The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Old-fashioned business hotel hospitality with a commendable Executive Lounge.
The must-dos (if any): Cocktails and canapes at the Executive Lounge.
Intro: In June 2018, in the midst of completing the Hilton Honors Diamond Status Match, I checked into the King Hilton Premium Room at Hilton Singapore, a room category with the distinction of being the only room type in the hotel which was refurbished in recent years. While the Conrad Centennial Singapore is undeniably superior in terms of the facilities and amenities across the stay, from bathroom amenities to the choice of food and alcohol offered in the Executive Lounge, Hilton Singapore’s strength lies in its consistent delivery of warm hospitality and good service, making the hotel my preferred choice for a peaceful getaway experience.
Situated on Levels 17-19, the refurbished 32sqm King Hilton Premium Room’s brand of light-tone Japanese woody is ripped straight from the ’80s (check out the charmingly retro office telephones, perfect for that throwback Thursday shot!). The King Premium Room comes equipped with a Nespresso coffee machine and Herman Miller ergonomic chair at the work desk.
The most overt sign of refurbishment is the sexy dark marble walk-in rain shower. If you stand at the bathroom doorway and observe the juxtaposition between old marble and new marble, it does feel a bit like you’re standing outside St Andrew’s Cathedral looking at Peninsula Plaza next to Capitol Piazza.
Bathroom amenities are from Crabtree & Evelyn, which is interestingly also the brand used at Hilton Garden Inn Singapore, the hotel chain’s budget-friendly brand. However, I hear from sources (and spied in the amenities trolley whilst passing it in the hallway) that Peter Thomas Roth amenities are also available upon request.
THE HOTEL AND AMENITIES
The hotel’s rooftop pool offers scenic views of the Orchard shopping stretch, whilst elsewhere the fitness centre impressed me tremendously – it is possibly one of the most well-equipped luxury hotel gyms I’ve come across in recent times, even having barbell equipment (which most hotels avoid having since the hotel gyms are seldom supervised). I walked in, felt simultaneously energised and raring to go yet immensely Snorlax-phat and lazy, and ultimately decided to leave.
Hilton Singapore has its own two-level shopping gallery, showcasing collections from luxury brands such as Paul Smith, Stella McCartney, Issey Miyake, Club 21, Cartier, Rolex and Comme des Garçons for your (window) shopping pleasure.
Breakfast is served at Opus Bar & Grill, the hotel’s steakhouse and bar concept. The customary continental breakfast options are correct and present (check out the rotating bacon tray!), with an Indian food section available as well as a noodle station which serves up soupy comfort. Guests with club access may be better off enjoying their mornings in the comfort of the lounge.
Il Cielo is the hotel’s rooftop Japanese-Italian dining concept with a panoramic city skyline view, while elsewhere Verde Kitchen is a casual healthy dining concept located on the second floor and D9 Cakery offers a selection of delicate, gorgeous sweet treats.
Fine-dining institution Iggy’s is situated on the third floor for your fancy pearl necklace, cleavage-revealing and long-haired posh dining needs.
THE EXECUTIVE LOUNGE
The crown jewel of my stay at Hilton Singapore was my experience at the Executive Lounge, without which my Hilton Singapore experience would have been significantly affected.
The Executive Lounge offers breakfast and afternoon tea service as well as evening cocktails and canapes. As far as the actual lounge space is concerned, the natural light-blessed, window-side seating area was a bright and happy section, feeling like it came straight from the pages of a Scandinavian interior design catalogue, with the central table with computer playing it all Apple Store minimalist clean. The experience of sitting on the leather couch, thumbing through the latest copy of Prestige/Singapore Tatler or similar as I sipped on hot TWG chamomile tea, made for a surprising calm and relaxing afternoon affair.
On the food front, whilst the dishes are certainly nothing spectacular – I had chicken drumlets, beehoon and a chilli crab bun during my evening session – they were done very competently and did a fine job lining my stomach for the self-serve wine selection. The spirits selection was admittedly fairly modest compared to that of Conrad’s. However, the desserts – featured during tea time as well as in the evening – generally fared very well, with the coffee cheesecake being a maddeningly fragrant and delightful treat.
What I appreciated a lot about the Executive Lounge was their excellent service. Whilst I was there, I required some assistance contacting an overseas Hilton property in relation to an upcoming reservation, and the service staff were very helpful in offering to contact the property directly on my behalf. The club staff were always personable and warm, and they readily assisted me when I wished to view other room categories which I was curious about. In addition, even though I had already (late) checked out, the club staff invited me to stay and enjoy the cocktails and canapes for that evening (which is, from my experience, something InterContinental hotels do not normally permit).
All in all, I had a very pleasing Executive Lounge experience.
While Hilton Singapore may not be an obvious staycation destination given its very old-fashioned approach to business hotel hospitality, what it does have over the newer and snazzier properties in Singapore (and Conrad Centennial Singapore) is warm, heart-felt service. Which, sometimes, makes all the difference.
Just make sure you get club access.
581 Orchard Road