Impeccable service, compact and top-grade rooms and facilities, excellent location for foodies.
One of the newest boys in town, The Clan Hotel first caught my eye as a mysterious building that seemed to suddenly towered out in the heart of the Telok Ayer district, with its bright shiny bronze facade.
Originally slated to open in 2020, the opening was pushed back to 2021 due to Covid-19, without much fanfare and obviously with a lack of foreign guests as borders remained closed.
Managed by Far East Hospitality, the hotel is one of the newer concepts introduced into the fold. For the uninitiated, Far East Hospitality also manages some other hotel brands such as Oasia, Village and Rendezvous, which tend to run mid tier in terms of price and lux. The Clan Hotel is a new venture into the premium segment.
To be sure, The Clan Hotel is a textbook example of how smaller hotels sell a story as part of the experience: it calls its staff ‘clansmen’; it talks about the heritage and history of clans within the vicinity and this leads to the hotel’s name; and it is decked out with rituals that you would otherwise not see in other hotels.
For example, this is what it says on its website:
‘Sense of kinship’ is a very bold claim, I have to say.
The 424-room property boasts of a very simple room range with only three room types: The entry-level Deluxe Room; Master Series Premium Room and the Master Series Grand Premium Room.
A summary of what the three room types offer are below:
|Deluxe Room||Master Series |
|Master Series |
Grand Premium Room
|Size||24 sqm||31 sqm||36 sqm|
|No. of Rooms||246||60||18|
|Room amenities||Flat screen TV|
Complimentary coffee & tea
| Flat screen TV|
Complimentary coffee & tea
| Flat screen TV|
Complimentary coffee & tea
|Inclusions||In-room refreshments (non-selectable)||Customised in-room refreshments – choice of 5 items||Customised in-room refreshments – choice of 5 items|
|–||Handmade soap selection||Handmade soap selection|
|Clan Keeper Service||No||Yes||Yes|
The floor plate where the hotel lies on is pretty small, so that also means that each floor holds only a small number of rooms.
Deluxe Rooms are basically all the non-corner rooms on most floors, while Premier Rooms take up the corners and have large windows on two sides of the rooms with generous views of the district.
Note that the Premier Rooms are only available in a king bed configuration, so those who want twin beds will need to pick a Deluxe Room instead.
At the time of writing, the Grand Premier Rooms are not available for booking yet – so check back later.
The Clan Hotel popped up in a very unlikely location for a brand-new hotel: Upper Cross Street. Right across from the Telok Ayer restaurant and bar district, the hotel cannot be more better placed for visitors who want to check out the culinary and bar offerings in the vicinity.
With Telok Ayer MRT right at the doorstep, guests at the hotel are also not too far away from other tourist districts including Marina Bay Sands (2 stops), Suntec City (3 stops), Bugis (4 stops), Chinatown (1 stop), and more.
The Clan Hotel did an opening promo blitz offering an incredibly good deal to many corporate partners, which had to be booked through the hotel’s sales representative.
While the hotel offered three room types, only two were part of the deal: the Deluxe Room, and the Master Series Premier Room.
I booked the offer via email and all was settled rather quickly. The confirmation came with a link to make the prepayment (the payment was refundable in case of a cancellation 24 hours before arrival), and the confirmation was in the mail soon after.
Note that this promotion is no longer offered; the hotel has renewed the offer at the same price but with some reduced offerings, such as just one day’s breakfast (instead of two days).
I was greeted at the door of the hotel by an agent, who promptly took my name and then escorted me to the door. Right as the sliding door open to unveil the lift lobby, the agent sounded a gong as the hotel’s signature welcome.
As the door closes behind you while you wait for the lift to bring you to the reception at level 2, one can feel the hustle and bustle of the streets quieten down in a moment. The dark lobby kind of gives you that moment of peace, it’s a pretty nice transition as you await your upcoming stay.
Once I got up to the reception, the check-in agent already has my file ready, and simply requested for my ID to process the check-in. In a matter of minutes, I was promptly briefed on the offerings and was escorted back to the lift to head up to the room shortly.
As my stay occurred in the Heightened Alert phase, the hotel’s signature welcome tea ceremony was suspended, but instead the hotel provided the welcome tea set in the room instead.
A note about car park: The hotel does not have its own car park, but guests enjoy complimentary parking at the adjacent China Square car park.
I booked my stay in the entry-level Deluxe Room. As mentioned earlier, the Deluxe Rooms form the bulk of the rooms available in the hotel, and typically takes up the non-corner rooms on lower floors.
