After getting my hands on an Accor Plus membership a few months ago, I started looking at the Red Hot Rooms rate (exclusive to Accor Plus members only) across all participating hotels in Asia-Pacific and actually found some ridiculously cheap rates in Singapore on some weekends. As such, since I was going to have lunch at Kopi Tiam in Swissotel The Stamford one weekend, I decided to book a room for a staycation anyway. As you would imagine, the reservation is non-refundable (most heavily-discounted room rates are) and I actually redeemed some of my Le Club AccorHotels points to offset the bill a little during reservation. If you are interested, I have put together a short guide to using and earning Le Club AccorHotels Points last year - it basically functions as a glorified cashback program.
I got to the property at approximately 12:00PM (since that was when my dining reservation at Kopi Tiam was for) so I tried checking-in in case I got lucky - the self check-in kiosks did not seem to work for me since I have made my booking directly with AccorHotels so a really friendly lady directed me to the check-in line instead. Unfortunately there is no special line for elite members here - I have lost my Platinum status early this year but I currently still hold Gold. After waiting in line for approximately 5-10 minutes, I was met with a rather unhappy looking front office staff. After looking up my reservation, she informed me that it was not prepaid and therefore I would be charged upon checking out. Now, I know for a fact that all Red Hot Rooms are indeed non-refundable and therefore, the charge should have already gone through. After a few more checks, she was finally convinced that my room was indeed prepaid so that was that. It was probably 12:15PM at this point so she informed me that my room was not yet ready (fair enough - I did not expect it to be anyway) and that I have to come back at 3:00PM since that is when the official check-in time is. Now, one of the perks of being Gold in the Le Club AccorHotels program is early check-in or late check-out (you will actually have to choose one according to the program's wordings) so I asked politely at whether I could get a later check-out time the following day. Honestly, I was slightly miffed when she clicked her tongue and appeared to be somewhat irritated at my request - she told me the hotel was running full (there were plenty of rooms available for booking when I checked) and that a late check-out cannot be accorded. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you should know that I am a huge fan of loyalty programs when it works - I truly invest money and nights into the programs of interest each year so getting this sort of treatment is unacceptable (especially when the tagline is 'Feel Welcome').
My original reservation was for a Premier King room but applying one of my upgrade vouchers (that I have gotten with the American Express Platinum Card) gave me a one-category upgrade into the Premier Harbour View King room instead (almost S$100 value). I think it is important to recognise the history of this hotel - there has been a number of deaths which largely revolve around people falling off the balcony - and honestly, even though the lower railing does make it easier for you to take a great shot of the Marina Bay area, I do feel that some work needs to be done with regards in preventing future cases from happening (intentional or otherwise). While connecting to the WiFi, I was asked whether my experience has been great so far so I actually selected a sad face and to my surprise, someone actually called me almost immediately. Now I have to say that even though my initial experience at check-in has been dreadful, everyone else that I have met was brilliant! The duty manager was really sorry about my experience at check-in and since I had her on the line, I also informed her that my room was lacking a bottle of shampoo which she then told me that she will send up (it did not arrive unfortunately).
With all that being said, the newly-renovated Premier Harbour View Room is beautiful and it offers 40sqm of cleverly-designed space that makes it feel really spacious due to its layout. Needless to say, the view from these rooms is also incredible but more on this later. Everything looks spanking new in the room and it is not just given a pretty coat of paint - the light controls are impressive, the air-conditioning works great and everything looks extremely polished.
If I had to pick a favourite corner in the room, it would have to be the working area which comes with an ergonomic chair and a massive writing desk - there is also a small sofa-like area on the other side of the desk for you to rest and relax throughout the day. This table also doubles as a dining table if you plan on bringing back some of the street food for later consumption. There is also 55” LED television by the side that is stocked with a good selection of both cable and satellite channels.
The renovated rooms are well thought-out and it is apparent that the redesign has placed the international business travellers in the center of it all. Two universal power outlets can be found by the side of the work desk and USB charging ports are also available for the convenience of a modern traveller.
You will find a Nespresso machine here in your room - coffee capsules are replenished at turndown and in the morning if your room is made up. If you prefer to enjoy a cup of tea, you will also find a selection of TWG teabags in one of the compartments.
There is a slide-out cabinet located right next to the minibar where you will find a set of beautiful Nespresso-branded cups and other glassware that you may require during your stay - brilliant! Complimentary drinking water is also provided and if you prefer, you may also boil tap water (which is already potable) for drinking.
As a Le Club AccorHotels Gold member, I received two complimentary drink vouchers but I actually did not utilise them during the stay. Apparently these vouchers can be redeemed at any of the hotel's bars and restaurants but for some reason I was not really up for a house-pour that weekend. I also received a small box of candy as an elite member but unfortunately no fruit bowl (which I actually enjoy getting).
The Premier Harbour View King room features a really comfortable king-bed that is comfortably firm. Lighting controls can be found bedside and there is even a reading light in the false ceiling in case you would like to get some light reading done in bed. What I really do like however is the lounge chair (complete with a reading lamp) next to the bed where I have actually spent most of the my afternoon in - there is also a small selection of books in the shelf next to the bed where you can gain some knowledge on Singapore and the iconic dishes that shape the country.
The bathroom of the Premier Harbour View room is not big but it did have everything that I wanted. Now I am never a fan of the shub (shower + tub) but the version here actually makes quite a lot of sense - it fully utilised the space and it was actually a fairly comfortable tub to be in (the rainshower also open up a new way to enjoy your bath).
Bath amenities here at the Swissotel The Stamford are provided by the in-house brand, Purovel. Even though I was not familiar with this brand at all, a quick search on the internet revealed that this is also the name of a spa that some Swissotel properties operate. In case you were wondering how did I end up with a full set of amenities (considering how it was never sent up even though I have requested it from the duty manager), I actually stopped one of the housekeeping carts along the corridor to ask for one.
There is also a vanity counter next to the sink here in the bathroom - once you lift the lid, you will find all the necessities that you may require for a stay (e.g. toothbrush, cotton pads and all that jazz).
Apart from the beautifully-renovated interiors of the Premier Harbour View room, the view from the balcony is probably the biggest draw for most people. Seriously, I do not know how a property like that can offer a room that is below S$250 a night on weekends. Granted you do need to have an Accor Plus membership (which you can purchase and get your money’s worth in just one stay) to access the Red Hot Rooms rate but it is shocking to me.
While I personally not inclined to stay at properties that do not belong to a chain where I have top-tier status with, Swissotel The Stamford is one property that I would gladly deviate from this principle. With my Accor Plus membership, a night here may only cost me approximately S$250 (on a quieter weekend) and the view from the balcony is spectacular. Honestly, I do not know of any other hotel in Singapore that offers such an amazing view at a similar price point. Even though the start of my stay was a little rocky (especially with the unpleasant experience during check-in), everyone else that I spoke to following that has been great - they were cheerful and passionate about what they do.