Managed by the Pan Pacific Hotel Group, the PARKROYAL portfolio currently comprises of 17 hotels, resorts and serviced suites across Australia and Asia (inclusive of properties under development). As a strong advocate for the Pan Pacific brand and having stayed in the PARKROYAL on Pickering St and the PARKROYAL Kuala Lumpur, I decided to spend a weekend at the PARKROYAL on Beach Road which is situated just across of Haji Lane and Arab St. It is also highly accessible via public transport - five minutes away from the Nicoll Highway MRT train station and eight minutes away from Bugis MRT train station.
To be perfectly honest, I did not have very high expectations for this property initially and I was pleasant surprised when I made my way into this property which looks seemingly dull from the outside. Upon entering the lobby, I was greeted with a rather nice interior. The staff promptly proceeded with my check-in and I was lucky enough to have a room even though I arrived at the hotel about two hours before the official check-in time which is at 3pm. I was given an Orchid Club Premier King room located on level seven (the highest floor) for this stay.
I had the honor of meeting the Marketing Communications Manager of the property, Ms Wang, who took time out of her busy schedule to meet me on a Saturday afternoon. She brought me around the property to have a look at the new event spaces for meetings and conferences, the St. Gregory Spa, the pool and gym facilities as well as the restaurants located around the hotel. We had an Imperial High Tea at the Tian Fu Tea Room while she shared with me interesting facts about the hotel (some of which I'll be sharing as part of the review). The handmade Dim Sum and the exquisite Chinese teas here are highly recommended!
The second surprise came after taking the lift to the seventh floor. I really liked how the crescent-shaped corridor looks. Those who know me well enough will know that natural lighting is something that I appreciate a lot so I was actually really impressed by this naturally lighted passageway. For some reason, the corridor really reminded me of the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport. The air-conditioning on this floor did seem to be rather weak and the lift lobby was actually rather stuffy.
The Orchid Club Premier King room was 42 sqm which came equipped with a King-sized Simmons® Bed, a large work desk, an ironing board and iron, an en-suite bathroom with separate bath and (rain)shower facilities, as well as the usual things you would expect (e.g. coffee/tea making facilities). The room did not have a Nespresso machine or equivalent and the teabags provided were from Twinings so it wasn't exactly exciting for me. The room however was clean and the bedding quality was great. Travellers with allergies will be happy to know that the room I was in wasn't carpeted.
The size of the work desk was large enough to get some work done. It is also conveniently located near the full glass doors behind (which open up to a small private balcony) so you can get some work done without relying on fluorescent lights. These rooms have last been refurbished in 2006 and I thought the entertainment system could be refreshed a little. The TV size is a little smaller than what I have expected and despite having a huge glass beside that allows for you to watch the TV while inside, the bathroom did not come with integrated bathroom speakers. The only way I could watch the TV and still hear the dialogues was to turn the volume way up. Also the air-conditioning in the room did not seem to be functioning very well. Despite being able to set the temperature to 10 degrees Celsius, the room temperature did not fall below 24 degrees during my stay. The weather in Singapore has been rather erratic recently (in terms of the heat) and I would like it better if the temperature control actually worked better.
The bathroom itself was decent sized and ample amenities were provided by the St. Gregory Spa. In fact, I was told that the shower gel, shampoo and hair conditioner were all recently improved to incorporate natural ingredients and extracts. Personally I really liked the bath amenities and the shampoo in particular. Whilst it was not an international luxury brand, it did leave my hair hydrated and cleansed. On another note, the bathtub was a little too small and too shallow for my liking.
As mentioned previously, the en-suite bathroom comes with a separate rain shower and a shower seat. Separate bath and shower facilities are important to me and I'm glad the Orchid Club Premier Room provided me with that. There are also bathrobes provided (one in the closet and one in the bathroom) for those of you who enjoys lounging in them.
