The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Flamboyantly stylish, family-friendly, accessible and affordable Marriott city option.
The must-dos (if any): Enjoy four hours of evening drinks at the Executive lounge, enjoy the view from the 18th floor pool, have breakfast at Beach Road Kitchen.
JW MARRIOTT SINGAPORE SOUTH BEACH
The hotel is housed within a pair of glass and steel towers in the South Beach development near City Hall MRT Station, with architecture courtesy of Foster + Partners (also behind the Apple Store along Orchard Road as well as Hong Kong ultra-luxury hotel The Murray) and interior design by renowned French designer Philippe Starck.
Like its sister property The St. Regis Singapore, this hotel prides itself on its art pieces, with over 30 different art works scattered throughout the premises. At the hotel entrance sits Gorilla, a reclaimed scrap metal sculpture by Turner Prize winner Iain Nutting, and past the automatic doors you are greeted by a 7m-high interactive video wall installation by South Korean animation artist Lee Lee Nam. As you make your way down the lobby hallway, you would recognise in the naked-woman-on-a-horse Donna a Cavallo sculpture the distinctive style of renowned Columbian artist Fernando Botero, the man who has a penchant for creating rotund, whimsical, curvy sculptures such as the fat “Bird” outside UOB Plaza. The guest elevators feature colour-changing RGB wallpaper by Milan-based art and design duo Carnovsky, which communicates simultaneously 3am night-club delirium and Junji Ito underwater horror imagery.
My favourite would be the enchanting Flying Flames by Ingo Maurer, a light installation of 160 floating candles with LED “flames” above the reception counter which play it all mesmerising fairy light wonder meets Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival talisman chic.
EXECUTIVE SUITE WITH PREMIER MARINA BAY VIEW
The high-floor and spacious 99sqm Executive Suite with Premier Marina Bay View (views are of Padang, Raffles Hotel or Suntec City, depending on which part of the suite you look out from) plays it clinically white with stylish, bold design features or splashes of colour – even the door to the powder room and the carpets are covered in vicious graffiti. Instead of the usual dancer portraits in the lower category rooms (the poses of which I had initially intended to pay homage to, just for laughs), the portraits in the suite were dome and castle imagery-inspired. The suite is cheerily bright, due to the healthy stream of natural light courtesy of the tall windows as well as the generous number of mirrors and reflective surfaces in the room, which impressively create the illusion of infinite expanse.
I must say, while all the reflections may be ideal for narcissistic, nudity-loving yogis, they are not likely to please top-tier Marriott Bonvoy member Pontianaks or Langsuirs (do not Google information or images of those when you are home alone – Malay Folklore Enthusiast).
The living room features various seats around the television, ranging from sofas (strangely sans cushions, which would have provided the requisite posture lubrication) to seats of varying heights, presumably for children to sit on while amusing themselves with Hi-5 reruns or hypnotic “Baby Shark” videos. The pantry is equipped with a Nespresso machine, TWG tea-making facilities as well as a mini-bar comprising snacks and alcohol. Meanwhile, the bedroom features an island king-sized bed with three sides of the room being floor-to-ceiling windows and the fourth – basically doors to the double wardrobe and the bathroom – being entirely mirrored.
The pristinely white bathroom features double vanities, a bathtub as well as a rainfall shower. Special mention goes out to the multiple vertical jets in the shower which give your obscure, hard-to-reach spots a good, spa-style hydro-prod. Bathroom amenities are from Aromatherapy Associates. They do deliver on the titular Premier Marina Bay View – not since my stay at SO Sofitel Bangkok has my excretionary experience (they have a Japanese-style bidet and heated toilet seat, bless) been quite so blessed with a killer view.
