The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Laudable service standards and a comfortable luxury experience in town.
The must-dos (if any): Cocktails and canapes at the Grand Club, breakfast at Straits Kitchen, pool and gym facilities.
Intro: In August 2018, I checked into the King Club Room at Grand Hyatt Singapore, which is situated minutes away from Orchard MRT station and numerous shopping malls such as Far East Plaza, Shaw House, Scotts Square and ION Orchard. I have always had very average service experiences at Hyatt properties thus far (often because of the properties’ lack of club lounges, which are usually the places where you enjoy the most personal service), but my stay at the Grand Hyatt Singapore definitely bucked the trend.
The hotel’s rooms are either at the Grand Wing or the Terrace Wing. The refurbished Terrace Wing rooms are situated closer to the swimming pool, fitness centre and much lush greenery, but the rooms are generally smaller. Whilst decidedly less modern in design, guests may prefer the notably bigger Grand Wing rooms, which are situated in the main building along with the reception area, Grand Club lounge and the majority of the hotel’s wining and dining concepts.
The 54 sqm King Club Room is situated in the Grand Wing, and its old-fashioned woody aesthetic places it in the same category of room experience as that of Hilton Singapore. Classified as a junior suite, the King Club Room is equipped with a king bed, separate living area and work desk, and guests can enjoy access to the Grand Club Lounge. The Grand Hyatt Singapore is probably the only hotel I have been to which offers the use of a humidifier, a thoughtful feature which makes extended stays in the room that much more comfortable.
The marbled bathroom is fairly large in size, with a bathtub for your soaking pleasure. The hairdryer is useable in front of the bathroom vanity, which is muchly appreciated. Bathroom amenities are from June Jacobs, and leave a refreshing scent on your skin that makes you feel like a cocktail garnish.
THE HOTEL AND AMENITIES
With my room located at the Grand Wing, I had to traverse a decidedly long distance across Level 5 to reach the lushly green, health and wellness-centric Terrace Wing, and when I arrived it did feel like I had alighted from a migrant ship and reached a brave new world. (Who knew the hotel premises were quite so sprawling? One certainly would not expect it based on one’s perspective from the Scotts Road side of things.) Whilst the Grand Wing is decidedly classic in its luxury hotel mannerisms (and dignified in its age), the Terrace Wing is the younger, refurbished sibling who does reverse bird of paradise poses and dons swishy white tennis skirts. As long as you are at the Terrace Wing, you are temporarily relieved from the realities of Orchard Road amidst the resort-esque proceedings.
The hotel’s free-form swimming pool plays it all garden-green resort vibes, providing ample green for your eye relaxation as you lounge on one of the sun beds or under one of the private cabanas, with service from the poolside Oasis Restaurant. Past the swimming pool, you would find two floodlit tennis courts as well as an air-conditioned badminton hall (where yoga sessions are also conducted).
Elsewhere, Damai Spa draws its healing inspiration from Chinese, Malay, Indian and European culture spa techniques, offering a selection of massages, facials, and body treatments, as well as beauty services such as manicure, pedicure and waxing sessions.
The adequately-equipped 24-hour Damai Fitness Centre shares a space with the spa, with guests being able to enjoy additional facilities such as the sauna, steam room, and the hot and cold plunge pool. I was immediately and morbidly drawn to the plunge pools, which were housed in a grey room resembling the set of Hostel 2, and tried both. The hot plunge pool reminded me of Bobbi Corcoran’s lobster-skinned fate in R.L. Stine’s Cheerleaders: The First Evil, while the vicious cold plunge pool was icier than Tilda Swinton’s frostiest gaze. Whilst boiling myself alive voluntarily, I observed various men – from portly furry and silver foxy gentlemen to “I join DBS regattas” Chinese beefcakes – pass the plunge pools as they made their way into the sauna and steam room, and resolved to ask fitness enthusiast friends the reason why men would alternate between both rooms continuously for half an hour. From the time I entered the plunge pool and even after I left, a stick-thin, grey-haired gentleman sat at the edge of the cold plunge pool with a scowl on his face, probably displeased that this screaming whale is disrupting his meditative process.
Breakfast is served on the lobby floor at Straits Kitchen, the hotel’s Singapore-inspired (and halal-certified) restaurant which showcases local cuisine in a contemporary market-style context. Whilst the usual pastry and Western breakfast selection is available, one should most certainly go for the local breakfast options, which include dishes such as white carrot cake, nasi lemak and prata. I would skip the frigid and unfeeling nasi lemak and go for a plate of heavily chilli-doused carrot cake as well as the laksa yong tau foo, which comes with an impressive selection of ingredients. And a Yakult, before all the children in the premises (of which there are quite a few) get their grabby hands on the last few. Families with children sure love the property.
