Wow! It has been quite some time since I last did a staycation in Singapore. Gone are those staycation days during a period of heightened alerts and lockdowns during the pandemic. I am back to travelling the world and exploring new parts of the world. I did do a staycation recently at Hilton Singapore Orchard last month to celebrate my partner’s birthday! We couldn’t head out of the city and decided at the last min to just have a little staycation. I have always been wanting to check out this property since its opening last year. I am a Hilton loyalist and certainly couldn’t miss out on staying at one of the best Hilton properties right now in Asia-Pacific. This is the largest Hilton hotel in the Asia Pacific region. They took over the accolade from Hilton Tokyo with an impressive 1080 rooms and suites. Hotel rates are high in Singapore given how premium the market is. The hotel is priced at the same level as the Conrad which supposedly is a more premium brand. Super excited about my first-ever stay here. Before this, I have already dropped by the hotels for drinks a couple of times at Ginger Lily.
Booking Process & Pre Arrival
I book the stay directly from Hilton and use points for the stay. It cost 60,000 points. That is quite a premium but considering how expensive hotels are in Singapore, that is quite fair. Rates were going at around 430 SGD for my stay. I value those points at around 300 USD. With the current global promotion, my out-of-pocket was 58,000 points. That seems like a better idea rather than paying cash. They were more or less the same and I will rather not pay cash. Gold and Diamond members can realistically expect an Executive Room upgrade here. They have a huge number of them. Opportunities for Suite upgrades are not high given the high amount of top-tier members and also the low number of suites. Not all the rooms here come with a bathtub so do make sure to take note if that is a factor. Rooms are separated into two wings, the Orchard Wing and the Mandarin Wing. I will go for one in the Mandarin Wing if possible since that is where the lounge is also located. A couple of days out from the stay, I can see that I was being upgraded to an executive room from the base level room that I have booked. I was further upgraded to a corner suite on the day of my stay. The suite goes for around 800 SGD a night. Hilton Singapore Orchard features a sprawling 1080 rooms and suites spread across 13 categories.
|Rooms||Executive Lounge Access||Bathtub||Room Size||No.of Rooms|
|Deluxe City View||No||No||34 Sqm||160|
|Accessible Room||No||No||34 Sqm||10|
|Premium City View||No||Yes||29 Sqm||200|
|Superior Deluxe||No||No||34 Sqm||60|
|Corner Suite||Yes||Yes||49 Sqm||24|
|One Bedroom Suite||Yes||Yes||56 Sqm||12|
|Deluxe Suite||Yes||Yes||67 Sqm||2|
|Premium Suite||Yes||Yes||70 Sqm||15|
|Executive Suite||Yes||Yes||70 Sqm||6|
|Presidential Suite||Yes||Yes||154 Sqm||1|
The hotel looks absolutely gorgeous after the renovations. It is said to cost upwards of 150 million dollars. It is a welcoming improvement from the old Mandarin Orchard look. The new Hilton Singapore have a modern sleek look with cool tones. This isn’t your typical Hilton look that is tired and old. Based solely on this, I might choose this property over Conrad. I arrived at the hotel shortly after lunch at around 1.30pm. The hotel is located in the middle of both Orchard and Somerset MRT Station. Free parking is available for in-house guests. The first floor is just a reception and concierge area with the actual lobby located on level 5. The hotel is also directly connected to Mandarin Gallery, the shopping mall next door. Upon arrival, the staff came over to help me with my bags and informed me that check-in will be on level 5. Service wasn’t overly personalised and I wasn’t ushered to the lift at the very least.
On level 5, you can also find most of the other hotel facilities and restaurants which I will share more about later on. Despite it being the low season, the hotel is already pretty busy and there is a short wait for checking in. I was surprised by the lack of a priority line for elite members. The area can be slightly messy during peak hours given the lack of a queuing system or clear-cut lines. Check-in was smooth once I was attended to and I was thanked for being a Diamond member. I was also informed that my room have been upgraded to a corner suite and my partner’s birthday was recognised. That is a lovely touch. I was then ushered to the elevators, this is very much appreciated as the hotel consists of two separate wings with separate elevators.
