Singapore's most affordable InterContinental Hotels Group property has officially opened last month (June 2016) and I checked into the Holiday Inn Express Singapore Katong for a long weekend in an attempt to complete my IHG Accelerate 2016 offers in the most economical way possible (find out how I earned 14,000 IHG Rewards Club points in two nights HERE!). The Holiday Inn Express Singapore Katong is also Singapore's third and largest Holiday Inn Express property - read about my experience at the Holiday Inn Express Singapore Clarke Quay and Holiday Inn Express Singapore Orchard Road.
I checked in to the Holiday Inn Express Singapore Katong on a Friday two nights as I do have to complete two weekend nights challenges as part of my Accelerate 2016 (June to August) offers. The check-in process was pretty painless and my loyalty to IHG (which really is just Gold Elite at the moment) was recognised during check-in. It is worth noting that the front office is not located on street level - you do have to take a lift up to the main lobby on level 10. This is also one of those hotels where you have to take at least two lifts to get out of the hotel - one from your room to the lobby and another from the lobby to the street.
Like all of the other Holiday Inn Express properties that I have been to in Singapore, there is only one room type in the Holiday Inn Express Singapore Katong - Standard Room. That being said, elite members of the IHG Rewards Club program do get certain privileges like late check-out (subjected to availability) and beverage discount at the bar downstairs. As a Gold Elite member, I was offered a 2PM late check-out and 20% off my first drink downstairs.
Like most of the other Holiday Inn Express properties around the world, the room at the Holiday Inn Express Singapore Katong comes with basic amenities that is sufficient for a normal traveller. Do keep in mind that the room rates here are pretty low (especially for a new and international brand like IHG) and therefore I do think you are getting quite a steal for what you are paying for. The bedroom comes with a Queen-size bed (or two Single-size beds if you had opted for that) and it has an attached bathroom as shown in the image above (the curved glass section is the shower area).
While the room itself was pretty small (but definitely bigger than the Holiday Inn Express Singapore Clarke Quay though!), it was pretty nice to be in - the TV was responsive (some luxury hotels in Singapore has TVs you cannot imagine) and the bed was comfortable enough for a short stay.
The room comes with a hot water kettle so in case you need a cup of coffee or tea, you can easily make one in the room. There is also a small fridge (actually, the smallest one I have had) in the room that is deliberately left empty for you to keep your own beverages and snacks - just pay attention to the size of the fridge to get a rough feeling on what fits and what doesn't.
One of the things that I really appreciated at the Holiday Inn Express Singapore Clarke Quay are these USB Charging Ports that you will find near the TV - these are little things that a hotel can do (especially when they are newly-built) to make the lives of modern-travellers better.
When I looked out of the floor-to-ceiling window, I was surprised to see a partial sea-view from my room on level 15 (level 16 is the highest floor in the Holiday Inn Express Singapore Katong).
The bathroom is also pretty basic at the Holiday Inn Express Singapore Katong and even though it is not as pretty as the one in Holiday Inn Express Singapore Clarke Quay, it was slightly larger. In fact, the design of the bathroom reminded me a lot of the one in Holiday Inn Express Singapore Orchard Road (especially with the curved glass and the shared door). Basic bathroom amenities like toothbrush and cotton buds are also made available in the room - some other amenities are provided upon request (free of charge).
What you will not find in a Holiday Inn Express property are fancy toilet amenities - shampoo and body wash (same thing here!) are provided in a dispenser so I guess you will never run out of it if you use it reasonably - housekeeping will also come by to make up your room in the morning.
Staying true to brand standards, the Holiday Inn Express Singapore Katong also provides complimentary breakfast in the morning with every stay - you do not have to book a breakfast-inclusive rate. However, do take note that the restaurant gets really crowded during peak hours and it may get very messy. Fortunately for me, there is always the option of Grab & Go for me to get in and get out quickly. I did face some challenges getting the takeway cups and boxes from the staff during breakfast though - I would have thought these would have been made readily available considering how it's integral to the whole brand proposition.
The Holiday Inn Express Singapore Katong truly offers a pretty decent product at an affordable price. Even though the hotel is not right smack along Orchard Road, it is located in a rather charming area of Singapore - Katong. For overseas visitors (or even locals!) who do not know the area well, Katong houses some of the most authentic restaurants in this city and if you are foodie, you definitely have to check out a few restaurants in the area for some cheap and good feeds.
If you like to travel on foot, you can easily make your way down to East Coast Park or Joo Chiat by taking a short stroll from the hotel - just ask the friendly staff at the lobby and I am sure they will point you towards the right direction. If all else fails, just ask a local - you'd be surprise at how helpful we are (especially when it comes to food recommendations) despite an average stern face.
With all that being said, my stay was not without hiccups - the fire alarm went off twice (once at 10PM and once at 3AM) and I thought that the whole evacuation process could have been improved. Maybe the property is too new but getting everyone to evacuate from their rooms and then told to "stay and await further instructions" are just conflicting signals that should be avoided.
Holiday Inn Express Singapore Katong
88 East Coast Rd, Singapore 423371
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