In July 2019, I checked into the Four Seasons Executive Suite at Four Seasons Hotel Singapore. The property is situated along a tree-lined boulevard off the famous Orchard Road shopping and entertainment district, and enjoys a sense of private seclusion whilst being right smack in the heart of town. The 20-storey and 255-room hotel is located minutes away from shopping centres such as ION Orchard, Ngee Ann City and Isetan Scotts, and is a short walk away from Orchard MRT Station. Guests can conveniently access the shopping stretch via Hilton Singapore through a connected air-conditioned walkway next to the hotel’s all-day dining concept One-Ninety Restaurant.
The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Understated classic luxury along Orchard Road.
The must-dos (if any): Take a dip in the rooftop pool, have a restful sleep in the Four Seasons Bed, make yourself a mimosa during breakfast at One-Ninety Restaurant, dine at Jiang-Nan Chun.
While the hotel has undergone various phases of refurbishment, with the last round concluding in September 2018, the old-world elegance of a bygone era is largely retained throughout the lobby, with the ornate black marble table, gold Chinese screen and bright domed ceiling at the foyer as well as the glossy black and gold grand staircase making strong visual statements of quiet opulence (in contrast to, say, the more showy glamour of the nearby The St. Regis Singapore). 1,500 pieces of art works from around Asia are scattered throughout the premises, including the guest rooms, and I remember the vibrant “Chrysanthemum” piece that greeted me in the powder room of my suite whilst I was doing my own plant watering.
In terms of wellness and fitness facilities, the hotel has two indoor air-conditioned tennis courts and two outdoor tennis courts, an extensively-equipped (albeit somewhat claustrophobic) fitness centre with an outdoor lap pool and private jacuzzi on the 3rd level, and a family-friendly rooftop swimming pool on the 20th level which plays it all Jumeirah desert-chic with its blend of creamy, sandy and tropical shades. Elsewhere, the Four Seasons Spa on the 3rd level uses exclusive L’Occitane products in its various signature treatments.
Unlike other regional Four Seasons properties such as Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong and Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur, the property does not have an executive lounge for a private breakfast experience or evening cocktails, instead simply having a humble lounge area on the 3rd level for conversations over tea or coffee. One of the comments that I consistently hear about this hotel is that the product offering feels somewhat incomplete by Four Seasons standards, in particular in relation to the absence of a club lounge as well as the limited number of dining concepts, and throughout my stay I could not help but wonder how different the Four Seasons Hotel Singapore experience would be if these limitations were addressed.
FOUR SEASONS EXECUTIVE SUITE
The 75sqm Four Seasons Executive Suite plays it all earthy tones and glacial blue hues, being quietly dignified in its brand of contemporary, residential-style luxury. A distinctly local sense of place is brought by elements such as the mural wall comprising traditional Peranakan shuriken star-esque tiles, the amenity Peranakan basket of local treats such as ondeh-ondeh, rainbow lapis and kueh salat as well as the white colonial-style bedroom doors with plantation shutters which, aside from being capable of keeping the sleeping area in total darkness for a night of restful sleep, give the space laid-back, hazy summer day feels.
The spacious living area features a sofa bed, a dining table which doubles up as a work desk as well as a powder room. The pantry comprises a private bar with wine and spirit options, a Lavazza coffee machine as well as Monogram tea and tea-making facilities. Elsewhere, the bedroom is equipped with a signature Four Seasons Bed which comes with your choice of plush, signature or firm mattress topper, a dresser with attached hairdryer as well as a portable Bose sound-system with Bluetooth connectivity.
The marble bathroom comes with double vanities, an enclosed rainfall shower, a separate bathtub as well as a private toilet and bidet. Bathroom amenities are from L’Occitane, and the gingery profile would make you feel like a flatulence-treating glass of comforting lemongrass tea.
Breakfast is served at One-Ninety Restaurant, the all-day open-concept dining restaurant which specialises in Western and Singaporean flavours. The breakfast buffet comprises a fairly international spread ranging from Indian (sample: prata, vada, daal) , Chinese (sample: Hong Kong-style and fish congee, dim sum, egg fried rice) and Japanese (sample: udon, tamago, grilled saba, hijiki tofu) selections to pastries, cold cuts, Western breakfast sides, children favourites (sample: doughnuts and ham & cheese croissants) and brunch offerings such as blueberry pancakes. In addition, self-serve Mimosas are available at the juice station. I had three.
While the buffet selection is not terribly extensive, and despite the absence of a la carte offerings under the buffet breakfast menu, the restaurant more than makes up for it through the sheer quality of the dishes on display, with the pillowy French toast and squirtingly-juicy siew mai and chicken and mushroom dumplings particularly warranting repeat patronage.
Across the corridor from the restaurant, One-Ninety Bar offers a selection of craft cocktails as well as an extensive range of spirits, with guests able to choose between the cosy and stylish indoor lounge or the resort-style outdoor Terraza. Degenerate drunks should note that the bar boasts an attractive double pour offer on all spirits, liqueurs and amaro between 9pm to 12am. I had a double pour of the Laphroaig Quarter Cask 15 Years, which sent me to a place of musky leather, gentleman canes and Truefitt & Hill-groomed moustaches.
Situated on the 2nd level, the Michelin-starred Jiang-Nan Chun serves refined traditional Cantonese cuisine in an elegant, river-inspired setting. One of the restaurant’s greatest assets is their Mesquite Wood oven – it gives the various roast meats such as the Honey Glazed Pork Collar and Crispy Pork Belly a most distinctive and irresistible smoky quality which translates into a gustatory-olfactory one-two pleasure punch. The restaurant is most known for their Peking Duck served with Caviar, which I had the pleasure of sampling almost four years ago, and I still feel a quivery shiver run down my spine with every evocation of Peking duck memory.
Even though my meal was more of a sampling exercise than a full dinner, the restaurant did not draw a distinction, proceeding nonetheless with complimentary amuse bouche, palate cleanser and petit four courses, and these additions injected a certain rarefied air to the dining experience. Also, I observed one of the team members taking the initiative to offer a shawl to a nearby diner in a sleeveless outfit. It was an impressive display of impeccable service standards.
While I did feel the absence of a Four Seasons executive lounge experience, the combination of the hotel’s successful rejuvenation, its high service standards and the strength of the F&B concepts make this property an excellent option if one seeks indulgent luxury along the Orchard Road stretch.
Four Seasons Hotel Singapore
190 Orchard Boulevard