In March 2020, I checked into the Deluxe Balcony Room at Pan Pacific Singapore. Conveniently situated close to the Marina Bay area, the 790-room hotel offers easy access to Promenade and Esplanade MRT station as well as nearby shopping malls such as Marina Square and the sprawling Suntec City, with an air-conditioned underground connection all the way to City Hall MRT interchange station and the Raffles City shopping complex. Changi Airport is about 20 minutes away by car, while Marina Bay Sands is a few MRT stations away.
The hotel is the flagship property of the Pan Pacific Hotels and Resorts portfolio. It is one of the three properties housed under the Marina Square development, the other two being the Mandarin Oriental, Singapore as well as the newly-branded PARKROYAL COLLECTION Marina Bay, Singapore (formerly the Marina Mandarin). Other notable hotels in the district include Conrad Centennial Singapore and the Ritz-Carlton Millenia, Singapore.
The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Fantastic club lounge with glorious views of Marina Bay.
The must-dos (if any): It is all about the Pacific Club lounge.
PAN PACIFIC SINGAPORE
Opened in 1986, the property’s architectural design bears all the hallmarks of the distinctive style of its neo-futuristic architect John Portman, known for the dramatic skylights, glass elevators and soaring atria featured across his projects. (He also designed the Regent Singapore and Mandarin Oriental, Singapore with which this hotel shares substantial design DNA.) Past the property’s front doors, guests are greeted by the stunning visual of lantern-like canopies suspended over lobby lounge Atrium’s intimate seating pods scattered across the space. The pods seemingly float above the surface of a reflection pool, which catches light from the skylight at the end of the towering atrium which extends 35 floors upwards. Timber bridges and walkways providing access to the pods further enhances the island imagery.
Bubble lifts transport guests to their various destinations, with different lift lobbies catering to different halves of the hotel. The bubble lift ride up to the Pacific Club – situated on the hotel’s apex level – is quite the experience, given how the lift is located on the outside of the building and gives guests a lovely scenic view as it breezes past the highest levels of nearby buildings such as the Conrad Centennial Singapore.
The hotel boasts eight dining and entertainment concepts: all-day dining buffet restaurant Edge; Chinese restaurant Hai Tien Lo; lobby lounge Atrium; tropical poolside space Poolside Bar; Japanese restaurant Keyaki; award-winning Indian fine dining concept Rang Mahal; night-time entertainment venue LuLu’s Lounge; as well as casual cafe Pacific Marketplace.
Being a business hotel, the property houses a Pacific Centre on the 22nd level which provides event and meeting spaces along with modern business facilities such as laptop loans and secretarial services such as translation services. Elsewhere, the Pacific Hospitality Lounge on the 4th level provides a comfortable space – think sofa seating and massage chairs – for those who require a resting area due to early arrival or a late flight out.
In terms of wellness, the hotel’s St. Gregory Spa is situated on the 4th level alongside the semi-circular swimming pool (and the wading pool for families), steam rooms, tennis courts and 24-hr fitness centre. The 4th level also houses a children’s playground as well as an expansive garden area, including an herb garden which provides ingredients for the hotel’s kitchens.
DELUXE KING BALCONY
Boasting an outdoor balcony directly facing the Marina Bay area with outdoor chairs for the comfort of cigarette-fuelled contemplative moments or sunset appreciation sessions, the 46sqm Deluxe Balcony Room plays it all conventional business hotel in its stylings. The workspace is fitted with a conventional glass table-top and an ergonomic Herman Miller desk chair, while the fridge from the minibar is one of those annoying antiquated computerised ones which are fully stocked with canned drinks, snacks and bottles of spirits which are not capable of being removed to make space for your own wares lest you wish to have the items charged to your account.
A glass partition separates the bedroom area from the enclosed rainfall shower in the bathroom, meaning you get to look into the bedroom area and beyond whilst in the shower. The shower area is suitably spacious, with automated blind controls in case you i) share the room with your Grandma; or ii) wish to admire the bay area while wet and au naturel. (Given the hotel’s proximity to the outdoor balconies of the Mandarin Oriental, Singapore which face your room, the latter may be an option you wish to weigh before proceeding.) Bathroom amenities bear the brand Embrace.
For my stay, I had booked an entry Deluxe Room, and received a one-category upgrade by virtue of my GHA Discovery Platinum status. The room does not come with access to the Pacific Club, which I made separate arrangements for.
Breakfast is served at Edge, the all-day international buffet restaurant located on the 3rd level. The expansive, theatrical space boasts various open kitchens showcasing regional cuisine such as Singaporean, Chinese, Indian and Japanese. The buffet spread comprises choices such as cold cuts and cheeses; fresh fruits and juices; Western breakfast sides; breads and pastries such as Carrot Pound Cake, Orange Danish and Mini Chocolate Donut; noodle and egg stations; Chinese dishes such as Braised Duck, Chicken Char Siew Soo, Chicken Siew Bao and both Chicken and Plain Porridge with an extensive selection of toppings and condiments such as Salted Soya Bean, Pickled Lettuce, Chicken Floss and Silver Fish; Malay options such as Muar Otah, Malay Fried Rice and Nasi Lemak; Indian dishes such as Sambar and Vegetable Upma.
