Alaska Airlines is kicking off 2021 with a sale of up to 60% bonus.
Alaska Airlines is offering a whopping 60% bonus on its latest round of miles-buying offers, working out to a cost of US 1.85 per mile.
Again, these bonus offers are personalised for each member, so you will have to log and check what are you given.
This time round, here’s my offer:
Remember, if you are not an elite member, you can only be credited up to a maximum total of 150,000 miles (acquired through buying miles) in a calendar year, whether through purchasing miles or having it gifted to you. Given that this is the start of 2021, it’s unthinkable that you may have already hit the limit, but there’s no guarantee that there’s no better offer down the road.
The offer closes at 11.59pm Pacific Standard Time on 14 Feb 2021 (Sun), which is 3.59pm on 15 Feb 2021 (Mon), Singapore time.
What are Alaska Miles good for
This is still an incredible offer, given that Alaska Air has historically offered only up to 50% bonus miles before Covid-19. Even at 1.85 US cents per mile, the famed Singapore-Tokyo redemption on JAL business class will only set you by USD462 (S$613), or somewhere close to USD924 (S$1,226) for a roundtrip ticket, an incredible value for a business class mid-haul ride.
When travel do recover, there are also other decent redemptions you can make with your Alaska miles, such as:
One way /Roundtrip
Southeast Asia to USA
Southeast Asia to USA
Singapore to USA
The key risk here is obvious: we still don’t know when the global travel economy is going to recover, and that has a hinge on flight capacity. Historically, airlines will prioritise revenue tickets over award tickets, so if there’s a situation where demand outpace the available air capacity, you could be left in a situation of too many miles, too few redemption options.
While Alaska Mileage Plan last for two years before expiring, bear in mind that Alaska is due to join oneworld later this year, so award prices may change by then.
Krisflyer Elite Miles and PPS Club Reserve Values will also get another year’s validity
Singapore Airlines announced last week that it will be further extending the status for KrisFlyer and PPS Club members, due to the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting uncertainty over travel plans for its frequent flyers.
KrisFlyer and PPS Club status due to expire between March 2021 and February 2022 will now be automatically extended from between March 2022 and February 2023.
On top of this, Singapore Airlines has also made additional concessions, such as PPS Reserve Value extension and Elite Miles rollover to provide subsequent tier renewal support.
KrisFlyer Elite status extension
If your existing KrisFlyer Elite Silver or Elite Gold membership expires between March 2021 and February 2022, your membership will be automatically renewed for another year. This is the case for all members even if you are unable to accrue the usual Elite Miles required, which will be the case for most members this year given the current travel outlook.
This new support will supersede the earlier initiative announced on 1st September 2020, where members will be credited with 50% of the required Elite miles to assist with qualification between March 2021 to February 2022.
KrisFlyer Elite Miles will be rolled over for another year
To give members another boost to maintain their status, KrisFlyer will also roll over Elite Miles earned in the current membership year (with a start date of March 2020 to February 2021) over to their next membership year. This includes Elite Miles earned through flying (if you have been flying at all), and through non-air promotional activities that Singapore Airlines have pushed out last year.
This is how the Elite Miles will be credited:
At the end of your current membership year, your Elite Miles will be reset to zero at the beginning of your next membership year.
The Elite Miles earned in the current yea will be re-credited within two months.
Each KrisFlyer Elite member will be eligible for a one-time re-crediting of Elite miles.
Only Elite miles accrued within your membership year (with membership start date from March 2020 till February 2021) will be re-credited.
If you are currently a KrisFlyer Elite Silver member and you get upgraded to KrisFlyer Elite Gold tier before the KrisFlyer Elite Silver membership end-date, you will also be eligible for a one-time re-credit of Elite miles within two months of the upgrade date.
It’s all a bit confusing, but here’s an example:
You are currently a KrisFlyer Gold Elite member, with your membership cycle beginning in June 2020. Between June 2020 and May 2021, you earned 5,000 Elite Miles. When June 2021 comes around, you get a free year of Gold Elite status, and you will also receive the 5,000 Elite Miles re-credited into your account.