King Corner Suite
I was assigned a suite in the Mandarin Wing. Suite 3107 on the 31st floor. My suite is located all the way at the end of the corridor in the corner given the configuration of the suite. It is lovely to be on a higher floor as that will means that the view should be better and unblocked. Immediately upon entering, you have a spacious entryway.
The suite has an open-concept style. You can find some racks for some storage and a full-length mirror by the entrance which is great for checking out your fit. This place will be good for placing some personal items to grab just before leaving. To the right is the entrance to the bathroom which I will come back to it later on. In the cabinet by the entrance, you can also find an ironing kit inside.
You can find a luggage storage area that is quite spacious and could fit check-in baggage before you enter the main space of the room itself. The room is in a rectangular configuration. Despite the classification as a Corner Suite, this isn’t a full-size suite. A Junior Suite is more appropriate. In fact, I had normal rooms that are as huge as this. This Corner Suite only measures 49 Sqm.
I love the look of the place. It is nicely decorated and the finishes look very modern and bright. I love the lighter tones and concept. The lighting is perfect in the lounge. Look at how lovely this suite is. The suite doesn’t come with an actual wardrobe but rather you have some racks that are hidden behind the TV. That makes for a very clean and tidy look. This also saves space.
On one end of the suite, you have a huge TV mounted on the panel. The huge 55-inch Smart TV was delightful to watch from both the seating area and the bed. It is of high quality and there is a good number of both local and cable TV channels. The set-up makes for a great cosy movie night. It is just slightly lacking when I realised that it lacks the capability to connect your mobile devices to the TV and stream shows. That will be perfect!
In the corner, at the side of the TV, you can find the minibar setup. It is fully stocked with all sorts of items that you might need including fancy water, snacks and soft drinks. It is also equipped with a kettle, a mini fridge as well as a proper coffee machine. You can find some coffee capsules and packaged TWG teas. Drinking water is provided in the form of filtered water in glass bottles by Nordaq. These are replenished during daily housekeeping and turndown service.
My favourite part about the suite is the additional seating area in the room. It is always nice to have a separate seating area and this includes a rather huge dining table that works as the working desk as well. The circular table on the side comes with two chairs and outlets are readily available here. This is quite a good setup for working and meetings. You could also take away some food and order room service to dine in the room.
Right in front of the bed, you can find a little loveseat or couch that should seat 2 to 3 people comfortably. It is quite a lovely set-up and good use of the space. Lovely to have a couch rather than just a usual ottoman. There is also a coffee table here that you can use to enjoy some snacks or drinks while watching TV.
The view was pretty decent given that we are rather high up. Orchard doesn’t have a really impressive view as it is mostly residential buildings. At the least, it is unblocked. They are quite constricted by the building design.
The plush king-size bed is right in the middle on the other side of the suite. I love the mattress which is on the firmer side and had a good rest. Extra pillows are available upon request and they have like foam and contour pillows as well. Top notch in this aspect. The bedding was high quality. On both sides of the bed, you can find nightstands with controls for the lighting and outlets within reach. They also have USB ports which is very much welcomed. I would like it if they had electronic controls for the blinds as well.
Shortly after checking in, the staff brought over a welcome amenity consisting of a personalised cake. The message that I was a precious Diamond Member is certainly strong! Now, I am looking forward to checking out the Gold and Silver cake! It was really tasty. They also provide another cake since it was my partner’s birthday! It is the same without the diamond. HAHA.
The bathroom comes with both a separate standing shower as well as a bathtub. I love the design as the bathtub was inside the glass door. I prefer this layout as you can simply get from the tub to the shower area without water dripping all over the place. There is only space for a single sink but that does mean that you have much more counter space. All sorts of toiletries and amenities are provided. As usual, Crabtree and Evelyn’s products are provided. They are housed in large pump-size bottles here though. I love the mirror with the built-in lighting.