The attached private balcony allowed partial views of the iconic condominiums along Kallang River as well as the hotel's swimming pool. Bear in mind that the rooms are non-smoking rooms and therefore you should not be smoking on the balcony. Also the walls are rather low towards the edge of the balcony so be mindful that your neighbour could very well peek into your balcony/room if they really wanted to. This is just a precautionary tip to always draw your curtains when changing.
The Orchid Club was located on level six (one level below the club rooms) and the evening cocktail hours ran from 6pm to 8pm. Michael from the Orchid Club was extremely attentive to his guests and he made sure that every one of them were well taken care of. Having been to many executive lounges in Singapore, I dare say that Michael is perhaps one of the best lounge staff I have ever seen. The canapes served were pretty decent and were definitely suitable for a light dinner. While I was there, Orchid Club guests were able to choose from salads, sushi, fried rice, fruits and a selection of cheese. It wasn't extensive like the Pan Pacific Singapore but it wasn't lackluster like the Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium's Executive Lounge either. The food quality was pretty good and the friendliness of staff in the lounge made the stay very enjoyable. Albeit being a rather small lounge, it had ample seating spaces and was actually pretty quiet (always a good thing for a staycation/work).
One of the things that really impressed me in this property is the Wellness Floor (level four). Those of you who have been to the PARKROYAL on Pickering St will be familiar with a Wellness Floor where you will be able to enjoy the gym, pool, spa or even fitness classes. The gymnasium at the PARKROYAL on Beach Road is extremely spacious and I really liked how the treadmills overlooked the swimming pool. There were also a number of weight and cardio machines that hotel guests can utilise. The gymnasium opens from 630am to 10pm on Weekdays so you can always squeeze in some morning exercise before you work (if you're traveling for business). Otherwise, if you're on a staycation on the weekends, it opens from 7am to 9pm.
The swimming pool that is located next to the gymnasium have similar opening hours. The pool offers a great view of the Singapore Flyer and Marina Bay Sands alongside other buildings around the Marina Bay area. Those who pay attention to details will notice that this pool will have one of the best views to the new Singapore National Stadium. This also means that the PARKROYAL on Beach Road may well become one of the best hotels to watch the National Day fireworks from beginning next year.
The pool is 2.9m deep at the deepest end so those with children need to take note. This is the second hotel swimming pool after Hilton Singapore (3.0m) that I have been to in Singapore which possesses such a deep end. If you get hungry after a swim or a workout, you will be able to order a fresh fruit juice (not from a bottle!), pizza or even ice-cream from the nearby counter. I really like how there's plateful of sofas/seats for you to enjoy a good book or simply to lounge around. In fact, there's even a poolside BBQ should you choose to have dinner by the pool at sunset.
I went back to my room and made myself a bath using my favourite bubble bar from Lush - The Comforter. According to Lush, it smells like blackcurrant candy and it's vegan as well. They cost S$16 for 200g but you can easily break it up into four (50g) portions!
Keeping in mind that the PARKROYAL on Beach Road is not a luxury property, the relatively low room rates make the hotel for an attractive staycation option. All in all, the PARKROYAL on Beach Road was nothing short of a great getaway. I really liked how the hotel is nestled within lush greenery and it provided ample space for weary travellers to rest and rejuvenate. For Singaporeans who are always searching for the next staycation spot, this could very well be it. It's just a stone's throw away from Arab St and Haji Lane so you can get your hipster fix nearby. Besides, let's be honest with ourselves - there's no way you're going out to Haji Lane in this heat otherwise. In fact, there's a Weekend Getaway package that runs until 31 December 2014 which offers you complimentary breakfast.
If you're thinking of holding a meeting or conference, there's a range of venues like the Sky Ballroom, Grand Ballroom or even the Courtyard to choose from. The event spaces offer flexible configurations that can be subdivided into small function spaces or even private boardrooms. For all the foodies out there, there's an extremely popular Ultimate Crab Feast promotion (from S$65++) going on right now and from what I've heard, it's fully booked for the month of June and all weekends in July so get in there quick if you want to take advantage of this! Credit cards from many banks will also give you up to 15% off - click on this link for more information.