PPS Club membership extension
In a previous renewal support programme announced in September 2020, only 50% of the PPS Value was due to be credited for PPS Club members with tier renewal end dates through August 2021, so existing PPS and Solitaire PPS Club members would have to earn the other 50% within the year prior to their status expiring.
Singapore Airlines have now upped the support, giving 100% of the value required to ensure that members get at least another year of PPS Club membership, on top of the previous one-year extension.
This is happening in two parts: for those who have already gotten their one-year extension as of 8 Sep 2020, and for those who have yet to as of 8 Sep 2020.
For those who have received their one-year extension as of 8 Sep2020
For members whose tier renewal dates have been extended to expire between March 2021 and August 2021, they will receive their PPS value in two tranches:
Membership tier (as of 8 Sep 2020)
1st tranche PPS Value credit by 31 Oct 2020
2nd tranche PPS Value credit by 31 Jan 2021
Solitaire PPS Club (qualified after 1 Jun 2018)
Solitaire PPS Club (qualified after 1 Jun 2018)
For those who have yet to receive their one-year extensionas of 8 Sep 2020
For those who have yet to receive their one-year extension, or received it after 8 Sep 2020, the full value will be credited on 31 Mar 2021:
Membership tier (as of 8 Sep 2020)
New tier renewal expiry date (after one-year extension)
PPS Value to be credited by 31 Mar 2021
Solitaire PPS Club (qualified after 1 Jun 2018)
Sep 2021 to Feb 2022
Solitaire PPS Club (qualified after 1 Jun 2018)
Sep 2021 to Feb 2022
Sep 2021 to Feb 2022
One important thing to note: credited PPS value under this programme will not count towards the tracking of PPS value required to achieve PPS Rewards.
PPS Reserve Value extension
On top of giving the 100% PPS value, Singapore Airlines will also be extending the expiry date of all PPS Reserve Value members are currently holding.
Members with Reserve Value expiring between March 2021 and February 2023 will have them all extended till February 2024. The extension will be processed only in March 2021.
Even as the world rolls out vaccination programmes, the pandemic is not yet abating, which means that leisure travel is still a far way off.
Singapore Airlines is definitely erring on the side of being generous, with this latest round of extensions offered to its frequent flyer members. This round of another one year extension, plus the rollover of Krisflyer elite miles and PPS Reserve Values also points to the fact that Singapore Airlines is expecting the lack of travel to persist for a while more.
Qantas will restart most of its international network from second half of 2021, bookings open now
Qantas has now reopened bookings across its entire overseas network 1 July 2021, reflecting a note of optimism for the new year.
Services to most of its destinations are now available for booking, including flights to Singapore, London, USA from Australia.
Executive Traveller previously reported a planned resumption of services to select destinations such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan from 29 Mar 2021, but this has been pushed back to 1 Jul along with more destinations.
Flights between Australia and Singapore
Qantas previously operated up to 49 services a week from Singapore to London and four cities in Australia: Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.
All five destinations are expected to be served from 1 Jul, including the flagship Sydney-Singapore-London QF1/2 service, although each destination will only be served once a day.
No first class for now, premium economy available on Boeing 787-9s
The QF1/2 service between Sydney and London via Singapore was previously operated by an A380 and will be replaced by a Boeing 787-9 when service resumes from 1 Jul as all Qantas A380s are currently in long-term storage until at least 2023.
This also means that there will be no first class service across Qantas network, as the cabin is only found exclusively on the A380s.
Based on currently published schedules, the Qantas Dreamliner Boeing 787-9s will be available on services to and from Sydney (QF2/1), Melbourne (QF36/35) and London (QF1/2).
According to Qantas’ website, the following services will be available from 1 Jul:
Days of op
Singapore – Sydney
Sydney – Singapore
Singapore – Melbourne
Singapore – Brisbane
Singapore – Perth
Singapore – London
What does this mean for Qantas Singapore lounge operations?
With a reduced number of flights and with less travellers expected to travel in the initial months, coupled with the fact that there will be no first class service operating in or out of Singapore for the next few years, it is likely that Qantas may reduce its lounge operations in Singapore. This means that it may only operate one of the two lounges at Changi Airport in the initial phase of resuming flights.
