In February 2021, I checked into the Premier Room at The Clan Hotel, Singapore, which soft launched on 15 February 2021 ahead of its 1 March 2021 official opening. Soaring high 30 floors above mixed-use heritage conservation project Far East Square in the Central Business District, the 324-room property is surrounded by heritage streets in the Telok Ayer, Ann Siang and Chinatown areas as well as situated close to malls such as Chinatown Point and Cross Street Exchange. The hotel is next to Telok Ayer MRT Station and a short walk away from both Raffles Place and Chinatown MRT Station. Changi Airport is 25 minutes away by car.
The hotel is managed by Far East Hospitality, whose portfolio in Singapore also includes The Barracks Hotel Sentosa, The Outpost Hotel Sentosa, the nearby AMOY Hotel along with the Oasia hotels in Singapore, including the upcoming Oasia Resort Sentosa. Nearby hotels in the vicinity include The Westin Singapore, SO Sofitel Singapore, Sofitel Singapore City Centre and PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering, Singapore.
As it turned out, I managed to be the first guest that checked into the hotel on its first day during the soft launch. I had booked my stay under the opening S$458 “stay 2 nights for the price of 1” promotion which comes with daily breakfast as well as a two-way limousine transfer. The first 100 guests to book this package will also get a S$458 voucher for use on room stays between 1 May 2021 and 23 December 2021.
The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Discreet, nostalgia-tinged sanctuary in Singapore’s Central Business District
Must Dos: Enjoy the welcome tea ceremony, take a dip in the Sky Pool and soak in the relaxing jacuzzi, dine at Qin Restaurant.
THE CLAN HOTEL, SINGAPORE
My The Clan Hotel, Singapore journey began with a limousine pickup from my home, with the entire check-in process completed and room keys presented to me in the vehicle prior to our arrival. As the limousine made its way down the busy Central Boulevard in the downtown area, the bronze facade of the hotel slowly loomed into view, and we pulled into the driveway where the hotel team was waiting to receive me. An Indian gentleman energetically struck a welcome gong and, as I was quickly whisked past the discreet, industrial-style backlit sliding doors of the private entrance and up a short flight of stairs to the lift lobby, I detected a very distinctive tea-infused and chocolatey fragrance in the air, an irresistible fragrance permeating the hallways of the hotel which I would soon learn is an exclusive scent created specially for the hotel by local artisanal fragrance label SIX.
I was escorted to the second level which houses the reception lobby as well as lounge area The Living Room. The second level is the most beautiful area in the hotel, playing it quietly elegant with soaring ceilings emphasized by floor-to-ceiling windows, deep rich colours, plush textures and strong, metallic accents. The hotel’s interior design takes heavy inspiration from the general 1800s era of Singapore’s forefathers and Chinese settlers, the clan associations which lined the area of Far East Square, Amoy and Cross Street as well as the incidental concepts of kinship and camaraderie. A striking example would be the 150 painted aluminium panels hung at different heights above the marble reception counters. The diverse arrangement of geometric forms is an art installation named “The Pact” by artist Grace Tan which represent the close friendships and bonds formed between early immigrants as well as the spirit of togetherness. Chinese ornamental artefacts displayed on the different levels of a towering partition shelf lend a touch of Oriental classiness to the lobby proceedings, while elsewhere rows of umbrellas with different ornate handles behind a glass cabinet communicate the concepts of protection, shelter and power. In addition, guests are served Chinese tea and flaky sweet traditional snack Tau Sar Piah – created in collaboration with local award-winning tea company Pryce – as part of a welcome ceremony in The Living Room upon their arrival. Those seeking to immerse themselves even more deeply in the celebration of the neighbourhood and its history can also take part in the daily precinct tours led by the hotel staff.
The hotel offers three categories of rooms – Deluxe (24sqm), Premier (31sqm) and Grand Premier (36sqm). While all the rooms generally share the same DNA (think neutral shades, window-side daybeds as well as stone and marble bathrooms), the most spacious and darkest-toned Grand Premier Rooms are the only rooms which feature bathtubs and access to butler-drawn baths.
