It is very common within luxury hotels around the world to ended up choosing extremes when they decided how they will look alike; ie classical/palace or ultra-contemporary atmospheres usually neglecting the beautiful works and designs of the 60s 70s and 80s. In that context Mandarin Oriental Singapore is a unique star amongst its peers since it is impossible not to be wonder by its late 80s architecture, by its compromise to keep that hotel soul intact and by its attention to maintaining every single detail of its original concept preserved. It is a property with personality and integrity
Opened in 1987 the hotel building itself reflects an era ofopulence and optimism, it was a building designed to marvels its guests and to act as a symbol of success to Singapore. The American architect John Portman, the brain behind the masterpiece, planned a building that pays homage to the Mandarin Oriental logo, the beautiful oriental fan and from the grand atrium one can feel how majestic this building is. Located along Marina Bay the hotel is within the CBD and close steps away from major luxury shopping destinations and touristic attractions in the likes of The Shoppes at Marina Bay, The Singapore Flyer and Esplanade and the famous Singapore Merlion, the symbol of the city
With 527 rooms and suites divided in 21 floors, 4 of them executives ones, Mandarin Oriental Singapore offers jaw dropping views from Singapore’s Marina Complex and its financial district being therefore very popular with both luxury travelers and the top business crowd. Moreover, its 5 amazing restaurants, especially Cherry Garden and Chicago’s Morton’s attracts, still today, stylish Singaporeans dinners and visitors from all over the globe.
But, one may ask if in this huge property it is possible to feel that unique/personalized luxury touch? Well, it is almost like magic but Mandarin Oriental Singapore manages to make one feel that touch and in at the same time not forgetting the wow factor of a luxury property.
Each room is framed by floor-to-ceiling windows and they come with complementary welcome tea broughtto you minutes after arrival. Indeed, it is possible to sense the staff concern in making you feel at home even if you are in faraway Asia. The rooms are all well equipped with the latest gadgets and all the connectivity one business traveler may need i.e.: UBS outlets, high-speed internet access, quality surround sound system with CD and DVD options, power plug-ins and more. Indeed, the controls systems of the entire place allows guests to manage the light system virtually from everywhere inside the room. As for decoration, the room is based in a chinoiserie pallette , and although too bright color scheme for a Westener’s eyes, follow that oriental feeling of embroidered silk throws and dark timber offering that east style that the Mandarin Oriental capture with excellence.
Having said that, it is impressive how Mandarin Oriental Singapore worked bits off that East Style in its public spaces, from an eye popping elegant courtyard Cantonese Restaurant Cherry Garden to its dazzlingly Spa complex, its guests could not help saying wow each time they discover a new and sometimes hidden corner off this building, like the Dolce Vida Italian restaurant by the pool and the premium Oriental Club Lounge at the 19th floor, this stylish room provides exclusive services to Club Floor guest such as complementary non-alcoholic beverages throughout the day, afternoon tea service, evening cocktails and many more.
And inside all this modernity and high-speedy connections there is a heaven of tranquility named the Mandarin Oriental Spa. With six different treatment rooms, including two couples ‘suites, a separate manicure-pedicure section, a reflexology area, a tea lounge for relaxation and one-to-one consultation areas the Spa at Mandarin Oriental Singapore is both popular with its male and female guest. It is truly a place for luxury relaxation just steps from the pool area.
The pool itself is nestling in a lush tropical garden and raised to different levels to emphasize spectacular views of the Singapore skyline, the pool area has both an adult and children´s pool, a large cabana for private events or gatherings becoming therefore a destination of late afternoons drinks and cocktails. In that area, the guests can also find a fitness studio and an outdoor patio.
As for the service, although extremely polite, there are some room for improvement especially within the breakfast staff. The Melt-The World Cafe, where breakfast is served, was packed during the weekends with the staff a bit lost and short of hands, moreover it felt weird when I asked to taste the exclusive blend of tea made for Mandarin Oriental and the waiter told me that this blend was only available for purchase. Once in a stay at Orient Express, now Belmond, Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town I was told that that staff should try its best to never say no to a guest. Maybe, there is a lesson to be learned here. Nevertheless, that was only the one bump in an amazing stay at Mandarin Oriental.
Finally, despite the recent appearance of new 5 star hotels in Singapore, Mandarin Oriental still is a major player. Simply because, it is impressive how this building aged so gracefully, as well putted by the new Louis Vuitton Singapore guide, Mandarin Oriental Singapore remains timeless. Like a well-preserved society lady. Very much owned by the architectural wonder of its building and its amazing staff. It is truly a masterpiece of its kind.
Murilo Vidal in Singapore
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