest of these is the pillar-free Orchard Grand Ballroom, which is six metres high and measures more than 10,000 sqft, providing seating for up to 1,500 people. Refitted with floor-to-ceiling LED walls and statement lighting, it can be further split into three smaller Orchard Ballrooms, with each accommodating about 350 people.
Aside from the ballroom, there are a few other smaller conference and function rooms, with sizes ranging from 33 to 155 sqm, which can be used to host talks, seminars, conferences, private dinners, or other private events. Each room is equipped with high-tech audio-visual facilities.
The hotel’s location on Orchard Road offers an ample selection of retail and dining options nearby, while also allowing you to stay away from the crowds on the busy shopping avenue owing to it being situated in a slightly more tranquil residential area. The renovated guestrooms and lobby are comfortable and relaxing, while the implementation of advanced technology like robots not only improves service efficiency, but also offers a fresh and novel experience for in-house guests.
- Best for… Cosy environment, convenient location, as well as a good choice of event and meeting venues
- Don’t miss… Enjoying authentic Cantonese delicacies in the award-winning Hua Ting Restaurant, and of course, asking the “Egg-xecutive” to cook you an omelette
- Price Internet daily rates for a Deluxe room during mid-May start from S$224 (US$165.37), inclusive of tax and service charge.
- Contact 442 Orchard Road Singapore 238879; +65 6734 7766; millenniumhotels.com