After seeing the Lamborghini, Ferarri and Rolls Royce parked outside the Intercontinental Singapore Robertson Quay, I took the elevator up to the 4th floor hotel lobby. In the elevator, I asked the concierge: “Is the ‘1880’ on the 3rd floor a hotel restaurant?”
“No sir, it’s a private club”. That pretty much gave me a good idea of what to expect at this hotel, even before I stepped into the hotel lobby decked with marble floor and walls with glossy black accents. Unlike its sister hotel the heritage-oriented Intercontinental Singapore at Bugis, the IC at Robertson Quay is all about being upscale and classy.
As its name suggests, this Intercontinental is located along Robertson Quay along the Singapore river. Newly opened on 12th October 2017, it is a complete remodel of the previous Gallery Hotel. It’s about a short 10 minute walk from the Fort Canning Station of the newly-opened Downtown Line MRT train line, and pretty inaccessible by bus, though I expect most visitors to this 5-star hotel, in an area with more expatriates than locals, would be taking a taxi/cab (Get some free credits to use for the taxi/cab apps in Singapore here!). Along the quay there are plenty of bars and restaurants, and in the morning you would be spoiled for choices for western-style breakfast and at night, the quay lights up and revs up with the sound of sports matches being shown on the large-screen TVs in the numerous bars.
It’s also a walk away from Fort Canning Park, one of the bigger parks in the downtown of Singapore, and also a walk away from Clarke Quay, where another group of nightlife bars and clubs are located.
Leather, leather, leather. It was on the handle bars in the elevator, and now it’s everywhere in the room. The lounge chair is leather (there’s no office table/chair), the room service menu is leather-bound, the tissue box is leather-bound, the toiletries drawer is leather-bound, the…. you get the idea. Also, mirrors. Almost every surface in the hotel lobby, corridor and room has either a mirror or a shiny finish on it, probably to make the space look bigger.
The room has a modern elegant interior design, with lots of glossy black panels and wood laminates. As I’ve mentioned there’s no office table or chair, in lieu of a leather bench built into the wall. The sole circular table has a glossy top that unfortunately doesn’t work with laptop mice. Otherwise, it’s a pretty small but cozy room, though the interior designer has managed to squeeze a lot of functionality into the room. The room is definitely smaller than at the Intercontinental Singapore at Bugis, and the toilet and shower are two separate rooms. By the way, the toilet door has no lock, and the shower door is translucent (half-mirrored, I think).
The Wifi in the room is very fast at about 25mbps, and has a new design where you only need to enter your email or IHG member number, instead of needing to log in with your room number. Very handy, as it will connect instantly the next visit without having to re-enter login details. The welcome amenity of 600 points posted quickly for me by that night.
When I arrived my Ambassador amenity was already on the table, a plate of fruits and a tin of Gryphon tea. Speaking of which, the concierge was very keen to highlight to me that they used Gryphon tea unlike the TWG tea used in the other Singapore IHG hotels. Gryphon tea, I was informed, is almost 100 years old (under parent company Lim Lam Thye), unlike TWG which launched in 2008 (even though it seemingly uses the year ‘1837’ in all its branding). The Gryphon tea in the room was of the “Monogram” series, which I can supposedly mix-and-match two different tea bags to make interesting blends. Another interesting addition to this hotel is a cocktail mixer along with ready-made cocktail blends, which I was told is made fresh from the hotel’s Marcello bar.
The towels, blankets and bedsheets were all very soft and extremely comfortable (maybe it’s because I’m the first one to use them?), and the soundproofing is sufficient except for the occasional time when I could hear the neighbor’s phone ringing. As is becoming standard, the room has a large flat-screen LCD TV, but unfortunately I couldn’t connect my laptop to the LG TV because it didn’t support wireless display and its HDMI port was pretty inaccessible – it’s times like this that I like Hyatt’s Plug Panel. Sound is provided nicely by a Bose soundbar. Shades and blinds are controlled electronically by a switch at the bedside, and there’s a USB (type A) port too. For tourists, there’s also a ‘Handy’ phone which provides information on toursit attractions and has free calls too.
Food and Facilities
This time, I didn’t opt for club access. However, I did manage to take some photos of the club lounge on the 4th floor, which I’m told has a seating capacity of 70. As usual, there’s tea time, happy hour and breakfast at the lounge. While the Publicio restaurant is not open yet (though it looks almost ready), the Publicio Deli is open for western-style breakfast and deli food (read a review about it here). There’s also a Marcello bar on the first floor, Wolfgang’s Steakhouse (which I’ve come to realize is not the same as Wolfgang Puck’s Cut restaurant at Marina Bay Sands – read a review here), Ishi Dining & Bar and Plum & Toro on the second floor.
The pool is located on the 4th floor beside the lounge, and is good for leisurely swims as it’s not that big. However, I personally thought it would have been better as a rooftop pool. Currently, I’m told that there are some renovations planned for the rooftop, and when I went up to take a look, the rooftop offered panoramic views of the Robertson Quay area and I could even see the Singapore Flyer and Marina Bay Sands, so it seemed quite a waste that there was nothing on the rooftop for now. I can’t wait to see what they plan to build on top.
I think the Intercontinental Singapore Robertson Quay appeals to a very specific type of traveller – someone who values classy and cozy accomodation, excellent service (everyone at the hotel were very courteous and helpful), and an expat-like life along Robertson Quay. It’s great as a home away from home.