Fairmont Singapore is easily one of Singapore’s most popular hotel, mostly owing to its prime location in the heart of the city, as well as being the adjacent property to Singapore’s tallest hotel, Swissotel the Stamford.
Despite being rather familiar with the property, I have not done a stay at this hotel in a long while, so I thought I’ll give it a bit of my money for a weekend stay.
About the hotel
Built as part of Singapore’s iconic Raffles City in the 1980s, the hotel opened as Westin Plaza. The hotel was rebranded as Raffles the Plaza in 2002 when Raffles International Group took over the management of the hotel. In 2007, the hotel underwent another name change to Fairmont Singapore.
As an upscale hotel, Fairmont Singapore boast of over 770 rooms in two towers – North and South Tower – starting from 45 square metres to two Presidential Suites spanning 190 square metres.
At the time of my stay, the hotel was partly used for Singapore government’s quarantine facility for Stay-Home Notices (SHNs), with the South Tower exclusively used for SHN.
As such, Fairmont Singapore is not offering any Fairmont Gold rooms at the moment, as the Fairmont Gold lounge is located on the South Tower. Unfortunately, all the newer suites are also all located in the South Tower, hence unavailable for reservations.
The North Tower comprises 373 rooms with only two room types: the Fairmont Rooms and the Signature King suite. One thing to note as well, the North Tower has not been renovated since 2014 while the South Tower was most recently refurbished in 2019. As such, guests who have previously stayed in the South Tower in recent months will most likely notice the difference in the rooms across both towers.
Fairmont has developed a set of service measures to ensure guests’ wellness and safety during their stay, including ensuring safe distancing and using contactless options where possible.
These are pretty basic measures, but we will talk more about other specific measures that the hotel has taken during our stay.
The check-in process begins before you even step into the hotel – 48 hours before, to be exact.
About two days before my arrival, Fairmont sent a pre-arrival online check-in form. Apart from filling in personal particulars, I had to also submit images of IDs of all guests, as well as make an online deposit of the room charges via credit card, so make sure you have all of those ready before completing the form.
While completing the online check-in form, the hotel may also prompt you for paid upgrades, such as this one:
Some may be of good value, so be sure to check them out. For my stay, I was offered an upgrade to Signature King Suite at S$94.16 nett, which was of good value given that my original room booking was under S$150, bring the total to less than S$250 for a suite.
However, I wasn’t planning to spend too much time in a huge room by myself, so I passed on the upgrade.
Upon completing the check-in, you will receive a QR code via email, which you will use upon arrival at the hotel.
The actual check-in
For those who prefer to check-in the old school at the hotel, that is still possible so fret not if you do not wish to do a pre-arrival online check-in.
At the hotel, check-in was a breeze. I arrived at the hotel at about 11am, hoping that they would afford me an early check-in.
The hotel lobby was demarcated into two zones: The general lobby and free access to the North Tower, and a cordoned-off walkway from the driveway to the South Tower, which is current used as government quarantine facility for Stay-Home Notices.
After doing the necessary SafeEntry at the door, I found myself in an empty lobby, so I walked straight up to a counter where I was attended to immediately. What was a nice touch was also a hand sanitiser available at every counter, for a peace of mind.
The front desk agent asked for my QR code, and I scanned it using my phone. She pulled out my registration details, went to retrieve a phyiscal folder with my keys and details of my stay, and promptly walked me through my stay.
As an ALL Gold member, I also had two welcome drinks, which I could use at Prego, Eight (the poolside bar) or for the first time, as part of in-room dining.
Because I have done the deposit and ID documentation online before arriving, I didn’t have to take out my wallet at all during the time I was at the front desk. In less than five minutes, I took my keys and was on my way to my room.
One key thing to note: the hotel will no longer provide room make-up service every day. So if you are staying for more than a night and require your room to be serviced, you need to call up the front desk and request for it.
For my stay this time, I was booked into a Fairmont King room. Unfortunately there was no free upgrades into a suite, but I was given a room on the 24th floor in the North Tower, which offers a pretty good view towards the Marina Bay and the swimming pool.
The Fairmont King room is a 45 square metres room, which is the entry level room at Fairmont Singapore.
At 45 square metres, it’s larger than most other entry-level hotel rooms across Singapore, so that means that there’s ample space for everything in the room.
An oversized bed takes centrestage in the room, along with a full size couch by the side of the bed. At the foot of the bed was also a bench, good for hosting friends (remember you can only have a maximum of five people in the room) or simply storing your stuff.
