Nestled close to the geographic heart of Singapore, Ibis Novena is one of just a handful of budget international chain hotels in the city. It is Accor’s second budget property in Singapore, after the Ibis Bencoolen which opened some 6 years back to much success as it was the first international chain hotel in the budget category to have opened. Being no stranger to Ibis hotels and having stayed in the Bencoolen property previously, I wanted to check out the nuances of the Novena property so I checked in during one recent weekend.
Located in Balestier Road, Ibis Novena is situated close to many of the area’s famous restaurants. The Balestier area is particularly known for bak kut teh and for chicken rice so staying here will definitely put you in close range to these local favorites. There are also a couple of tourist attractions within walking distance, such as the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall and the Burmese Temple. The hotel is equidistant to both Toa Payoh and Novena stations which are about one kilometer away but there is a complimentary shuttle bus service which runs hourly in the day during weekdays and brings guests not just to the nearest MRT station but also to Orchard Road.
My check-in procedure at the Ibis Novena Singapore was quite straightforward. Despite arriving at noon when just about everyone was checking out, I was able to register quickly and the front desk staff explained to me how the internet access worked. He also gave me heads-up on the complimentary loaned mobile phone in the room which I could use during my stay.
As a budget hotel, all the rooms in Ibis Novena are pretty much the same save for the bed configuration. At 18 square meters, the room size was comparable to other hotels of the same class. One thing I noted about the rooms was how similar it was to other Ibis hotels I’ve stayed in. From the orange shade to the minimalist and functional style of the furnishings, the appearance was undoubtedly Ibis – clean and sleek. Coffee and tea-making facilities were available as well as a modest cabinet space to hang clothes. A 32-inch LCD TV was hung opposite the bed. Aside from the desk and chair, there was a small couch which served as an alternative seating area.
A slight nuance I found in the hotel were the refillable glass bottles containing either sparkling or still water. H2O is essentially free of charge and guests are allowed to refill their bottles downstairs as many times as they like. Overall, it serves as an eco-friendly alternative to the plastic mineral water bottles found elsewhere which are for one-time use and are non-biodegradable.
Despite being a budget hotel, one notable inclusion with any stay at Ibis Novena are the complimentary loaned mobile phones which come with internet access. Guests are allowed to make local text messages and calls as well as browse without any data limit. It was my first time to encounter this amenity in a hotel room and I thought this was exceptionally handy especially in the age of social media when practically everyone would want to be able to log-in to facebook or instagram during leisure trips overseas but are put off by expensive roaming charges.
The bathroom was functional. As with the trend in other budget chain hotel these days, the shampoo and shower gel was 2-in-1 and came from a dispenser. That being said, I was amazed to find dental kits and razors readily available as these extras are usually available upon request in Ibis hotels elsewhere.
The property has a small Mac station at the lobby where guests can also surf if they choose not to do it on the complimentary loaned mobile phones. It’s also possible to ask reception to print out plane tickets and boarding passes free of charge.
Near the restaurant is a small display of Ibis souvenir items. To be honest, I’ve never encountered a souvenir shop in any of the Ibis hotels I’ve stayed in before so if you’re a fan of the brand, it would be good to stack up on some memorabilia here.
Ibis Novena has an in-house restaurant, aptly called Oopen as guests can order room service all day. I ate at Oopen twice, the first was for dinner while the second time was during breakfast.
I had the beef tenderloin which was prepared in a very wholesome manner, flavored by herbs and not heavy on the sodium. The mashed potato on the side was wonderful, sweet and slightly buttery without being being too milky in flavor.
I also had the Prawn Aglio Olio pasta, light, earthy and great for the more health conscious.
As mentioned previously, I also had breakfast at Oopen. For a budget hotel, I was not expecting much in the way of breakfast fare so I was pleasantly surprised to find quite a decent spread at Oopen. The buffet here comprised of a couple of sections including a salad bar, fruits, eggs station where one could choose to have omelette or just fried/poached eggs, some hot dishes as well as a small Chinese selection.
Overall, Ibis Novena makes for a good budget option in Singapore in a location that serves as a worthy alternative to the central core. It’s decently priced and more importantly, it has in-house dining while some competitors in the same class merely outsource their F&B. Room rates normally start at SGD 138++ per night but can drop to around SGD 98++ during Accor’s frequent flash sales. During these times, this property actually becomes the cheapest international chain hotel in the country so it’s worthwhile to keep a lookout for it.
Ibis Singapore Novena
6 Irrawaddy Road
Singapore 329543+65 6808 9888