The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Accessible luxury vibes and forest lodge cosy feels in Bugis.
The must-dos (if any): Take a dip in the pool, have an Andaz Chendol pop, have a drink at Mr Stork (or Bar Square if you take your drinks seriously).
Intro: Over the Christmas weekend, I took advantage of Andaz Singapore’s opening offer* and booked a two-night stay in one of their King Bed Rooms. There are many aspects of Andaz Singapore that would likely position it as a destination of choice for PDA-keen couples, hipster Instagrammers and groups of friends alike. During my stay, I observed a surprisingly large number of families present (we aren’t talking yuppie young parents with kids in stylish Petit Bateau onesies, but rather proper full generation families comprising of formidably permed hair ah mahs and squeaky-shoed children ahoy), but would attribute it largely to the generous opening offer and the festive period.
*There is a discount of 20% off the Hyatt standard rate for reservations made in advance between August 15, 2017 and January 31, 2018 for stays lasting two or more nights that occur between December 5, 2017 through April 30, 2018.
I mean the hotel no disrespect, but the best thing about Andaz Singapore is their gloriously cosy rooms, which are one of my favourites from the hotels I stayed at this year in terms of design and guest experience sensibility. While the rooms are respectably chic when illuminated by the light of day, they resemble a forest lodge in their orange-warm woodiness when the blinds and sheers are down, all warm and familiar. While luxury or business hotel rooms are often chic and impersonal, this room could easily have been somebody’s well-designed abode.
Another thing I really liked about the King Bed Room is its structural design – from the bedroom, two sets of swinging doors lead to the bathroom and entrance respectively, which are in turn connected via a corridor which is where the wardrobe is situated. A complete circle. The lavatory is safely tucked away at the end of the corridor in the far corner, with a much firmer door to block out poo smells.
The obligatory Larvitar shot.
Warm, cosy, woody lodge feels, especially if the blinds and sheers are drawn. USB ports and power points are very conveniently situated on both sides of the bed.
A fairly comfortable couch.
Each room at Andaz Singapore comes equipped with its own Nespresso machine as well as one of these pull-out drawer fridges, which I noticed are rather in vogue at newer luxury hotels.
All snacks and non-alcoholic beverages in the room are complimentary, while the bottled spirits such as The Botanist Gin and the Johnnie Walker Black Label Whisky are priced at S$45 per bottle.
The vanity bathes your face in a warm glow, rendering it deceptively attractive.
The toiletries, created in conjunction with French perfumer Christophe Laudamiel, are specially scented using local ingredients.
Each room comes with a Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker II. The thumps are unreal.
The evening view from the bed.
Keycards go there.
Andaz Singapore is minutes away from Bugis Junction and the surrounding shopping and dining options in the Bugis vicinity, and is conveniently accessible, fully sheltered, from Bugis MRT. Various food options such as Tono Cevicheria, A Poke Theory and the popular Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant (or Let’s Eat! if you’re broke with expensive taste) are located on the ground level of the DUO premises for your dining pleasure. The renown Atlas Bar is just steps away as well.
The hotel lobby is situated on the 25th floor, which houses the bulk of the hotel’s amenities – the in-house dining concept Alley on 25 (consisting of six distinct dining/bar concepts primarily based on preparation method – Auntie’s Wok & Steam (Chinese), Smoke & Pepper (open-fire barbecue grill), Plancha’Lah! (open hotplate), The Green Oven (yes), Icehaus (all things chilled), and Bar Square (a bar which, among other things, offers all the cocktails and certain desserts served at the other five concepts)), the hotel guest lounge Sunroom (see the next section), as well as the swimming pool.
Elsewhere, 665°F is the hotel’s premium grillhouse specialising in halal-certified prime cuts and sustainable seafood which is situated on the 38th floor, while Mr Stork is the hotel’s rooftop bar, best known for its open-air teepee hut seating.
I noticed during this stay and on previous visits to the various dining concepts in the hotel that a large proportion of the staff comprised of Korean folks, which led to some interesting language barrier encounters.
Alley on 25 benefits strongly from the generous access to sunlight.
Icehaus, one of the two venues where hotel guests are served breakfast (the other being The Green Oven next door).
Auntie’s Wok & Steam.
Andaz Chendol Pop, an exclusive Neh Neh Pop collaboration item which is likely to be Alley on 25’s single most requested dish due to its inherent Instagrammable qualities. It was a slab of gula melaka joy, tempered with the texturality of coconut and the bitterness of caramel. The pandan white chocolate coat wore its alluringly pandan perfume with swag.
Andaz Singapore does not have a club lounge. In its place is the Sunroom, a hotel lounge accessible by all hotel guests which serves light refreshments as well as a selection of (self-service!) complimentary white and red wines along with Andaz’s own Pale Ale every evening.
The Sunroom is situated on the same floor as Alley on 25, near the check-in counters.
As the Sunroom is not a club lounge per se and is accessible by every hotel guest, seating may be an issue during the hotel’s peak seasons.
You get to help yourself to as much wine as you like!
A relatively restrained portion of Pinot Grigio and an Andaz Pale Ale.
Andaz Singapore has two bars – Bar Square and Mr Stork – which have individual strengths very distinct from each other. My personal favourite of the two is the Bar Square, which serves every single cocktail from the various menus across the different concepts of Alley on 25. The drinks at Bar Square are often brutally efficient and economically priced, and they do not pussyfoot around…which is not something I can say about the drinks at Mr Stork, which are in comparison decidedly Hello Kitty in their mild persuasions. I recall having something with ginseng in it.
In terms of ambience, the Bar Square’s lounge-esque stylings may be its biggest stumbling block. What Mr Stork has going for it is its magnificent view and sheer spaciousness – the signature teepee hut seats come in clusters for larger groups and isolated single huts for a bit of night-time naughtiness. Watch out for the neighbourhood snails though, especially after daytime showers!
Bar Square is very well-equipped in terms of poison options.
[Icehaus/Bar Square] Best G&T In The World – Kyro napue rye gin, cranberry, rosemary, erasmus bond tonic.
[Smoke & Pepper/Bar Square] Lau Pa Loma – Vida mezcal, hellfire habanero bitters, fresh grapefruit juice, lime.
The signature teepee seating at Mr Stork.
Things get Friday the 13th camping saucy at Mr Stork.
GYM AND SWIMMING POOL
The hotel comes with a well-equipped gym, a nice toasty sauna and what appears to be a high-tech sci-fi contraption.
The gym is situated on the 38th floor, across the corridor from 665°F.
The Sauna, situated in the Changing Room on the 26th floor.
A very high-tech mist contraption in the Changing Room which has functions such as Cold Mist, Air Shower and the very sexy and exotically monikered “Siberian Night” (it’s cold).
The lounge beds come stocked with fresh towels and and bottled water, which are frequently replenished.
The waters of the pool were comfortably and pleasantly uncold, even on a cloudy, blustery December day.
Whilst the lack of a club lounge omits the option for heightened privacy and exclusivity available at most other luxury hotels, the Sunroom does offer the requisite free-flow alcoholic indulgence, and the hotel boasts one of the most comfortable and well-designed rooms out of the luxury hotel launches in Singapore in recent years. Highly recommended for guests looking to spend most of the stay in the comfort of their rooms.
5 Fraser Street