BERJAYA HOTEL DUXTON ROAD (****L): The former "Duxton" is actually one of the Top 5 best hotels in town. It doesn't get the fame of the Raffles, because it is was opened too recently to be part of the legend. It doesn't get the top central location of the Goodwood Park, though in one of the most charming lane of the colonial Tanjong Pagar preservation area: only a short walk away from Chinatown. Rooms are not as large as in the Mandarin, though they offer the most cozy duplex suites in Singapore. But in matter of elegance, intimacy, and service, it would be fairly hard to match the Berjaya, indeed.
The hotel had been housed a decade ago in eight units of charmingly restored turn-of-the-century shop houses. Once we stepped the discreet entrance door, we were amazed by the intimate though top luxurious lobby: made out of precious marble, beautifully designed stained glass, with oriental carpets, and splendid british furniture. With the Raffles, it is the only one in Singapore reflecting that well the colonial past of the city.
This is a small hotel, with 50 rooms and 9 suites only. We stayed five nights in a Duplex Suite: this was simply great ! The suites we used to stay in, should it be in Paris or Cape town, always tend to be so huge and sumptuous we almost lost our way inside. Which was not the case at the Berjaya: fitted for human beings, with or without a crown, apartments make you feel like home at first sight. Let's rather say: "grand home"... On the ground floor was our living room, separated from the upper floor bedroom by a charming spiral staircase. It came completed with all the five star amenities one may expect in such a distinguished place. We enjoyed very much the bathrooms: among the ritziest in town, displaying a very complete set of Muguet d'Ogive toiletry. Ceilings, and therefore windows, are very high: the light was perfectly displayed, even on rainy days (and we had some of them, as we came during the monsoon...).
Service is anticipating. A beautiful and fresh young lady acted as a concierge. She called us by our name, which looks normal in that category of hotel; but when she was replaced by a colleague, he also knew our name before we had even told him our room number... How did he get informed, we ignore it: but this was fairly smart and professional. That kind of small detail is always much appreciated by those who stay in palace hotels: as, except from its size, the Berjaya goes in that category, indeed. Another thing we appreciated very much at the Berjaya, was that plush white Mercedes Benz chauffeured limousine they put at their guest disposal in the morning, to go downtown (it takes five minutes to reach Orchard Road)... on a complimentary basis !!! Believe it or not... In a city where taxis are that cheap and clean, where the underground is that safe and efficient, and where double deck buses are so numerous, we found it supremely elegant !
The British atmosphere stops at the door of the European Cafe L'Operatta. Our schedule didn't allow time to taste it; just enjoying the restaurant for our breakfast (generous one: with delicious Croissants Chauds, like in Paris). Which is our unique regret, after such a wonderful stay.
Rooms are not that expensive. Let's even say that, compared to the Raffles, they even tend to be cheap. During our last stay, a Standard Room was S$220. Superior Room was S$310. A suite like ours or, if you prefer, with French doors opening to a beautiful landscaped courtyard (Garden Suites), would cost about S$380 according to published rate. Taxes and charges in Singapore are 13%. Rates are variable, with quite of lot of interesting special offers.
Advance booking is essential at the Berjaya, as this delicious hideaway tend to become more and more famous among the distinctive travellers.
You will love that place at first sight.
Member of the Berjaya Group of Hotels.
GOODWOOD PARK HOTEL (*****L): This is exactly the kind of hotel we like to recommend... and, of course, to stay in. Singapore has its two old colonial palaces: the Raffles (world famous, and therefore permanently fully booked), and the Goodwood Park Hotel (full house most of the time, as well). The former "Teutonia Club" marks with elegance the border between the shopping district and the top luxurious residential areas of the city-state.
It was built in 1900 by the German community in Singapore as their social club, then converted into a very posh hotel in 1929. Since, the Goodwood Park Hotel is a must for the "happy few" who, should they be the Queen Beatrix of Netherlands, the Sultan of Johore, Cliff Richard or the Nobel Prize of Literature Sir William Golding, many want to stay nowhere else but in this wonderful old palace. Not as flashy as the Raffles, the Goodwood Park Hotel offers nevertheless the most superlative suite in Singapore. Accessible by a private lift, the "Brunei Suite" took its name from the Sultan of Brunei who was one of its first discerning guests.
