The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Modern business chic meets riverfront lush luxury condominium living.
The must-dos (if any): Al fresco dining/breakfast at Publico and the Club InterContinental Lounge, Quayside Lounge lounging.
Intro: Over the Friday the 13th weekend this October, I spent two nights at the newly-launched InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay. My InterContinental Ambassador membership assisted me with an upgrade to the Quayside Suite as well as club benefits – including breakfast, afternoon high tea and evening canapes & cocktails – at the Club InterContinental Lounge. Prior to my stay, I was fortunate enough to have had a sneak preview of two of the hotel’s dining concepts – Wolfgang’s Steakhouse Singapore and Marcello – so all in all I managed to have a pretty holistic and complete idea of what the hotel has to offer.
The Room: Compared to the traditionally classic, stately grandeur of the Royal Suite at the InterContinental Singapore, the Quayside Suite at the InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay plays it like a luxury condominium/service apartment. At first blush, the hotel certainly appears to build up on this – from the little details within the rooms such as the pull-out drawer fridge and all the sliding door action to the Tokyo Bike rental service available, the InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay experience seems to strive for luxury residential comfort rather than classic hotel opulence.
Size-wise, if the rooms at the InterContinental Singapore were elephants, the rooms at the InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay would be giant blades of grass.
It’s a bed. And a couch.
The combination of white and dark, deep colours such as grey and navy blue, the timber accents, the clean lines and the coolly modern furnishings come together in a glorious condominum showroom-esque package, and the visual elements make the room highly suited as a studio backdrop for narcissistic pictures of yourself:
a) just woken up in bed, topless; b) reading the morning paper or a fashion/lifestyle magazine on the couch by way of lifestyle influencer; c) deep in thought staring into space, perhaps with eyebrows furrowed; or d) breaking out into a wry smile by way of candid shot,
as opposed to the decidedly less modern and more orange vibes of a more traditional InterContinental hotel room.
The bathroom is fairly compact in its configuration, with the bathtub positioned shyly in one corner. The doors to both the shower and the toilet are semi-transparent for peek-a-boo naughty games with your roommates, which is mega helpful if they are into sca….(that’s quite enough – Deviant Practices Discouragement Editor).
The obligatory Larvitar shot.
Whilst I usually am fairly cheapo nana when it comes to hotel rooms’ fridges/mini bars, I was surprised and tempted by the extensive and refreshing selection here, which includes alcoholic drinks from the in-hotel dining concepts Marcello and Publico.
The Club Benefits (Club InterContinental Lounge): The Club InterContinental Lounge is open 24 hours (!), which means that besides coming for breakfast, afternoon high tea and evening cocktails and canapes, Club members can pop by for tea and refreshments any time of the day.
What sets this Club InterContinental Lounge (and most of the hotel) apart from many other club lounges is the generous availability of outdoor space for your open-air relaxation and dining pleasure. The luxuriant greenery that seemingly permeates every inch of the hotel, the couch seats, and the overhead fan/natural riverfront windiness come together to provide lovely, chilled out vibes for your staycation pleasure.
Looks like the entrance to some kinky nightspot.
Al fresco dining feels.
“The Study”, a private room within the Club InterContinental Lounge available for a one-hour booking per stay.
Afternoon high tea. Some of the sweets (e.g. the lusciously wet Tiramisu) appear to possess Publico’s DNA.
Night time at the Club InterContinental Lounge.
Decidedly restaurant-esque darkness after hours.
On the degenerate drunk front, you get to choose from a selection of cocktails, wine and beers. Whilst the Club InterContinental Lounge at the InterContinental Singapore served more old-fashioned cocktails such as the Screwdriver and Long Island Tea, the selection here is sexier and fresher, with cocktails such as the Negroni, Espresso Martini and Gimlet available for your guzzling pleasure. It appears that the mature may well be more experienced and potent in their drunk-inducing prowess than the young.
Negroni (gin, sweet vermouth).
The al fresco dining space available means you can enjoy your cocktails and canapes with the Robertson Quay wind in your hair, and if you’re early enough, with the accompaniment of the setting sun’s caressing rays.
A tray of canapes, which are served in a tray of four. They were largely perfunctory bites.
The Quayside Sling (sweet cherry, brown sugar, herbal citrus, gin) and Gimlet (gin, sweetened lime juice).
Breakfast (Publico/Club InterContinental Lounge): A club member could enjoy breakfast at either Publico or Club InterContinental Lounge. At Publico (which looks set to be a buzzy weekend brunch destination based on the walk-in traffic I observed), you get to pick one item from their usual all-day dining menu to go with your usual cold cuts, fruits, yogurt options etc. The menu ranges from their big breakfast equivalent (Publico’s “Buon Appetito!!”) and bread dishes (Tostada Catalana, Avocado on Tuscan Toast, Golden French Toast) to eat-clean options (Energising Breakfast Bowl). The portions are gargantuan and can probably feed six Primary Two girls.