Also located on the lobby level is 10 SCOTTS, the hotel’s lobby lounge which serves afternoon tea and evening cocktails. The space, designed to evoke a feeling of stylish home comfort, has a view of a five-metre high cascading waterfall situated at the nexus between the Terrace Wing and Grand Wing of the hotel.
Located on the mezzanine level accessible from the main entrance of the hotel, Mezza9 is the hotel’s buffet restaurant, offering nine dining and wining concepts – including Thai, Japanese, grill and sustainable seafood stations – within a single space. Mezza9 is positively a grand institution in itself, known for its legendary your-glasses-are-refilled-seconds-after-you-take-an-ickle-sip Sunday Brunch.
On the tipples side of things, Mezza9 itself houses two specialty bars – Martini Bar, a buzzy specialist martini concept with a glass-enclosed bartop area for evening sunlit libation joy, as well as Party Room, a cosy and intimate gin-focused concept. Both Martini Bar and Party Room have a killer 5-9pm S$14++ “Mezzatime” Happy Hour promotion across a variety of cocktails as well as a S$9++ deal on beers and a S$56++ offer on house pour wines by the bottle.
Located at Level 5 of the Terrace Wing is Oasis Restaurant, the hotel’s poolside restaurant offering meat and seafood BBQ options prepared using a charcoal grill.
On the basement level, Pete’s Place offers an authentic Italian trattoria experience serving homemade pastas and wood-fired oven pizzas, while elsewhere BRIX Singapore, a bar and dining nightspot, offers live music, club beats and feel good nosh.
Situated at Level 21 of the Grand Wing, and accessible only via a staircase on Level 20, the Grand Club lounge offers a modest buffet breakfast, all-day snacks and juices as well as evening cocktails and canapes. The lounge is divided into three distinct zones for your specific needs – a child-friendly area complete with board games and a television; the woody main lounge area with natural lighting; and the dark, hazily orange-lit and red sofa area which is perfect for manly, whisky-led corporate hijinks as well as pre-dinner naughty whispers.
Whilst breakfast at the lounge was more than serviceable – sometimes all you need is the egg station and toast/cereal – the canape selection for evening cocktails is fairly limited, and comprised a humble selection of Asian dishes such as sushi, spring rolls and dumplings, as well as your usual smoked and cold cuts. The spirits selection is also more Hilton Singapore than Conrad Centennial Singapore, but I have to say that service is very attentive, and your glasses are seldom more than half empty at any given time. Whilst I certainly had better canapes in other club lounges such as InterContinental Singapore, the experience at the Grand Club was definitely relaxed and pleasant.
I have to commend the service standards at the Grand Club. During my time at the lounge, I observed from across the room the tour de force that is their lounge manager, Isaac, who positively attended to the foreign guests with the youthful vigour of an Energizer bunny. Aside from regaling the various parties with countless anecdotes and coming across as being very warmly familiar with each of them, Isaac appeared to be versed in multiple languages, and toggled between them with ease as he flitted from classy Japanese women to French couples.
Although I did not have the opportunity to enjoy Isaac’s hospitality, I did however receive exceptional service from another Grand Club team member, Shane. I had absent-mindedly left a pouch at the Grand Club the night before I checked out, and when I contacted the hotel to enquire about it and left my contact information, Shane personally reached out to me and assured me that the pouch would be left safely at the concierge for my ease of collection. However, when I arrived, I was very impressed (and honestly felt quite bad) to see that Shane was actually waiting at the concierge for me to arrive. If this was a Korean drama and I were a girl who had stayed at the Grand Hyatt Singapore with my rogue and douchey boyfriend in an unloving relationship, this may have been the start of an incredible chapter. (This Shane possesses a winsome, almost sheepish boyishness to him that almost makes me want to advise single girls who enjoy Korean dramas to leave their own pouches at the Grand Club.)
While Grand Hyatt Singapore may be the less glossy Hyatt property in Singapore (with staycationers likely to opt for its newer, social media-baiting sibling that is Andaz Singapore), its convenient Orchard Road location and exceptional service levels make it my preferred choice if I am seeking a Hyatt property in Singapore which can pamper me and treat me well.
Grand Hyatt Singapore
10 Scotts Road