My room was at the end of the corridor, and while it’s not a corner room, the layout offered a slightly bigger footprint than the other Deluxe Rooms. Not being a corner room also means you don’t get the signature wrap-around view, but the room is still very well lit regardless.
Upon walking in, you are greeted by the large king sized bed set in the middle of the room. The Deluxe Room took on a dark earthy tone, sleek-looking and yet decidedly modern.
The room also came with bay windows, with the couch affixed onto the ledge to provide extra seating. I have to say that the couch is incredibly uncomfortable to lounge on, as it’s a rather hard seat with a very stiff arm rest, making it a poor choice to lie on.
The work desk is a slim wooden ledge tucked in the corner of the room next to the window. With two sockets on the wall, it serves as a basic working desk for your in room working needs. However, the table comes with a backless stool, so clearly the desk is not meant to be a work desk for extended periods of time.
The TV is fixed to the wall, and will become the centrepiece for your in-room requests (more on this later). One downside of the TV as I discovered, was that the TV was not moveable (at least in the Deluxe Rooms), and this means that you will not be able to plug in your own HDMI cables/devices to use with the TV.
For Premier Rooms, it seems that the TV can be swiveled, so you can easier access the HDMI ports. So that means, if you intend to bring your personal entertainment devices such as PS4 or Nintendo Switch, you will have to book a Premier Room, at least.
The room does not come with a wardrobe, but instead rely on open shelves and a luggage rack near the entrance of the room for your bag and clothes. There’s also two drawers which contained a safe and other items such as iron and hair-dryer.
Now to the thing that matters: the bed. The Deluxe Rooms do come with either a choice of king or queen sized beds, so be sure to choose the right one at the time of booking. When I booked my stay, there wasn’t difference in price between the two, but it could be the case in future.
The bed is largely comfortable, and tends towards the softer side which I personally don’t quite like.
Both bedsides have a full range of lighting controls for the entire room, which I found rather difficult to use. There are also USB charging ports and universal power sockets, so you don’t have to worry about not having enough ports for charging.
The hotel also offers a pillow menu with the following options:
- Comfort-U Body Pillow: Full body support. Enables muscles & joints to truly relax. Multi-functional body pillow
- Sidesleeper Pillow: Extra comfort for side sleepers. Reduces strain on neck & upper back
- Latex Pillow: Made with 100% natural latex. Reduces head & neck pressure. Breathable interior cell structure provides shape retention
- Micro-Gel Pillow: Hypoallergenic. An alternative to goose down feather, Micro-Gel fibre emulates the lightness and air-trapping abilities of natural down and is supremely comfortable
I didn’t choose any as the available pillows are good enough, but feel free to call housekeeping to request for what you prefer.
Next on to the refreshments. Given that the welcome tea ritual at the lobby is currently suspended, the hotel has provided the welcome tea set in the room. Unfortunately during my stay, the hotel forgot to place an actual teapot and cups to drink the tea with, so I had to call up concierge to request for one, which promptly came in the next 10 minutes.
There was a bag of Nanyang Ritual tea, along with some Bak Kut Teh cookies in the box you see on the left. The next day, the housekeeper left another tea pack on the box, this time round the Oolong Ritual tea.
On top of the welcome tea, the room also has complimentary minibar items for guests. Even though I only booked the Deluxe Room, there was still a nominal set of refreshments provided, including a pack of cookies, a small bag of Ruffles chips, as well as some soft drinks in the fridge.
The minibar also came with a Nespresso machine with some complimentary capsules, as well as two canisters of Pryce tea. The canisters have been glued to the base so you won’t be able to bring them home, although you could still empty the contents.
You might notice that the room doesn’t come with any bottled water — the hotel has done away with bottled water but rely on a drinking water tap available in the bathroom sink.
Next up, the bathroom. If you are looking for a bathtub, you will be sorely disappointed. Bathtubs are only reserved for the Grand Premier Rooms, so you will only have a standing rain shower to content with.
There is a good range of amenities provided in the bathroom, including dental kits, sanitary bags, having kits and more.
The hotel carries Vuudh as its choice of bath amenities, a Thai brand by the same makers as Harnn. The Lotus and Osmanthus series is available only as a hotel collection, so you won’t be able to find it off the shelves.
In-room Services, In-room dining
The Clan Hotel encourages guests to use the television request systems for all in-room requests, from housekeeping to in-room dining.
To do so, simply navigate using the remote control and select the items you want, such as toiletries, extra towels, and even ice buckets and housekeeping services.
You can also order in-room minibar snacks, drinks and even in-room dining through the TV.