We also understand that the current lounge team, managed by Accor, have been furloughed or released late last year. As such, it is highly unlikely that the Qantas Singapore First Class lounge will be reopened even when flights resume later this year, leaving only the business class lounge to serve premium passengers and Oneworld emerald and sapphire members.
It’s rather exciting news that Qantas has reopened international travel bookings, despite the fact that it’s for six months down the road.
Having said that, the airline has come under fire by the Australian government for pre-emptively deciding when borders will reopen, although Qantas has responded saying that it was their own take on how likely it will be.
This renewed optimism for the resumption of international travel is definitely much needed, although whether it happens or otherwise depends on how well the pandemic comes under control this year as vaccines are rolled out.
Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy, World of Hyatt, Accor ALL: See which programmes have reduced their normal requirements and which have yet to announce anything
50% reduction in requirements, lower milestone bonuses
Hilton Honors members will be pleased to know that they will only need to achieve 50% of the usual qualification requirements in 2021 to earn or keep their status.
The requirements for 2021 are:
Silver: 5 nights / 2 stays / 12,500 base points
Gold: 20 nights / 10 stays / 37,000 base points
Diamond: 30 nights / 15 stays / 60,000 base points
This means that you will earn Silver status for as little as two stays in 2021, although that is hardly worth anything, given that the real perks kick in only when you reach Gold when you hit 10 stays or 20 nights.
If you recall, Hilton will also be rolling over all the nights earned in 2020 to 2021, counting towards the reduced number of nights required to earn status. Note that only nights will roll over, and not stays or points value.
On top of the reduced status qualification requirements, Hilton Honors will also be reducing the milestone bonus requirements, and the number of nights you need to hit before gifting a status to someone else.
World of Hyatt
Hyatt has similarly reduced earning requirements by 50% for 2021:
Discoverist: 5 tier-qualifying nights / 12,500 base points
Explorist: 15 tier-qualifying nights / 25,000 base points
Globalist: 30 tier-qualifying nights / 50,000 base points
Note that any status earned or retained in 2021 will be valid until 28 Feb 2023.
If you usually earn your status through organising meetings, note that the requirements for the status have also halved, although I don’t see meetings resuming in a big way similar to pre-pandemic levels.
On top of this, World of Hyatt has also extended its Award Rebate programme to 28 Feb 2021 (registration required), giving World of Hyatt a 15% rebate on the points used for an award stay.
World of Hyatt is also running a Bonus Journeys promotion (registration required) where members earn 3x points on every qualifying stay. Elite nights will also count twice: once when they’re earned, and another time in 2021 towards status and Milestone Rewards.
Accor has announced some really interesting changes to its 2021 programme requirements.
Firstly, the all status points and status nights earned between 1 Jul 2020 and 31 Dec 2020 will be credited to your 2021 count by end of January 2021.
In addition, all status points and status nights earned in 2021 will be doubled. “Twice the points, twice the fun”, they said.
With these two measures this means:
If you have earned/requalified your Accor ALL status through stays between July and December 2020, all of the nights/points will automatically roll over to 2021, which means you have effectively qualified for the same status through end 2023.
If you have not, you will effectively need only half the spending or nights in 2021 to qualify for your desired status, as follow:
Silver: Effectively 5 nights or 960 status points (€400 spend)
Gold: Effectively 15 nights or 3,500 status points (€1,400 spend)
Platinum: Effectively 30 nights or 7,000 status points (€2,800 spend)
Diamond: Effectively 13,125 status points (€5,200 spend)
Note that the status points you earn depends on the brand you stay with, with budget brands such as ibis, ibis styles and some others earning much lower status points per dollar spent. To find out exactly how many status and reward points you will earn, you can use the calculator here.
Previously, Accor has extended the duration of those who earned status in 2019 by one year, to expire in December 2021.
IHG Rewards Club
IHG Rewards Club has not announced any reductions in earning requirements in the 2021 programme year.
IHG elite members’ points never expire so an extension wasn’t necessary, however, entry-level Club members will have their points extended till 30 Jun 2021.
Marriott has not announced any form of status earning reductions for 2021 to-date.
