Our flight arrived right on time and our Uber got us from Changi airport to the Conrad by 5pm.
The entrance to the hotel is very large and was decorated with a multitude of twinkling lights for the holiday season. Overall though this doesn’t really look like a luxury hotel. Something seems a little off with the barren expanse of light tiling.
A Christmas tree made out of Conrad bears
The lobby features a high-vaulted atrium with a grand winding staircase, bamboo plants and a red sculpture – which is very reminiscent of the one at the Conrad Tokyo.
The outskirts of the lobby area are very elegantly decorated and feature numerous antique cabinets and artefacts.
Despite our relatively late arrival and the fact that we had checked in and selected a room online, we were told by the check-in agent that the room wasn’t ready. We had selected a room with a view on the 30th floor, hoping that it would give us a chance to see the New Years’ fireworks.
I was told that the person occupying it had requested a late checkout. Given that it was already 5pm I asked, “how late”. “Maybe 11pm”, I was told. Clearly something strange was going on and the front desk clerk wasn’t willing to explain the real reason, so I asked, “what room is available ?”
I was told that we could wait until 7pm and get a room on the 24th floor or we could check right in to a room on the 17th floor. I said we’d take the 17th floor room for now and then move later, once the better room was available.
In all instances we were being assigned an executive room, a one category upgrade from the deluxe room which we had booked. This is the bare minimum ‘upgrade’ that we could expect, given that I held Hilton Diamond status during the stay and Diamonds are guaranteed executive lounge access.
In terms of hardware, the deluxe rooms and executive rooms are identical.
The front desk clerk was quite apologetic towards the end of our interaction and offered me a bottle of champagne for the inconvenience. I told him that this was a nice gesture but given that we had all the champagne we could drink in the lounge (The Conrad Singapore’s exec lounge serves alcohol all day, not just during a designated ‘cocktail hour’) and that we were flying the following morning, we probably wouldn’t have much use for it.
This seemed like a total curveball for him, I don’t think he’d ever witnessed anybody turn champagne down!
The hallway of our executive room, with wardrobe space on the left and the bathroom on the right.
Our first room was located on the far right hand side of the Conrad, much like the room that I had selected on the 30th floor. I was hoping this would give us a decent Marina Bay view but as you can see, the Pan Pacific hotel blocks the Conrad quite comprehensively, allowing you to glimpse only the slimmest sliver of waterfront.
This room was decently sized with a good amount of natural light being provided by the two large windows at the foot of the bed.
The decor in the rooms is very neutral and non-descript. More akin to the Conrad Dublin than the modern touches of the Conrad Tokyo.
The entertainment system has counter space for a laptop with A/V ports and a multi-regional power socket underneath. A small detail but one which I really appreciate.
The cream marble bathroom, heavy glasses with covers, fresh flowers and the lacquered tray of toiletries are all very nice touches which really let you know that you are in a luxury hotel.
A very deep and wide soaking tub, plenty of room for two people…and a rubber duck!
Tea and coffee facilities. A bit stingy with the coffee I think, given that a regular sized coffee will require both of the caffeinated Nespresso capsules.
We didn’t sleep in this particular bed, given that we were changing rooms but I can vouch for the quality of the bedding and the comfort of the beds at this hotel. A major annoyance though is the lack of power sockets near the bedside tables.
It wouldn’t be a proper Conrad stay without a bear toy to take home 🙂
After dropping our bags we quickly got showered and changed, deciding that it would be a good idea to grab a drink in the lounge, whilst we waited for our ‘proper room’. It turns out that the lounge was at maximum capacity and there was a line to get in. I’d never witnessed this at a luxury hotel before and was surprised to hear that an overflow lounge had been created in the lobby.
We went down to the lobby for a quick drink and even this lounge was quite full. Lots of staff were busy helping to set up a stage and a lighting system but the service was still prompt and very efficient. I had read online that sometimes the regular lounge gets quite full but I feel that what we experienced must have been an exceptional surge in demand, resulting from an influx of status holding guests during the NYE holiday.
Plenty of other hotels would have just implemented a queuing system and left it at that, particularly when staff are so busy preparing for the evening festivities so kudos to the Conrad for coming up with a workable solution.
As we sat enjoying our G&Ts we were approached by a member of staff who informed us that our new room was ready. We headed over to the reception desk after finishing our drinks and were told that we had been upgraded to a Centennial Suite as a way of saying thank you for our patience.
The Centennial Suite is quite a common upgrade for diamonds booking anything above the base level rooms here but I was doubtful that we would luck out on NYE, so was very happy to get my first ever suite upgrade as a Hilton Honors Diamond member!
When you exit the elevators, the signs in the hallway distinguish the Centennial Suite on each floor from the regular room numbers; a nice touch which gives you the feeling that you have a special room, even before you set foot inside it.
The Centennial suites are located at the far end of the hotel, overlooking the nearby Fountain of Wealth.
Our suite on the 20th floor.
You know you have a nice room when there’s a modern art sculpture, in an alcove, right by the entrance.