The bathtub is on the smaller side and definitely could not fit two people. Water pressure and temperature control are decent but not excellent. The same goes for the tub side, it takes quite some time to fill it up.
Turndown service was offered in the evening. Overall, I am quite happy about the “Junior Suite” that I had. The configuration is chic and the room had a modern look. The layout kinda reminds me of the room I had a Fullerton without the view.
The fitness centre is located on level 6, opposite the executive lounge. To be clear, this is the gym in the Mandarin Wing. There is another facility in the Orchard Wing. Both gyms are open 24 hours and guests can simply access them with your key cards. I appreciated that they had separated facilities and 2 gyms. This will prevent crowding issues and ease of access. After all, I am afraid that things might get crowded with a 1080 rooms and suites property.
The fitness centre is of a very good size and modern. Upon entering, you can find some infused water and towels. There is plenty of equipment in the gym from treadmills to bikes and even yoga mats as well as exercise balls. I shall let the pictures do the rest of the speaking. I appreciate that they have invested in the facility as compared to the pool.
The pool is open from 6am to 7pm daily. In my opinion, this is single-handedly the most disappointing aspect of the entire hotel. There was close to no change in this area from the Mandarin Orchard days. Towels are provided but bottled water is nowhere to be seen. My biggest complaint goes to the size of the facility. Look at this! For a 1080-room and suites property. Even a 10% occupancy rate will make the pool crowded. When I visited on a low-season weekday, every single daybed was taken up. You can count the number of daybeds with your fingers. If using a pool is crucial for you, this is not the right place to stay at.
The lounge is huge and gorgeous. Surprisingly, they did not go with the usual plan of having the lounge on the highest floor but rather the executive lounge on level 6 of the Mandarin Wing. The Executive Lounge is open daily from 6.30am to 10.30pm. They have 3 services daily and offer continental breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails. The lounge also offers all-day drinks. Guests who are staying in an executive-level room and above as well as diamond members are invited to use the lounge.
It is a huge improvement in terms of the space given that overcrowding is a common issue in the old property. I was warmly welcomed into the lounge. Arrival since to be a mixed bag as I wasn’t given a basic orientation of the place as well as being offered a drink. I did not get the personalised welcome feeling here. But rather was left to figure out my orientation myself. The lounge is huge and there are tons of different seating areas. This will be a good facility to work out from. The lounge can probably fit 200 people and above. This is very much appreciated given that there are plenty of Diamond members staying here at a premium market location.
Towards the left of the lounge after entering are simply seating areas after seating areas. These range from two and four dining tables to high-top seats and communal worktops. The segregation between each area does make it feel a little more private. Do note that they are pretty far out from the main refreshment area which is located to the right of the entrance. There are no views to say given how low the lounge is located. If I had to nitpick about the lounge, I would say that it feels like a restaurant rather than an exclusive space. It could be quite hard to track down a staff when it is crowded and if you are on the other side of the lounge. Furthermore, drinks are only served by the staff.
During the day, you can find some snacks. Nothing too fancy. All-day drinks consist of soft drinks, juices, coffee and tea. They use Nespresso coffee and TWG tea.
Afternoon tea is served from 3pm to 4.30pm. The spread is rather small and nothing impressive. You can find some sandwiches, fruit cocktails, scones and some starts. The scones are decent. Don’t expect too much.
Evening cocktails is offered from 5.30pm to 7.30pm. Surprisingly it isn’t too crowded and that should be a sign. The offerings are buffet style and most of them are disappointing. You can find mostly dim sum and fried items. They are not delicious. You can also find some cold cuts, cheese and a small salad station.
My favourite item is their toast and butter. Kudos to them for offering quality French butter. Those Beurre d’Isigny butter were amazing. Spread them on toast or anything.
The drinks are served by the staff when in fact they could have been self-served. The quality is very bad. It is even worse than before and they don’t even do simple cocktails anymore. You have a sparkling wine, two reds, two whites, beers and liquors. I see labels like Oyster Bay and Indomita.