Earlier in 2020, Marriott has extended all elite members’ status to expire only in February 2022, so anyone who earned their status in 2019 will have them all the way through February 2022.
In addition, Marriott also gave a one-time 50% Elite Nights Credit in June 2020 to all elite members according to their status. At the top, Ambassador Elite members get 50 elite nights, while the entry tier Silver members get 5 nights, all of which will also count towards lifetime statuses.
It’s rather baffling that Marriott and IHG have yet to announce any changes to earning requirements for 2021, but this could be a case of “let’s wait and see” on the part of the programme managers.
With the Covid-19 vaccine rolling out in countries around the world, it may still take a while before international travel gradually resume, and that means that tourism and related industries such as hotels will definitely take some time to recover. As such, my guess is that both loyalty programmes will definitely announce updated measures in due time.
Let’s face it: when you are a local resident, a staycation in the heart of Little India is never top of mind. Why nest in the heart of a heritage site when one has plenty of choice in the Marina district, waking up to a view of the iconic Singapore skyline?
While Little India is home to many backpackers hostels and smaller, independently-run budget hotels, many newer, more upscale hotels have also found their roots in the area in the last decade or so, including One Farrer Hotel.
Truth be told, while the hotel opened to much fanfare back in 2014 as a premium medical facility in a bid to boost medical tourism, it didn’t appeal as a choice for a staycation. Room rates were sky-high then for the location: imagine a $200++ rate for a base-level room? Madness.
Six years on with Covid-19 in the air, the hotel was definitely deprived of guests and selling its premium offering of a room with club access for only S$240, all in. Of course, we are checking it out.
Opened in 2014, the hotel originally opened as One Farrer Hotel & Spa, as part of a multi-purpose complex called Connexion that includes the adjacent Farrer Park Hospital. The entire complex is owned by The Farrer Park Company, a privately held company to build and manage both the hotel and the hospital.
Since then, the hotel has dropped the word “Spa” from its name, ahtough the hotel still offers a very decent spa. One Farrer Hotel (and ex-Spa) is markedly different from many other hotels in Singapore. As an independent property unaffiliated to the major hotel chains, the hotel is not really a natural and popular choice for many.
The hotel boasts of a ‘hotel-within-a-hotel’ concept, running four different ‘hotels’ housed in the same building: the Urban Hotel, Loft Apartments, Skyline Hotel, and the grandest of them all, the Sky Villas.
These are essentially different room types within a conventional hotel, but at One Farrer, these mini-‘hotels’ are housed on different floors in the building.
The Urban Hotel is located on the 11 to 16th floors of the hotel, featuring ‘chic contemporary’ rooms. There are three room types in the Urban Hotel: The Urban Room, a slightly bigger Urban Den and the largest being the Urban Suite.
Loft Apartments are also located on the 11th to 16th floors, and are essentially self-contained duplex serviced apartments, complete with a living area and a kitchenette on the mezzanine level in each apartment.
On the higher floors, there are the Skyline Hotel and Sky Villas. Both are considered the ‘executive rooms’ of the hotel, located on 18th to 20th floor of the building.
The Skyline Hotel is situated on 18th & 19th floor, while the Sky Villas take up the top floor. Skyline Hotel also comprises three room types: the Skyline Room, the Skyline Studio and the Skyline Suite.
The Sky Villas are the largest rooms on property: six distinctive villas, each with its own name. One key feature of the villas is that each of them carry a good number of art pieces in the suite, sourced from all over the world by the hotel owners.
The smallest suites are the Peony Villa and Lotus Villa, both suites at 65sqm and features a single bedroom with a separate living area. Lotus Villa also features a complete library, a collection of a wide-ranging selection of visual art books, originally comprised the research library of Sculpture Square Limited, when it was located at 155 Middle Road from 1999 to 2014.
Next on the list is the Jasmine Villa, Blue Pea and Orchid Villa, all of which are two-bedroom suites. Ranging between 95 to 105sqm, each villa has its own distinct style around the flower that it’s named after, with a subtle hint of fragrance.
Top of the league is the Calla Lily the Presidential Villa, a two-bedroom villa spread over 200 sqm of space at the topmost level of the hotel. The villa brings out the best the hotel has to offer, featuring a composition of artwork sourced from all over the world.
