As busy parents to 2 young kids, juggling work commitments and family demands give us very little (sometimes zero) time to ourselves. We are not complaining but when we do have special occasions to commemorate, we want to ensure that with whatever little time we have, we get the most memorable experience as a family. Last month, for Angie’s birthday which falls on Mothers’ Day, I was exactly looking for that – to pamper my wife who often holds the fort at home, with a luxurious hotel stay.
When the opportunity came for us to experience the Fullerton Bay Hotel, I was both very excited yet slightly apprehensive – I was concerned if this uber luxurious hotel that offers only about 100 rooms, a hotel that sits poised and shining like a jeweled beacon on the premium Marina Bay waterfront and sister hotel to the Fullerton Hotel, would welcome us as a family with kids. I must say, all my apprehensions were gladly, quite unfounded. After our stay, Fullerton Bay Hotel has officially won our hearts a hundred times over with its style, service and that special touch.
Luxury and more:
The Fullerton Bay Hotel, offers a breathtaking vista of Marina Bay precinct which our family is well-acquainted with (thanks to all those weekends camping out waiting here for the NDP fireworks and New Year’s Eve count down festivities).
With a reputation of luxury that precedes itself, we were very thankful to be hosted for Angie’s birthday. Our staycation experience started sooner than we expected – as soon as our car drove under her majestic granite porch, we were swept off our feet by a team of smiling reception staff who greeted us by name, followed by eager porters standing-by ready to help unload our luggage and stroller and the beaming valet who offered to park our car. So, just like that, we were whisked into the grand foyer of the Fullerton Bay Hotel – what a warm welcome that was!
Little did we know that this level of warmth and impeccable service was just the tip of the ice-berg.
Check-in was done personally at our Premier Bay View Room located on level 2 of the hotel. What caught our eyes was not yet the bespoke furnishing and amenities of the exquisite room but the stunning view of the Marina Bay in its magnificent glory. The room comes with an open-air balcony for guests to step out and embrace the grandeur of the bay sans any obstruction. We stood there awe-struck.
The bedding, furniture and amenities are what one would expect of a 5* hotel – plush, opulent, luxury at its finest. But what made it truly special were those little details which the hotel had put in place to welcome us – chocolates and cupcakes with Dana and Buddy’s names, cards addressed to us with a welcome message, a bottle of the wine, fresh fruits, a tray of fine Gryphon tea and coffee for us to savour at our leisure.
One would have thought that kids would be frowned upon at such a luxury hotel. On the contrary, our the kids were not forgotten. In fact, they were made to feel very much welcomed at the Fullerton Bay Hotel. Personalized trays of chocolates with their names (kids and chocolates…best equation!), kids’ toiletries, activity books and even kid-sized bathrobes and bedroom slippers were laid out for Dana and Buddy respectively! This hotel understands that luxury is more than just providing amenities and conveniences, it’s ultimately the memories of being so well looked after. We knew Fullerton Bay Hotel was going to be good, but we didn’t expect it to be SO GOOD, even for families with children in tow.
It gets better:
Towards the evening, just before dinner, Angie and I were invited to experience the Fullerton Spa. Now, we love the pampering experience of a good massage but we often lament that we have never really quite experienced one on par with what we have experienced in nearby Bali and Phuket. That was about to change.
When both kids were taking their usual afternoon nap, we were whisked to the Fullerton Spa in the hotel’s limousine (you can also take a leisurely 5 min walk there). Inside the Spa, soothing music greeted us and we walked past a comfortable male and female lounge complete with some fruits and drinks for guests to wind down, relax, enjoy a read after their massages. The couple room which the hotel arranged for us was spacious and importantly, the temperature was very well-regulated. In fact, the massage beds had been pre-warmed with a heating blanket before our arrival. How many spas actually take notice of such minute details?
Once the masseuse started the massage, that’s where magic truly began. We had chosen the hotel’s signature aromatherapy massage. The two masseuse we had were very skilled. The massage was not only done with great finesse and grace, the strokes given were firm yet subtle and gentle. The firm broad strokes relaxed the major muscles while the gentle caress of the fingers attended to the smaller pressure points. The hint of Asian herbs used in the massage oil and the aroma around the room enhanced the entire spa experience. At the end, we were relaxed yet rejuvenated. THIS is the best massage experience we have ever had on home soil!
