Hey everyone, I am back sharing a little stay that I did around end March. One more luxury hotel checked off the list in Singapore, making this my 12th unique property. This time around, I will be staying at Mandarin Oriental. A renowned 5 star luxury hotel in the heart of the Esplanade and Marina Bay area. The Hong Kong based brand have its roots here since 1987. Belonging to the upper echelon here in Singapore, Mandarin Oriental rates are constantly high. Their base level rooms easily goes above 350 SGD a night. With the current depressed market, I could not miss out the opportunity to review them now. Mandarin Oriental belongs to the little shopping enclave of Suntec City and Marina Square, sitting right on the banks of the Singapore river and the esplanade. The location is perfect for both business travellers and tourists.

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Booking Process & Pre Arrival

At the later part of last year, the government gave out 100 SGD worth of vouchers to all Singaporeans to use within the hospitality sector. Known as SingapoRediscover Vouchers, it partly helps curb our lust for travelling as well as encouraging spending to incentivise the struggling hospitality industry. Mandarin Oriental then came up with a promotion that too good to miss out when I book last year. All bookings made then will get an extra 100 SGD F&B Dining Credit, Late check out at 6pm as well as complimentary extra beds and breakfast up to your room capacity. That’s rather generous in my opinion! After all, MO is deem to be one of the more expensive hotels in town. I booked the City Suite from trip.com at 439 SGD nett, 339 SGD Nett after usage of the vouchers. Taking the credits at face value, paying 239 SGD nett for a suite at Mandarin Oriental with breakfast and extra bed up to 4 pax. That’s pretty sweet!

The promotion is no longer running these days but MO have a similar package, so do check it out! Prior to my stay, I received an email from the hotel informing me of the various service changes and updated information on the hotel facilities. MO uses a chat interface on Whatsapp, Telegram or Facebook Messenger for guests to make reservations. If not you can click here for the link too. Early check in was accorded at 1pm. All rooms at Mandarin Oriental comes with a bathtub. Mandarin Oriental uses the “Club” format of categories which means that you have to specifically book an Oriental Club room or suite in order to get access to the renowned Oriental Club. This differs from the usual hotel categories where blanket access is given to all club rooms and above categories such as suites. It is a little funny that even when staying in a 5500 SGD rack rate Mandarin Suite doesn’t get you access to the club lounge. Mandarin Oriental have a total of 527 Rooms and Suites spread across 14 categories. 

RoomsOriental Club AccessBathtubSizeNo. of Rooms
DeluxeNoYes33 Sqm133
Ocean ViewNoYes33 Sqm100
Marina Bay ViewNoYes34 Sqm126
PremierNoYes56 Sqm23
Ocean GrandNoYes53 Sqm16
Club CityYesYes33 Sqm10
Club Marina BayYesYes34 Sqm60
City SuiteNoYes84 Sqm34
Marina Bay SuiteNoYes62 Sqm12
Club Marina Bay SuiteYesYes62 Sqm4
Premier SuiteNoYes93 Sqm6
Bay SuiteNoYes78 Sqm1
Oriental SuiteNoYes140 Sqm1
Mandarin SuiteNoYes242 Sqm1

Checking In

I arrive shortly after 1pm with my early check in confirmed beforehand. The bell boy immediately came over to help us with our bags as I pulled up to the driveway. Parking is provided free of charge and the hotel shares the parking with the adjacent Marina Square mall. There is an entrance just to the side of the hotel lobby. I will really recommend those who are driving to enter via this entrance rather than finding your way in the carpark. Upon exiting, just collect a coupon from the staff. Cheryl who was assisting me was polished and professional!

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The check in process is rather smooth and fast, there isn’t much people at this hour and with it being a weekday. I was greeted and welcomed for being a Fan of MO. My original room, a City Suite was ready, however Cheryl offered to upgrade us to a Marina Bay Suite on account of the special occasion. There was about a 45 mins wait for the room to be check and prepared for our stay. I decided to wait given how lovely the suite would be with the view. I took a little walk around the hotel and shortly Cheryl called to inform me that the room is ready right at 2pm. My rate comes with a guaranteed 6pm late check out and this was further extended till 7pm on my day of departure. 29 hours in this 880 SGD rack rate Marina Bay Suite is absolutely amazing!