The sterling silverware is the Audubon design from 1871. The flowing designs of branches and twigs with leaves, buds, flowers and exotic birds were entirely different from anything in Amercian silver at that time. Each piece of Audubon is decorated with intricate designs adapted from 19th century Japanese bird paintings, with eight species represented. The back of each piece has complementary designs derived from Japanese flowers.
The Persian Nain carpets were the first items selected for the Presidential Villa; together with the expansive view of the cityscape from the window, they dominate the living and dining rooms. Even the coffee table is transparent as so not to obstruct the view of the carpet. The few accents placed on the edges of the salon are specially selected to reflect the interests of one who collects for the pure enjoyment and sharing of knowledge, created by the introduction of different cultures and art influences into a harmonious whole. Two 12th and 13th century Khmer jars in unobtrusive brown glaze introduce the viewer to an era in Southeast Asia that tells the history of Indochina.
One Farrer Hotel
Booking and Check-in
One Farrer Hotel is not my among my usual list of hotels I’ll check out, so the only reason why I’d make a stay this time round was because of the TTG travel offers available during the 10.10 sale. The hotel was selling its club rooms, styled as Skyline Room, for only S$240 nett, which was an incredible steal by local standards.
Once the voucher was purchased, all I needed to do was to write in to the hotel to make a booking, stating that I was using the TTG voucher. The hotel promptly made the booking and sent me a confirmation. I also requested for a slightly earlier check-in time at noon, which was also given without much of a hassle.
The standard check-in time for the hotel is at 3pm, but on the day of the visit I arrived at about noon. There was hardly a soul at the lobby, and I literally walked right up to the counter and had keys in my hands in less than five minutes.
For those who are driving, note that the hotel and the hospital shares the same car park, which can be accessed from either facility.
Each room is entitled to two parking tickets a day, however there are no multiple entry privileges, so you may need to plan a little if you intend to drive in and out of the hotel often.
The Skyline Room is by no means small. At the size of 35 square metres, the room was rather generous not only in floor space, but also in volume due to its high ceilings.
The first thing that went into my mind upon stepping into the room was how much natural light the room had. Featuring a high ceiling, the room boasted of three large full length windows with bay seats, overlooking the housing estate nearby and beyond.
The entrance to the room was a long and narrow walkway devoid of anything else but plain white walls. Once you have taken a few steps in, you will be greeted by a king sized bed flushed against a simple yet elegant headboard and side tables.
The work desk is a clear glass top that faces the window, with a white Geneva speaker sitting at one corner. The international power sockets, along with all the television input points were nicely built by the side of the table, making plugging in pretty convenient.
The minibar is located to the right of the bed, with a kettle and an illy coffee machine perched atop. Unfortunately, the hotel doesn’t stock Nespresso machines, so for those guests who like to request for capsules to bring home, you may be disappointed. However, the hotel does stock TWG teabags, so that will have to suffice as souvenirs for now.
As usual, the minibar is emptied out due to safe management measures as laid out by the authorities. If you really need a midnight perk-me-up, the menu is available on the TV controls.
The bathroom takes up the space right next to the main door of the room, but the entrance to the bathroom actually faces the bed. This may be a problem for some people who prefer not having to see the bathroom interiors from the sleeping area.
You will see that the first doorway actually doesn’t have a door, but that is where the vanity and the wardrobe area are. The wardrobe is also where you will find the in-room yukata and bathrobe, which I’ve seen many guests use when they visit the spa or the swimming pool.
The room comes with a single wash basin which is beautifully lit, so it’s pretty ideal when it comes to inspecting your face for blemishes and going through your skincare routine.
The second doorway is to the ‘wet area’ of the bathroom, including the toilet and the shower stall. Note that the room doesn’t come with a bathtub, so if you are looking for a good soak, this will not be your choice of hotel.
The hotel uses amenities from FreshSkinLab for its shower bath gel and shampoo. I’m not familiar with the brand, and neither is there a lot of information on its website, so I suspect this might be an in-house brand by the hotel.
