UPDATE: Pan Pacific Orchard is currently closed for a complete redevelopment, due to reopen in 2021.
I was researching for a quick weekend getaway in the peak season of June (what was I thinking) and decided that a staycation was probably more worth the money, given the premium in airfares this month.
Having tried the Conrad Centennial the last time round, I was itching to try out another property with a decently priced Club room.
Having previously stayed at the Pan Pacific Singapore many years back and found the room to be of good value, this time round I decided to go with the sister property, Pan Pacific Orchard.
Once you enter the hotel, you will be greeted by an equally time-worn yet elegant lobby. However, I had difficulty looking for the check-in desk, as I wasn’t sure if that was the concierge counter or the reception.
The check-in experience was rather lacking. The check-in desks were considerably small so the separation between different guests became a little too close for my comfort. While I was being served, there was another guest that was speaking to a staff on Sentosa’s offerings, standing so close he could be reading all my personal information off the booking form I was signing. Neither staff noticed my discomfort.
As with many other hotels, the Club rooms are generally located on the upper floor and Pan Pacific Orchard is no exception. I was booked into the Pacific Club King room, and at 35 sqm, (376 sq ft), this is no doubt one of the more spacious rooms that you find in most older properties in Singapore.
The room is decked out in simple décor, adorned by an armchair and side table by the window. The bed was extremely comfortable and the pillow were great – not too hard nor too slim.
The room is equipped with a Nespresso machine for your caffaine fix, as well as a generous amount of TWG tea for your enjoyment.
The bathroom was equally spacious. While I don’t usually use bathtubs, I personally think that bathroom that come with bathtubs and shower stalls exudes a sense of luxury. The room comes with a deep spa-style bathtub with an adjacent shower stall.
Bath amenities were from Embrace, Pan Pacific’s signature range. While it was quite frangrant, it wasn’t memorable in any way.
All Pan Pacific rooms also come with Handy, a smartphone that guests can bring along with them everywhere they go with umlimited calls (even international calls, up to 15 countries), and mobile internet. Depending on where the tourists come from ,This is very handy and provides significant savings, especially for tourists who may be in town for only a day or two but do not wish to grab a travel SIM card or splurge on roaming fees.
After checking out the room, I decided to go for a quick workout in the gym before the cocktail hours at the club lounge. The gym, swimming pool and Pan Pacific’s signature St Gregory Spa are all located on level 4.
Unlike some hotels in Singapore such as Fairmont and Fort Canning Hotel that runs a full gym with its own membership programmes, Pan Pacific Orchard has a relatively small but well equipped gym. Apart from the usual cardio machines, there is also a full rack of dumbbells (up to 20kgs) and a cable machine, adequate for a light workout unless you can’t go without your deadlifts or squats. You will need a key card to access the gym, and towels and water are available.
Pan Pacific Orchard also features Singapore’s only mineral water swimming pool. The outdoor pool is a squarish pool overlooking Claymore Road, and is free of chlorine so those with sensitive skin can go ahead and dip without worries. Being an older hotel, that also means that it’s a standard pool and not a new, fancy infinity pool you tend to see in newer properties.
While services at the St Gregory Spa is priced at a premium (as with every other hotel spas), guests may access the jacuzzi, sauna and steam room facility for free. Do note that while these facilities are indoors, they are co-shared between genders and located outside the changing rooms in a separate area right behind the spa’s front desk.
After the workout it was time to hit the Pacific Club lounge for some evening drinks and snacks. Cocktail hours are 6pm to 8pm at Pan Pacific Orchard.
The Pacific Club lounge is located on level 2 (the lobby level), right next to the check-in desks. I generally prefer locations of hotel executive lounges to be a little bit more exclusive, so where this lounge was located was not exactly ideal for me.
Being my first visit there, the lounge looked very dated to me at first glance. However, what surprised me was how spacious the lounge was and relative lack of crowd. This is in spite of a full-day meeting that was going on in the boardroom within the lounge, and the meeting attendees were taking their dinner in the club lounge during the time I was there. Definitely rather exclusive.
