In January 2021, I checked into the One-Bedroom Premier Suite at Ascott Orchard Singapore, a premium service residence along Cairnhill Road which offers both short and long-term accommodation. Home to 220 fully-furnished serviced residences, the property is slightly off the Orchard Road shopping and entertainment district, with a direct sheltered connection to upscale retail mall Paragon and other popular shopping malls such as Tang Plaza, Wisma Atria and Ngee Ann City being minutes away for your retail, grocery and dining needs. Changi Airport is 40 minutes away by car, while Orchard MRT station and Somerset MRT station are 10 and 8 minutes away by foot respectively.
The property is managed by The Ascott Limited, whose portfolio also includes Citadines, Somerset and lyf. Other notable serviced apartments along the Orchard stretch include Oakwood Studios Singapore, Fraser Residence Orchard Singapore and Winsland Serviced Suites by Lanson Place. Unlike most of the other serviced residences in the vicinity which require longer minimum stay periods, Ascott Orchard Singapore offers both long-term accommodation as well as daily stays pursuant to its full hotel licence.
The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Fleeting taste of expat residential life in Orchard.
The must-dos (if any): Enjoy the Orchard Road residential life, take a dip in the swimming pool.
ASCOTT ORCHARD SINGAPORE
The serviced residence is part of a mixed-use development designed by RSP Architects, the folks behind the distinctive facades of ION Orchard, Jewel Changi Airport and Holiday Inn Express Clarke Quay. In terms of interior design, the property takes inspiration from the upscale boutiques of Orchard Road for its fashion-inspired aesthetic, courtesy of Hong Kong architecture firm CL3 who also designed the interiors of the iconic Marina Bay Sands.
Past the building’s front doors, you are greeted by a curved metal sculpture which serves as both guest bench as well as concierge desk. The ground level has a soaring 10m ceiling, highlighted by a towering feature carved stone wall which penetrates an open void and ascends into the 2nd level where the reception area is located. Monochromatic photographic artworks depicting folding, flowing fabrics take centre stage in the guest rooms and various walls of the premises, while dressy mannequins and luxury fashion items (including a mountain of differently-sized Louis Vuitton luggage cases) accessorise the airy reception lounge. Even the outdoor lounge area near the swimming pool feature dramatic white chairs which resemble face masks (the masquerade kind and not the COVID-19 kind, mind).
The serviced residence houses various studio apartments (30sqm), one-bedroom apartments (60sqm) as well as two-bedroom apartments (60-80sqm), with a selection of special bespoke residences (in all of the above layouts) which showcase furniture from luxury furniture brand Fendi Casa. While the entry Studio Apartments (Studio Executive, Studio Premier) have integrated living, dining, kitchen and bedroom areas, the One Bedroom Apartments (One-Bedroom Deluxe, One-Bedroom Premier) and Two Bedroom Apartments (Two-Bedroom Premier) have more elaborate living spaces and feel decidedly more residential in their stylings. Every apartment features modern furnishings along with fully-fitted kitchens with De Dietrich kitchen appliances as well as dining tables, with an emphasis on the maximisation of space and natural light.
The property’s key facilities are situated on the 4th level. In terms of wellness, the gymnasium offers both indoor as well as outdoor sections while the swimming pool and jacuzzi provide sweet aquatic respite from the harsh Singaporean elements, with adjacent daybeds for your sun worship sessions. Aside from the scattered outdoor seating areas across the landscaped recreation terrace garden, residents can also pay a fee to use the Resident’s Lounge – which has its own kitchen as well as dining and living areas – for private functions and entertaining guests.
While the serviced residence does not have its own dining concept, guests are able to order room service between 1200hrs and 2100hrs from partner restaurant Kith, which is located on the 1st level next to the serviced residence entrance. Options include brunch selections such as the Kith Breakfast, House-made Pancakes and Salmon & Creamed Corn Eggs, sandwiches such as the Kith Club Sandwich and Impossible Burger as well as starters such as Truffle Fries, Kith Volcanic Wings and Loaded Cajun Popcorn Chicken. Guests who prefer to hit the Orchard Road stretch for their dining needs can access the connection to Paragon mall via the carpark past the mirrored door in the reception area and follow the signages to locate the covered bridge which accesses the 3rd level of the shopping mall.
(Editor’s Note: As of the date of publication, the Resident’s Lounge remains closed until further notice.)
ONE-BEDROOM PREMIER SUITE
Boasting views of the lushly landscaped Cairnhill residential neighbourhood, the 60sqm One-Bedroom Premier Suite plays it all modern sophistication with dark fabrics, glossy laminates and timber flooring. Installed behind the bed in the bedroom and the sofa in the living room, black-and-white photographic artworks which depict kinetically fluid textures add a dash of visual drama to the residential proceedings. Tall windows throughout the apartment allow streams of warm, energising light into the residence’s various spaces. The windows are capable of being partially opened for welcome ventilation, a welcome feature of serviced apartment stays which local hotels lack.
The bedroom is equipped with a king bed, a wardrobe and a long work desk. (I noted that the stylish pillows and bed scarf with the pokka dots which feature prominently in guest room visuals on the property’s website are now stowed away in the wardrobe instead of laid out on the bed prior to guest arrival.) The carpeted living room features 3-seater sofa seating, a coffee table with a textured surface and drawer compartment as well as a home entertainment system, while the adjacent dining room is furnished with a 2-seater built-in dining table which is attached to a taller island tabletop. The kitchen is fitted with a Nespresso coffee machine, electric kettle with TWG teabags as well as household appliances (including a washer-dryer, dishwasher, cooker hob & hood, refrigerator as well as microwave oven) from premium French manufacturing brand De Dietrich.
The bathroom features a single vanity, mirror cabinets and an enclosed rainfall shower and bathtub area, with bathroom amenities from Australian beauty brand Appelles Apothecary & Lab. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows keep the bathroom happily bright in the daytime, with manual blinds available for winding down if you wish to protect (or, in the case of kinky exhibitionists, drawing up to display) your modesty from the prying eyes of the nearby condominium apartments which the bathroom faces.
With every window in the apartment overlooking the luxurious amenities and facing the spacious balconies of high-rise residential developments deep in the heart of town, staying as a hotel guest in the premium serviced residence does provide a fleeting glimpse into the residential life of an expat living in the heart of Orchard Road. However, at 11.45am on your day of your departure, you will invariably get a phone call reminding you of your imminent 12.00pm departure (and offering assistance with your luggage, of course) and, at that very moment after you hang up the telephone, the discordance between the Orchard Road serviced apartment setting and the brisk and transactional hotel-style chaser does shatter the expat residential fantasy into a million fashionable shards.
It would be unfair to expect an apartment hotel to deliver the same levels of service and exclusivity as a full fledged serviced apartment and on that basis, Ascott Orchard Singapore delivers a premium hardware product and a rare fleeting taste of expat residential life in the upscale Orchard area. However, its hotel DNA compromises its ability to rival full-fledged luxury service apartments such as Fraser Residence Orchard Singapore and Winsland Serviced Suites by Lanson Place.
Ascott Orchard Singapore
11 Cairnhill Road