In March 2020, I checked into the Quayside Corner Suite at InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay. Situated within the scenic, greenery-filled Robertson Quay expat neighbourhood along the winding Singapore River with its strong vibrant dining and nightlife scene, the 225-room residential-inspired waterfront property is part of the mixed-use development The Quayside which also comprises a collection of restaurants and bars. It is a leisurely stroll away from both Fort Canning Park MRT and the sprawling Great World mall full of dining and retail options, while the Central Business District and Changi Airport are ten and twenty-five minutes away by car respectively. Those who seek local hawker dining experiences can visit the nearby Zion Riverside Food Centre as well as Tiong Bahru Food Centre.
The hotel should not be confused with the similarly-named InterContinental Singapore, the latter being the flagship hotel of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) in Singapore. This property is one of the newest hotels to launch in Singapore in recent years, alongside Andaz Singapore, Sofitel Singapore City Centre and Six Senses Maxwell. Another notable hotel in the neighbourhood would be The Warehouse Hotel.
The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Riverfront luxury residential living along Robertson Quay.
Must Dos: Enjoy a lazy brunch at Marcello, have grub and cocktails at Publico in the evening, enjoy afternoon tea and evening cocktails at the Club InterContinental.
INTERCONTINENTAL SINGAPORE ROBERTSON QUAY
In terms of looks, the property is quite the stunning product, with its low-rise gleaming facade fitting in seamlessly with the other residential developments in the neighbourhood. The hotel was designed by local architectural firm SCDA Architects (behind W Hotel Semiyak and The Sanya Edition), with the design of the ground floor dining concepts courtesy of New York-based firm AvroKO (behind the glamorous multi-storey dining complexes atop the Waldorf Astoria Bangkok and Park Hyatt Bangkok as well as rooftop speakeasy Lennon’s at Rosewood Bangkok).
In contrast with the classic grandeur stylings of its sister property InterContinental Singapore, the waterfront hotel instead offers a luxury condominium/service apartment-style experience, pairing plush textures with industrial touches and contemporary, residential-style finishes. One of the hotel’s most beautiful spaces is their marble-clad poolside Quayside Lounge, which boasts an aura of cool sophistication with plush sofas and green suede armchairs. The hotel’s social spaces are bounded by lushly landscaped outdoor terraces with abundant seating, giving the property a relaxed, tropical resort feel and offering pockets of social spaces for greater privacy or interaction, as the case may be. Tokyo Bikes are available for guests to rent if they wish to explore the peaceful neighbourhood and the myriad of eateries and cafes along the river. During your exploration of the area, you are likely to cross paths with one of the many, many canines who can be spotted going on their daily human walks.
While the hotel is undeniably beautiful, one of the property’s most significant characteristics is that save for the suites, the guest rooms are generally on the smaller side (23sqm), with the furniture in the bedroom area configured in a manner which seems to better accommodate a solo traveller than a couple. I have had conversations with loyal InterContinental Ambassadors, including a Royal Ambassador I met one evening at the Club InterContinental of this very hotel, who had major gripes with the cosiness of the room space, being used to the InterContinental brand’s usually spacious accommodation arrangements.
The hotel houses various dining and lifestyle concepts: all-day Italian restaurant Publico and daytime deli Marcello on the ground level; local outpost of New York steak institution Wolfgang’s Steakhouse as well as Japanese restaurants Ishi and Ichigo Ichie on the 2nd level of the adjacent low-rise block; members-only private club 1880, also within the adjacent building but on the 3rd level; and the hotel lobby’s Quayside Lounge on the 4th level.
In terms of wellness, the only facilities offered are the fitness centre on the ground level as well as the lounge-side swimming pool on the 4th level for lazy day sunbed or water float lounging.
QUAYSIDE CORNER SUITE
Overlooking the Singapore River and the sleepy Robertson Quay upscale residential estate, the 41sqm Quayside Corner Suite plays it all luxurious studio apartment with its light brown timber flooring, black granite surfaces, leather upholstery as well as earthy, muted shades and copper accents. The suite features a king-sized bed, floor-to-ceiling windows, a dining table that could double up as a work desk due to strategically-positioned power outlets, a window-side sofa as well as a cosy lounger for taking in river views. A Bose bluetooth sound-system is available for your thudding needs, while the pantry is stocked with Nespresso and Monogram tea-making facilities, a do-it-yourself cocktail kit with a selection of spirits as well as a pull-out drawer fridge with various beers, canned drinks and juices.
The bathroom area features double vanities, an enclosed rainfall shower stall as well as a spacious built-in bathtub in a discreet corner next to the wall with its own bath tray for holding your book (or a glass of wine). The bathroom area is capable of being closed off using sliding doors for greater privacy (and soundproofing for your gaseous days) but can also be left open for increased airiness. The lemon verbena-scented amenities are from American aromatherapy brand Agraria.
The hotel’s suites used to provide Grown Alchemist bathroom amenities. These are deeply missed.
Breakfast is served at Marcello, the all-day deli located on the ground level which offers cosy booth as well as al fresco table seatings. Aside from unlimited servings from a modest buffet spread of cold cuts, cheeses, pastries, cereals and fruits, guests can place orders from the a la carte brunch menu which offers options such as Avocado on Tuscan Toast (heirloom tomatoes, smashed avocado, sourdough), Truffled Eggs Benedict (warm baked ciabatta, poached eggs, champagne ham, spinach, truffle hollandaise), Mediterranean Chicken Scramble (chicken breast marinated in Mediterranean-spiced yoghurt, scrambled egg white souffle, sauteed kale, sourdough) and Egg Shakshuka (eggs cooked in spicy tomato sauce, feta cheese, fresh herbs, grilled flatbread). The Banana Pancakes I had were tall, thick and fluffier than a pomeranian, topped with indulgent, lightly sticky and walnut crumble-coated butterscotch along with soft, luscious banana chunks.