Publico’s “Buon Appetito!!” – 2 free-range eggs omelette, crispy bacon, baked baby potatoes, marinated grilled tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms, toasted sourdough bread and choice of 2 homemade sausages (from spicy italia, beef za’atar, veal chipolata with fennel or chicken with rosemary and garlic).
Southern Fried Chicken & Waffles with warm maple syrup.
Costa Azzura Limoncello tea.
The section of Publico Deli in the day which becomes Marcello at night (see below).
The experience at the Club InterContinental Lounge was rather like a breezy, laid-back Australian cafe. The plates were pretty, and the presentation was pleasing. (I plated the second dish myself.) The selection was fairly limited to the essentials such as egg dishes and toasts, but I did not find it particularly lacking.
Avocado on toast.
Mushrooms, beef sausage, potatoes (even the purple ones), smoked salmon, bacon, hash browns.
Omelette with mushroom, salmon and capsicum.
Quayside Lounge: Whilst most tea lounges are largely functional affairs, the Quayside Lounge (which you have to pass en route to the lifts leading to the rooms) is stunning in its sophisticated yet understated elegance, and represents an attraction on its own.
The Pool: The swimming pool runs alongside the Quayside Lounge, and is significantly less private than the InterContinental Singapore equivalent. No gratuitous sunbathing, butt cavern massages or baby pools here.
Publico: Publico Deli serves a variety of sandwiches, paninis, burgers and all-day breakfast options, and after evening falls, a further series of sweet pastries (sample: Torta Bavarese al Pistacchio or tart with pistachio cream) and liquid desserts – creamy concoctions which are either straightforward sweet sin (e.g. Ciao Capitano – rum and raisin gelato, shot of espresso, organic honey drizzle) or occasionally devilishly spiked (e.g. In The Midnight Hour – Rebel Yell Kentucky Bourbon milkshake with vanilla ice cream, honey, caramel and cinnamon).
Unfortunately, Publico Ristorante (which would offer uber chilled out riverfront al fresco vibes alongside its pizzas and pastas) is only expected to launch late October.
Torta Bavarese al Pistacchio (tart with pistachio cream).
Crostata di Ribes (Raspberry Pie).
Black Magic Woman, a deliriously wicked Mexican hot chocolate drink with agave nectar and ancho chilli, spiked with smoky mezcal.
Marcello: At night, the back of Publico Deli transforms into a hip, buzzy Italian craft cocktail bar, Marcello. The available outdoor space and cosy indoor spaciousness of the bar keeps things casual and comfortable for evening post-work titters, whilst elsewhere the drinks deliver the goods with proficiency, with choices of poison ranging from the refreshing (Milano Fizz) to the lethal (Little Italy).
The mood at Marcello is welcoming, playful and laid-back.
Milano Fizz – homemade lemon sherbet, Campari, Prosecco.
Cinema Paradiso – gin, amaro, citrus, agave, chinotto.
Classic Negroni and Smoked Black Olive Negroni.
Little Italy – rye, Italian vermouth, Cynar.
Wolfgang’s Steakhouse Singapore: Prior to my stay, I managed to have a sneak preview of the meat offerings from the famous New York steakhouse, and from my brief skirmish with the dishes, the wallet’s hurt does appear to correspond with the quality of the cuts. Aside from the meats, the creamy spinach deserves some kudos for being all sorts of gloopy glory.
USDA Prime Dry Aged Porterhouse Steak.
Concluding Thoughts: As I was typing this post, I realised to my literary dismay that I kept returning to expressions such as “laid-back”, “chilled out”, “relaxed” etc. Whilst I considered whether I needed to consult a thesaurus more (“tranquil” and “serene”, anyone?), ultimately I realised those were exactly the words and feelings the InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay invites with its very surprising approach to luxury hotel comfort.
Tokyo Bike rental for neighbourhood cycles.
It remains to be seen whether the stark departure from the InterContinental’s age-old brand of classic luxury – without a corresponding departure in price – would appeal to the older supporters who are accustomed to the traditional style of InterContinental Singapore, but the InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay’s modern and very eye-pleasing furnishings, its luxuriant and often breezy al fresco spaces, and its location within the fairly vibrant Quayside ecosystem collectively inject a breath of freshness into the InterContinental narrative, and once the hotel works out its various kinks and improves on its in-house offerings with time, the InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay would certainly stand out as being more than just a strong hotel in the Robertson Quay vicinity.
InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay
1 Nanson Road