The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Impressive five-star luxury hotel indulgence in the CBD.
The must-dos (if any): Spend time at the Club Millesime, take a swim, soak in the bathtub with a glass of wine.
Intro: I recently spent my birthday at the Sofitel Singapore City Centre, opting for a stay in one of the hotel’s Luxury Room but with additional access to club benefits. Whilst the latter may not have been entirely necessary for the stay to have been suitably luxurious, the club benefits definitely (in no small way) improved the experience tremendously, and I leave the hotel unequivocally certain that this was one of my most luxurious and enjoyable staycations yet. I was very impressed.
The Luxury Room is immaculately designed, with an ever-so-slightly quietly confident flamboyance in its purple flourishes as well as little design details such as the suitcase-esque handles of the drawers. The room comes impressively equipped with wireless Bose speaker capabilities, as well as thoughtfully-positioned bedside USB ports for your night-time device charging needs. The bathroom comes with a bathtub and a most clever bathtub “table” device which securely holds a wine glass for bathtub bubbly fun as well as a book or even an iPad, and my room even came with a self-improvement book for naked spiritual development. Toilet amenities are from Les notes de Lanvin – yes, that Lanvin. Sofitel’s signature MyBed – trademarked, mind you – isn’t so much a bed as a soft wing which receives your body into its angelic embrace, and there is also a pillow menu which meets the requirements of both soft pillow seekers as well as heavy-cranium Tyrannosauruses.
On a room-related note, as the Sofitel team was aware beforehand that my stay was to celebrate a birthday, they prepared two different cakes for me – one cheese-based on a plate with a birthday greeting, and one made entirely from towels (?!) and complemented by tons of balloons. It may not have been that much work to set up in the big scheme of things, but the effort and thoughtfulness was notable.
The obligatory Larvitar shot.
The work desk came loaded with some birthday surprises.
You could appreciate the colouring skills of the previous colourer, or leave a filthy message for the next unsuspecting guest.
Read a self-improvement book as you guzzle a glass of bubbly in a tub of bubbles.
The mini bar snacks and beverages are complimentary and replenished daily.
Yes, that Lanvin.
A cheesy treat from Racines, the hotel’s French/Chinese restaurant.
The Sofitel team prepared a nice towel “birthday cake” as well as all these balloons!
The lobby of the hotel is located on the fifth floor, which is also where the hotel’s bar/lobby lounge, 1864 and the French/Chinese restaurant, Racines, are situated. One of the lobby floor’s greatest assets is its generous access to natural light – a rare commodity amongst many local classic luxury hotels, which remain cloaked in a decidedly dated orange glow – which gives the space a significant uplift of cheery brightness and energy. I had wrote about my Racines experience during my prior visit to the hotel wherein I expressed a view that the spice levels for the Chinese dishes may have been significantly curtailed, but I am pleased to report that after a particularly greedy wine-tastic session at the Club Millesime during cocktail hour, I had a most satisfying bowl of Mapo Tofu at Racines which has since changed my mind on the matter.
The lobby floor is blessed with glorious, extravagant amounts of natural light streaming in through the glass windows.
The bar and tea lounge, 1864, has significantly revamped and developed its menu since my last visit.
Whilst not equipped with afternoon high tea capabilities, the happily-perfumed lobby lounge is comfortably dim, making it an ideal spot for business meetings and clandestine recruiter liaisons.
The hotel restaurant, Racines, is magnificent in its daytime sunny disposition.
I cannot share enough pictures of the sun rays’ loving caress of the premises.
I needed a feisty kick in the pants to shake off the winetastic effects of cocktail hour (refer to the Club Lounge section below), and the “Mapo Tofu” Stir-Fried Minced Pork with Hot Bean and Szechuan Pepper from Racines did the job but good. (It certainly clarified doubts I had about the Chinese side of things on the Racines menu.)
THE CLUB LOUNGE (CLUB MILLESIME)
As a club guest, you get to check in at the Club Millesime, which is the hotel’s club lounge. Apart from being an alternative location for breakfast, the Club Millesime serves afternoon high tea as well as canapes and free flow wine from a wine dispensing machine during evening cocktail hour.