In terms of wellness, the hotel features a stunning Sky Pool as well as outdoor jacuzzi on its highest floor. The pool area remains open til late, and while the city views from the top floor are suitably breathtaking on a sunny afternoon, I found the night-time pool experience even more magical given how the pool plays calm sanctuary high above the faint, faraway buzz of downtown nightlife 30 floors below, with the comfortingly warm outdoor jacuzzi really taking the edge off after a long, tiring day. Their dojo-inspired Sky Gym on the same level is probably one of the most impressive gym set-ups I’ve come across in a Singapore hotel – apart from being fitted with an extensive variety of modern fitness facilities, the gym offers on-demand fitness classes accessible via a dashboard next to a big screen wall display.
Elsewhere, the social spaces within the lushly landscaped Terrace on the 4th level can meet the needs of those who seek a venue to work al fresco or a suitably atmospheric outdoor setting for tête-à-têtes.
Offering panoramic views of the Central Business District and beyond, the 31sqm Premier Room plays it decidedly modern business hotel with Chinese heritage design flourishes. The bedroom features a king-sized bed, an open-concept wardrobe and a sizeable work desk fitted with a leather desk pad, power outlets with USB ports and a JVD UV sterilisation box (especially relevant and useful in today’s times). Window-side daybeds offer opportunities for lazy daydreaming as you gaze into the distance past the seemingly infinite sea of shophouse terracotta rooftops below.
The pantry offers Nespresso coffee and Pryce Tea-making facilities, while the minibar is stocked with two bottles of chrysanthemum-tinged The Orient Brew beers which are exclusively created for the hotel. Prior to your arrival, an email would have been sent inviting you to pre-select your choice of 5 complimentary snacks from a list which includes Grate Britain Smoked Cheese Crackers, Pipers Crisp Co. Potato Chips Anglesey Sea Salt, Luscombe Silician Lemonade, Cartwright & Butler Triple Chocolate Biscuit, Domori Milk Chocolate with Sea Salt and Beech’s Classic Mint Fondant, and your selection would be waiting for you in the room. In addition, all guests are given a welcome amenity consisting of curated tea blends by Pryce Tea as well as Bak Kut Teh (pork bone broth) cookies which can be enjoyed using the accompanying Chinese teapot and teacups.
While undeniably cosy in terms of size, the bathroom’s blend of marble and stone textures gives the space a contemporary and luxurious feel. The bathroom features Toto Washlet bidet functionalities, a single vanity with a sizeable sink as well as an enclosed rainfall shower area with lotus and osmanthus-scented bathroom amenities from Vuudh, a lifestyle brand from Thai luxury skincare company Harnn. Upon arrival, guests are also able to choose one from three different fragrance bar soaps specially handcrafted by the hotel. The room does not offer bottled water, but guests are able to help themselves to water dispensed from a Hyflux filtered water tap.
One thing that did strike me as being fairly odd was the fact that in this hotel, the sheer curtains are always positioned in front of the heavier blockout drapes as opposed to behind (i.e. the sheer curtains are closer to you while the drapes are closer to the window), which seems to be the opposite of how every other hotel and serviced apartment I have stayed at arranges their draperies. The consequence is that you will always clearly see two different textures instead of just one when you close all the curtains, which looks unflatteringly sloppy no matter how you attempt to adjust and rest them.
Breakfast is served at Qin Restaurant and Bar, a Chinese restaurant managed by the Tung Lok group which occupies both the 4th and 5th levels. The beautiful contemporary space boasts grand double-storey ceilings with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Amoy Street area. Their morning selection includes the following options: The QIN Breakfast (grilled gourmet sausage, hickory wood smoked bacon, sauteed shiitake mushrooms, roasted vine tomatoes, crispy hash brown, BBQ baked beans); Continental Breakfast (applewood smoked salmon with caper berries, shaved ham with pickles, daily cheese selection served with chef’s side salad with reduced chin kiang vinegar, yogurt parfait with chia seeds and daily cereal granola); Nochicken Bagel-burger (sriracha ketchup, sauteed mushrooms, Asian guacamole, sliced tomatoes, lettuce and relish) as well as the Chef’s Daily Special, which happened to be Nasi Briyani with Chicken Rendang during my visit.
