In February 2020, I checked into the newly-renovated Executive Premier room at Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel. Situated in the heart of the Orchard Road shopping and entertainment district, the 395-room property is housed within the same Tang Plaza complex as the popular upscale TANGS department store and an underpass away from Orchard MRT Station and major shopping destinations such as ION Orchard, Isetan and Ngee Ann City. Changi Airport is about 40 minutes away and the Central Business District 4 MRT stations away, while it takes less than 20 minutes to reach Marina Bay Sands.
The hotel is one of the notable luxury properties situated along the Orchard Road stretch, joining others such as Four Seasons Hotel Singapore, Regent Singapore, Grand Hyatt Singapore, Shangri-La Hotel Singapore and The St. Regis Singapore.
The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Oasis calm with longest evening cocktails presentation in Orchard.
The must-dos (if any): Take advantage of the hotel’s strategic location close to shopping and dining destinations, have a long shower and enjoy the luxurious Thann bathroom amenities, enjoy a dip in the resort-style pool, imbibe at the M Club for hours and hours on end.
SINGAPORE MARRIOTT TANG PLAZA HOTEL
Boasting a striking green-tiled octagonal pagoda roof as well as eye-catching red colonnades, the architecturally stunning 30-storey building soars dramatically into the skies above the bustling Orchard district, unabashedly Oriental in persuasion and stubbornly defying the Orchard Road template of urban modernity. Whilst being one of the older properties in the area (the property served as the Dynasty Hotel in 1982 before being converted to a Marriott property in 1995), the hotel has since undergone various refurbishments throughout the years to keep things fresh, having recently concluded one round of extensive room renovations, property refreshments as well as a revamp of their executive lounge concept.
The hotel boasts eight dining concepts, most of which are situated on the ground level: all-day dining buffet restaurant Marriott Cafe; Chinese restaurant Wan Hao; speakeasy bar The Other Room; street-side casual diner and bar Crossroads Cafe; afternoon tea destination Lobby Lounge; Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant Ginza Sushi-Ichi; Japanese tempura restaurant Ginza Tenharu; as well as takeaway concept Java+.
Located on the 4th level, Serena Spa offers a range of spa experiences such as their Rich Coffee & Orange Scrub, Deep Tissue Massage and Coconut Milk Massage alongside other massage and facial treatments. I went for the 60-minute Serenity Full Body Massage, and almost dozed off on various occasions. It was supremely relaxing a session being under the expertly firm and pampering handwork of my therapist, amidst the calming scents of peppermint, lavender and geranium as well as the soothing soundtrack of what I can only refer to as running water rustling brook.
Elsewhere on the wellness front, a well-equipped fitness centre and half-size basketball court provide opportunities for working out a good sweat before cooling off in the swimming pool, one of the highlights of the property. The swimming pool is fitted with jacuzzi jets along one end and surrounded by private cabanas, sun loungers and the various Pool Terrace rooms in manner of idyllic resort or similar (right smack in the heart of Orchard Road, no less). The experience of sunbathing along the shallow edge of the pool with my eyes closed as I let myself get lost in the resort calm of it all was glorious – not since my stay at Raffles Hotel Singapore have I encountered a Singapore swimming pool which offered such a rejuvenating city oasis experience.
EXECUTIVE PREMIER ROOM
Boasting an expansive window view overlooking the glitzy Orchard neighbourhood from the hotel’s highest levels and being suitably energized by an abundance of natural light in the daytime, the newly-renovated 32sqm Executive Premier room boasts contemporary furnishings and updated technological facilities such as USB charging ports and a wireless charging station. The room is fitted with a lounger for wine-accompanied night time conversations and a work desk which probably needs more power points than what is currently provided. The pantry offers Lavazza Blue coffee and TWG-tea making facilities along with a minibar with a selection of canned drinks, beers and mini bottles of different spirits. Elsewhere, the marble bathroom is equipped with a single vanity, a cosy enclosed rainfall shower area as well as a built-in bathtub. The spa-luxe bathroom amenities are from popular Thai wellness brand Thann.
When I checked into the room, I was greeted by a lovely hand-drawn greeting on the mirror wall featuring a colourful drawing of the hotel’s distinctive exterior, which left a smile on my face because of the greeting’s unabashed cheeriness. The hotel having its own in-house mirror wall artist would mean guests have access to a high degree of customisation in terms of room set-up for special occasions.
Executive Premier room guests have access to the poolside M Club lounge on the 5th level.