The couch next to the bed was incredibly comfortable, and I spent a good amount of time lounging there with a coffee in hand while reading my book.
Across the bed was a large stand, with a flat-screen TV. There is also a generous work desk, making it perfect for those who need to work within the room.
The room also comes with a balcony, a feature of all Fairmont rooms. This is good for guests who smoke, given that smoking is permitted only on the balconies.
As part of the welcome amenities, Fairmont has prepared a care kit, consisting of a pack of masks, hand sanitiser and antiseptic wet wipes.
To my surprise, Fairmont has also provided a fruit basket, a birthday cake and a handwritten card. It was my birthday month, and this was definitely a very pleasant surprise.
The room also comes with a Nespresso machine, along with three coffee capsules, although you can always request for more. Fairmont also serves TWG teabags in the room for those who prefer tea to coffee.
The bathroom is also fairly spacious and has been refreshed in recent years. There is no longer a bathtub in the bathroom, but instead replaced with a standing rain-shower, with a marble slab as a seat for those who prefer to bathe seated.
Fairmont Singapore is currently using Le Labo amenities, presented in small bottles within the bathroom. Le Labo is better known for their fragrances, given that they are a New York-based perfume house. I’m not a big fan of their amenities, and they don’t quite lather up as easily as other amenities I’ve used before. Plus, the rose scent wasn’t particularly attractive to me.
With the pandemic still in the midst of us, Fairmont has also made several changes to the experience within the room.
First up, Fairmont has done away with all the in-room printed matter, including magazines and the information compendium, effectively converting all communication materials digital using the TV. While this is a necessity during this pandemic, this also means that the writing material has also been removed and has to be requested for.
The only printed material in the room was a card-stand with a QR code for in-room dining menu. For those who prefer, you can also navigate the menu via the TV screen using the remote control.
The mini-bar is also emptied out, which is a plus point given that Fairmont uses an automatic charge system for its mini-bar, where any item taken from the mini-bar will be charged to the room bill immediately. An empty mini-bar will mean more chilling space for your own drinks.
The hotel also offers complimentary premium wifi for all guests. When I tested the speed in the room, it was at a decent 20mbps for both up and downloads.
As part of the government’s required safe distancing measures, Fairmont has also placed capacity limits on all it’s recreational facilities, including the fitness centre, swimming pool and the Willow Stream spa.
The gym can take up to a maximum of 15 guests, with reservation mandatory. Guests can book their slots before or during their stay using the booking link provided in the pre-arrival email, or simply call up the spa directly for bookings.
For both the fitness centre and swimming pool, each room is only entitled to make one booking per day, up to a maximum of two guests for the fitness centre and four for the pool. However, if you are doing only a one-night stay, you can actually make bookings for both days (the day you check in, and the day you leave).
The gym is opened from 7am to 9pm daily, with slots of 2.5 hours available for booking. The five time-slots are: 7am, 9.45am, 12.30pm, 3.15pm and 6.15pm. You do not have to start at the allotted start time, but you will definitely have to vacate the premises by the end of your booked slot.
To book the spa facilities, you will first have to make a booking for a gym slot and then call up the spa to let them know, so they can reserve a spot for you.
While the spa facilities are still operating, Willow Stream is severely limited the usage of the facilities. In the male changing room for instance, each spa pool can only hold one person, while only one person can use the steam room and the sauna at a time. With four pools and two rooms, that means that only a maximum of six people can use the facilities at any point in time.
As for the swimming pool, there are 6 slots of two hours each, starting from 7am. For the pool you can book for up to four people per slot, but again every room is entitled to only one slot per day of their stay.
When I was there over the weekend, I was unable to get a slot for the pool at all during my stay on both days. Note that the pool facilities are originally shared between both Fairmont and Swissotel, so once Swissotel starts accepting guests for staycations, getting a slot will be even more challenging.
As I mentioned earlier, Accor ALL silver members and above are given a welcome drink during their stay. At Fairmont, this benefit can be taken either at Anti:dote, or through the in-room service.
I opted to collect my welcome drink in my room and the ordering option was simple. You simply call up room service, inform them that you will like to use your welcome drink, and they will tell you the options you have.
We opted for a glass of cabernet sauvignon, as well as a mojito (yes, cocktails are available too!). The only downside was that the drinks took quite a bit of time to arrive.
Guests familiar with Fairmont and Swissotel the Stamford will know that both hotels boast a huge repertoire of food and beverage outlets. However, due to Covid-19, only some of these restaurants are bars are opened.