The overall decor of the suite was in fitting with what we saw in the executive room, however the addition of coloured furniture and the use of lighting made this room seem a lot warmer and more welcoming than our former room. Having a full suite with a separate living room is something I had no real experience of before getting into the whole miles and points game but nowadays, having been lucky enough to be upgraded to suites on numerous occasions (primarily via Hyatt Diamond status), I have begun to appreciate the benefits. When sharing a room immediately after flying across multiple time zones, it’s great to have a space for one person to hang out, early in the morning, whilst the other is sleeping.
Also, as luck would have it, I checked my instagram immediately upon arriving at the hotel and noticed that some friends of ours from New York were in Singapore for NYE as well. It was fantastic to have space to entertain guests whilst being away from home.
The Living room of our Centennial Suite at the Conrad Singapore.
Complimentary fruit and welcome chocolates.
The bedroom was quite compact and cosy but still had space for a large and comfortable chair as well as a dresser.
The Conrad Singapore takes its bedroom artwork illumination seriously.
The view from the bedroom of the Centennial Suite: The Fountain of Wealth being prepared for the NYE celebrations.
One small criticism of the room: The wardrobe space is very limited for a suite. This was noticeable even when unpacking a single day’s worth of clothes.
Conrad Singapore Centennial Suite bathroom.
Conrad Singapore Centennial Suite bathroom.
Like all other Conrads, the Conrad Singapore provides Aromatherapy Associates amenities as standard – although Shanghai Tang, Refinery and Tara Smith are also available.
After our unsuccessful first attempt, we decided to give the 31st floor Executive Lounge another try – at around 10pm. This time there was no wait and we were able to get a seat by the window, where the purple hue of the NYE illuminations provided a beautiful backdrop.
View of the Marina Bay from the Executive Lounge of the Conrad Singapore.
Kamara going wild for NYE with a celebratory glass of water 😀
Despite our luck in getting a seat, the rest of the lounge was totally full of people so I didn’t get a chance to take any other pictures. At this time of night there were no buffet items out but small snacks and both alcoholic and soft drinks are available via table service during the entire opening hours of the lounge ; 06:30 – 23:00.
We opted to entertain ourselves for NYE rather than attending an overpriced dinner or nightclub event. The fireworks at the Marina Bay are the focal point of the Lion City’s celebrations and huge crowds of people swarmed on numerous vantage points around the water.
As luck would have it, we managed to find a decent decent spot right by the Marina Bay Sands, on the helix bridge.
After the fireworks we figured it was worth a shot trying to grab a drink in one of the bars at the top of the MBS.
We were surprised to see that Flight Bar on the 57th floor was not full and we were able to get a table with ease. There were a fair few people passed out on sofas at 00:30 in the morning. I guess people don’t party into the early hours in Singapore. Back in Spain people don’t even begin the New Year’s party until well after 1am!
The view was really spectacular and the drinks and bar snacks were both delicious and reasonably priced, considering the location.
Breakfast at Oscar’s Restaurant
Despite having access to the executive lounge breakfast, we decided to sample the offering at Oscar’s, The Conrad Singapore’s main breakfast venue. Judging by the lines we’d encountered during the evening hours, we figured it was our best chance of eating quickly. We figured wrong.
Even at 9am on New Year’s Day there was a fairly serious queue of people waiting for a table.
At least there were pastries and drinks provided for the people waiting…
After a ten minute wait, the main restaurant area came into view. I’ve only ever seen lines like these in Vegas before. The difference here is that there were no priority lines for hotel guests or elite status holders. Also, rather annoyingly, plenty of tables were clearly free outside but staff weren’t offering them to customers. Once we got to the front of the line we asked for a table outside, the next few people behind us did the same, which helped to bring the queue down significantly. I have no idea why this hadn’t occurred to the staff.
The buffet is the usual enormous Asian affair, with a multitude of different stations offering hot and cold food options from around the world.
The island consisted almost exclusively of different cold items
Whilst the selection was quite extensive, the quality was not great. You expect full sides of salmon at a five star hotel buffet, not scrappy, oily offcuts.
Wontons and potato wedges.
Curries and an egg station. The egg station was something of a bottleneck. People were gathered around waiting for their eggs to be cooked. This served to keep the floor much busier and ensured that people took longer to finish their breakfasts. It would make a big difference if people were given a number and served their eggs at their tables instead.
Fresh fruit and yoghurt.
Congee and Youtiao.
The Conrad Singapore is most certainly not a hotel of the same calibre as the Conrads in Tokyo or Koh Samui. The service is highly variable and at times borderline incompetent. The decor is bland and unexciting, the facilities are jam packed with guests and the location means that other hotels block the view of the Marina Bay.
I stayed at the Conrad last year and as HH Diamond I received an exec room for 2 nights followed by the centennial suite for 2 nights. I had the same experience re. breakfast queues. I did enjoy the food however as there was a lot of vegetarian options for me.
Thanks KP and thanks for the extra data point!
It’s interesting to know that my experience was not an isolated occurrence, due to the holiday season but rather a more systematic problem.