Review: Hilton Singapore

Introduction
ANA First Class Chicago to Tokyo Narita
ANA Suite Lounge Tokyo Narita
Thai Airways First Class Tokyo Narita to Bangkok
Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport
Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge Bangkok
Singapore Airlines Business Class Bangkok to Singapore
W Sentosa Cove Singapore
Hilton Singapore
Singapore Airlines The Private Room
Singapore Airlines First Class Singapore to Seoul Incheon
Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge Seoul Incheon
Singapore Airlines First Class Seoul Incheon to San Francisco


For our second and third nights in Singapore we decided to stay at the Hilton. For whatever reason just about everything in the city was sold out for the weekend, and the cheapest rates anywhere else seemed to be over $400USD per night. The Hilton, however, had rooms available using their “points and money reward” option, which cost 24,000 HHonors points plus $122SGD per night. Not bad given what the alternatives were.

We took a taxi from the W Sentosa Cove in the early afternoon and arrived at the Hilton at around 2PM. The Hilton is located right in the center of the action on Orchard Road, and is a tired looking building from the outside.

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Hotel entrance

The lobby feels as generic as humanly possible. We proceeded to the reception desk, which is just inside the door on the right.

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Hotel entrance

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Lobby

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Lobby 

The agent working the reception desk was incredibly friendly. She acknowledged my Diamond status and explained the club lounge was closed due to renovations. Instead we’d get breakfast in the restaurant and appetizers in the lobby bar in the evening. We had two rooms, so she assigned them next to one another on the 21st floor.

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Lobby and reception desk

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Hotel directory

The hotel hallway felt “fresh,” though there was already a loud jackhammer noise in the hallway. It only got worse once we entered our rooms and realized we were directly below the club lounge, which was being renovated. So we headed back down to reception and explained that the rooms were too noisy. They were extremely apologetic, and instead assigned us rooms on the 12th floor. She apologized profusely that the rooms weren’t next to one another, though (as if we cared).

The 12th floor was also renovated.

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Hallway

I was assigned room 1225, which was located about halfway down the hallway.

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Room 1225

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Room location

The room was pretty bland and standard. There was an entryway, and immediately to the left was the bathroom.

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Entryway

The bathroom featured a single sink, toilet, and shower.

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Bathroom

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Shower

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Toilet

The toiletries were standard Hilton branded ones, which are pretty “bleh.”

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Toiletries

Physically the room was reasonably nice, at least as far as “standard” renovated Hilton rooms go. The room had a comfortable king bed, a desk with a rolling chair, and a seat in the corner with an ottoman and side table.

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Bedroom

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King bed

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Bedroom

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Chair and ottoman

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Desk

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TV

The room featured views of some greenery and surrounding buildings.

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View from room

There’s a rooftop swimming pool on the 24th floor of the hotel. There’s also a gym on the 23rd floor.

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Rooftop pool

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Pool

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Pool and hotel

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View from pool deck

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View from pool deck

In the morning we had breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant, Checkers.

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Restaurant and bar

The spread is good compared to hotel restaurants in the US and Europe, though compared to most spreads in Asia I thought it was pretty sub-par, both in terms of variety and quality.

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Restaurant

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Restaurant

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Cereals

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Breakfast buffet

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Water and fruit

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Pancakes and french toast

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Quiche and waffles

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Breakfast buffet

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Pastries

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Bread display

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Hash browns and bacon

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Breakfast buffet

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Samosas and naan

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Dim sum and noodle bar

In the evenings a portion of Checkers was partitioned off for guests with executive lounge access, so I assume the spread was similar to what you’d find in the lounge. I took a look at the spread one night, though Singapore is such a phenomenal food city that I saved my appetite for places outside the hotel.

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Temporary lounge in restaurant

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Happy hour drinks

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Hors d’oeuvres

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Hors d’oeuvres

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Dessert and fruit

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Hot items

Before I mention my “beef” with the hotel, let me say that all the employees I interacted with were incredibly friendly. Almost too friendly.

