When I got a sneak preview of the brand new all-day dining restaurant, Racines, at the newly-opened Sofitel Singapore City Centre, I was seriously impressed by it - the food in the restaurant is not only authentic but it also exudes both elegance and finesse in the dishes. What stood out to me even more however, was how beautiful the entire place looks. As you may already know, the Sofitel Singapore City Centre is the flagship Sofitel property of Singapore and it directly connected to the Tanjong Pagar MRT Station, making it the perfect place for both business and luxury travel. As part of the hotel's pre-opening celebration, I have been invited by the property to spend a lovely evening here to experience for myself firsthand on what this stunning property has to offer.
The Sofitel Singapore City Centre has a fleet of Mercedes-Benz which is utilised by the hotel to pick-up both VIPs as well as hotel guests who have opted for an airport transfer. I was fortunate enough to be picked up in a luxurious Mercedes-Benz S400 and right from the moment I stepped into this glorious vehicle, I knew that my vacation has already started. I started talking to my driver, Ivan, about a number of things - first, the hotel and then about living abroad in general. It is always heartening to meet people and share our unique experiences with each other.
Having been to Racines previously and especially since I work in the area now, I knew my way around Tanjong Pagar and the hotel pretty well. As my limousine pulled up in front of the Sofitel Singapore City Centre, my bags were quickly taken care of as a friendly staff showed the way to the elevator. The main hotel lobby (also where you check-in at) is located on level five of the property (this is also the level in which the restaurant and bar is located). I was given a towel as well as a welcome drink before being ushered to my room which is located on a fairly low level of the hotel.
I stayed in the lead-in category room, Luxury Room, which comes with 38sqm of beautifully-appointed space. In fact, having stayed in the Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa extremely-luxurious Villa du Jardin and Junior Suite previously, I dare say that the Sofitel Singapore City Centre is my favourite one out of all three properties. There's a small walkway as you enter your room and the bathroom is located by the side (more on this later) while the bedroom is located towards the end of the room.
I actually got a pool and city view (which coincidentally looks out to my office building at the side as well) but Luxury Rooms actually look out the other side to the shophouses as well (probably a better view). Since the hotel was still in the pre-opening stage when I stayed over, most of the rooms on the higher floors were not ready but I would imagine a view from a vantage point to look a lot better - otherwise, the swimming pool tends to attract a lot of good-looking people (especially since the Virgin Active gym is just next door).
The Luxury Room that I stayed in featured a king-size plush bed (you may also opt for two single beds if you are sharing the room with a friend). There is a comfortable chair and ottoman by the side of the room which allows you to rest and relax (probably best enjoyed with a cup of Nespresso coffee and a good book) while you savour the intricate design and plush furnishings of the room. The bed itself was a dream to sleep in - the pillow-top was incredibly plush and luxurious and the brand new sealy mattress underneath it provided my back with such great support that I actually lifted up the bedsheet to check the brand and model.
One thing I couldn't help but notice was the colouring book that was provided by the chair. Upon further investigation, it appears that the colouring book is left in the room for the enjoyment of all guests. Colouring pencils are providing and guests are encouraged to indulge in a little therapy (it is proven to be beneficial for your mental health). The only catch is this - you cannot take it out of your room and it is supposed to be left there for the next guest to enjoy as well. I am not sure how the hotel is going to monitor these books and how would they actually decide to replace them (e.g. do you replace them if the book is 90% completed?) but this is definitely something novel that I have not seen in luxury hotels.
The Luxury Rooms here at the Sofitel Singapore City Centre also featured plenty of universal power outlets and USB charging ports - in fact, you will be able to find them by the bedside. Nothing annoys me more than having to get out of an incredibly comfortable bed in the night to charge my phone so this is definitely a huge plus in my book. The air-conditioning controls are located on the other side of the bed and during my stay, that was the only control that I was able to find. The controls are definitely different from what I am used to since it did not feature actual physical buttons so make sure you check with one of the friendly staff there if you are having any difficulties.
The Luxury Room also features a 49" smart TV that is stocked with a healthy selection of channels. Some welcome amenities were also provided but since this was a media preview stay, I would not count on them being the same - I will cover these again once I go back for a second stay on my own dime (probably in December!). There is also a large work desk by the side and WiFi is provided free-of-charge for in-house guests (all you need is your last name and room number). Otherwise, Boingo is supposed to work with the WiFi as well but I have not gotten much luck with it.
