In January 2020, I checked into the Executive Room at Conrad Centennial Singapore. Conveniently situated close to the Marina Bay area, the 512-room property is part of the Millenia Singapore complex which also comprises The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore and shopping mall Millenia Walk. The hotel is minutes away from Promenade MRT station, Marina Square and the Suntec Convention and Exhibition Center (which is itself a sprawling shopping and dining destination) as well as Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay. Changi Airport is about 20 minutes away by car, while Marina Bay Sands is a few MRT stations away.
The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Luxurious business hotel with good executive lounge Near Marina Bay.
Must Dos: Enjoy the quiet calm of the refurbished guest rooms, order and sample the three different brands of bathroom amenities, enjoy evening cocktails and canapes at the 31F Executive Lounge.
CONRAD CENTENNIAL SINGAPORE
Upon their first steps into the premises, guests are greeted by an aura of hushed elegance, from the dramatic grand spiral staircase and glossy marble surfaces to the twinkling ivories from the grand piano. The property is decorated with various art pieces and artefacts, with the most striking being the gold and illuminated conical-shaped installation which points downward from the ceiling towards the intriguing blocky red artwork Turbulence by artist Rafael Barrios. While the property is a business hotel with a strong corporate traveller profile, the brand is also popular for leisure amongst couples and families, this aspect being best epitomised by the giant plush bear mascot sitting near the entrance who undergoes various seasonal costume changes throughout the year.
The hotel boasts four F&B concepts: all-day buffet restaurant Oscar’s; Chinese restaurant Golden Peony; the gin-centric Lobby Lounge; and alfresco dining and takeaway concept Terrace.
In terms of wellness, the hotel’s Conrad Spa and Fitness Singapore on the 4th level caters to your spa treatment and workout needs, with the compact gym being fairly well-equipped. The outdoor swimming pool faces the iconic Ferris wheel-esque Singapore Flyer.
The 40sqm Executive Room plays it sunlit contemporary Asian in design, with poster windows framing the (partially obstructed) Marina Bay view. A daybed stretches across the entire length of the room, with a movable side table to facilitate dreamy window-side conversations over coffee or wine. The circular table doubles up as both work desk and dining space, with power outlets and USB ports strategically located nearby. Nespresso coffee and Ronnefeldt tea-making facilities are available, while the minibar is stocked with a bottle of red wine and little bottles of spirits, canned and bottled drinks, juices as well as snacks.
A Conrad souvenir mascot teddy bear greets you on your bed, with different bear designs available throughout the year. I have been a visitor at this property for several years, and have amassed quite the collection of Singapore teddies (as well as a slightly more feral one from Conrad Hong Kong). I stopped returning to the hotel for a period of time following repeated run-ins with a specific member of the Front Desk who sullied two stay experiences with his memorably patronizing demeanour. This stay marked my first return since the last episode with the said gentleman, and I am once again reunited with my Conrad bears, welcoming our newest family member (extreme right and dressed in Chinese New Year garb in the picture below).
The spacious marble bathroom includes double vanities, an enclosed rainfall shower stall as well as a bathtub with bath salts as well as your own Conrad rubber ducky provided for use. Bathroom amenities are from Shanghai Tang, but I would recommend that you go ahead and request for additional Temple Spa and The Refinery amenities (absolutely free, by the way) from the Conrad Concierge on the Hilton App. I liked the fact that there was an attached hair-dryer for use in front of the bathroom mirror, an increasingly uncommon feature of late.
Executive Room guests can enjoy the use of both the Lounge by the Pool on the 4th level or the Executive Lounge on the 31st level.