The most unique proposition of the Skyline Lounge is probably its marketed “five meals in a day”. Located on the 18th floor, the lounge operates from 7am to 10pm daily, offering food and beverage for guests staying at the Skyline Hotel, Skyline Villa and guests staying in the Urban Suites.
The lounge is a rather cosy space (read: small), with enough seating for around 20 guests at a time. Most of the seating available are dining tables and chairs, with just one or two sets of lounge chairs and coffee teas which aren’t that comfortable to sit on anyway.
The lounge is also adjacent to the Skyline swimming pool, a smaller exclusive pool for guests at the Skyline hotel and villas. In the event that the lounge is full, guests may also be seated by the pool.
The lounge offers five distinct light meal services a day, namely:
Breakfast from 7am to 11am
Lunch from 12pm to 2pm
Afternoon tea from 3pm to 5pm
Evening cocktails from 5.30pm to 8pm
Sweet & savouries from 8.30pm to 10pm
Outside of these hours, non-alcholic beverages, coffee and tea will always be available any time between 7am and 10pm. So as you can see, you will practically get food any time of the day and going hungry is quite impossible.
As it’s my first stay with this property, I tried to check out all the meal services, even though I’m hardly a big eater.
As I arrived early at about 1pm, I was able to check in early and head to the lounge for lunch. Upon arrival at the lounge, you will need to do your SafeEntry check-in, and the lounge has also installed a temperature taking machine right at the entrance.
There is a printed menu detailing the menu of the day. While it seemed like the items are cooked to order at first glance, the reality is that the food is already prepared and kept warm at the buffet area, which are now off-limits to guests as part of the Covid-19 measures.
To give guests a further peace of mind, all the cutlery used are wrapped in a plastic wrap and sealed with a tamper-proof sticker.
The food was acceptable in terms of taste, but definitely not mind-blowing. Far from it, actually. It looked like fare you could get out of a factory canteen, with its equally juvenile crockery.
The afternoon tea comprised mainly sandwiches and other finger food, but again, the quality of the food wasn’t something I would write home about.
Afternoon tea comprised three savoury snacks, including a quiche, a mini-pie and a ham and cheese sandwich. There is also a tart that comes with it, which was probably the star of the afternoon tea.
While you have to wait till evening cocktails for your alcohol fix, you will still get to enjoy a range of non-alcoholic drinks, including machine-made coffee, tea, as well as select soft drinks and juices during the afternoon tea session.
Evening cocktails run from 5.30pm to 8pm at the Skyline Lounge, which is one of the longest sessions in the Covid-19 era. While pre-booking is still highly encouraged, the hotel does not split the evening sessions into shorter one-hour sessions to accommodate more guests, like many other popular hotels such as Hilton and Sofitel City Centre have done.
The food offering at the lounge is somewhat out of the ordinary, but yet nothing exciting. Here’s how it looks like:
Yes you saw right: steamed jasmine rice, along with stir fried beef, vegetables and two fried wantons. While this is fairly substantial for an evening cocktail sessions, this selection of evening cocktail snacks has placed the lounge firmly in the ‘school canteen’ category in my opinion, at least.
There is something homely about the food, although the amount of rice dished on my plate made me feel like it’s a ploy to fill me up so I won’t go for seconds.
Skyline Lounge offers a select of alcoholic beverage, including spirits, bottled beer and wines. Of course, if alcohol is not your thing, there’s also non-alcoholic options for you to choose from. Unfortunately the lounge didn’t offer any sparkling wine (my personal favourite), so I had to go with red wine, which wasn’t really great either.
A quick tip: the wines are really not that great and fairly inconsistent. For instance, during my session, the staff had to offer me a different red wine halfway through the session because they ran out of the first one I had. You will be better off sticking to gin and tonic, as the lounge pours Hendricks which is probably the most premium spirit across what they offer.
Skyline Hotel guests can take their breakfast either at the Skyline Lounge, or at the main hotel restaurant down at the ground level.
Not really wanting to jostle with any potential crowd, I went for the breakfast session at the lounge.