The lounge itself is fairly large, with different zones for different needs. Apart from the main seating area, there is a partitioned study-esque area for more intimate moments, a board room for formal meetings and dinners, as well as outdoor terrace seating near the pool.
Club guests can check in at the Club Millesime, the club lounge at Sofitel Singapore City Centre.
The Club Millesime possesses a woody and most classy library-esque vibe.
One of the areas within the Club Millesime is this study-style couch area for intimate whispers and Sherlock-esque roleplay.
The Club Millesime also includes an outdoor terrace area for both the cold-averse as well as cheekopek (horny pervert – Singlish slang expert) pool watchers.
Afternoon high tea treats at the outdoor terrace seating area at Club Millesime.
Free flow of all these wines from a wine dispensing machine during cocktail hour…
…And the Olivia Pope in me could not help myself. I managed to book the Board Room within the Club Millesime for an hour during one of the evenings, and managed to get a lot of work done whilst sipping from this magnificently full vessel.
Canapes are on hand to ensure you don’t guzzle wine by the truckloads on an empty stomach.
A club guest can have breakfast at either the Club Millesime or Racines. In terms of variety, the former is certainly more modest in its selection – the main exclusive stars of my breakfast not found at Racines were the miso salmon and kale – but the standard egg “station” is present for made-to-order warm comfort, and the privacy and calmness of lounge proceedings provide good incentives. Variety-wise, Racines definitely prevails, offering a confident buffet-style selection for breakfast featuring most of the usual buffet-style breakfast suspects such as your dim sum, big breakfast elements (i.e. turkey ham, streaky bacon, hash brown etc) and then some. I need to specially commend the sambal for being one of the most devilishly shiok sambals I have ever tasted in a hotel buffet concept which I can enjoy with plain rice and consider it a meal well spent. I note that there was an actual honeycomb rack as well as a SIA-fashionable boat for the Malay/Nyonya kuehs to rest on – talk about posh!
The Club Millesime may have a modest morning spread, but the privacy and pool-side calm available more than makes up for it.
The morning buffet spread at Sofitel offers a confident selection featuring the usual suspects. The devilish sambal (featured with the yam rice) is all sorts of magical.
Malay/Nyonya kuehs are frequently featured during your meals at the hotel.
You can extract honeycomb for your morning waffle from an actual honeycomb rack!
THE POOL AND GYM
The hotel has a 24-hour gym, So Fit, but guests also get yoga mats in their rooms as well as unlimited access to the Virgin Active gym which is conveniently accessible by hotel guests from the same floor. This access was what gave me my virgin glimpse into the wonderment that is Virgin Active – you get aerial twirling on cloths, sleeping pods, ang moh hairy sweatiness and exotic blue-tinged ice rooms all at once in one sleek, futuristic package.
Whilst the swimming pool is neither the deepest nor the widest, it is certainly one of the most beautiful pools I have had the fortune to come across in a Singaporean luxury hotel. Lush vegetation all round and striking blue tiles make for a most inviting dipping space, with both singular and couple beds for your suntanning or lounging pleasure. There is also a little jacuzzi area for some good vibrations.
Not exactly infinity nor big, but the pool is one of the most beautiful hotel pools in Singapore.
The pool is shared with Virgin Active users, but Sofitel Singapore City Centre guests have priority.
The 24-hour So Fit gym faces the verdant lawn between the hotel and Tanjong Pagar Centre as well as the swimming pool.
Guests get unlimited access to the Virgin Active outlet at Tanjong Pagar Centre during their stay.
Being quite the loyal InterContinental guest for much of 2017, I did feel slightly traitorous spending my birthday at an Accor Hotels property (of which Sofitel Singapore City Centre is one of the local crown jewels), but the sheer quality of the stay has certainly left me feeling very hot around the collar and seduced indeed. From the top-drawer service standards to the luxurious amenities at the Club Millesime (the wines!), from the lush beauty of the pool area to the complimentary Virgin Active access, from the eye-pleasing aesthetic sensibilities of the room to the fun possibilities to be had within the bathtub – almost every amenity is of sufficient quality to qualify as an event in itself. Colour me very impressed indeed, and thankful that I made this my choice of birthday destination. Money well spent.
Sofitel Singapore City Centre
9 Wallich Street