Breakfast is served at Oscar’s, the all-day international buffet restaurant located on the ground level. Apart from the usual pastries, cold cuts and cheese, muesli, juices and Western breakfast staples such bacon and eggs, there are flashes of local flavours present such as Kaya Jam at the toast station, Warm Soya Milk with You Tiao (fried dough fritters), Nasi Lemak, Chawanmushi, Indian selections such as Dhal Tadkas and Semolina Upma and the obligatory Chinese dishes such as Fried Noodles, Seasonal Greens and Tofu with Black Fungus. A selection of ice cream flavours is available to pair with your morning waffles and pancakes. The latter were a highlight, possessing a McDonald’s hotcake-esque warmth and vitality while being significantly as fat as a hippopotamus.
Elsewhere on the first level, the Terrace provides a selection of cakes and pastries, while the Lobby Lounge offers afternoon tea in the day as well as cocktails and bar bites at night. The Lobby Lounge offers a comprehensive gin programme, and their signature Gin Experience pairs an extensive variety of premium gins with craft tonics from East Imperial and over thirty different garnishes at an attractive price during the lounge’s evening happy hour timing. They are also currently participating in American Express’ Chillax programme, meaning you get 1-for-1 G&Ts when you pay with an eligible American Express Platinum card. If you bring friends with eligible cards and come in the early evening whilst happy hour is still on, the promotions can be stacked such that you can emerge from the premises in the evening as a giant glass of orange peel-garnished boozy tonic goodness.
Rounding up the dining concepts is Chinese restaurant Golden Peony which serves refined Cantonese dishes, dim sum and an extensive wine list. Signatures include the Roast ‘London’ Duck with Parma Ham, Pineapple and Crispy Beancurd Skin roll in Homemade Pancake accompanied with Sliced Roast ‘London’ Duck, ‘Bi Feng Tang’ Crispy Half Maine Lobster topped with Spiced Almond Flakes and Sea Perch wrapped with Lobster Meat and Fish Roe in Lobster Bisque.
Guests with club access can use either of the two executive lounges within the property – the Lounge by the Pool on the 4th level, and the Executive Lounge on the 31st level, the building’s highest floor. Both lounges provide substantially similar food and beverage offerings. The spacious poolside lounge caters to families with children, while the more private and hushed lounge on the top floor is more suitable for corporate schmoozing and couple canoodling, with a large main area as well as smaller rooms with couches and window-side seats which are especially popular during fireworks season in the Marina Bay area in the run-up to National Day. The executive lounges serve various food presentations, from breakfast and afternoon tea to evening cocktails and canapes.
While most in-house guests would go for the buffet breakfast spread at Oscar’s in the morning, the afternoon tea selection of light sweets and savouries (think Matcha and Chestnut Cake, Scones and Smoked Salmon Sandwiches) provides a low-key diversion whilst guests while their time away for the main act which is the evening cocktails and canapés presentation. Aside from club lounge staples such as cold cuts and cheese, the spread comprises various hot savoury dishes such as Glutinous Rice with Chicken, Curry Shrimp Ball, Slow Braised Pulled Pork and Potato Samosa as well as sweets such as Sweet Potato Lychee, Chestnut Shooter and Carrot Cake, with some items being replaced with something entirely different during the session on occasion.
In terms of booze, the executive lounge offers a variety of spirits and wines, with Chandon being the bubbly of choice. (The executive lounge used to openly offer Laurent-Perrier champagne, but has since made the champagne a discreet option only available upon request.) A distinctive feature of the lounge is that while Beefeater Gin is a constant in the spirits selection, the lounge regularly draws from the varieties of premium gins at Lobby Lounge and showcases a different gin at the lounge as an alternative gin for your G&T and Negroni purposes.
Given the hotel’s popularity and high occupancy, service tends to be compromised on many fronts, from long waiting times during breakfast and the check-in process as well as a general difficulty to procure upgrades and late check-outs. However, the guest rooms are undeniably comfortable, and the 31F Executive Lounge is one of the best in the country. Guests with room reservations without breakfast and who check-in at the correct times of the day can sidestep these issues and enjoy the hotel hardware as intended.
Conrad Centennial Singapore
2 Temasek Boulevard