Connected to one of the most famous shopping malls in Bugis, the InterContinental Singapore needs no introduction - following a massive refurbishment that officially completed in 2016, the rooms here at this luxurious property have been given a complete makeover. The Heritage Rooms and Heritage Suites were previously redone and were therefore not included in the most recent refresh.
I booked myself into a Club InterContinental Room at the InterContinental Singapore over the New Year's Eve of 2017 for a best available rate of S$375++ per night. Since I did not manage to utilise my free night certificate from the Ambassador membership, I have decided to spend two nights here over the peak period since it meant that I only had to pay for one night. As part of being an InterContinental Ambassador, I am eligible for a one-category upgrade and according to my understanding, the next level up from the Club InterContinental Room is the beautiful Premier Suite which comes with 52 sqm of space.
I arrived at the Club InterContinental slightly ahead of the official check-in time and I was being assigned a Grand Deluxe Room (previously known as the Ambassador Room) for the stay with Club benefits (since I have already paid for it). The 'upgrade' into a Grand Deluxe Room is technically a downgrade since I was supposed to be given a one-category upgrade into the Premier Suite. In fact, I did not actually realise that I was assigned a Grand Deluxe Room until I stepped into the room - at that point I was already too lazy and unmotivated to kick up a fuss (it is also after all New Year's Eve and the hotel was running at full capacity). With that being said, I understand that it may sometimes be impossible to accord a one-category upgrade but notifying the customer beforehand would definitely be the right thing to do.
As much as I really wanted to spend my long weekend in a suite instead of a room, I have decided that since I have not actually reviewed the Grand Deluxe Room (but I have for the Premier Suite), I would just stay in this smaller and lower room category for the purpose of experiencing a new room type. As I have mentioned previously, the Grand Deluxe Room, previously known as the Ambassador Room, was created to upgrade Ambassador members from a Deluxe Room in order to avoid giving out free breakfast to all InterContinental Ambassador members - you used to be able to get complimentary breakfast with the second-tier room and therefore in some ways, InterContinental Ambassadors were able to get guaranteed free breakfast as long as the base room was being booked). It was a little bit of a sketchy move but I am glad that the InterContinental Singapore has decided to make this an official room category now (Ambassador Rooms were previously not available for booking).
The Grand Deluxe Room (40sqm) is slightly bigger than the regular Deluxe Room (38sqm) in terms of space and even though there is a semi-partitioned living space in this room, it actually feels slightly smaller. As an InterContinental Ambassador member, I was given a bowl of fresh fruits and a bottle of Evian water (even though it was booked under a double-occupancy rate) - I seem to remember getting two bottles of Evian water the last time I stayed in the Premier Suite (obviously not a big deal but delivery is inconsistent). I was also given another tin of InterContinental Heritage Tea by TWG for being an InterContinental Ambassador member (which in my opinion, is one of the best loyalty statuses money can buy!).
The semi-partitioned bedroom located behind the living area features another flat-screen television and a second sound bar - that's right there are actually TWO TVs and TWO sound bars in this little 40sqm space. It is honestly a little bit excessive and I wish they have adopted a swivel-style TV (like the ones you can find in the Pan Pacific Orchard's Pacific Club Studios) instead but hey, who am I to criticise if a property wants to over and above what is ordinarily expected?
The bed itself is a dream to sleep in - I would go as far as to say that the InterContinental Singapore has one of the best hotel beds to sleep in in Singapore. One thing I really appreciate about five-star hotels in Singapore is how many lights there actually are in each room since it allows me to switch on 'just enough' lights for reading or for lazing in bed. You will also find a USB charging port by the side of the bed so you can leave your phone charged right before you go to bed.
The Grand Deluxe Room that I was in actually had a view of Bugis+ (pronounced as Bugis Plus) - definitely not as impressive as the previous view that I have had with the Premier Suite. If you are ever hungry while being in the InterContinental Singapore, there is a huge variety of dining options around the hotel (if you wish to order some room service, I highly recommend the menu from Man Fu Yuan which is an award-winning Cantonese restaurant here in this hotel).