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The Mandarin Oriental lobby is quaint and charming. I especially love the dark wood tones of the hotel. The hotel have a open concept with the bubble glass guests lifts in the middle opening up to the hotel as you take the elevators. It’s unique fan-shaped design gives a different perspective as you head up the higher levels. If you find the decor rather similar this is because it shares the same designer as Pan Pacific Singapore. You also have an open atrium design and bubble lifts over there. Looking up from the lower levels here, it is rather spectacular. Cheryl proceeded to escort us all the way to my suite and even took the initiative to help us with some pictures before biding us goodbye. A nice personalised service that is greatly missing from many 5 star hotels in Singapore. 

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Marina Bay Suite

I was assigned suite 1801, located on the 18th floor. I appreciate the staff efforts to engage in small talks along the way! Although the Marina Bay Suite is of a higher category than the original City Suite that I was booked in, it is actually less spacious. The Marina Bay Suite measures 62 Sqm. While the City Suite measures a boggling 84 Sqm. However it certainly more than make up for it with its spectacular view. Sitting by the banks of the Marina Bay area, the suite offers a panoramic view stretching as far as The Singapore Flyer and Marina Bay Sands to the skyscrapers in Raffles Place. The suite have a slight angled entryway before it enters the main living space. 

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Being a full suite, you can find a half bath towards the right after entering. While many might find it to be a waste of space, I appreciate having a half bath in the suite as it makes things much more convenient. This is rather apparent when you are having guests over or just a quick wash up after putting on your footwear. It is also conducive for working in the living room and when you do not wish to disturb your family who are resting in the bedroom. 

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On the side of the entryway you can find the minibar set up. You can find a Nespresso coffee machine with 4 capsules provided. I appreciate having a coffee machine in my suite and this should in fact be the standard in any luxury hotel. Instant coffee are a no go! It is kinda weird that bottles of water are not left here. A contrast to most hotels who remove their inventory for hygiene concerns these days, Mandarin Oriental have a fully stocked minibar. Bottles of wines, champagne and liqueurs can be found, they were pretty good labels as well but of course with 5 star prices to match. I do feel that the fridge is a little small with all the accompanied drinks and you are left with little space to store your own items. Inside you can also find a kettle as well as some package tea. I’m glad to see that TWG teas are provided and they even have my favourite Moroccan Mint Tea. 

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The main living room area is in a squarish shape. I will certainly not describe it as spacious with all the furniture around and in fact a little cluttered. Alongside the wall there is a little couch for 2 by a coffee table. This area was nicely decorated with balloons on account of my dad birthday on the weekend we were staying at. I can really see the effort they put in. A generous welcome amenity consisting of a cake, chocolate pralines and a fruit platter was provided. The cake was delicious! 

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You can also find their signature Mandarin Oriental Tea Service in the suite, the usual welcome for all guests. I love the freshly brewed jasmine tea. They are thoughtful to place them in a little basket warmer to keep it hot as well. Welcome personalised notes from both MO Guest Relations Team and the GM are left. A perfect Mandarin Oriental welcome! 

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Opposite the couch you can find the TV set up. A high quality large TV can be found here. While the tv cannot support casting. It is commendable of their set up where the TV is connected to speakers around the suite giving it a surround sound effect. This is perfect for soccer fans catching up on matches with Fox Sport, Mio Stadium all available. It is good for a snuggling movie night as well. 

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I would also like to point out how thoughtful they are by providing HDMI and audio cables in the room. The first I have seen, left proactively in the suite or room. You can easily connect them to the ports by the working desk to stream shows or videos from your laptop.  

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At the far end of the suite, you can find a proper working desk alongside a comfortable ergonomics office chair. Perfect for those who need to get some work done even on vacations and staycations. Wifi is easy to connect and fast around the hotels. Outlets can be easily found and located by the desk. 

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By the side of the window you can also find a lazing couch. A wonderful place to read a book over a cup of coffee. I was surprised to find a binoculars on the side table by the couch. This would be a nice lovely touch in resorts in places like Ubud or Maldives but for a city hotel, a little unusual. Perhaps some gawking is on the books. I did try some spying on the MBS infinity pool! HAHA! One property that I hope to check out soon. 

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Then we come to the view. The highlight of the entire suite! Marina Bay Suite certainly does not disappoints in this aspect. A view that will make any tourists or even a local born and bred Singaporean salivate! Check that out! A lovely view of Singapore in the day isn’t? 