At the time of writing (September 2020), only the following restaurants are opened:
|Swissotel the Stamford|
|JAAN by KirkWestaway||Open Tuesdays to Saturdays|
Lunch: 11.30am to 2.30pm (except Tues)
Dinner: 6pm to 10.30pm
(*Note: AccorPlus benefits don’t apply here)
Lunch: 11.30pm to 2.30pm
High tea: 3pm to 5pm
Dinner: 5pm to 10.30pm
|Clove||Open Fridays to Sundays, 12pm to 10.30pm|
|TWG Tea Salon & Boutique||Opened daily, 10am to 10pm|
(*Note: AccorPlus benefits don’t apply here)
|Stamford The Brasserie||Closed|
|Prego||Open daily for breakfast and all-day dining until 10.30pm|
|Mikuni||Open daily except Wednesdays & Sundays|
Lunch: 12pm to 2.30pm
Dinner: 6pm to 10.30pm
|Asian Market Cafe||Open daily|
Lunch: 12pm to 2.30pm (until 4pm on weekends)
Dinner: 6pm to 10pm
Lunch: 12pm to 2.30pm
High tea: 3pm to 5pm
Dinner: 5pm to 10.30pm
Brunch in the Skai
As I was staying over the weekend for a celebration, I went over to SKAI for their Brunch in the Skai, which is their signature champagne brunch available every Saturday from 12pm to 3pm.
Priced at $158++, the post Circuit Breaker crowd came back with a vengeance: I had to make my reservation more than a month in advance to get a table. And even with the reservation, you could not choose a window table, seating was allocated by SKAI.
For three hours, you get free flow of Taittinger champagne, house wines, select cocktails and all you can eat from the menu below:
The charcuterie board, seafood on ice and cheeses used to be served buffet style, but with the safe management measurements imposed by the government, these items have now been converted to a table service.
While the selection of items doesn’t seem extensive, the quality of the items are excellent, and well worth the price tag even on its own. The desserts were also surprisingly good, I was almost tempted to ask for a second serving even though I was stuffed and buzzed by the end of the session.
Note that if you are an Accor Plus member, the price of the champagne brunch is broken down into two elements: S$88++ for the food component, S$70++ for the beverage component. This means that the appropriate discount for the food bill (50% for two people, 33% for three etc) will only be applied to the food component, while a flat 15% discount is given for the beverage component.
Pro-tip: One beauty of Swissotel the Stamford and Fairmont Singapore is the ability to cross-sign restaurant bills to your room from any restaurant within these two hotels, regardless of which hotel you were staying with. You can still present your Accor Plus card for the dining benefit, and then the dining bill will added to your room bill which will give you ALL points at the end of your stay.
By contrast, settling the dining bill at the restaurant itself will not give you any Accor ALL points.
Breakfast at Prego
My room didn’t come with complimentary breakfast, but I could still walk into Prego for breakfast if I wanted to.
Since June, hotels that have reopened for staycations have been offering a la carte breakfasts, as opposed to a buffet that was previously the norm.
Similarly, Prego also offers an a la carte menu, with AccorPlus benefits available if you are dining in a group (i.e. up to 50% off). Note that if you are dining alone, a standard 15% discount will apply.
I got the room at a pretty good rate so I’m not complaining. While the rooms in the North Tower definitely pales in comparison to those in the South Tower which were just recently refurbished in 2019, it was still a very pleasant stay.
The room was comfortably sized, with enough space to lounge around even within the room. I personally loved that couch by the side of the balcony, which I spent a considerable amount of time on reading with a cup of tea.
The hotel was also highly flexible when it came to check-in and check-out timings. I got the room at 11am, while the front desk was kind enough to extend my check-out time till 2pm, giving me a solid 27 hours for my stay. This was unlike my stay at Mandarin Orchard, which offered a 12pm check-out as a ‘courtesy extension’. Having said that, your mileage may vary – it really depends on the occupancy for the next day.
I also personally liked the fact that only one tower was available for staycation guests while the rest of both Fairmont and Swissotel the Stamford were used for Stay-Home Notice guests. This means a significantly lower demand for both the fitness centre and the swimming pool, making bookings for a slot at these facilities much easier. When the hotels start opening up the rest of their rooms for staycation guests, the demand may shoot up and you may find yourself being unable to book any of these recreational facilities, so always call up the hotel to check in advance.
Despite the Fairmont Gold lounge being unavailable, the stay overall was very pleasant. Armed with a wide array of very good restaurants within walking distance, as well as a shopping mall at the feet of the hotel, you will probably be pretty well occupied during your stay.