SPA BY JW AND WELLNESS AMENITIES
The hotel boasts two infinity pools. The main pool is located at Flow 18, the social space on the 18th floor of the Main Tower (which also houses the hotel’s fitness centre) while the other pool is situated at Ebb 6, the social space on the 6th floor of the East Tower. Based on a quick scan of social media posts, the former appears to be the preferred water body, being the location du jour for countless artistic and brooding swimming pool shots as well as events such as New Year countdowns and Grand Prix champagne parties, while the latter is more ideal for sun-tanning and faces one of Suntec City’s digital billboards.
Located at the East Tower, Spa by JW offers a variety of affordably-priced treatments. The spa premises also houses a jacuzzi, steam room and sauna, which are (unlike its sister property The St. Regis Singapore) not available for use by hotel guests unless they have a spa appointment.
Breakfast is served at Beach Road Kitchen, the hotel’s all-day dining concept with both buffet and a la carte menus. What the sprawling space offers is impressive in its variety – from the wood-fired oven section, sweets station (with dark chocolate soft serve being the highlight) and poultry stall to local, Indian and Chinese stations as well as the noodle bar with a self-help yong tau foo-esque spread of ingredients, the breakfast spread is one of the most extensive I have come across in Singapore.
Modern communal dining Japanese concept Akira Back delivers modern (think: modern American) Japanese fare with hints of Korean influences, with the menu comprising sushi/sashimi, hot and cold sharing plates, salads, rolls, mains and bowls. One of their signature and most popular dishes based on a browse of the influencer-fuelled photos on the restaurant’s Instagram geotag is their “AB pizza”, essentially slices of raw tuna and/or mushroom on crispy tortilla.
Tonic is a laid-back gin and tonic specialist bar located within the hotel’s lobby, while Court Martial Bar – which boasts pretty nifty furnishings utilising spare engine parts as well as a transparent perspex floor over an old vehicle maintenance pit preserved from the building’s past as a military garage – serves crafted cocktails.
Further dining and drinks options await at The NCO Club, a lifestyle destination situated within the same premises as the hotel – Chinese fine-dining restaurant and bar Madame Fan, which plays it all modern sexy Shanghainese sophistication with its dim lighting, Tangela-esque overhead installation and live DJ spins; champagne bar Fish Pool, a collaboration space with champagne house Louis Roederer which houses an Olympic-depth diving pool with the occasional “human mermaid” performance; Gentleman’s lounge-esque wine concept Stags’ Room, a partnership with wine producers Stag’s Leap and Penfolds; and snazzy live music bar Cool Cats, which combines traditionalist crafted cocktails with live entertainment across genres such as blues, jazz and R&B.
Located on the second floor of the Main Tower, the Executive Lounge serves all-day refreshments as well as breakfast, afternoon tea and evening canapes and cocktails. The sprawling executive lounge premises has dual personalities – one half of the lounge is decidedly tacky, with bright coloured partitions seemingly made from some acrylic-esque material of the sort widely used in Design & Technology classes in secondary schools, while the other half plays it more traditional lounge and M18 in its intentions, housing the bar counter and booze supply, massive television screens broadcasting the latest headlines as well as the bulk of the lounge’s blazered and professional guests.
The executive lounge has the distinction of having one of the longest evening canape and cocktail presentations I have ever come across, spanning across four entire hours. As children are expressly restricted from accessing the lounge after the first two hours, one is advised to proceed with his or her libation sessions only after the ‘ickle ‘uns have cleared out, unless of course one enjoys the dulcet tones of the under-six years old as well as breastfeeding demonstration sessions…unless, of course you are a degenerate drunk, in which case you should most certainly maximise the full four hours of light-headed relaxation joy. (Definitely skip the cocktails and go for the bottled stuff.)
Due to its frequent high occupancy and family-slanted approach, JW Marriott Singapore South Beach is best suited for group staycations and in-room parties as opposed to romantic getaways and quiet retreats, and its appealing price point makes it suitable for the budget-conscious as well as Marriott Bonvoy members who need to clock that minimum number of stays.
JW Marriott Singapore South Beach
30 Beach Road