As a newly-minted Platinum Elite member in the Marriott Rewards program, I was eager to test out some of the benefits here in Singapore - it only makes sense to invest a good amount of money each year in selected loyalty programs if you are going to make use of the benefits that come with the status that you have worked so hard for. Since I have personally stayed in most of the Marriott International properties (including those from Starwood) here in Singapore, I opted for the JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach since I have not actually done a proper stay here.
The lead-in room category here at the JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach is the Studio Room and from my understanding, this room type does not come with a bathtub (which I value on a weekend). As such, I actually booked the Deluxe Room one weekend for approximately S$313 nett and prior to arriving at the property, my reservation was pre-upgraded to the Premier Marina Bay View Room. There was a rather long line of guests waiting to check-in when I arrived at the JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach and I believe it had to do with the fact that it was in fact a rehearsal weekend for the NDP parade - rooms facing the Marina Bay area will get to enjoy the fireworks display at approximately 8:00PM. Since I had Platinum Elite status, I bypassed the long line and went straight up to the Executive Lounge in level two for a private check-in.
I recently debunked the myth that completing a mobile check-in would affect your chance at an upgrade and even though this is a separate stay altogether, I was told that they were unable to assign me an actual Premier Marina Bay View Room (since they are all taken up) but they have given me a room that faces the Marina Bay area anyhow. From my understanding, the Premier Marina Bay View Rooms here at the JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach are basically Deluxe Rooms that are located on higher floors that face the bay area. The room features approximately 35sqm in size (larger than some Studio Rooms) and as you would expect, it looks out to Raffles Place as well as the famous Marina Bay from a distance.
Since my room was not on a particularly high floor, I did not get a good view of the Marina Bay area but since it is located at the corner of the building, the Premier Marina Bay View Rooms here do offer a rather expansive view of the area - you will be able to spot iconic landmarks and hotels like The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, the National Gallery Singapore, the War Memorial Park as well as the famous Raffles Hotel at the corner.
Due to the unique structure of the building, some of the Deluxe Rooms here actually have a queen-size bed as opposed to a king-size one so I highly recommend that you make your preferences known when you are checking-in to the property. I really like the long sofa by the window since it allows you to take in the beautiful view in the day as well as in the night but more importantly the bed itself provides great support which is good news for those who prefers a firmer bed type.
USB charging ports can be found by the side of the bed so you can keep using your devices until you fall asleep but more importantly, you will also be able to control the blinds as well as the night curtains from the comfort of your own bed - there are switches located by the bedside and if you have trouble adjusting the blinds, just press and hold on to the up or down arrow. While I was taking photos of the room, I also received a courtesy call from the front desk to make sure that everything is alright (I always wonder the about the purpose of these calls since I would have gone back down if there was something not right with the room).
As you can see in the images so far, the interiors of the room certainly deviates from the usual colour scheme that JW Marriott Hotels are typically known for. The JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach was previously The South Beach before it was acquired and rebranded back in late-2016. There is a decently-sized work desk here in the bedroom and the WiFi seems to work without a hitch - my only issue here is the metal rocking chair which is not exactly what you want to sit on for long periods of time. For some reason, I have also managed to stub my toe against the chair at least three times during my stay so you should definitely exercise extra caution when walking around the room.
I do appreciate the fact that there are universal power outlets located just behind the work desk - this means that you do not actually have to run the charger over areas that you will potentially trip over. It also helps that the orientation of the power outlets are different since my MacBook Pro charger did not fit into one of them simply because of how big it is. USB charging ports can also be found on the side so you can ensure that your mobile devices are all juiced up the moment you get in your room.
The wardrobe here is actually hidden behind the highly reflective surfaces and mirror on the side of the bedroom. On the leftmost area is where you will find things like an electric water kettle, tea bags (provided by TWG) as well as instant coffee (seriously, Nespresso should be the standard in all five-star properties). Obviously, I am not impressed with freeze-dried coffee since they are disgusting so I am actually really glad that I do have access to the Executive Lounge where I can get proper espresso-based coffee. There is also a pretty decent wardrobe space for you to hang your clothes - I reckon you can put in four days worth of clothing (if you are sharing the room) fairly easily. You will also find an iron as well as an ironing board here so if you are here on a work trip, you do not worry about having to pay ridiculous prices for pressing.
