Ever since my summer travel plans are destroyed and the informal travel ban of the Singapore Government, I changed my perspective into local staycations and that got delayed time after time as well. From spending my 25th, at 35,000 Ft in the air, to the lounge at the Conrad and at last, at my house balcony! Finally the wait is finally over in August as Hilton, becomes the very first property to be approved on Singapore Travel Board to host local stays. I have been looking forward to this for very long, especially being a Hilton Loyalist and the great deals that I had access to under Friends & Family rate! It also represent the very first time that I am checking out the Hilton, previously, I have only check out the local Conrad. Check that out if you are interested! The Hilton Singapore have been a long standing choice in Singapore prime Orchard Road shopping district, although it has been frequently the underwhelming sibling in comparison to Conrad. I am also very interested to check out Hilton new Clean Stay initiative as well as hotel life in a post COVID world.
Hilton is now have a super lucrative promotion worldwide for members. While not as good as the 2000 points one previously, since that would be better for cheaper stays. They are currently offering double nights and double points for all stays until end of the year. Adding on to their initiative to roll over all nights to 2021. This will give me a good head start on requalifying for Diamond Status for 2022 – 2023. 2 nights credit, 3000 points, with breakfast and lounge access. That is a heck of a deal! There are some service changes due to COVID though, which I will cover in greater detail below. Hilton offers free parking for guests as well, something nice to take note of for all my local Singaporeans friends who are doing local staycations. Hilton Singapore have 423 rooms and suites, spread across 8 categories.
|Rooms||Executive Lounge Access||Bathtub||Size|
|Hilton Deluxe||No||Yes||32 Sqm|
|Hilton Deluxe Plus||No||Yes||32 Sqm|
|Hilton Premium||No||No||32 Sqm|
|Executive Plus||Yes||Yes||37 Sqm|
|Executive Suite||Yes||Yes||69 Sqm|
|Family Suite||Yes||Yes||69 Sqm|
|Presidential Suite||Yes||Yes||164 Sqm|
From what I know, even though Diamond members qualify for suite upgrades, Hilton Singapore plays by the rules here and play with the classification, they do not categories their suites here as standard suites and as thus, the highest room category you can get is an Executive Plus which are one of the larger rooms and comes with a balcony as well.
Pre Arrival & Checking In
A couple of days prior to arrival, I got a email from one of their Executive Lounge Manager, welcoming me as well as informing me of the various changes to their services and benefits that I will enjoy. Some of the key points are as follows, daily breakfast in Opus restaurant from 7am to 10.30am, on the weekends, the lounge is also open for breakfast from 7am to 11am. Evening cocktails at their level 22 lounge, strictly by appointment time slot only, which you have to do so at front desk upon check-in. Nightly turn down service will also be upon request only. You will also get 20% off food bill at outlets operated by the hotel and for laundry & dry cleaning. Room service will also have reduced hours from 11am to 10.30pm. Do note that it is a rather fluid situation nowadays and these policies might change anytime!
Do note that the carpark entrance is really small and tight, parking rates are also extremely pricy although it is nice that they provide free parking for in-house guests. Parking spaces are limited though and it may be challenging to find a spot on the weekend. Prior to checking in. I saw that I was pre upgraded to an executive plus room a couple days before, which was a nice touch! Again, they do not do suite upgrades here since they do not classify theirs as standard suites. I arrive at the Hilton roughly around 11.30am and my room was already ready. The GM also came over to say hi too, which was a very nice touch. Both breakfast and evening cocktails reservations were taken, probably due to the fact that they are on high occupancy on the weekends. Perhaps because it is the weekend. I was also offered late check out till 4pm, which was even further extended till 5pm which means that I will get to enjoy the room for 30 hours! Awesome staycation! I also love these diamond card holders that they are using. Something so simple and affordable but show the recognition. For those who like to have a little more contactless arrival since this is the norm. You can opt for a digital key. Although outside of the states it’s still kind of meaningless since you still have to stop by the desk to activate it and do the registration. I guess it’s just a good thing to have if you forget your keys in the room or something! We people never seems to forget our phones these days!
I was also informed of the various service changes due to COVID. The executive lounge is currently close, which is a bummer, especially when you are doing a staycation and staying in the hotel all day long. The Gym & Pool are still open on a first come first serve basis with social distancing measures. I feel that it would be a nicer touch if they provide a welcome letter listing out all the changes as well as a summary of all the executive privileges. This used to be a norm and it was missing.
King Executive Plus Room
My room is located on the 22nd level, which is also the level that the lounge is located on. The Executive Plus Rooms are the best rooms that Diamond members get upgraded to here since they do not do suite upgrades here. Apparently I luck out with my room, which is slightly bigger than the rest of the Executive Plus, since it is located on the corner by the lift.
My room was 2228, just off the executive lounge. The room was really spacious and huge. Upon entering, you can really see how spacious and huge the room is. You could easily fit another double bed inside. Immediately to the right of the room is the washroom which is rather tiny though. I will come back to this later.