Buzzy ground-floor Italian trattoria-style concept Publico is the hotel’s key dining destination and most popular concept, serving a pan-Italian menu of wood-fired pizzas such as Margherita (mozzarella, ligurian basil, extra virgin olive oil), Frutti di Mare (mozzarella, clams, prawns, squid, mussels, oregano), Chorizo (fresh burrata, smoked olives, chorizo, sun-dried tomatoes, oregano), Tartufata (mozzarella, black truffle, porcini mushrooms, smoked scamorza, truffle oil) and Quattro Formaggi (four cheeses: emmental, gorgonzola, parmigiano, mozzarella, drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar) as well as a selection of housemade pastas such as Maccheroncini Carbonara (free-range egg yolk, pork guanciale, parmesan), Scallop & Asparagus Fusilli (spinach fusilli, asparagus emulsion, hokkaido scallop tartare), Black Truffle Tagliatelle (parmesan, freshly grated black truffle) and Linguine Vongole (clams cooked in garlic, leek, white wine, lemon). Soundtracked by hypnotic beats in a dim and humid hazy summer tropical setting, the bustling space is charged with an electric atmosphere every night and all through the weekend, making it quite the fun place for post-work dinners or late-night catchups.
The signature Publico Lobster Spaghetti I had (fresh Boston lobster, cherry tomatoes, garlic, white wine, chilli) was a plate of wetly tangy and piping hot indulgence with plump chunks of lobster, while the Risotto Al Nero (arborio rice cooked in squid ink, white wine, seafood fumet, marinated squid) could have done better with more salt but possessed a suitable creaminess and bite.
In terms of tipples, Publico serves Italian-style cocktails – think Little Italy 2.0 (smokey whisky, sweet vermouth, artichoke amaro), Publico Sling (gin, orange liqueur, housemade vermouth, rosemary infusion, orange juice), Sangiovese Sangria (sangiovese, cognac, orange juice, pomegranate) and Smoked Olive Negroni (Italian bitter, gin, housemade vermouth, smoked olive infusion). As the cocktails from both Quayside Lounge and the Club InterContinental are from the same kitchen, Publico is the recommended destination for redeeming your IHG Rewards Club Spire Elite welcome cocktail.
A myriad of exquisite dining concepts are situated in the low-rise adjacent block to the hotel wing: celebrated New York steakhouse concept Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, famed for their USDA Prime Dry-aged Porterhouse Steak; 28-seater Japanese fine dining concept Ishi; and the newest kid on the block, Japanese kappo restaurant Ichigo Ichie.
Rounding up the F&B concepts in the hotel is open-concept lobby bar Quayside Lounge, which serves a selection of beverages, cocktails and light meals throughout the day.
Located on the 4th level, the Club InterContinental lounge serves breakfast, tiered afternoon tea as well as evening canapes and cocktails in a classy, contemporary (and almost restaurant-like) setting, with indoor and outdoor terrace seats available. Most guests prefer to go for morning breakfast at Marcello as opposed to the lounge given that the breakfast a la carte menu at the lounge is essentially a condensed version of the Marcello menu (Truffled Eggs Benedict, Avocado on Toast and Banana Pancakes are available at both outlets). However, the afternoon tea is a stronger draw, featuring scones with an assortment of spreads, savoury selections such as Masala Lamb Quiche, Pimento Cheese Sandwich and Halibut Roll as well as dainty sweets such as Hazelnut Pralines, Tiramisu, Cream Puff and often at least one local or Peranakan selection such as Kueh Lapis (Indonesian layer cake).
As is usually the case, the evening cocktail presentation is the most elaborate. As is the case at InterContinental Singapore, the food presentation comprises a small buffet spread of breads, cold cuts, salads, pastries and appetisers (I had a portion of Smoked Salmon with Soba) alongside trays of four different hot canapes (Onion Quiche, Seafood Gazpacho and Hainanese Chicken with Ginger and Chilli), with the selection rotating daily. In terms of booze, the lounge serves a range of spirits and wines, with Astoria Lounge prosecco being the bubbly of choice, as well as a selection of cocktails such as Quayside Sling, Negroni, Espresso Martini, Gimlet and Dry Gin Martini. Terrace seats are recommended during this food presentation, as diners can enjoy the wonderful ombre shades of sunset in the distance.
On top of the individual dishes served during each food presentation, the lounge is stocked with three different types of crisps for all day snacking – salted, chilli and wasabi – with the last of those being an essential nosh during your visit.
The hotel certainly has many strengths. Aside from being one of the most premium properties in the appealing Robertson Quay area as well as one of Singapore’s newest hotels in recent years, the property is bold in its delivery of such a unique luxury residential-style experience, especially in the context of an InterContinental hotel. Its current average room rate is also fairly competitive when you stack it against other luxury hotels of comparable standing, making it one of the best value options in Singapore for what you’re paying. If you are an IHG Rewards Club member looking for accommodation in the city, this should definitely be one option to consider.
InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay
1 Nanson Road