Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Slice of Luxury

21st May 2008, Wednesday

2003 was best remembered as the year Singapore was living in fear of the SARS epidemic which sent our city state in high alert to curb the deadly virus from claiming more lives as it should have.
Of course we do not want to re-enact the entire scene of 5 years ago but for a while in a boisterous city like ours where over-crowding was a way of life; it was quite refreshing to see streets devoid of much human activities or traffic.

Our retailing scene and more importantly tourism sector was badly hit during that 3 months of turmoil.
Local hotelier were trying hard to woo local people to fill up their rooms but one specific case of one patron contracting the virus from a local hotel see our paranoid republic refrained from coming into contact with any hotels housing foreigners which could be the transmitting agent of the flu virus.

However I was undaunted and jumped on the great offer, The Ritz Carlton Singapore, one of the premier 6-star awarded hotel locally which offered a night stay at mere $100+.
I made reservation for 2 rooms, one for the missus and myself and the other for my family.
I extended one more night for mine and the hotel was kind enough to upgrade from the Deluxe Room to the One Bedroom Suite.
We had a ball of the time back then and now whenever we walked past that jaded white building along Millenia Walk, we got that fuzzy feeling to stay there again.

After my recently-concluded ICT, my missus suggestively shown me a newspaper cutting of a package offer by another high-scale hotel, The Fullerton Hotel.
Having stayed in such luxurious accommodation (with great view of the Marina Bay) at Ritz Carlton, we didn't want to settle for anything less and we thought the Fullerton might be the only one comparable in terms of quality and service.

With my bonus, I felt it is ideal to treat the missus for a weekend stay over the long Vesak Day weekend and we had been looking forward to the stay since making the reservation weeks ago.
However our anticipation had been hampered by the persistent coughing she and I both contracted but I was fortunate to recover in time before the weekend.

We proceeded with the check in at around 4 after we got to utilise our off-peak transport after 3pm; and was greeted with hospitality from this Malay receptionist, Samad or something.
He duly brought us to our "Quay Room" at level 7 which had a great view towards the Merlion Park as well as the floating platform and Singapore Flyer across the bay.

You get to see name emblem of the hotel from our balcony

My sister and her beau dropped by while roaming around town came into conclusion that the standard room at Fullerton pales in comparison to that of Ritz Carlton, in terms of size, furnishing and of course the latter has a bathroom with ample space and a nice scenic view...

The box on the study table is the complimentary bath robe that come with the "Time for 2" package. The missus however was more smitten with the woolen flip flops

Didn't really did much except for waiting for our in-room 4 course dinner and we were both famished at that juncture though was mildly alleviated by some tasty pies from Sis...
We had arranged for the dinner to be serve at 6.30pm and it didn't took them long to fulfill that timing as this dining staff pushed in the foldable dining table on wheels and an incubator in built to keep the food warm.
I felt with the hefty weight of the crockeries, it was better for her to set all the dishes on the small table.
There wasn't too much room to maneuver once the table was sandwiched between the study table and the armchair...

Appetizer: Deep-fried Chicken Dumpling with caviar and salad

Soup: Some creamy soup with scallops and go well with bread

My main dish: Bak-kut Teh flavored Lamp with Asparagus

Her main dish: Steamed Sea Bass

Desert: Cranberry pastry or something

Complimentary bottle of red wine (in the package as well) which we saved for the night. I was too absorbed with the preview show of the FA Cup final between Portsmouth and Cardiff City that evening.

The food was quite satisfactory and filling and we even received a buzz from one of their managers hoping to gather any feedback on the dinner and offered us coffee and tea just as we were leaving for La Tendo in Kallang.

The Fullerton Hotel was just 8 storey-high as they preserved the original Fullerton building. The guest rooms span the entire perimeter of the building with a hollow center where we could access via sky bridges from one side of the building to the other

While we left the key at the counter, we made the enquiry on whether we could be granted a late check out (which was subjected to whether the rooms are in demand) and got a positive reply from this helpful Indian supervisor who also arranged for the bubblebath (another item in the package) to be set up by 1 in the morning which was the time I thought we would reach back after crooning for the karaoke party.

In the end we only made it back by 4 in the morning.. By then we could only enter the building via the front door and there was just a lone soldier at the counter.
We scurried back to our room, hoping the bubblebath wouldn't go to waste and were glad it was still intact and the water still reasonably warm...
So the feature romance moment was the bath with scented tea candles all around and red wine which tasted rather cheap though.

We were knocked out and struggled to wake up by 9.30 in the next morning as we wouldn't want to give the buffet breakfast a miss, not especially me...

The buffet at the Town Restaurant didn't seems to boast a variety to be on par with that from Ritz Carlton but then again it could be we were rather late.
It was a window of opportunity to check out the nationality of our fellow patrons.
As expected a majority were the "ang mohs" who seemingly like to dine along the walkway towards the Cavenagh bridge along the Singapore river.
There were some wealthy Indonesian Chinese and a few Indian expats as well.
What I like about our local hotels is that they rarely discriminate between local and foreigners in terms of service which was evident during my Koh Samui stay.
The missus checked out the final bill (it was included in the package) but we still get to see the actual price which added to around $40 odd per person.
Luckily we need not pay 'cos the missus had poor appetite and nibbled on a bit while I just want to sample whatever there was on offer...

Because of the late check-out we were able to go for a quick swim in the pool which is a miserable stretch with mere 1.5m depth.
But it overlooked the Singapore River and you can check out people heading towards the Asian Civilization Museum as well as the bank buildings on the left.
We also had a look at the gym and spa which despite being rather small in scale, are pretty well equipped.

Another round of dipping in the bubble bath before we packed up and checked out as the staff said with formality to see us again...
Overall the hotel might had lived up to its billing but we spent too little time to maximise the pleasure of the place.
Service is impeccable but other factors like bath amenities, buffet breakfast etc fell short of our expectations.
Time to source another grand hotel to stay in the future then...

Japanese word of the day: 贅沢 (luxury) Conrad Hotel might be the next destination of luxurious living

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