When I visited the Mandarin Oriental, Singapore last year in September, I took advantage of the City Retreat package which came with a night's accommodation in the Premier Ocean room and Champagne Brunch for two the following day. Having spent my previous Christmas Eve in Hilton Singapore, I wanted some place a little more special and therefore I opted for the Club Harbour room in the Mandarin Oriental, Singapore.
So how exactly is the Club Harbour room different from the Premier Ocean room that I stayed in? Firstly, unlike the previous room that I stayed in, the Harbour room has a complete view of the harbour. That being said, whilst the Premier Ocean room has only a partial view of the harbour, it has a wider view of the sea and the Singapore Flyer. Secondly, the Club Harbour room is similar to the Premier Harbour rooms in Mandarin Oriental, Singapore but it comes with Oriental Club privileges (which are excellent and more on this later!) and different in-room amenities.
When making your reservation on Mandarin Oriental, you can easily purchase access to the Oriental Club while checking-out. You will receive the following benefits (with my favourites in bold) as a Oriental Club guest:
- Champagne breakfast and afternoon tea daily, along with all-day soft beverages
- Evening cocktails and hors d’oeuvres
- Complimentary pressing of two garments per day
- Complimentary high speed internet access
- Use of meeting room with teleconferencing facilities for up to two hours per day
- Private check-in and check-out at the Oriental Club Lounge
- Guaranteed late check-out at 4pm
Everyone who has ever been to the Mandarin Oriental, Singapore will definitely remember the soft and fluffy beds that are a dream to sleep in. I find myself craving for a night's sleep in one of these beds every once in a while. The room looks really similar to my previous stay in the Premier Ocean room so what you are essentially paying for is the change in view. Also, the Premier Ocean rooms are generally located further away from the lift so if you prefer more privacy, perhaps the ocean-facing rooms will be better-suited for you.
Since it was Christmas Eve, the team at the Mandarin Oriental, Singapore was really thoughtful in arranging a pretty little gingerbread house and some pralines to be placed in the room before I entered. Although I called it a little gingerbread house, I did not have the (stomach) capacity to finish it - besides looking at how pretty it was, I could not bear to tear it apart.
If you love your music as much as I do, you will be thrilled to know that AUX cables are provided in the room and music can be played from your device (e.g. iPhone or laptop) to the in-room sound system - I am pretty sure a subwoofer is hidden somewhere as the music is pretty impressive! Remember to book with Mandarin Oriental, Singapore directly to get complimentary internet. The Mandarin Oriental, Singapore is excellent at honouring competitors' prices so that is something you should look at if you feel that the price is a lot more competitive elsewhere for the same inclusions (and cancellation terms).
Similar to the other room, the bathroom comes with a decent-sized tub and a glass window that overlooks the room (and the harbour). If you pay attention to details enough, you will realise that the amenities in the Club Harbour room is different from the ones I got previously in the Premier Ocean room. Instead of just the in-house Mandarin Oriental brand of bath amenities which I actually do appreciate, the bath amenities in the Club Harbour room are provided by the Aromatherapy Associates (similar to Conrad globally).
However, unlike the Conrad where a new set is provided at turndown (regardless of whether you have finished using them or not), my experience with the Club Harbour room is that these amenities will only be replaced should they be empty - food for thought if you are thinking of taking these home. Speaking about taking amenities home, I personally do not think it is a bad thing to do so long you are not stealing from the housekeeper's cart. In fact, I have recently read somewhere that hotels do want you to take these home since it proves that their guests actually value these amenities and that they are well-invested.
If you have access to the Oriental Club lounge, you must not miss the evening cocktail hour as this is hands-down one of the best hotel lounges I have ever been to. Firstly, the selection and quality of canapés are pretty impressive. Upon entering the Oriental Club, I was quickly attended to by one of the friendly lounge staff who them offered some champagne to start the evening - there is truly no other way I would rather.
Another thing you will notice is that the canapés are all beautifully presented. Unlike some hotel lounges in Singapore where the cocktail hour feels like an obligation from the hotel, the cocktail hour at the Mandarin Oriental, Singapore feels like an ultimate luxury. The hotel takes pride and effort into ensuring that every single dish that is placed there is of the highest quality.
Besides, how often do you walk into a hotel lounge during cocktail hour to find a beautifully cooked rack of lamb? The quality and variety of food at the Oriental Club truly impressed me - not only are different dishes that cater to contrasting appetites; they are also done to perfection!
If you have already made dinner plans and a rack of lamb sounds a little to heavy for you, there is a handsome selection of fresh breads, fruits, nuts and cheeses from different regions. To be honest, if you are at the Mandarin Oriental, Singapore, you are better off inviting your guest up to the Oriental Club instead (fees do apply).
While I do not generally have a sweet tooth, I could not resist the beautiful desserts for Christmas. The white chocolate snowman is definitely my favourite!
The Oriental Club at the Mandarin Oriental, Singapore is definitely one of my favourite luxury hotel lounges in Singapore right now. Whilst I cannot decide right now whether I like the Oriental Club or the Pacific Club (at the Pan Pacific Singapore) better right now, I guess it's safe to say that the Oriental Club has the best food thus far (and the Pacific Club wins on beverages for now).
In case you are wondering how come people pay for the harbour view when a city view is equally impressive, refer to the photo above. This is the view from my Club Harbour room in Mandarin Oriental, Singapore. If you do intended to watch the laser show from Marina Bay Sands from the comfort of your own room (because why wouldn't you?), you can listen to the music by tuning in to the radio station. Having this view while lying in that fluffy bed is priceless. Most of us do not have the luxury of such a view at home and therefore it can be quite humbling to be there when the entire city lights up - makes me fall in love with Singapore all over again.
At the stroke of midnight, I went outside my room to see if there was anything hanging by the door - since the last time I spent my Christmas Eve at Hilton Singapore they gave me a small stocking. You will not obviously find a generic Christmas stocking at the Mandarin Oriental, Singapore - it is the Mandarin Oriental after all! Filled with chocolates, nuts, candies and even two oranges, the Christmas stocking will definitely put a smile on faces of the hotel guests when they wake up the next morning (or if they got back to their rooms after midnight).
As a hotel guest with access to the Oriental Club, I could choose between having Champagne breakfast at the Oriental Club or the full buffet breakfast at Melt ~ The World Cafe. Being a glutton (and not an alcoholic in the morning), I obviously picked the latter. It is worth noting that the main restaurant gets pretty busy in the later part of the morning and therefore if you want something quieter (or a better table), it is worthwhile to come down early around 9am instead of 10am.
The food at Melt ~ The World Cafe is consistently good at breakfast. While it gets really busy, staff here are generally quite attentive and tend to turnover tables really quickly. There are also two egg stations so you can be sure to get your cholesterol fix without waiting for too long.
If you are here for an anniversary or a romantic staycation, perhaps the Oriental Club will suit you better since it is less chaotic. I do find that Melt ~ The World Cafe can get pretty messy in the morning as hotel guests wake up late and try to salvage the time left in the buffet breakfast by taking more than what they can actually eat.
Also, if you have Oriental Club privileges, do yourself a favour and get coffee (or tea) from the Oriental Club instead. While the variety at the full restaurant is larger, the standard brewed coffee and tea just do not cut it for me.
My stay at the Mandarin Oriental, Singapore's Club Harbour room has strengthened the hotel's position as one of the top five hotels that I love in Singapore. While I have not personally stayed in all the top hotels in Singapore, I can safely say that the Mandarin Oriental, Singapore will definitely be on most luxury travellers' lists.