From the warm welcome, beautiful fragrance throughout the hotel to food, drinks and the smallest details – it’s not often that hotels make such an impression on us. We would go back to the Sofitel Singapore City Centre in a heartbeat!
Room type: Luxury King with Club Access
Price: from $600
The Luxury King room ticks all the boxes in my books. It has everything I always look for – universal power points (not just one by the desk but everywhere), rain shower and a large separate bathtub, coffee machine for the much needed hit of caffeine in the morning, floor to ceiling windows with great views (in this case over Chinatown) and the most comfortable king size bed. I seriously could stay in that room all day – with room service food and a couple of naps in between to sleep off the food coma – but there was so much more to explore in the hotel than just the room.
There are also some extras provided with relaxation in mind – a colouring book, bath salt and a shelf over the bathtub with a wine glass slot and “101 ways to live well” book. The mini bar is complimentary, the Lanvin cosmetics are luxurious and smell good without being overwhelming (I especially loved the shampoo which made my hair soft and not frizzy). There’s also a Handy Phone which provides access to free local and international calls and we used it a lot on the go to check Google Maps. Unfortunately Handy isn’t so handy all the time – there’s no tethering option so we couldn’t connect our own phones to it.
The turndown service was lovely leaving us treats and evening tea but maybe a bit too painstaking closing the blinds before 5pm.
We started our Friday evening in the lobby bar 1864 (the name is a nod to local history – in 1864 the Tanjong Pagar Dock Company was founded which was the beginning of the district’s evolution from a fishing village) where Sofitel’s signature barrel-aged cocktails are served. I highly recommend going there for the excellent negroni ($24) and challenge you to stop at just one. The bar staff are visibly passionate about their job and ready to answer all your drink-related questions. The cocktails are served with a selection of snacks presented in an impressive 3-tier lacquered box.
After the drinks, we headed over to the Racines – Sofitel Singapore City Centre’s signature restaurant. It’s conveniently just a few steps away from the bar. We did have a reservation but the restaurant was almost empty when we arrived at 7.30pm – I thought maybe it’s because it’s new and not many people know about it yet. But I was wrong. It looks like Singaporeans start their dinners late and by 8.30pm it was full of people.
The concept is to serve traditional French classics alongside refined local Chinese cuisine which results in an attractive menu that features a lot of our personal favourite ingredients & dishes. No wonder we had a problem deciding what to order. The lovely Racines staff came to the rescue with their recommendations and helped to match the wines as well.
For entrees, we had the Burrata (fresh Italian burrata cheese with fig marmalade, tarragon pesto and grilled sourdough, $28) and Octopus (chargrilled Galician octopus with avocado, lime crème fraîche and smoked sweet paprika, $26). Both were great but the octopus just a bit more exciting (it even looked like a piece of art). When my main was arriving – Wagyu beef cheek (48 hour slow-cooked wagyu beef cheek, truffled mashed potatoes and seasonal greens, $38) – I could smell it from a few meters away. I did take a quick photo of it but I was seriously salivating and had to dig in ASAP! I really dislike the word I’m about to use to describe the sensation I felt eating it, but there’s no better word for it so here we go – foodgasm. It tasted better than it looked & smelled. Comfort food but refined and classy. Would go for it again and again. Hubby had a lovely Kurobuta pork (sweet and sour crispy kurobuta pork, $38) with rice that didn’t come without surprises too – it had a strawberry twist to it. The dessert was a no-brainer for me – when I see Mango Sticky Rice (sliced mango, sticky rice and house-made coconut ice cream, $14) I order Mango Sticky Rice no matter the setting and circumstances. You see, I have this obsession with it and can’t contain myself (to the point I almost ordered it as my entree). I’m glad I waited with it until the end though because it was a perfect finish to the meal.