Even though the bathroom does not have a view or any natural light at all, I do actually like the tub a lot. There is a separate shower area here which is not visible from the photograph above (I gave up trying to take it since the reflection was ridiculous) and the deep-soaking tub is a dream. Not only does it fill up fairly quickly, the water pressure is also really good so if you are one that enjoys a good bubble bath, you do not actually have to try too hard to draw a bath. Another interesting thing to do is the vanity mirror that is located behind the sink - this panel is movable and you can actually slide it to the side to allow some natural light to come in (this also means that whoever you are sharing the bedroom with will be able to look in to the bathroom).
Bath amenities here at the JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach are provided by Aromatherapy Associates and I have missed these little bad boys since Conrad hotels have replaced them with Shanghai Tang branded ones.
Complimentary drinking water is provided here in the room as you would imagine - this is rarely a problem in this part of the world. As mentioned earlier, there is a sliding panel in the bathroom and the photograph above shows the other side of that panel.
Since I have Platinum Elite status in the Marriott Rewards program, I have guaranteed access to the Executive Lounge which is located on level 2 of the building. The Executive Lounge opens from 6:00AM to 12:00AM every day but there are only a few important timings that you should take note of:
Breakfast: 6:00AM to 10:30AM
Afternoon Tea: 2:30PM to 5:00PM
Evening Cocktails/Drinks: 5:30PM to 9:30PM (canapes are served until 7:30PM only)
Since I had some time to kill, I decided to pop by the Executive Lounge at approximately 4:30PM to check out the Afternoon Tea spread and then extend that stay into my favourite time of the day - evening cocktail hour!
Much like the Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, evening cocktails run for four hours here (instead of two hours which is probably the industry norm here in Singapore) so if you love your evening tipples, the JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach is not a bad place to be (this is also one of the reasons why I started paying for stays in hotels on weekends). The food selection during the evening cocktail hour is fairly decent and there is a good range of products that range from healthy to downright hearty. I would not say that the food quality is exceedingly refined (it is not the Mandarin Oriental, Singapore’s Club Lounge for sure) but it is certainly quite good in terms of taste. If you do not have a huge appetite, the canapes can definitely substitute for a light dinner in the evening. Looking to dine in the hotel? Head down to Madame Fan for delicious Cantonese cuisine with a modern interpretation. If you are looking for food around the property, check out Suntec City (which is just five minutes stroll away) or Bugis (about ten minutes stroll away) if you want some late-night eats.
As I have mentioned earlier on, the property is quite full on the day that I visited since it was one of the Saturdays leading up to Singapore’s National Day. This means that any room facing the Marina Bay area will be in high demand (also probably why I was assigned a room on such a low floor). I am a huge fan of fireworks and back when I was living in Brisbane, the Sunsuper Riverfire is something that I look forward to each year. In fact, I also stayed at The Fullerton Bay Hotel last year during a similar period for the fireworks - that view was far more superior since there are no obstructions but the price point of that hotel can be quite high on certain days. Despite being on a relatively low floor, the view was not actually too bad so if you are planning for 2019, now is the time to lock-in a favourable rate!
Platinum Elite guests staying at the JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach have the option of having a full buffet breakfast at Beach Road Kitchen or a smaller but more private one at the Executive Lounge. If you are not planning on having breakfast outside of the hotel, I definitely recommend going to the Beach Road Kitchen instead - just make sure you get there before 9:00AM to avoid the crowd. The food at Beach Road Kitchen is actually quite good and they do have a nice selection of local fruits as well as dishes - the restaurant staff also seem quite knowledgeable at explaining what they are to foreign guests.
One of the greatest things about the Marriott Rewards program is the guaranteed late check-out at 4:00PM that Platinum Elite members get to enjoy. I remember the years that I was a Hilton Honors Diamond member where I had to fight tooth and nail for a late check-out. Honestly, I am just glad that I am now just a Gold member which I can easily attain each year and the complimentary breakfast as well as pre-upgrades are good enough benefits for me.
After a really filling breakfast, I decided to take a walk around level 18 of the JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach and this is where you will find beautiful spaces where you can take in the sights of the surrounding area. This is also the level in which the swimming pool is located on so you will want to find a prime spot (there are not too many here) to settle in to before the rest of the crowd comes in.
Honestly, I did not think I would like the JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach - the decor does not resonate with me (I prefer a much simpler design palette) and there are just too many rooms. Having said that however, I have grown to love the dark corridors, the funky lift as well as that signature smell throughout the property. With guaranteed lounge access, breakfast and a late check-out, I can’t quite think of a place in Singapore that I would rather spend a weekend in when I am paying less than S$320 a night here.