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Or in the evening when the lights from the skyscrapers light up!

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Last but not least, the Marina Bay Suite also comes with its own private patio! The patio is a nice cosy space. In a little triangle shape, you can find two comfy outdoor chairs and a small coffee table. A perfect place for catching the sunrise while snuggling with your partner!

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The bedroom is separated from the living room with a twin door. In comparison, it is much more spacious than the living room. A lush king size bed can be found in the middle. I love the amount of pillows given sadly they were paper thin! Firmer pillows can be requested from housekeeping. On both side of the bed you can find extended night stands with lighting controls and power outlets easily found. USB chargers are even installed here. Ahem, Shangri-La Valley Wing! Unexpectedly, the blinds and shades here are not electronically controlled. 

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Left on the side was a care kit consisting of some masks and sanitizing wipes alongside bottles of water. While I appreciated the effort to be eco friendly with the use of glass bottles and all. Those metal cap requires huge amount of force and were awfully hard to open. You could easily cut yourself while doing so as well.

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Another TV was left mounted in the room above the luggage rack area. You might notice at first that the TV is not angled directly towards the bed, however the mounting can be shifted to face towards the bed for a movie night as well. 

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On the other side of the bedroom you can find the wardrobe. Plenty of hangers are provided alongside two set of bathrobe and bath slippers. A safe and ironing kit are provided as well. 

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The bedroom have the same view as the living room. Sleeping with a view of the amazing Marina Bay right in front of me. That makes me wonder the usefulness of curtains here!

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The bathroom is spacious but the most disappointing area in the entire suite in my opinion. The space was not maximised and it was badly designed. They did not have his and her sinks, the showering area is tight. Furthermore, the shower head looks like it is from the 1990s, no rainforest shower and handheld shower are installed. Toiletries provided were from Atelier Cologne, a French luxury brand and I rather love the citrus scent of them. The conditioner were particular lovely. A set was left by the tub and another one in the standing shower.

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The single sink makes the huge counter space looks sparse. A hairdryer can be found in the drawer below the sink and that is another huge moot point. A suite that goes for 800 SGD a night provides a “hold and blow” kind of model? What a huge disappointment for a 5 star hotel. While I love that it comes with both a bathtub and a separate standing shower, the tub was squeezy. Water pressure was alright but not amazing and the same goes for the temperature control. You can definitely spot some wear and tear around, the handle on the tub were literally falling off. 

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Turndown service was offered in the evening which was a nice touch these days however the housekeeping miss out several items. Used items were not replenished, glass bottles from water provided were not cleared. This is kinda unexpected from a hotel of Mandarin Oriental caliber. 

Pool 

Mandarin Oriental have one of the most gorgeous pool in Singapore. Located on level 5, the pool boost amazing view of the Singapore skyline, spanning across Marina Bay Sands to skyscrapers in the central business district. I went to the pool a couple of times during my stay. The pool is open from 7am to 7pm and due to capacity controls guests are required to book your slots in advance of 2 hours slots per day. On a weekday like mine, reservations are loosely enforced and it should not be too hard to get a spot but I will really recommend reservations to be made for peak periods.

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The pool was of a good size. There are a number of sunbeds and cabanas located around the pool, all on a first come first serve basis. They are really nice for both tanning and chilling with the amazing view in front of you. Pool side service is excellent as well with towels cleared promptly and laid on the sunbeds and cabanas for guests. However only ice water from a dispenser are provided. For a hotel of this caliber and at this price point I would think that some housebrand bottled water should be too much to ask for?

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I also love that they had this little underwater sunbeds where you are semi submerged which is perfect for lazing around and tanning.

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Gym

The gym is located on level 5 in a discreet building by the side of the pool. It is not huge especially for a hotel of this size. With 500 over rooms, I can foresee it being quite crowded when the hotel is operating at full capacity. With the current social distancing measures, reservations are required and could be made in advance. The gym is open from 7am to 7pm and you can book it in one hour slots. 

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Although it is pretty small, I love how welcoming and vibrant the place is. You can find all sorts of equipment that you might need here. There is also a trainer inside to check if you have reservations and sanitise the equipment after use.