Complimentary teabags from TWG are provided here in the Luxury Room and instead of the usual six or eight, Sofitel Singapore City Centre gives you ten (five flavours) to choose from. I really like that caffeine-free flavours like my favourite Vanilla Bourbon Tea were provided. You will also find a Nespresso machine in your room and four complimentary Nespresso coffee pods will be provided - all teabags and coffee pods are replenished in the evening and in the morning.
If you are a lover of music, the Luxury Rooms here at the Sofitel Singapore City Centre come with a Bose SoundTouch Wireless speaker where you can not only enjoy radio programs but also stream your music wirelessly via Bluetooth. You can easily flood the room with this little bad boy so make sure you moderate the volume so you do not disturb your neighbours. It is common for hotels to manually limit the maximum volume of these products (e.g. TV and sound systems) but it appears that these have not been configured during my stay and I am not certain whether this is something that the property is considering on doing.
The bathroom of the Luxury Room comes with a deep-soaking tub with excellent water pressure so filling up the tub takes just a couple of minutes. The bathroom comes with luxurious marble and chrome finishings and it features a single sink. Amenities like hairbrush, toothbrush and shower caps (amongst other things) can be found in the white box located next to the mirror. The top portion of the box lifts up so do not panic if you can't find what you need in the slide-out drawers - it is there!
Consistent to brand standards set out for Sofitel hotels worldwide, bath amenities here in the Luxury Room are provided by Lanvin (Hermès ones are reserved for the highest tier rooms and suites). You will also find bath tablets provided by Prija here in your room - just drop one of these babies into the tub and watch the magic happen!
As mentioned previously, the bathroom is located next to the small walkway when you enter your room so make sure you switch on the Do Not Disturb sign or simply lock your room door if you decide to take a dip in the tub with the bathroom sliding door open (especially during the evening or in the morning).
One of the most amazing features of the bathtub is this beautiful bathtub tray which allowed me to enjoy dessert and a glass of Champagne while taking a relaxing soak. In fact, if you notice in the photo above, the dedicated area for the Champagne glass is somewhat secured so you do not knock over the glass accidentally in case clumsy is your middle name.
While I typically switch on the Do Not Disturb sign right from the moment I check-in to my room, I have decided to leave it off during my stay here at the Sofitel Singapore City Centre to see what do they actually provide. When I got back to my bedroom after dinner, the evening turndown has already been completed and even though it is pretty much what you would expect from a luxury five-star property, there were a few nice touches. Firstly, a caffeine-free teabag has been left - Crème Caramel Tea by TWG - for my personal enjoyment. Secondly, a box of chocolate pralines (which make a decent gift to be honest) has also been left in the room.
Bath slippers were also placed by the side of the bed and I love how only a single pair was prepared (since I was staying alone). I have been to hotels where both pairs of slippers are provided even when I am staying alone (e.g. the room reservation was made for one). I went to bed shortly after since I have been drinking from 2:00PM and had one of the most amazing sleeps ever - the bed is definitely one of my favourites in Singapore!
While Racines is not a buffet restaurant (with the exception of the upcoming Sunday Brunch experience), buffet breakfast is served here in the morning. I was quickly shown to a table upon entering and walking past freshly-baked breads and colourful fruits is really quite an exciting experience in the morning. Expect to find a good selection of breads, pastries, cold cuts and salads here at Racines in the morning.
Both Western as well as Asian food are featured here at Racines in the morning. There is also a live egg station where you will be able to order eggs done to the way you like. A steam basket station can also be found towards the inner corner of the kitchen where you will be able to enjoy dishes like steamed buns and dumplings. Interestingly enough, sushi was also provided but I can't imagine eating raw fish for breakfast so I gave that a miss.
While the buffet breakfast at Racines is quite hearty, it pales in comparison to what Chef Jean-Charles Dubois has to offer during lunch and dinner. I also think that the Western dishes are executed better here in the morning so if you have only a small appetite, stick with the delicious breads and Western dishes for a happy tummy. Make sure you have plenty of Nespresso coffee here as well!
The Sofitel Singapore City Centre is hands-down, the most impressive property by AccorHotels in Singapore. The rooms are beautiful, the service is personal and top-notch but more importantly, the food in Racines is delicious. Staying in the CBD may not be the first choice for independent travellers since there is not much to do in the area for a leisure guest (there are plenty of solid restaurants and bars in the area though!) but if you do appreciate a good hotel like I do, there is no reason why you should not stay here. While the room rates are generally on the higher side, you can definitely get a great deal when you book your room during one of those super sales that AccorHotels run from time to time and the Le Club AccorHotels program actually gives you quite a bit of cash back as well.
The Shutterwhale stayed as a guest of the Sofitel Singapore City Centre.