Food and drinks are of very low quality. It is super disappointing to see a lounge of this quality at the flagship Hilton property of APAC. When you realised that there are empty seats during evening cocktails at the lounge with free alcohol, something is wrong! This is one aspect that Conrad is better at. I expected a lot more from the Executive Lounge. They had really good dining outlets in the hotel. Perhaps they could serve up some speciality with local influences? Showcase their dining outlets as well. Some speciality carving of their charcoal Peking duck? Mini Chicken Rice Balls from Chatterbox? Daily speciality welcome cocktails from Ginger Lily? Even the nice cakes aren’t on show at the lounge. This is not a dinner replacement. You can skip it if you are not around the hotel too.
Ginger.Lily, the botanical-inspired bar & lounge of the hotel is located on level 5. It is a cosy spot and great for drinks or a quick bite. I have been here a couple of times previously for drinks and figured that it will be great for me to share my experience here. I love the spot. The cocktails are great with some creations being unique. Prices are very good too, furthermore Hilton Gold and Diamond members enjoy 25% off too. This is available even when you are not staying at the hotel, you can also earn 500 points if you spend above 25 USD. Ginger Lily is open daily from 9am to 1am.
You can find their menu here. Here are some of the cocktails that I have tried during my visits.
The drinks are excellent. I just wish that they can incorporate some of their speciality cocktails here into their Executive Lounge. The offerings there are miserable. I can see myself coming back constantly for drinks if needed a spot in town.
Breakfast at Estate Restaurant
Breakfast is served at Estate Restaurant which is located on level 5, just by the reception area. Breakfast service is from 6.30am to 10.30am daily. The restaurant is gorgeous and huge with plenty of seating. Estate has also come up to be one of the best buffet spots in town with its lunch and dinner buffets. They serve their classic charcoal Peking duck then. The restaurant is huge and seating areas are separated into various areas in rooms which makes it more exclusive. Here are some pictures of the restaurant.
Breakfast was crowded and a little chaotic. There was a line when I was down for breakfast although it wasn’t a long wait. After all, Estate is pretty huge. I was welcomed and ushered into the restaurant and the staff took drinks orders. Here are some pictures of the spread.
Some of my favourites include the freshly squeezed juice bar and the prawn mee soup. The others were rather underwhelming. I would have expected a little more. Furthermore, the service was chaotic given the crowd. Plates ain’t cleared in time and staff assigned taken tables to new guests which lead to confrontation. Furthermore, I feel that the staff should give a brief introduction to the buffet lineup to guests. For example, I will say that 80% of the guests do not know that juices are available since the counter is at the other end of the restaurant. I barely see anyone having juices on their table.
A simple stand that shows “occupied” on the table will prevent any misunderstanding. They should take a leaf from Hilton Pattaya. I do wish that they had reserved some tables for diamond members during peak hours and a welcome speciality or something. That would be a really nice touch. My gold standard for breakfast in Singapore goes to Capitol Kempinski and considering that both of them are pricing their breakfast at almost the same price. That is very much lacking.
The Hilton Orchard Singapore is a great addition to the luxury hotel market in Singapore and a huge improvement over the old property. Overall, I did enjoy my stay but there are also certain aspects that we should manage our expectations on. The rates here are high, much higher than what I would pay for a Hilton. They are priced almost at the same level as the Conrad. Both properties come with an executive lounge, so I guess it depends on your preference to stay in the orchard or the marina bay area. I did get a rather generous upgrade to the entry-level suite room which is the Corner Suite. But to call it a suite might be a stretch. a Junior Suite at best and in fact, some of the properties that I stayed in before in Singapore had base-level rooms that are equally as spacious or even more spacious than this. I do expect a better executive lounge. Given how huge the property is, undoubtedly you might get a sort of cookie-cutter experiences like in huge resorts and some notes of these at the lounge and during breakfast are apparent. For a property charging this premium, I am not fully convinced.
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