Towards the left of the entrance, you can find a mini bar area. All the usual stuff are provided and it comes with a Nespresso machine in addition to a classic kettle. TWG teas are also offered. It is really nice to see that they do not scrimp on such offerings, which became rather crucial these days given the lack of ability to pop into the lounge for a drink. The fridge is left empty as well. Which might be due to COVID measures.
The room is largely in a rectangular form and it is really spacious! Facing the spacious king bed is a luggage storage rack towards the side as well as the TV mounted to the wall! I do have to say that the TV is a little small. King size bed was lush and plush. Hilton beds rarely disappoints me anywhere. The firmness is just to my liking and the pillows were good too. Paper thin pillows are just annoying. Coming together with 4 pillows and surrounded by night stand on both side of the bed! You are in for a good rest. I also really appreciate having convenient plugs located just besides the bed which is so important but yet so easily overlooked.
Towards the far end of the room. You also have a proper working desk and a very comfy ergonomics office chair! It is a gem to work here! Premium wifi speed is awesome too! I never had any issue surfing the net, streaming shows and etc. There is also armchair and a coffee table on the side. Weirdly. No amenities are left in the room. Some masks and sanitizers seems to be the norm these days! I would love to have one of those cute Hilton Masks which looks really chic! The Executive Plus Room is also the only room type that comes with a balcony. Sadly it doesn’t appeal me at all. I didn’t even use it throughout my stay. The balcony windows are dirty and it seems to be from a different era with those white tiles! It was also a tight fit with those lounging chairs. There is not much of a view to talk about too. If they do ever refresh the rooms, I will really recommend them to remove the balcony, include the space into the room itself and you could even make these rooms into a little mini junior suite! Put on a little loveseat and a low coffee table. Perhaps then, diamond members could finally get a suite upgrade here!
Being one of the rooms that were not refreshed, the rooms comes with a standing shower cum bathtub set. Which doesn’t look inviting at all! The design is definitely of the older era and typical 2000s Hilton properties! I’m glad to see the usual Hilton Crabtree and Evelyn amenities which are offered here including dental kits. Water pressure and temperature control is terrible and the tub was underwhelming, furthermore there is no rainforest shower as well which is very very disappointing! Definitely the most depressing aspect of the room. Turndown service are offered only upon request in lieu of COVID measures!
The pool is open from 7am to 8pm daily and each guest is limited to 90 mins. Although in reality there isn’t really a crowd there. It is rather empty when I visited in the afternoon and late morning. Sometimes I even had the whole place to myself. Currently you do have to head to the lobby to check in and have your temperature taken before being escorted up to the pool. I do have to say the staff are pretty nice, from the receptionist to the waitress that go out of her way to escort me up. She even remember my name! There are a couple of sunbeds and lounges available that are on a first come first serve basis. The pool is located on the rooftop and beside the fine dining restaurant, il Cielo, while nice in theory. It is a little exposed and you are in full view of those having lunch! It is definitely nicer to come after 2pm, to avoid the gawking eyes. On weekends though the restaurant would be closed during lunch.
This is one main thought I had throughout my stay here during the COVID era. If they could open up the lounge for evening cocktails, subject to safe distancing measures, what is stopping them from opening the lounge all day long as a place to work and relax as well as providing afternoon tea. Afterall occupancy is not an issue right now, given the high demand from local guest. Furthermore, cutting down the evening cocktails to just 1 hour is also stingy! If you really want to spread things out. You could do 2 slots of 5pm to 7pm and 7pm to 9pm. The lounge is currently subjected to capacity control of 42 pax which is only at 25% capacity! Evening cocktails are from 5.30 to 7.30pm on reservations basis. Everything on appointment basis. During weekends it’s further limited to only 45 mins. Everyone was polite and courteous, although to be frank, I was never asked to leave at any point! Space permitting, you are allowed to stay as long as you want.
The lounge is actually very gorgeous and fresh, it had only been renovated last year. The place definitely doesn’t match the rest of the hotel and I meant that in a good way! The lounge is a very comfy place to work from as well! I would love for them to open all day long as soon as possible. Check out the pictures of the seating, you can find sofa seats to tables by the side and even high top seating. I love the use of warm colours here such as dark wood and the contrast with the marble flooring and white tables! It is such a classy look! Jasmine and Kenny who were working the lounge was excellent as per everyone that I met in the hotel! Especially Pei Xuan who I had a very lovely chat with during my stay!
Given government regulations, buffets are not allowed and as such everything is on ala carte basis! Here is the menu for the drinks! You can find wines, prosecco, beer and even a couple of cocktails! The Ruggeri Prosecco is the highlight for me here! I am sure they will be able to accommodate any spirits you prefer if they have it too!
Snacks wise it is being served platter style and the menu changes daily! For my visit, there is some kind of buns, cakes, corn salad and a rice noodles dishes! If you like just a specific item on the platter you can order that particular item again too. It is rather underwhelming, perhaps it is just on the day of visit! This is definitely not a dinner substitute! You should probably just come here for pre dinner drinks!