This is a sophisticated mixture of styles Louis XVI, Georgian and Chippendale, designed by Ernesto Bedmar. With a print from Monet fixed between two Corinthian columns, the room also features impressive bouquets poured into precious crystal vases. Is it necessary to mention that this is the most expensive suite in town? Fortunately, the "Deluxe Rooms" offer very decent rates, and garner a lot of success among businessmen. Which we feel is quite a pity as this hotel was designed for European globe-trotters, and should be discovered by high profile tourists rather than by stressed golden boys lacking time to fully enjoy its delightful atmosphere.
Very good and friendly service and highly reputed restaurants are to be found here. The "Min Jiang" and "Chang Jiang Shangai" attract exigent Chinese gourmets. The "Gordon Grill" is a very authentic pub offering British and Scottish specialties. The "Coffee Lounge" is a colonial coffee shop. Whether you or fortunate or not to be a guest of the Goodwood Park Hotel, do not miss the old England "Afternoon Tea" served in the "Cafe Espresso"; you will taste here very rare varieties of teas, like for instance the "Caramel Regency", accompanied by fresh and delicious pastries.
This is one of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.
THE MANDARIN ORCHARD SINGAPORE (*****L): If you want to check the real meaning of the word "cyclopean", do not open your dictionary; just peep in the 744 sq. m chinese style lobby of the Mandarin Orchard Singapore, and you will find its concrete definition. All is huge, extensive, superlative, and, of course, ultra luxurious here. Even the list of awards this 1200 guest rooms and 44 restaurants monument received would take too much volume to be published hereby: they are top something since the opening in 1973 (which was of course grand !) of what is still the largest, if not the highest, hotel in town. Rooms are most comfortable, and are currently being refurbished. The 20 "Regency" and 10 "Executive" suites, with an oriental touch, are booked far in advance by the chairmen and presidents on a business trip to Singapore. The most powerful industrialists and investors stay there both due to the extremely convenient location of the hotel on Orchards Road, and to the superb facilities it offers for conventions and meetings.
We crossed by a lot of outsiders when inspecting the hotel by noon: most of them coming for lunch. The Mandarin Orchard Singapore actually gets a reputation for wining and dining which is not limited to Singapore, but echoes in all Asia. The "Mandarin Chicken Rice", for instance, unfortunately served in the impersonal and crowded "Chatterbox Coffeehouse" is award winning. They rather should serve this distinguished specialty in the "Pine Court Chinese Restaurant" , a most sophisticated place, where we enjoyed one of the best Chinese food we had ever been served. For the fun, but also for a romantic dinner, the "M" is a revolving restaurant with a dramatic view over Singapore, but also Malaysia and the Indonesian islands: the food is international, with some mediterranean accent.
Due to its superlative service and comfort, but also due to its location nearby Istana (the Prime Minister's official palace), The Mandarin Orchard Singapore hosted a multitude of politicians and statemen -former French President Jacques Chirac is a fan of their "Chicken Rice"-, singers, movie stars, and all the VIPs who all find here a top class residence.
, this is one of The Leading Hotels of the World.
SHERATON TOWERS SINGAPORE (*****L): A short walk away from the Goodwood Park Hotel, the Sheraton Towers Singapore offers the same quality of service and comfort as its glorious neighbor; but under a modern version. The huge marble lobby, both plush and cold, will impress at first sight; hopefully, the warm and attentive staff brings an immediate compensation to any distressed traveler.
The 410 rooms and suites confirmed the very positive opinion we already had about the Sheraton chain in general. A very high mark goes to the "Executive Tower", whose upgraded status makes the Sheraton Towers Singapore one of the top 5 hotels in town. It has already received many awards for its excellence. The guests can check-in even more quickly, find a beautiful toilet kit in their room, enjoy a complimentary breakfast - we advise them to have "a la carte" in the "Terazza" nicely surrounded by cascades running from a tropical jungle - and receive an invitation for a cocktail in the VIP Lounge between 6 and 7 PM. A butler remains at their immediate disposal, round the clock: his first task consists in cleaning and pressing the guests' clothes almost before you have taken the key from the door! Complimentary, as well.
The top luxurious
"Executive Suite" in which we had the chance to receive accommodation
equipped with two wide screen TV sets, and with an electric pants'
The pink marble bathroom was simply superlative, with gold plated
Three restaurants are available, including the reputed "Domus" (Italian
gourmet menu): only for dinner. The "Terazza" specializes in
food (don't miss the tasty and spicy sautéed noodles with prawns!).
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