Sofitel City Centre is arguably one of the Singapore’s finest hotel. Modern furnishing, comfortable and elegant rooms, great food, this hotel still packs a punch for a staycation, even in the face of Covid-19.
Sofitel City Centre sits in one of the most remarkable buildings in Singapore, Guoco Tower. Formerly known as Tanjong Pagar Centre, the building has since been renamed to Guoco Tower, cementing its role as Guocoland’s flagship development in Singapore and its location where the head office resides.
Completed in 2016, Guoco Tower became the tallest building in Singapore with a standing height of 290m – a mere 10 metres taller than the famed Republic Plaza, OUB Centre and UOB Plaza. This record was made due to a lifting of height restrictions in downtown Singapore as it sits within a flight path towards Paya Lebar Airbase, which is due to be decommissioned by 2030.
Developed by Guocoland, the building was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Back then, it was rather hard pressed to find yet another plot of land in the heart of the Shenton Way/Tanjong Pagar business district to build yet another mixed development, but Guocoland secured this parcel of land back in November 2010 for a cool S$1.7 billion.
The building comprises a myriad of uses: retail, commercial, residential and a hotel. What’s particularly notable is Wallich Residences, a very exclusive 181-unit development which starts at 180m above the ground – equivalent to 50 stories, offering an amazing view over the city.
Sofitel City Centre is Singapore’s second Sofitel property, after Sofitel Sentosa Spa & Resort. Opened in 2016, the 223-room property is styled as a luxury full-service hotel.
Consistent with other new hotels built in the same era, the hotel is nested as part of a larger development, with its main lobby on the fifth level of the building. Guest rooms start from level 7 to level 20, with premium rooms located on levels 15 to 17, while club rooms are 18 to 20.
Most of the hotel’s restaurants and facilities are contained on the fifth and sixth floors, which can be accessed without a key card.
The hotel has only one in-house restaurant, Racines, situated on level 5. On the same floor you will find the hotel’s lobby bar as well, 1864. The recreational facility, including the outdoor pool, So Fit gym and the hotel’s club lounge, Club Millesime, are all located on level 6.
The hotel offers only five types of rooms, three rooms and two suites. Rooms offered include Luxury Room, Luxury Premium Room and Club Luxury Room, while the two suite types available are Prestige Suite, and the largest Joaquim Suite.
All the entry level rooms are of equal sizes at 38 square metres, while the Prestige Suite takes up the footprint of two rooms. The Joaquim Suite is the largest suite on-site, spanning 114 square metres, featuring high ceilings and towering windows across the suite. The suite also comes a fully-equipped kitchen, a 10-seater dining table, a spacious living room and an exclusive lounging area.
For this stay, I booked a Prestige Suite, as well as a separate room for a group of us to spend New Year’s Eve at.
Booking & checking in
This was a new year’s eve stay, and given that international travel was nearly impossible, my friends and I decided to check out local hotels for a two-night staycation.
Most hotels were charging an arm and a leg for a New Year’s eve stay, but surprisingly Sofitel City Centre were holding prices steady. They didn’t offer any festive packages for the last day of the year, but in fact went a step further to include the date for the Accor Black Friday sale, and the suite went for about $600 per night.
One thing to note – you will not be able to add a third person to the room online. To do so, you will need to call up the hotel and get them to manually do so. The extra bed, along with breakfast and other entitlements you may have, will come at an additional $160++ per night.
A note about car park
Guoco Tower has two car parks, A & B, with only Car Park B providing direct access to the car park.
While the hotel sits in the Guoco Tower, the hotel doesn’t offer complimentary parking for guests. If you are doing a weekend stay – good for you, parking is at a very affordable S$2.50 per entry per day. However, the rates for weekdays are pretty exorbitant, so you are better off leaving your car at home.
|Day / Time||Rate|
|Mondays to Fridays|
7am to 4.59pm
5pm to 6.59am next day
$1.50 per 30 min
$2.50 per entry
|Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays|
7am to 6.59am next day
$2.50 per entry
The Prestige Suite
As the entry-level suite for the hotel, the Prestige Suite is a one-bedroom suite, with a separate living and bedroom area. Spanning the size of two regular Luxury rooms, the expansive suite is practically a mini-apartment: a living room complete with a dining area, and a luxurious bedroom with a bathroom large enough for a mahjong session.