Breakfast

Breakfast is served at Melt Cafe from 7.30 to 10.30am. No reservations are required. The restaurant is rather huge and thus even on peak periods, it shouldn’t be an issue getting a table. It was rather busy when we were down. However service was still on point. 

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You can find the menu for breakfast here. 

MO Breakfast

Drinks order were taken and we got some coffee and the juices. They were alright. However I really love the yogurt drink that they had. 

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We ordered an assortment of items that day and some of the standout items includes the Nasi Lemak, Prata and the Omelette. The Nasi Lemak rice is especially good. The staff were also nice enough to accommodate to our various requests. We could also get a tasting portion serving in order to try out more dishes. I will not say that the selection is huge. But it is definitely good enough. 

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Cherry Garden

Seeing that I had some credits to spend. I decided to have lunch at the hotel renowned chinese restaurant, Cherry Garden. It will also be nice to celebrate my dad birthday which is just around the corner. I will definitely recommend you guys to make a reservation if you are coming on the weekends and on school holidays. They are pretty popular. Located on level 5, the restaurant have a very lovely decor and the interior was created to look like you are dining in an oriental residence, the home of a noble. 

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For dinner, the restaurant serves both set menu and ala carte menu. Do note that prices are pretty high over here although thankfully the credits do help a little. You may check out the menu at this link.

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I was ushered in and shown to my seat. Service was excellent and soon drinks were offered. After ordering, the meal started out with a complimentary Amuse-bouche. Something acquaint to western fine dining. While it was a simple salted egg yolk fish skin, I appreciate their effort and it really kick starts the whole meal going. It was served warm. I love this concept and the bridge between oriental cooking and western dining. Hopefully more chinese restaurant will adopt this. 

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The first dish we got was the Speciality Scallop with Capsium and XO Sauce. This cost 32 SGD. They were running a monthly promotion on scallops. Those scallops were freshly shucked before being simply coated with XO Sauce. It was fresh and delicious. However for the price, I do feel the portion being a little small. That is a stark contrast to the rest of the dishes we ordered which are pretty generous. I will not recommend ordering from their special monthly menu. 

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Next up, we have one of my favourite choice of the day. The Braised Cod Fish with Spinach Tofu, Capsicum and black bean sauce costing. A portion of this goes for 32 SGD. The cod was flaky and nicely coated in the savoury sauce. The dish is particularly good with steamed rice. A must try! 

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Next up, the best dish of the night! Stir Fried Live Tiger Prawn with Minced Dried Shrimps and Almonds. This also cost 32 SGD. Let me just point out how fragrant this dish is, the dried shrimps and almonds were so amazing and divine. Together with lots of fried garlic as a finishing touch! Yums! We counted a total of 10 Prawns! A good healthy portion! The prawns were succulent and fresh as well. The shells came off easily and this is a sign that they were fresh and perfectly cooked!  

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With us being seafood lovers, at the staff recommendation we also add on the Honey Marinated Baked Cod Fillet with Black Pepper costing 46 SGD. It was a really generous portion where you get a huge thick slab of cod. I love the glaze finish on the fish and the honey goes so well with it. Below the fish there was little bits of egg which which is a good combination to soak up all the sauce.   

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Our last dish was another speciality of theirs, “Chicken & Duck Talk”. A puny play which was actually a combination of sautéed chicken and sliced duck. This cost 32 SGD. I don’t really like this dish and do not find it worth it. While the chicken were well executed and pretty flavourful, the slices of duck accompanied were rather unmemorable and in fact a little overcooked and dry. 

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While expensive, the food is very good here at Cherry Garden and their service is really attentive. A good place to dine if your rate comes with some F&B credits.  

Conclusion

Service is generally excellent at the Mandarin Oriental from the bellboy to the reception. I was constantly addressed by name and a huge shout out to Cheryl for her excellent service! It’s kinda a moot point when even the hotel knows the booking was for 3 pax, little touches like prepping bath slippers for 3, placing 3 toothbrush in the toilet are nowhere to be found. These are the little aspects that separates a hotel from its peers, the true 5 star hospitality which I believe Mandarin Oriental is marketing itself in. All in all I had a good stay. A hefty splash of money for the stay, I would say that I did get the bang for my buck with that awesome Marina Bay Suite. Next up, a last minute stay at Parkroyal Collection Pickering! Stay tuned! 

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