For a somewhat small lounge, the kitchen was able to offer quite a wide range of food, as you can see from the menuL
I went for the classic American breakfast first, which sounded like a great way to start my day. I wasn’t really thinking much in the morning, so I went with my default choice of scrambled eggs to complete the plate.
So this arrived:
Again, the items were picked from a buffet line by the lounge staff. The plating leaves much to be desired, but one could forgive if they saw how busy the lounge was in the morning, with only three wait staff buzzing around.
My companion had the ‘daily special’ of pan-fried roti prata with two fried eggs on the side. We also shared a set of pancakes, which came with some syrup, jam and pretty decent butter. Unfortunately, both of which are pretty mediocre.
One Farrer Hotel is a full service luxury hotel, so that means it has all the right things: a full meeting conference facility, dining and bar options, and also a wide range of recreational facility.
Pre Covid-19, One Farrer Hotel has conference and meeting facilities for up to 700 people at any point in time, including a Grand Ballroom, a Garden Pavilion and three smaller meeting rooms. When first opened, the hotel had a vision to serve a specialised crowd hosting medical-related conference and meetings, mainly due to its relation to the hospital next door. Plans included live-streaming procedures from the hospital, but this proved to be difficult so the hotel has since dropped that vision.
Regardless, the hotel is one of the few newer hotels capable of hosting large format meetings, as most of its peers are smaller properties with correspondingly smaller meeting rooms.
Remember how the hotel first opened as “One Farrer Hotel and Spa“? As you may have guessed – spa was a selling proposition during its early days.
The hotel houses Adeva Spa Retreat, a local spa brand that also manages the HANN and the lesser known Civisan brands.
The spa is located on the 6th floor and is set amidst an oasis of lush tropical gardens, with private treatment rooms. A wide range of treatments are available, although they do come at a premium (see menu here).
The usual relaxation facilities including steam rooms and saunas are available in the hotel, and are available for use during my stay. Note that there are capacity limits in each of the facility, so cater more time and expect to wait to use them.
One distinct feature of the spa is the gender separated onsen pools, which are accessible through the respective changing rooms. These are also accessible free of charge for in-house guests. Note that this is not a clothes-optional facility, you will be required to wear your swimwear in these pools. I have had staff of both genders walking into the pool area for cleaning and other purposes.
If you are using any of the spa facility, note that the spa no longer offers locker use or towels, so you will have to bring your own from your room.
There are also several snooze chairs in the changing rooms you could use, although I found them to be too public to get any decent rest. These armchairs should have been facing the other direction, in my opinion.
The hotel also a full-sized swimming pool, spanning 50m in length for those who need to clock their laps. The poolside bar and cabanas also make for a wonderful evening pool party setup, although I hardly saw anyone at the pool throughout the day.
As mentioned earlier, there is also a much smaller, private pool on the 18th floor, exclusively for Skyline Hotel guests. This is really more of a splash pool, incredibly popular for parents who wish to lounge, while kids go out and play in the pool.
The hotel also houses a decently-sized fitness centre on 6th floor. Accessible round-the-clock, the fitness centre is adequately fitted out with both cardio and weight training equipment.
One Farrer Hotel started off positioning themselves as a luxury hotel and spa, but unfortunately didn’t quite manage to do so. Even with dropping off the spa label a few years later, the hotel didn’t quite cut it as a ‘luxury, five-star’ standard that it originally envisioned themselves doing so.
This also demonstrates the challenge of the hospitality landscape in Singapore, where independently owned and managed hotels often find it incredibly difficult to command the premium, no thanks to established properties in traditional locations such as the Marina area and Orchard that are immensely popular with tourists.
Having said that, the hotel also failed in delivering the five-star promise: While service is impeccable, the lounge offering was really in the league of a suburban hotel in the US. The food and beverage offering was at best mediocre; I have had better fare at some of the lower tier hotels.
The room, while comfortable, also lacked the deckings of a luxury hotel: the bathroom for one, felt more like a serviced apartment-style bathroom, built more for efficiency than a luxurious experience.
Having said that, for what I’ve paid, the overall experience is adequate and very good value for money. I can’t be sure if One Farrer Hotel will continue to maintain this price point, but I’ll be hard pressed to pay more than S$300 for a club room at this property with no additional inclusions.