My airport transfer limousine pulls in front of the Fullerton Hotel. I’m quickly whisked away by a cheerful guest relations executive and have no time to stop and look at the grand building. But I know it well. It’s in the background of many of my photos from previous trips to Singapore and I walked past dreamy-looking at it more times than I can count.
She walks fast, my legs don’t stretch like this after the 7h flight from Australia. Slow down! – I want to say but I’m too distracted by the opulent inner courtyard, of which I only get a tiny glimpse before we’re in the lift. Every member of the staff we see on the way greets me, some even by my name. Within what feels like seconds I’m in my 4th-floor room. – Please just sign here and have a lovely stay. – the registration formalities are swiftly completed in my room. – Complimentary evening drinks & canapés in the Straits Club start in 30 minutes. – now I know why we were walking so fast.
room type: Straits Club Quay King Bed
price: from SGD508.30 (~AUD493)
My room looks very relaxing – maybe because of the dim lighting or because of all the soft furnishings. No matter what the reason I’m glad, I need exactly this after my flight (well, this AND champagne).
The bedroom-lounge-office area is big for what I’m used to in Singapore but it’s the bathroom that I’m the most surprised with size-wise. It’s too big for one person. I take a quick shower and take a moment to appreciate the provided bath amenities – they’re by Bottega Veneta and smell like luxury, exactly what you’d imagine to get in a 5* hotel.
Technology comes next. I need to charge my laptop and phone, and conveniently there are 3 universal power outlets (1 by the desk and 2 by the bed). I struggle with the one by the desk as it’s located in a spot that makes me fight for it a bit before I squeeze my MacBook charger under an awkwardly sticking out piece of wood. TV is on, welcoming me to the hotel and playing nice background music. There is also a tablet, which I didn’t have time to touch during my 24h stay and a smartphone, which I’m encouraged to take with me and use when I go out of the hotel.
The view from my window is of the Quay side – the river, Asian Civilizations Museum and Victoria Theatre. I can also see most of the hotel’s pool and at this point, I’m not sure if I should go for a quick swim or stick to the original plan of making the most of the Straits Club access and imminent drink o’clock (the latter wins obviously).
I keep staring at the walls around the bed and keep going back and forth about them. They seem bare, like something’s missing (maybe an artwork of some sort?) but also make the bed area feel calm and that’s what you need when you go to sleep. I still haven’t decided if I liked them this way.
Later, before sleep, I drink 2 TWG chamomile teas – they’re superb and I grow quite fond of the brand (liked every tea I tried) during the trip. Nespresso coffee machine comes in handy in the morning, when I wake up at 6 and go chasing the sunrise before breakfast.
The Straits Club is the place for all my wining & dining needs during this short stay. Evening canapés and cocktails last for 2 hours. Food is served buffet style and everything is replenished as soon as a guest takes something out. I taste a bit of everything and settle on exquisite Chinese chicken dumplings. As I walked in, I mentioned to the staff I was in urgent need of a drink after my long travel day. A glass of champagne quickly lands in front of me and is being topped up every time the liquid comes to a dangerously low level. Talk about attentive service.
I choose Straits Club again in the morning for breakfast. The choice of food would be much greater in the Town Restaurant where most guests get their breakfast fix but having this very private option is more appealing to me. This and the fact it’s a champagne breakfast here on the 4th floor, something I can’t really say no to. Ever. The coffee is ok, pastries excellent, classical music in the background soothing and the service, once again, on point.
Couple days later I return to the Fullerton precinct, this time with my Mum to dine at The Clifford Pier. I’m truly in awe every time I see this place. The interior is sophisticated and relaxed at the same time. The heritage plays a very important part and reflects in the menu. Formerly it was a bustling hawker centre and landing jetty for ships. At the time of our visit, the Clifford Pier is hosting eight hawkers from Tiong Bahru Food Centre. Their stations are set in makeshift hawker stalls around the room. In addition to the regular buffet, we get a chance to taste some signature hawker dishes. I enjoy everything and overdo the desserts, classic Aga. When it comes to drinks, they’re on the pricier side and it seems steep even for a 5* affair in Singapore.
The Fullerton Hotel has an interesting history and it’s worth the time to learn a bit about it. It’s made accessible for everyone through guided heritage tours as well as self-guided ones with a handy map available in the lobby.
It was transformed from a magnificent 1928 neo-classical building that was once home to the General Post Office. It was also the Mile Zero of Singapore, hosted an exclusive Singapore Club and housed different government departments. All that history is treated with respect and preserved.
There are many restaurants in the courtyard area (Chinese restaurant Jade landed on my must-visit list for my next trip to Singapore) as well as the lighthouse on the roof and the exclusive Straits Club on the 4th floor. Then there’s the rest of the Fullerton Complex that houses more restaurants and bars and would take days to explore.
The pool was one of my favourite parts of the hotel. There is something special about floating while looking at the grandeur of the building.
I got lost in the maze of underground passages that lead to the Merlion Park the first time I tried to go there. Later, I started to appreciate that they allow you to avoid the humid air for as long as possible.
You can’t beat the location of the Fullerton Hotel, it’s right there in the middle of all the action (Mile 0 after all). The Straits Club is the best thing if you enjoy your privacy, champagne and superb service. One night or, like in my case, 20 hours is not enough to even start appreciating all the comforts provided. 5* and excellent hospitality at its best.
Disclaimer: Aga was a hosted guest of The Fullerton Hotel.