I got myself a table by the window and parked myself there with my iPad while I checked out the offerings. On the counter today was a good spread of light bites, featuring tuna tataki, seared salmon, mini ham crossiants (my favourite), sandwiches and a full salad bar. There was also local favourites such as curry puffs, char siew puffs, crackers as well as a pot of beef stew. Plus, fruits and cakes were also available for those with a sweet tooth. Definitely one of the best variety of food I’ve seen in a club lounge!
For those craving for some booze, the Pacific Club lounge serves up G.H Mumm Brut Cordon Rouge, a light, citrusy champagne that is easy to drink but not particularly memorable. Apart from the bubbly, the lounge also offers a selection of red and white wines (which I didn’t touch this round), as well as a range of quality spirits.
Service in the lounge was personal and attentive, with the wait staff and the lounge manager going around offering top ups on their beverages rather than having to self serve at the bar. The lounge manager, Ken, came up and introduce himself. What was outstanding was the fact that all the wait staff were able to address me by name, which added a nice touch on top of the great offering in the lounge.
For those who did not book into a club room, there are plenty of food and drink options within the hotel itself. The Lobby Lounge features a daily happy hour of S$20 nett for two wines, beers, or housepour spirits from 5pm to 9pm daily. If you are oyster fan, add $15 nett for six freshly shucked oysters too.
The hotel’s signature restaurant, 10 at Claymore, also boasts a Weekend Teatime Classic every Saturday and Sunday, 1pm to 3pm, for S$48++ per adult (half price for kids), featuring favourite lunch and teatime fares.
The next morning, I had a choice of either breakfast at 10 at Claymore, or in the Pacific Club lounge. Wanting a quiet breakfast, I went for breakfast in the lounge which had another surprise for me – breakfast was made to order from an ala carte menu, on top of the baked goods that were on display buffet style.
The menu featured East and West options and I went for roti prata with chicken curry. The roti prata came out hot and crispy, and there was a generous serving of chicken chunks that came with the curry, very much to my delight.
While I was very much elated with my roti prata, I badly wanted another go at the menu so I ordered another Nasi Lemak, which came with curry chicken, beef rendang, fried anchovies, peanuts and a full boiled egg. The wait staff was a bit startled when I made the second order, so I asked if it was going to be huge, to which he said yes. So I requested for less rice.
The nasi lemak was finger licking good. What was amazing was that the beef rendang was tender and warm, something that most hotels can’t get right even if they serve it up at breakfast. I was a glutton – I finished all of that as well.
However, the experience could have been way better if the chain had paid closer attention to finer details of service. For instance, Global Hotel Alliance, or GHA, has been pushing for direct bookings on Pan Pacific website by offering a complimentary upgrade and late checkout, subject to availability. During the check-in, this was not offered nor mentioned. While I understand this is on a room available basis, even if the upgrade was not possible, the check-in staff should have mentioned it with apologies.
Also, according to Pan Pacific’s website, Pacific Club guests can enjoy the following:
- Personalised butler service
- Exclusive access to the Pacific Club Lounge for complimentary breakfast, all-day refreshments and evening cocktails
- Complimentary use of Pacific Club Boardroom for an hour
- Laundry service for up to two garments daily and shoe polishing
- Limousine airport transfers at special rates
- Welcome amenities and fruit platter
- Complimentary local telephone calls
- LCD television with local and cable channels and laptop connectivity
- Embrace bathroom amenities
- Pillow menu with a choice of organic buckhead hull, contour, coil polyester or foam pillows
- Complimentary wired and wireless high-speed Internet access
- Morning wake-up service with your choice of hot beverage
- Save 20% at hotel’s restaurants and bars
- Save 10% at our award-winning spa, St. Gregory
What was upsetting was that I certainly didn’t even know that the above were offered, until I checked out the website description. I certainly wasn’t offered a personalised butler service, nor did I see any welcome amenities nor fruit platter in the room. Be sure to request it if it matters to you.
Nonetheless, the property and the overall stay experience was still a pleasant one. The slightly off Orchard Road location leaves it quiet and peaceful for a weekend out, while providing that proximity to the heart of town. While it’s definitely a little dated and not as opulent as some of the larger hotels, it’s definitely worth its price for a retreat.