The main door opens up to the living and dining area. The living area is located closer to the opposite end of the room from the door. Right by the full floor-to-ceiling window is a beautiful wooden work desk, with a leather seat for the work-in-room moments.
On the other wall was a sleek-looking four-seater sofa with an abundance of cushions, fronted by a beautiful oval-shaped glass-top coffee table. At the side was another single armless chair with an ottoman, long enough for stretching out one’s legs for those lazy afternoon naps.
Right across from the sofa was a wall-mounted 55-inch Smart TV. However, the viewing distance is a tad too far for a comfortable view.
As we had a third person in the suite, the extra bed was set up right in front of the television.
Closer to the main entrance was a dining table large enough for four people. At a corner was the minibar and pantry area, where you can find the usual Nespresso machine, coffee capsules, tea bags and glassware. The suite also had a teapot on top of the teacups, which was a nice touch.
With most other hotels, the minibar has been emptied out. However, for guests in Prestige Suites, the hotel offers a complimentary fill of the minibar, which has to be requested through in-room dining.
The minibar items are not as fancy as what you’ll usually find in a paid minibar, but still pretty generous by any standards: a small portion of coconut water, two cans of soda, a can of local coffee/tea, a bottle of coconut water, as well as some packaged snacks to last through those late night drinks.
The bedroom contained a full king-sized bed, along with an ottoman at the foot of the bed. To add on to the comfort of the room, there was yet another lounge-worthy armchair next to the window, with a small coffee stand and standing lamp, looking so inviting for afternoon reads (or mobile gaming). The room also had another 55-inch wall mounted television if you prefer to lie in bed for your TV-binging.
The bathroom was arguably my favourite spot in the room. Spacious enough for a bed, the bathroom comprised a double vanity, a humongous bathtub, as well as a separate shower and toilet stalls.
The bathtub comes with this handy tray that holds up your tablet or a book while you are taking your bath, and also comes with a slot for a plastic wine glass if you prefer a tipple in your soak. I tried using the stand for my iPad, but gave up after 10 minutes for fear that the holder will tip over and reverted to watching my show on my phone instead.
For the Prestige Suites, Sofitel City Centre uses Hermes amenities, similar to what you may find in the higher grade villas at Sofitel Sentosa. The rooms on the other hand, stock Lanvin amenities.
Sofitel hotels style their club lounges as Club Millesime. Wine aficionados will know that Millesime is the french word for vintage and typically used by french winemakers to indicate the year. In Sofitel City Centre, Club Millesime is located on the sixth floor of the hotel, tucked in a corner.
The lounge is a fairly small one, although sufficient for the number of rooms the hotel has. Even with social distancing measures in place, the lounge can take up to about 15 parties of various sizes, including a couple of larger tables for bigger groups. The lounge include an al fresco area, with tables facing the swimming pool for those who prefer to be out in the open.
Post Circuit Breaker, Sofitel City Centre currently offers one-hour evening cocktail slots for eligible guests, including guests in club rooms, suites and Accor ALL Diamond and Platinum members.
By default, the lounge offers evening cocktails from 5pm to 6pm, but on busier days the lounge may offer sometimes offer a second seating from 6.15pm to 7.15pm. Due to capacity constraints, all guests will be required to make a reservation for their preferred slot via an online reservation system.
To do so, you will receive an email from the hotel a few days before your stay, with instructions on how to go about making the booking. If you run into any problems with the link like I did, you can also call up the hotel, they are more than happy to help with the arrangements.
For those who are interested, you can also access the booking links below:
- Reserve access to SoFit (Gym)
- Reserve access to Swimming Pool
- Reserve access to Club Millesime Apero Chic (For Club Guest only)
For the evening cocktail session, the lounge offers unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as a selection of hors d’oeuvres. The selection is offered up as a tray of small portions dished separately in bowls, while drinks are served by the glass.
The key upside to the lounge is that they serve champagne as opposed to sparkling wine, although the choice of champagne may differ by the day, depending on what they have in stock. During my stay, I have been offered Delamotte as well as Duval-Leroy, both are pretty decent options.
In terms of food options, the lounge serves a mix of sweet and savoury snacks. The menu is displayed on the TV screens in the lounge, and the offering during my stay is as follow:
And this is how it is being served:
For those looking to fill up, you can always request for unlimited refills of any of the items, but do bear in mind that the staff may be too busy to get to you quickly so please re-order early.