Also, most people love staying on Orchard Road, since it’s sort of the 5th Avenue of Singapore with all kinds of amazing shopping, restaurants, etc. Personally I prefer to be near the Marina, because I far prefer the ambiance and restaurants of Clarke Quay, for example. So in terms of location I actually prefer the Conrad, which I realize puts my in the minority.

I won’t beat a dead horse, though there was something a bit off with the juju of the hotel. I wrote about it in this post. There are ceramic statues in front of the hotel, which are typically a bad sign about the history of a hotel.

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Guardian statue

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Guardian statue

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Explanation sign

So of the hotels I’ve stayed at this was my least favorite and I wouldn’t return. The hotel itself is fine — it’s a generic Hilton — but as far as Hilton properties I prefer the usually similarly priced Conrad, and if I’m staying on Orchard Road I far prefer the St. Regis. But there was something about the “spirit” of the hotel (or more accurately, me listening to a couple too many stories about the hotel’s history) that prevented me from having a nice stay. Yeah, I realize I’m starting to go a bit nuts…

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Comments

  1. I just got back from 8 nights at this hotel. I did not get the “off” vibe you got but I can say it could have been a Hilton in any city in the world. It was fine as a work hotel, but if I was coming back for pleasure, it would not be my first choice.

  2. Only reason I think the Hilton is the same category as the Conrad is the location…Conrad is hands down better in everything else in my opinion.

  3. The Conrad Centennial is absolutely better than this Hilton… I was contemplating choosing Hilton over the Conrad but decided to change and now that I see this post, I am glad I chose to stay at the Conrad last year. Room, lounge, view, food and services are excellent!

  4. We recently spent several nights at the Hilton and several at the Sheraton nearby. We found the Hilton to be very pleasant, clean and comfortable, and loved the breakfast in Checkers. Could it be that you are becoming incredibly spoiled 😉

  5. WoW, someone went camera happy.. Nice. How was the weather? Was it super warmish? The food looks yummy

  6. Lucky- a bit of movie trivia history- there was a Peter Bogdonavich film in 1979 (that was banned in Singapore till only recently) about an American (played by Ben Gazzara) who set up a whore house in Singapore (at what is now the York and Goodwood hotel grounds) to serve the american forces who where fighting in SE Asia at the time (paid for by American tax dollars of course). That Hilton was where he got pics of a visiting American senator using a local male prostitute… Anyway, it might be worth a watch on one of your next long trips… it’s called Saint Jack.

    I’m guessing Peter Bogdonavich was probably a bit before your time 🙂

  7. Stayed at this hotel once last year. Like you I had also heard about the stories prior to my stay and thus also slept with the lights on. While the hotel itself is fine I didn’t feel I would like to return. I don’t really get how the hotel can charge the same rate as the Grand Hyatt nearby, which is so much better in every aspects. The location does command a premium but it is definetely not a five-star hotel like it always claims itself to be.

  8. Surprised you didn’t see any of the “ambiance” that spills over from across the street – Orchard Towers. Can have a negative effect on the hotel.

  9. Agree definitely not as good as the Conrad, but given how dreadful some of the breakfast spreads are in US Hiltons (and in the case of NYC ones at comparable if not higher prices) I don’t think it’s that bad. I was a bit surprised about the ending of the article I must say – I’m afraid it does sound a little bitty nutty 😛

  10. As much as I like your blog, I just realised that you are clueless about international travel and culture. You need to worry less about the toiletries in a hotel and or the menu in when flying premium class and read more history and anthropology books. Get a real, more balanced life. Complaining about the statues in the front of the hotel is just pathetic. Sorry!

  11. Omg another botched stay in Singapore. Anytime you are at the Hilton and you have any issues just tell the front desk you know Mr ong. usually good for an upgrade. you really don’t seem to know your way around Singapore – or the real singapore

  12. I find the “bleh” Peter Thomas Roth toiletries to be better than any offered by the various upper-midscale brands that Hilton competes with. What are Marriott, Renaissance, Sheraton, Westin, Hyatt, et. al. using these days?

  13. I think you should have checked out and raced back to the W. That place looks sensational (and apparently had better karma). But a dilemma–how does one smuggle the W’s large (over 4 oz.) shampoo in one’s carry-on? 😉

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