Sky Pool and Sky Gym
The hotel houses both an in-house gym and infinity pool, with both recreational facilities nested at the top floor of the building.
The Sky Gym is opened 24 hours a day, and is modestly decked out in the limited space it has but yet still adequately equipped for a workout. It has a good number of cardio machines, including treadmills and stationery bicycles, as well as a rack of dumbbells and a smith machine for some strength work.
There are also a couple of pylo boxes, as well as TRX for any body weight exercises you might be keen to take up.
What the hotel gym lacks in equipment and space, it made it up with the use of technology. What stood out was a giant LCD screen which served as an instructional facility for guided workouts. Beside the LCD wall was a smaller screen, where you could select from a wide range of workout from yoga, spin classes to HIIT workouts. This is undoubtedly a first I’ve seen in a hotel gym, and definitely the way to go in revolutionising hotel fitness solutions.
The gym was rather quiet during the entire time I was there, but the hotel still required advance booking to use the gym. 1-hour slots are available for booking with a 15-minute window between slots to allow for cleaning and disinfection.
The Sky Pool is located on the other side from the gym. Opened from 7am to 11pm daily, the 20-metre lap pool has an array of deck chairs with an amazing view overlooking Tanjong Pagar/Duxton.
There is also an open-air jacuzzi tucked at the side of the pool, but unfortunately this was cordoned off and the jets switched off during my stay, due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Similar to the gym, pool slots can be booked at the front desk, with 1-hour slots available for up to six guests at a time.
Booking both the gym and pool slots were pretty hassle-free, as the check-in agent offered to assist with the reservation at the time I checked in. Since I was staying for two nights, I asked if I could book a pool slot each day, and the agent was hesitant and advised that I could book a second slot for my stay if there was availability.
The peeve I had was that the policy on booking was unclear, and it was almost certain the occupancy wasn’t anywhere near peak given that I made my stay in the middle of the week.
Outside of the gym and the pool, there are also several shower suites that guests can use either after their workout, or for guests who arrive early or have to leave the hotel late when their rooms are not available.
There’s also a little lounge area when you could hang around, but honestly there won’t be much things to do and you will better off hanging around in any of the cafes in the neighbourhood.
Breakfast – QIN Restaurant
The Clan Hotel only has a single dine-in restaurant, the QIN Restaurant. Operated by Tung Lok, the restaurant is a brand new concept serving “re-imagined classics with a modern touch, tugging the heartstrings of one’s home”.
Breakfast is served daily from 6.30am to 10.30am on Mondays to Fridays, and 6.30am to 11.30am on weekends and public holidays.
QIN restaurant occupies the 4th and 5th floors, and like me you would be confused by the elevator guide showing that the restaurant is on 5th floor when you actually need to go 4th floor for entry.
Each guest may choose only one of the six items available on the menu, any additional orders will be charged. A free flow of coffee/tea and (bottled) juice is also served.
All breakfast sets come with a platter of bread with butter, as well as a small fruit bowl. The bread plate consisted of a sweet piece of cake along with a slice of toast with butter. Both of which are nothing to shout about.
I decided on the Qin breakfast, while my companion went for the continental breakfast.
The Qin breakfast is simply your typical American/British breakfast, filled with hashbrowns, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes and your choice of eggs.
The continental breakfast on the other hand looked pretty on a plate:
While the breakfast was prettyWe wanted to go for another round and that’s when we realised each guest was only limited to one portion. However, the ever friendly staff was nice enough to offer a smaller portion of the porridge (which was what we wanted to try anyway), and gave it to us for free.
The porridge – century egg being the flavour of the day – turned out to be really quite delicious, which was a rarity for hotel breakfast. The accompaniments were on point as well, enhancing the flavourful porridge.
The slick-looking Clan Hotel is definitely one of the most checked out hotels in 2021, with its generous one-for-one offer that the hotel has been happily pumping out to local residents.
The rooms are functional, clean and offers a great view in all directions; the facilities – while minimal – are solid.
The hotel does add on a few additional experiences, such as the welcome tea experience and the precinct tour for the Master Series room guests, to differentiate itself from its competitors within the area. Again, what it’s selling is a story, so if you are one for a good narrative to speak of your stay, then this is your hotel.
The Clan Hotel boasts lovely design and a unique vibe, but unfortunately it’s not exactly a traditional ‘full’ hotel complete with spa, lounges and the likes – so if those are your go-to indulgences, this hotel is not for you.
The food and beverage options are pretty limited and subjective in terms of quality, but given the hotel’s proximity to plenty of great bars and restaurants, this isn’t really a big problem.