Two other restaurants are located on the 3rd level. Chinese restaurant Hai Tien Lo serves both traditional as well as contemporary Cantonese cuisine, with signatures such as Combination of Pan-fried Scallop and Sliced Crispy Barbecued Suckling Pig stuffed with Prawn Paste in Thai Sauce and Wok-fried Rice with Lobster and Ginger Spring Onion. Elsewhere, award-winning fine-dining Indian restaurant Rang Mahal celebrates cuisine from the Northern, Southern and coastal regions of India in a grand setting.
Situated on the 4th level, Keyaki Japanese Restaurant serves exquisite Japanese cuisine including sashimi, teppanyaki and sukiyaki. It is the hotel’s most unique dining destination, being set in a tranquil Japanese garden with its own koi pond. Aside from the main restaurant area, a Japanese-style traditional Garden Pavilion is available for special occasions.
Lobby lounge Atrium (which, incidentally, boasts Asia’s longest bar counter at 44 metres long) serves afternoon tea along with a range of tapas, cocktails as well as premium beers, wines and spirits. Other libation destinations within the property include the Poolside Bar on the 4th level which serves light bites and refreshing beverages to be enjoyed in the comfort of your cabana or sun lounger as well as naughty night-time entertainment venue LuLu’s Lounge which boasts live DJ music, a dance floor and an outdoor terrace for your sweaty, dimly-lit moments.
Rounding up the F&B concepts is ground floor cafe Pacific Marketplace, which serves beverages, light bites as well as afternoon tea.
PACIFIC CLUB LOUNGE
Perched at the top of the hotel on the 38th level and boasting one of the most magnificent 360° club lounge views in Singapore (rivalled only by the 65F club lounge at Swissotel The Stamford), the Pacific Club serves various food presentations such as champagne breakfast (!), afternoon tea as well as evening cocktails. The space plays it all elegant Oriental in persuasion with embroidered lampshades, blue plush sofas and exquisite sculptures and artefacts on display.
The food presentations at the Pacific Club are fairly splendid in terms of sheer variety. Breakfast at the Pacific Club was a quiet and luxurious affair, with your choice of either Taittinger Brut Champagne or Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé to go with a la minute creations such as Scrambled Eggs and French Toast. The afternoon tea was quite the substantial bonanza – while the sweets selection was suitably extensive – think Matcha Red Bean Cake, Gluten Free Brownies, Royaltine Entremet and Assorted Peranakan Rice Cakes – there were also enough savoury options such as Roast Beef Salad, Spicy Prawn Salad and Vegetable Samosa to make the seating a proper meal in its own right.
My favourite session would be their evening cocktails and canapés presentation, which similarly offers enough substance and variety to ensure you can conclude all dining activities for the day at the club lounge. The spread comprises savoury dishes such as Szechuan Smoked Salmon, Black Pepper Seafood Stew and Fried Chicken as well as sweets such as Black Forest Cake, Black Velvet Cake and Bread and Butter Pudding with Creme Anglaise. In terms of booze, the Taittinger Brut Champagne and Laurent-Perrier Cuvee Rosé continue to be free-flow (with sparkling wine such as Miguel Torres Santa Digna Estelado Rosé also available) alongside a selection of wines and spirits. The lounge also offers a menu of cocktails, from signature Pacific cocktails such as Pacific Basiltini (gin, elderflower syrup, fresh basil, lime juice, ginger, bitters) and Pacific Sunset (rum, orange, grapefruit, pomegranate bitters) to classics such as Negroni, Singapore Sling, Lychee Martini, Manhattan and Whisky Sour.
One of my Pacific Club visits during evening cocktails and canapés was via the use of a GHA Discovery Local Experience. (For the uninitiated, the Global Hotel Alliance comprises more than 30 hotel brands such as Pan Pacific, Capella and Kempinski across 78 countries in its portfolio, and GHA Discovery is their loyalty programme. Local Experiences are awards granted when you complete certain milestones such as visiting a new GHA brand for the first time.) During that particular visit, the team presented to us in a special wooden box some local snacks and two unique welcome drinks as part of the Local Experience, one of which being a particularly boozy take on the local coffee-shop drink Milo Dinosaur. It was a nice touch.
While the hotel’s age is visually evident and the time-locked guest rooms are not an immediate choice for either a romantic staycation or a playful gathering of friends, the hotel’s commendable location as well as the Pacific Club lounge experience alone warrant the price of admission.
Pan Pacific Singapore
7 Raffles Boulevard