For Angie’s birthday dinner, it didn’t take us long to decide to dine at the Clifford Pier. We had brought my Mom-in-law for a Sunday brunch here last year and liked its food. For special occasions like birthdays, I didn’t want any nasty surprises to ruin the occasion so the Clifford Pier was the de-facto choice. I was wondering if our dinner experience could match our brunch from last year and it certainly did. The menu at the Clifford Pier offers a range of ala-carte local and international dishes which are done exceptionally well, easily the best in virtually all the regional hotels we’ve experienced. The satay was succulent and well grilled and the sauce was simply sublime. The Vongole clam linguine was easily the tastiest we’ve had in a long time and the lobster burger and truffle fries were just decadent.
What truly made our night was not the food but the exceptional service. Particularly two of their staff members – Gibson and Princess. Gibson saw that Angie was feeling a bit chilly from the air-conditioning and promptly went to the cloakroom (yes they have one!) to loan Angie a shawl (!) Never in all our dining experience around the world have we received THIS level of attentive service. Princess, the other wait staff saw that Alexander was getting a bit fidgety (Dana was nursing a cold and was resting in the room), promptly whisked out crayons and colouring materials for him . When Alexander was done with his meal, Princess offered to babysit him for awhile (and brought him for a short walk) so that Angie and I could finish our dinner in peace. We were speechless! These folks served from their hearts and it made all the difference between a good hotel and a great hotel. Worthy of mention also are the grand colonial-inspired decor and the live piano music which make The Clifford Pier such an appealing dining option.
After the children wound down for the evening, we took a stroll at the roof top bar, Lantern which overlooks the stunning skyline in full splendor. It was a short yet special time as we soaked in the ambience of the evening accompanied by the gentle breeze from the bay. Perfect.
A good friend in the F&B industry once told me if you want to know how good a chef is, ask to taste the scrambled eggs – Only when one can cook a simple dish exceptionally well would one be able to cook at all! I dare say that I tasted the best scrambled eggs here at the Fullerton Bay Hotel! It’s not too dry yet not too moist, with that slightly ‘bouncy’ texture of the farm fresh eggs. The truffles accentuated the subtle taste of the eggs. Incredibly delicious!
Unlike larger hotels, the Brasserie is a modest mid-sized venue where breakfast for the day is served. It offers a classy and intimate ambience, a far cry from mass market breakfast venues of larger hotels where we feel like we are having breakfast in a train station during peak hours. Here, they serve a good range of local and western fare with ala-carte items on its menu for guests to pick.
Aside from the usual noodle station, we can order freshly squeezed fruit juices mixed to a combination of our choice. It is from this ala-carte menu that we tasted the exceptional scrambled eggs and Egg Benedict. Writing about them just made me miss these two dishes again! Despite being understandably busy in the mornings, the staff (e.g. Ms Ida) still took time to engage us in friendly conversations. This hotel truly understands that true luxury starts with forging human connections.
As both children were recovering from flu, we didn’t bring them for a swim but I took a quick dip in the late morning just before we checked-out. The pool offers a birds-eye view of both the Marina Bay and Shenton Way. Imagine, sitting in a Jacuzzi overlooking Shenton Way. In its clever use of space, swimming in the pool and looking up at the offices in the CBD enhanced the holiday mood in a playful kind of way! Those poor office folks, working while I’m enjoying my morning swim…Ah, life.
A 1 night staycation at an exceptional hotel of such standing is never enough. This is one hotel we felt a tinge of sadness when we had to leave. Not only because of the exceptional level of luxury accorded to us during our stay but because we felt as if we were bidding farewell to a bunch of good friends who know us by name. Our stay there proves there true luxury is in the positive connections we make with the people…and we found that here at the Fullerton Bay Hotel. True luxury leaves you bidding a reluctant farewell and almost immediately, making plans to return gain in the near future. Thank you Fullerton Bay Hotel, we will be back!
FULLERTON BAY HOTEL
Usher in the Father’s Day weekend with an array of dining specials in a waterfront setting from 18 to 19 June, including the Weekend Father’s Day Brunch at La Brasserie and Lantern’s St. Tropez Barbecue Brunch! Additionally, fathers will stand a chance to win prizes in our Grand Draw. Details here: bit.ly/FBHFathersDay16
Disclaimer: We were invited for a one night’s stay at the hotel for the purpose of this review. All opinions and photos are, as usual, ours. This is a truly extraordinary hotel which we’ll highly recommend for your special occasions (like birthday, anniversary and all other family milestones)!