The next day, I was in for breakfast as well. On weekends the lounge is also open for breakfast to help with the overflow crowd. I was welcomed in and the lounge was fairly empty in the morning. Drinks order were taken and coffee drinks were by Nespresso!
The lounge is such a nice place to work and definitely much more cosy and comfortable than the restaurant. Again, breakfast is on ala carte basis given the current regulations. Food wise, there isn’t really a menu in the lounge but rather it is much more of a western and continental selection, made to order egg stations with all the different trimmings! The stir fried mushrooms is really good. My scrambled eggs were done perfectly! Just runny enough! If you were like a larger selection of items, you should head down to the Opus restaurant for breakfast.
Breakfast is served at the lobby restaurant, also known as Opus Bar & Grill from 7.30am to 10.30am. The restaurant can be found just to the side of the lobby. All guests will have their breakfast here regardless if breakfast is included or executive lounge access is included. Given that the lounge is closed for the time being, all guests gets restaurant breakfast now which I guess it is something good. Breakfast is also now on an ala carte basis, in line with Singapore government guidelines. I was welcomed and invited in, the restaurant is rather empty but do get filled up slightly as it progress. There are mainly 3 sets of breakfast that you can choose from, staff are also alright with slight changes and customization. Given that breakfast can cost upwards of 32 SGD per person, this is another reason why Hilton Elite membership is so worthwhile to me! Even Gold Members gets full breakfast as well. This is the menu for breakfast at the restaurant.
Drinks orders were taken and then I got the Healthy Breakfast Set for the Three Egg White Omelette which somes with baby spinach, roasted tomatoes and mushrooms. The staff also brought by some pastries as well as a fruit bowl. Everything was delicious and fresh, I also love the portion of the food. Food was cooked made to order and hot. Another reason why I prefer A la carte menu so much these days. This is one change from COVID that I would love to see it stick around. Although it certainly means more workload for the staff. Everything was really good and alright but what really stand out to me was the mushrooms, they were heavenly. Heh, some Avocado would be awesome too. Another great perk for having a non buffet breakfast are the discard of those machine kind of coffees, now drinks are made from an actual espresso machine by the bar. Coffee drinks were lovely and from illy!
Opus Bar & Grill Steakhouse
During my stay, I also had dinner at the hotel restaurant, Opus Bar & Grill Steakhouse. They are well known for their Himalayan Salt Aged Steak! The restaurant is really gorgeous and chic! This is also where breakfast is served in the morning. It turns into a steakhouse for lunch and dinner. Reservations are definitely recommended here, especially if you would like to dine during the weekends and given social distancing measures these days, seats are limited! Joel the restaurant manager was excellent! Do take note that the restaurant offers 20% off to in-house diamond guests! This kinda soften the blow a little! The restaurant also frequently runs special promotions and deals. They even have alcohol package on weekdays or 50% off bottles on weekends! It is really a nice place for something special and if you are a meat lover!
A loaf of onion and garlic bread was brought over with butter to start the meal! The bread is pretty good and even warm when served! Although the butter was nothing spectacular!
We literally went all out and got the Premium Butcher’s Platter! It comes with an assortments of meat, 600g Black Angus Bone-in Ribeye, 150g Wagyu Rump Cap, Braised Wagyu Grain Fed Short Rib with marble score 4-5 as well as Beef Sausages. This cost 138 SGD! Currently they also have a promotion where they will throw in half a MSC Boston Lobster for every platter.
We got medium for doneness and every piece of meat was cooked perfectly! The ones that stand out to me were the beef short ribs and the ribeye. The rump cap was very different, providing a different texture. I do hope that the steaks were a little more seasoned but that it just my personal preference. The platter also came with 2 sauce and we went with the Black Truffle & Wild Mushroom and Red Wine & Bone Marrow sauce.
Going with the steaks, we got a bottle of Chile 2018 Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon which goes really well with the steak. Fruity, full bodied, it washes those meat perfectly! The bottle was going for 108 SGD, that comes to 54 SGD after 50% off! There is definitely more than enough food for us and we left satisfied! In fact too full for even desserts! I’m really keen to be back again and try out some of the other dishes especially the crab cakes, their sides and the over the top truffle fries!
To sum it up! I had an amazing stay. The Hilton Singapore is a solid 4.5 Star hotel for me and perfect for a weekend getaway. Although I would definitely have a preference for one of the refurbished rooms instead or opt for a suite if there is a special occasion as a paid upgrade. Breakfast was delicious and the lounge space was very comfortable and beautiful. I will definitely be back once again. Although I do have to say that the old rooms are definitely in need of a refresh. Evening reception offerings could also be more robust and improved. Heh, check out me enjoying 4 hours of evening cocktails at Marriott Tangs a couple weeks before! Stay tuned as I would be sharing their Executive Suite next!