In a terrible need of a retreat this week, I checked myself in to Conrad Centennial Singapore for a 2D1N stay this weekend.
Conrad Centennial Singapore is a 507-room property built in 1996, with its most recent renovation made 10 years ago in 2007. The property has a range of rooms from Classic rooms to the Presidential Suite.
Located in the heart of the city, the hotel is conveniently located near the Downtown Core, within walking distance from key shopping malls such as Suntec City, Raffles City, Marina Square and Millenia Walk. For those attending conferences at Suntec City convention centre, this will be a great choice of hotel.
My choice of dungeon for this stay was the Executive King Room. The room I originally booked was supposed to be on the 27th floor, but as I requested for a change to a twin room during check-in, I was then given a room on the 13th floor as it was the only twin room available at that point in time.
Executive benefits included free pressing of up to three items (I read somewhere that it used to be five), as well as executive lounge benefits including afternoon tea between 3-5pm and evening cocktails (with hor d’oeuvres) from 5.30pm to 8pm. Executive rooms also come with breakfast, which can be taken at either the executive lounge or at Oscars.
Of course, as with any Hilton property, wifi is always complimentary for Hilton Honors members!
Also, guests are entitled to a box of pralines and fresh fruits waiting for you in the room, although the pralines were missing since I moved to a Classic floor. I personally thought that at the very least they could have sent a box to my room.
Having switched to a Classic room, there were several items that were missing from the Executive room, such as a Nespresso machine. This doesn’t bother me too much (since I am not quite a fan of Nespresso coffee) but do note what you are missing out if you don’t mind a room on the Classic floors.
Also, Conrad’s signature is also its soft toy. I had a small teddy bear on the bed when I checked in, although the size of the bear varies with the grade of room that you have booked.
While the room is rather dated, the rooms are of an adequate size (40 sq m) with an equally spacious bathroom. The amenities are also well thought: there are sufficient sockets (such as the one tucked into the drawer next to the bed) and ample towels (there were four)!
The executive lounge
The lounge is located on the top floor of the hotel. At 31st floor, the lounge provides a wonderful view of the city from the Marina Bay area to Kallang Basin. However, the lounge is rather small, with enough seating for perhaps 30 people. The lounge can get very crowded during the evening cocktails, when an adjacent reading room has to be opened as well.
The lounge serves up afternoon tea from 3pm to 5pm, with an assortment of sandwiches, coffee and tea. Special mention goes to the scones, with an amazing selection of creams and jams to go with them.
From 5.30pm, the dining area transforms to the evening’s cocktail snacks, boasting light bites such as hor d’voeuvres, hot items, salads and cakes. On the menu today were beef bourguignon, sauteed prawns in laksa spices, pomelo prawn salad, tuna tataki, and peranakan kuehs.
I was impressed with the lounge for the fact that it doesn’t serve bottled water, but instead offers San Pellegrino and Aqua Panna for a choice of sparkling and still water. Other canned soft drinks were also available whole day, along with coffee and tea.
For those into the booze, the Conrad club lounge serves up two choices of red wines, a choice of white wine and a sparking wine – the Chandon brut. There is a selection of spirits with mixers, as well canned beer (Asahi was the choice of the day).
After inbibing perhaps close to a bottle of brut, I went back to my room to find my room turned down.
The room slippers were laid out neatly next to my bed with a towel underneath, and a breakfast menu left on the desk for my convenience. The pragmatist in me never believed in room service breakfast, especially when it costs close to S$50. So why spend when one has a complimentary breakfast included in the room rate.
This is when Conrad scored another point in service. As I was placed on a Classic floor, there wasn’t the box of pralines that usually comes in the Executive rooms. Before I left for the lounge, I called to ask for another bear and the chocolates appeared!
The hotel boasts of a decently sized pool on the fourth floor, with a gym and spa to go with it. The gym is well equipped for travellers, with a dumbbells rack, smith machine and some cardio equipment.
Do note that there are no sauna, steam room or jacuzzi on the property, but there’s a spa offering body and face spa services.
Executive room guests have a choice of breakfast at either the Executive Lounge on the 31st floor or at Oscars restaurant at the lobby. I’ve chosen to take the breakfast at Oscars, which offers a wider spread.
The international breakfast spread offered a good mix of Asian food, from congee, roti canai to dim sum. For those who love the usual western fare, there is always the great range of fresh baked pastries and egg station to fall back on, along with sausages, salads and fresh fruits.
One of my favourite items at Oscars is the ice cream, and I’m very happy to see that this was also offered at breakfast. I had it atop a piece of very fluffy pancake and it was a great way to wrap up breakfast.
How does it add up?
It is definitely a five star property – the grand lobby, very attentive service (mostly) with a great hotel restaurant and lobby café. As one of the landmark hotels in the Marina area, despite its age there is a certain charm that makes you feel very comfortable when you step into it.
The room floors, while dated, still looked elegant and very well maintained given its age. I personally liked the older hotels for their generous room sizes, with a sufficiently large bathroom that are so absent in newer hotels. The main sign of its age is in the technologies available in the room: power sockets are few and hard to locate, there was only one USB port, the television sets did not have a HDMI port nor were they internet-ready.
Another area that I thought needed a refresh was the pool and its adjacent pool bar. While functional, they looked very tired and could use some modernizing. The lounge needs an upgrade also, and perhaps an expansion to cater for the growing base of customers who are willing to pay more for a better experience.