We had a foretaste of the level of hospitality we were going to have at this hotel months before we even stepped in.
You see, we had initially booked for a V-day staycation but were forced to postpone the booking due to family bereavement. We wrote to the hotel. The very same day, the PR & Marketing Director herself wrote back, assuring us that we would be welcomed any time but not before penning a personal note to tell us that she share our loss as she too had also lost her Grandma whom she dearly loved and who had raised her. In our moment of grief, we were so comforted by the empathy demonstrated by this ‘face’ of the hotel whom we have not even met yet. We had just experienced a level of human touch so lacking in this age of impersonal emails and call centers. It made us anticipate our stay even more as the day for our check-in drew closer.
We were not disappointed. On the contrary, we were totally awed by their hospitality and service. Now as I recall our experience, I actually find it difficult to put into writing…but I must because exceptional experiences like these, must be shared.
The InterContinental Hotel is the only international 5-star luxurious hotel in the city with a Peranakan (Straits Chinese) theme. From the moment we stepped into the lobby, we were awed by the exquisite furniture and earthenware, down to the floor tiles that carry the unmistakably intricate patterns belonging to charming Peranakan heritage. Carvings and drawings of flowers, leaves and geometric patterns embellished the deep dark mahogany wood furniture and bannisters. Set against the plush carpets and warmly golden glow of the grand chandeliers, we didn’t feel like we had checked into a hotel. Rather, it was as if we were transported into a regal Peranakan Palace of yore.
Then there are the rooms. For our short stay, we were upgraded to the Shophouse Suite which comes complete with a large living area, bedroom and bathroom. The luxury of space in the suite of a city hotel was truly a welcomed surprise. We were able to tuck our bags and clothes easily into the wardrobe. Even the baby stroller could be parked inside the bedroom without obstructing the walkway. The solid dark-wood furniture and large, comfortable bed accentuated the cosy, inviting ambience. The scent of the big, beautiful bouquet which welcomed us at the foyer filled the room with such sweet fragrance all day long. We fell so in love with the room and found it hard to leave even to go for our meals.
The bathroom was an eclectic mix of modern bespoke luxury set against old world charm. Quality German Grohe bath accessories deliver the strong water pressure during our baths. When used with the fine quality bath amenities, it turns shower time into a blissful, therapeutic experience.
The bed linens were soft and luxurious and so were the chaise lounge and sofas. Thick, plush pillows lured us into an ‘immersive’ deep slumber. Even though the Shophouse Suite is just situated right above the rows of shops in Bugis Junction shopping center, the soundproofed windows and shuttered door allowed ambient light in while effectively shutting out the noise and chatter. In fact, we had to be reminded that the shops are just right below us!
The Peranakans are well-known for their cuisines. Painstakingly-prepared dishes that marry spices and flavor which permeate the freshness of the ingredients, giving each dish its unique burst of flavor. During our stay, we were privileged to dine at the Olive Tree restaurant, which serves a range of Mediterranean food along with local favorites. We had a thoroughly satisfying dinner there. During breakfast, the Olive Tree also offers guests a wide range of freshly baked pastries and cakes among its many selections of local and western breakfast items. What a luxury to have an abundance of choices while on holiday!
Taking the experience of luxury to a new level is Man Fu Yuan, the anchor Chinese restaurant of the hotel which serves classic Cantonese fare. The dim sum menu which we savoured over lunch would easily bowl any dim sum connoisseurs over. The ingredients were incredibly fresh and the dim sums were so delicately prepared. The rice-roll (chee-cheong-fun)’s skin literally melted in our mouths and the Siew Mais (meat dumplings) were the tastiest we’ve eaten at many restaurants. Considered yourself warned that this restaurant requires advance reservations especially on weekends.
If being active is your choice, you won’t be disappointed either. Take a refreshing dip in the hotel’s pool equipped with an outdoor Jacuzzi. Or if shopping is in the agenda, Bugis Junction is just right below. We were able to experience this convenience especially when the threatening sky forbade us to swim, giving us a good excuse to conveniently catch up on some window shopping from the myriad of shops offering a large range of merchandises below. Excellent!
While it was relatively easy to share about the comfort of the rooms and the freshness of the food, to describe the warmth and hospitality was a much taller order. How can we even begin to adequately describe the tone of voice, the depth of the smile or even the sincerity in the eyes of the staff we met from checking-in to those who serve inside the Club InterContinental Lounge? From the porter who carried our bags to the housekeeper who delivered Buddy’s crib (and painstakingly set it up!). These are experiences that are beyond words because they tug at our hearts, even after we had checked out. The firm handshake, the warm hello we received at the restaurants – profoundly hospitable encounters which guests had to experience personally to appreciate the high level of service which every InterContinental staff delivers with such pride and consistency.
On the day we were to check out, the ‘icing on top of the cake’ came, literally. We had rescheduled our stay to coincide with Dana’s 7th birthday on 5th April and the hotel surprised us with a one-of-a-kind handcrafted Birthday Cake with an Easter theme. She felt so special and needless to say, thrilled! Our hearts were touched that the hotel went an extra mile in making our daughter’s birthday such a memorable one.
The InterContinental Hotel is situated in the heart of the city and we’ve driven past it countless times. Prior to this stay, it was special because my sister-in-law’s wedding was held here ten years ago. I had assumed the service would be quite like the many other 5-stars hotels we’ve stayed in. Well, I stand corrected…happily because this hotel knows that true luxury is delivered through hospitality and at the InterContinental Singapore, they spell it with a capital ‘H’.
InterContinental Hotel Singapore
80 Middle Road Singapore 188966
Front Desk +65 63387600
EXCLUSIVE MOTHERS’ DAY GIVEAWAY
In celebration of Mothers’ Day, InterContinental Hotel has sponsored 2 sets of Man Fu Yuan 满福苑 Dining Vouchers (worth SGD100 each, valid for 6 months from 1 May 2015) to be given away to 2 of our loyal readers. To participate, simply do the following:
This giveaway ends on 06 May 2015, 11.59pm and is open to readers in Singapore. The winner will be contacted using the particulars provided when entering this draw and will have 24 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be drawn. All incomplete and unverified entries will be disqualified. All entries will be verified before the winners are announced. To be fair to our sponsors, please note that all fake Facebook accounts (e.g. accounts set up purely to take part in contests with no or very few real friends) will be disqualified.
Disclaimer: We were invited for a 1 night’s stay at the hotel for the purposes of this review. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions and photos are, as usual, ours.