Breakfast is served at Marriott Cafe, the all-day international buffet restaurant located on the ground level. The buffet spread comprises choices such as cold cuts and cheeses; fresh fruits and juices; Western breakfast sides such as pork sausage, pork bacon and Glazed Bone Ham at the carving station; breads and pastries such as Apple Danish and Kaya Danish along with an impressive range of spreads, including the controversially fantastic/dreadful Vegemite and Marmite; a noodle station with your choice of noodle and soup bases such as chicken or vegetable as well as a variety of ingredients such as sotong balls, fish balls and meat dumplings; an omelette station offering noteworthy egg dishes such as Singapore Chilli Crab Omelette and Masala Omelette; Asian morning staples such as Vegetarian Fried Rice, Congee, Nasi Lemak and Malaysian Chicken Curry; dessert areas offering waffles, French toast and pancakes with your choice of ice cream flavours including corn, cookies & cream and strawberry as well as Bread & Butter Pudding and the sexier Sticky Date Pudding.
While Marriott Cafe serves its afternoon tea buffet-style, the airy and spacious Lobby Lounge offers the classic tiered afternoon tea experience along with all-day beverages and light bites such as cakes, pastries and sandwiches, many of which are also available via adjacent takeaway concept Java+. Elsewhere, streetside al fresco diner Crossroads Cafe serves casual fare paired with beers and cocktails.
Also on the ground level and behind an unmarked entrance during operational hours (but proudly bearing its Asia’s 50 Best Bars-awarded signage next to the doorway otherwise) is Prohibition-style speakeasy The Other Room, which specialises in cask-aged spirits finished inhouse in a sophisticated, intimate space more typical of an independent bar than a hotel one. Notable cocktails include the zesty Reversed Gin & Tonic as well as the smoky Old Fashioned-style Of Malt and Man.
Located on the 3rd level, Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant serves classic Cantonese cuisine in a refined setting, with choices spanning from casual dim sum and their signature Peking duck to treat-your-mother-in-law luxurious options such as Braised Beef Short Rib with Sha-Cha Sauce and Braised Premium Abalone with Kombu Sauce.
Rounding up the F&B concepts are two Japanese restaurants on the ground level: the Michelin-starred Singapore offshoot of Ginza Sushi Ichi which offers edomae-style sushi via both set and omakase course meal formats as well as its sister tempura concept Ginza Tenharu.
Situated next to the pool on the 5th level, the newly-renovated M Club serves morning breakfast as well as evening cocktails and canapes. Playing it decidedly business hotel lounge-esque in its stylings, the space boasts various seating arrangements, from strategically-placed tables near the buffet line and window-side seats overlooking the idyllic pool area to tables within a beautiful octagonal pavilion with a soaring ceiling which also happens to house the bar. As the skies darken at the close of the evening, the lounge comes alive with the buzz of sparkling (and often alcohol-enhanced) conversations around you which somehow never overwhelms your own, and I am pleasantly surprised by how intimate and comfortable the vibes are in a club lounge within a hotel that is located right in the heart of Orchard.
The evening presentation comprises light bites such as Tomato Sandwich, Futomaki and Chuka Hotate Sushi, hot foods such as Chicken Morocco, Mushroom Quiche, Minestrone Soup and Chicken Siew Mai as well as an extensive spread of sweets which include Ondeh Ondeh Swiss Roll, Mango Mousse Cake, Eclair, Lemon Tart, Brownie and Kueh Lapis. I was suitably smitten by the salt-happy pieces of Chocolate Praline, and pleasantly surprised that the sweets options were refreshed throughout the two hour food presentation.
In terms of booze, the M Club serves a variety of red and white wines, with La Gioiosa Tradizone Brut prosecco being the bubbly of choice. The bar also serves free-flow cocktails, with the choices available being fairly extensive for a club lounge menu – think Singapore Sling, Gin Martini, Cosmopolitan, Whisky Sour, Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Margarita and Vodka Martini. While the food presentation lasts from 5.30pm – 7.30pm, alcohol is served for a whopping four hours from 5.30pm – 9.30pm, which means the property has the distinction of offering the longest evening cocktails presentation in the country (alongside JW Marriott Singapore South Beach). The liver cheereth.
I was pleasantly surprised by several aspects of my stay, in particular the swimming pool as well as the evening cocktails presentation at M Club. Of the hotels in the Orchard neighbourhood of similar vintage, this property is probably the one which updates its rooms and spaces the most frequently, thus offering a guest experience at least competitive with those at newer properties such as Sofitel Singapore City Centre and Andaz Singapore. If the price is right (Marriott properties are generally the most expensive across the various hotel programmes in Singapore), I would love to be back for more.
Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel
320 Orchard Road