One other tip: if there are two sessions for evening cocktails during your stay, I’d recommend that you go for the later seating if you wish to linger in the lounge even after service stops at 7.15pm. Guests at the first service will usually be ushered out on the dot, and the last pour will be about 15 minutes before the end of the hour. So if you want to maximise your time in the lounge, go for the second seating.
1864 – Lobby Bar
As an Accor ALL Platinum member, I was also offered two welcome drink vouchers which can be redeemed at the lobby bar, 1864. Welcome drink vouchers are offered to all Accor ALL members with Silver or higher status. If you are an AccorPlus member, you will be gifted a complimentary Gold status so the welcome drink is definitely offered on each stay.
The welcome drinks list is fairly extensive, with a two-page spread of options for you to choose from.
Apart from the usual cocktails such as Cosmopolitan and espresso martini, they also offer two options of in-house barrel-aged cocktails, as well as wines, beers and spirits. Unfortunately champagne is out of the list so don’t expect any bubblies.
The hotel also has an in-house fitness centre, as well as a swimming pool, both of which are at level 6 of the hotel.
Pre-Covid-19, the hotel used to offer access to the adjacent Virgin Active gym to guests staying in the Luxury Premium rooms or higher, but this has since been suspended as a result of capacity restrictions at the gym.
To use the facilities, a prior reservation is required. The swimming pool is opened from 7am to 8.30pm daily, with access offered in 90-minute blocks, while the gym is opened from 7am to 8pm daily and can only be used in 45-minute blocks, which is a tad short for a proper workout.
|Facility||Operating hours||Slot length|
|So Fit – fitness centre||7am to 8pm daily||45-minute slots, available on the hour|
|Swimming pool||7am to 8.30pm daily||90-minute slot, available every odd hour |
(i.e. 7am, 9am, etc)
Racines – Breakfast
Racines is the flagship restaurant for Sofitel City Centre and have been serving up an excellent twist of Chinese-French duo cuisine since it opened years ago. An excellent choice for dinner, I have dined here several times during dinner and the experience has always been pleasant.
Since Covid-19 struck Singapore, the face and experience of dining has changed. Previously a self-service buffet spread, Racines now serve an a la carte breakfast that you order on your mobile phone using a customised QR code available on every table.
The menu is pretty extensive, but features pretty standard hotel breakfast fare:
- Cold Cuts & Cheeses
- Beef Salami
- Black Forest Ham
- Smoked Salmon
- Emmental cheese
- Cereal & Yoghurt
- Bircher Muesli
- Greek Yogurt
- Acai Bowl
- Salad & Fruit
- Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas
- Mesclun Salad with Feta Cheese and Vinaigrette
- Couscous Salad with Pepper
- Fresh Fruits
- Bread & Pastries
- Mini croissant
- Assorted Oven-baked viennoiserie
- White toast
- Homemade baked bread roll
- Gluten free bread
- Hot Selections
- Eggs – according to your preference
- French toast
- Buttermilk pancakes
- Plain porridge
- Shredded chicken noodle soup
- Paratha with dhall
- Egg fried rice
- Hot sides
- Streaky pork bacon
- Grilled tomatoes
- Chicken sausage
- Crispy hashbrowns
- Baked beans
There’s also a selection of hot beverages, including Nespresso coffee and TWG tea as well as assorted juices you can choose from.
If you have gone for repeated stays at the property like I did, you will realise that the menu remains the same and there are no ‘seasonal’ items that switches out every so often.
Sofitel City Centre is indeed one fine hotel for a staycation in the midst of Covid-19, with an excellent location coupled with well maintained rooms and facilities.
This little oasis in the heart of town is a gem, it’s proximity to plenty of good food around the area makes it an excellent choice for a get-together venue, especially for those late night in-room drinks with family and friends.
The hotel offers a decent range of facilities good for a city hotel, even though it’s pretty basic. While the hotel does not offer any spa facilities, the pool is adequately scenic and perfect for that Instagram shot and the fitness centre is sufficient for a basic workout.
Some of the downsides to the hotel is obviously the limited offerings for evening cocktails, but this is pretty compensated with the fact that they serve champagne, a rarity among Singapore hotels. If you would, the hotel’s restaurant, Racines, also The breakfast is also adequate, although the queue situation can be a little out of the world.
If you still have your Singapore Rediscover Vouchers, you can also consider checking out the packages that Klook has to offer here.