We were back at Racines the next morning for breakfast. Fresh juices, yoghurts, egg station, local delicacies, traditional sweets, sushi, freshly baked bread, pastries, coffee – there’s anything and everything anyone may want at breakfast. The restaurant is big, the food spread around it and the best strategy is to do a walk around first and scout the best bits. We usually start our hotel breakfasts with pastries and coffee and here’s my one and only complaint about the whole Sofitel Singapore City Centre experience – I wish the pastries were a tad better. More flakey, crispier on the outside and just more exciting in general.
Speaking of breakfasts – we had a lazy Saturday morning and got our breakfast delivered to the room. It was a battle of breakfasts: Japanese (a box of rice, pickles, fish, miso) vs Singaporean (dim sum and kaya toast with soft boiled eggs) plus a cheeky avocado on toast (because you can take me out of Melbourne but can’t take Melbourne out of me). The dishes came with freshly squeezed juices and coffee and were impressively delivered to the room not spilled and at the right temperature. The battle of breakfast didn’t come to any conclusion other than it ended with a tie. I loved my kaya toast and eggs and Hubby wouldn’t change anything in his Japanese breakfast. If you’re ordering room service breakfast you may need to order both breakfast sets and try to decide yourself (and don’t forget to let me know how it went!).
While we never made it to the Club Millésime (available to guests of Luxury Club Rooms and Suites) for breakfast, we visited the club many times each day – for refreshments during the day, afternoon tea, complimentary evening drinks and canapes and absolutely enjoyed the calming atmosphere of the place. Quiet, sophisticated, private. The staff working there were friendly and great at remembering guests – over the 3 days we spent at the hotel, they only once asked us for the room number. The evening drinks and canapes (from 5pm each day) shouldn’t be missed. There’s a chef cooking something special and different each day, cheeses are aplenty and the alcohol is free-flowing (including a handy Enomatic wine dispenser).
Sofitel Singapore City Centre is located between Chinatown & CBD and sits directly above the Tanjong Pagar MRT station which means it’s very well connected with pretty much everywhere you may want to go. If you travel by taxi (make sure your driver knows where to go as the hotel is quite new – opened October 2017 – and not everyone knows how to get there yet), you’ll receive the nicest welcome from the ground floor entrance staff – some of the friendliest people we’ve encountered in the hotel. From there, the front desk is just a lift-ride away: 5th floor for the main hotel lobby or 6th for the club rooms.
The check-in in the Club Millésime was swift and a refreshing towel along with the hotel’s signature drink were a nice touch. Instead of going straight to the room, we stayed in the lounge for a coffee – which by the way is Nespresso throughout the hotel.
The design and decorations of the hotel are inspired by nature. There are many botanical motifs and floral shapes around. The colour palette is elegant but also inviting and cosy at the same time and there’s an abundance of eye-catching art pieces which should please art lovers.
The pool was our another favourite part of the hotel. It’s big (30m), surrounded by lush greenery and provides some interesting city views (if you fancy a nighttime floating like I did, you may stargaze at the same time). It’s also planned with attention to detail – right by the entrance there are not only towels but also robes, sunscreen, after-sun gel and bags for your wet swimmers. It’s shared with the next door Virgin Active Fitness Club but we didn’t notice it being too busy at all.
The hotel has actually partnered with Virgin Active Fitness Club and guests of the Club Rooms have unlimited access (after an induction session) to the Virgin gym. Of course, there’s also a SoFit Gym available 24/7 for all hotel’s guests but we were too busy eating and floating in the pool to make an effort and work out properly.
If you’re after class and 5* comforts then look no further. Sofitel Singapore City Centre is not only a great place for resting after a day of work or sightseeing but is also a great food destination in itself. We usually find a few faults in hotels offerings or things that we wish were changed in some way but in this case, we absolutely loved it and were quite sad to leave. 3 days/2 nights were not enough.
All prices quoted in the food section are in Singapore dollars and subject to 10% service charge and 7% GST. Disclaimer: We were hosted guests of The Sofitel Singapore City Centre Hotel but our opinions weren’t influenced by that and stay, as always, our own.