Also, gone are the days where freeze-dried coffee is acceptable - the new standard in every luxury hotel (and even better four-star properties) should be a Nespresso machine with complimentary coffee capsules (don't be like the Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort where coffee pods are not complimentary!). Waking up to freshly-extracted coffee is seriously the best thing that can happen to you on a weekend so please do not rob weary travellers of that! If you are not a coffee-drinker, TWG teabags are also provided in the cupboard underneath and these teabags and coffee capsules are replenished at turndown and in the morning.
The bathroom of the Grand Deluxe Room is slightly larger than the regular Deluxe Room - in fact, I seem to remember being in a bathroom like that prior to the refurbishment. As mentioned in previous reviews of the InterContinental Singapore, bathroom amenities here are provided by Agraria which vaguely reminds me of a particular brand of dishwashing liquid.
You will also find a decent-size bathtub and a separate shower here in the Grand Deluxe Room - you will also get to enjoy some natural light as compared to a bathroom with no view in the regular Deluxe Rooms and Premier Suites.
Evening Drinks and Canapés are served at the Club InterContinental from 6:00PM to 8:00PM daily where club guests can enjoy complimentary (and free-flowing!) alcohol and food. As far as I know (and I have stayed here at least five times in 2016), the Club InterContinental does not serve Champagne during cocktail hour (which is just sad) but since I was there on New Year's Eve, they actually Bellini cocktails (essentially Prosecco and peach puree) - not a fan but just wanted to highlight it anyway. The Singapore Sling here is pretty delicious so even if you are a local here on a weekend staycation, make sure you order one anyway!
As I have mentioned previously, the selection of hot food during the evening cocktail hour has been dramatically reduced - you used to be able to pick off the buffet spread but it is not served to you. I can't say for certain that the quality of food has improved but the variety has definitely been reduced to three dishes each night. Don't get me wrong though, you may still order extra servings of food but let's be honest - you can't load up on these as a substitute to a light dinner (unless you have a really tiny stomach, of course).
Since the evening canapé selection actually left me hungrier than before (I mean seriously, where are the fried food?!), I decided to head down to Ash & Elm to check out the New Year Eve's Dinner Buffet instead. In-house guests do benefit from a dining discount from time to time to make sure you charge it to your room - it is also a great way to earn some more IHG Rewards Club points while you are there!
One of the things that I actually do look forward to during my stays at the InterContinental Singapore is the breakfast at the Club InterContinental - I like Ash & Elm during lunch and dinner but breakfast is usually a nightmare. The lines are long (so long you wake up in an earthly hour like most of the other travellers) and the coffee (which is actually delicious) takes forever to get to you. I like my weekends to be private and quiet so I always end up at the Club InterContinental for breakfast so long I have lounge access.
The Nasi Lemak here at the Club InterContinental is a must as well - if you are feeling hungry, make sure you ask for extra chicken because this is definitely not enough for a grown man! There is a pretty decent list of made-to-order breakfast here at the club lounge and diners are not limited to just one dish per seating so if you are feeling extra hungry, go forth and order more. I highly recommend ordering some fresh hashbrowns as well to go along with anything healthy you might order here during the breakfast service.
As part of your Club InterContinental benefits, you will also enjoy complimentary afternoon tea served in the lounge, evening canapes and cocktails as well as other benefits such as pressing benefits. As an InterContinental Ambassador member, you can be certain of a 4PM late check-out (which is guaranteed regardless of occupancy) here as well.
The brand new InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay is slated to open in Q2 2017 and I would imagine that to have some impact on the average occupancy rates here at the InterContinental Singaporee - the new room refurbishment, the superior location and the high-standard food options here will definitely be a draw to loyal travellers but for luxury staycation-seekers in Singapore, new hotels that are opening in Singapore will definitely have a different kind of attraction. With that being said, the InterContinental Singapore still remains to be one of my favourite luxury hotels in Singapore and I honestly think that the price for an entry-level suite (e.g. Premier Suite) is very reasonable since it is usually under S$100 more than a Club InterContinental Room.