While the pancakes from my Pancake Breakfast (freshly made pancaked with whipped cream, seasonal fruit compote and maple syrup) desperately needed some form of QV Cream, Nivea or similar moisture relief, the Home Brewed Local Porridge (chef’s daily brewed porridge with braised peanuts, fermented soy tofu, pickled mustard vegetables, ikan bilis, dough fritter, century egg, spring onions fried shallots and salted black beans) displayed a certain nature, winsome charm on its own, almost rendering the assistance of its supporting cast unnecessary.
Across two separate occasions during the week of my stay, I managed to try quite a few dishes from Qin Restaurant’s dinner menu. From the Prelude section, the Thunderclap Roti Prata with Black Garlic Emulsion channelled earthy beetroot in its blend of doughy chews and black garlic savoury, while the Curry-Age (chicken karaage, QIN’s curry spice) offered rich spice-laden fun so long as you ensure you always enjoy both flesh and skin in the same mouthful. The Chicharrones (pork skin cracker with Sichuan spice) were essentially airier, puffier keropok with lashings of mala powder, while the Har Cheong Wing (fried fermented prawn-paste chicken wing served with calamansi) straddled the line between demented wink and fermented stink with finesse.
From the Journey Two section, the signature Hainan, No Rice Please (free-range organic chicken, chicken chips, barley grain ball, garlic chilli aioli, shoyu jus) played it like the classic local dish gone all keto, #eatclean and Yoga Movement, with the crisp chicken chips going fairly light on the usually naughty saline factor and the sous vide chicken being fatlessly silky soft. Your reception towards the rice substitute barley grain balls will depend entirely on your feelings towards barley, but in any case the garlic chilli aioli and shoyu jus operate in unison to add a shot of pleasing flavour to everything on the plate. The ‘Sang Mein’ (“Red Leg” prawn, crustacean oil, truffle scent, in casserole) sent up greasy good noodle fun, while the Teochew Jade (sustainably-farmed jade perch, salted ume, seasonal peas, tomato broth, collagen broth) was quite the exquisite show-stopper, presenting intense plum and tomato flavours against the backdrop of a clean and delicate jade perch canvas.
To my surprise, the desserts somehow managed to display as much personality and conceptual identity as the preceding mains. The Hot and Cold “Orh Nee” (osmanthus-infused mashed yam, aerated pumpkin sponge, fried crispy shallots, warm taro soy milk) played like an inventive reboot of the classic yam paste dessert, daringly reimagining the form, texture and even temperature profile of the dessert all the while ensuring every component of the classic dish was represented accordingly (although, it has to be said, the fried crispy shallot element was unapologetic in its desire for Golden Globe recognition, sending in a career best performance that stole much focus from the ensemble cast). Elsewhere, the Milo Dinosaur-inspired Childhood Memories (crispy, soft, dinosaur, crunchy, surprise, roar, ice-cream) made good on its malty, schmaltzy promise, being quite the texturally diverting and nostalgia-heavy treat. Even the relatively straightforward Rose Love Letter (crisp kuih kapit, rose-infused aerated cream) left quite an impression, with the rose cream playing it all French Ispahan dainty.
Given Far East Hospitality’s association and strength with the mid-tier segment in Singapore, I did not come with expectations of luxury, but it must be said that my experience at The Clan Hotel, Singapore certainly exceeded any expectations I did have. From the stellar service levels to the impressive interior design of the premises, I was surprised by how much effort the team had put in to elevate the product into something more closely fitting the luxury market, and more importantly how successful these efforts have been thus far. The hotel boasts a very confident product in terms of both software and hardware, and it may just be one of the best new Singapore hotels I have stayed at in recent times.
The Clan Hotel, Singapore
10 Cross Street