Intercontinental Singapore is a luxury hotel located in the lively Bugis area of Singapore. Being very much part of the city’s central core, famous attractions such as Arab Street and the civic district are within walking distance while shopping destinations such as Suntec City, Raffles City, Bugis Junction and Haji Lane are just a hop and a skip away. The hotel was built in 1995 incorporating the architectural styles of the shophouses in the area. While the original shophouses no longer exist, the hotel has a distinct Peranakan theme throughout its halls and even in the rooms. This was further enhanced over the last two years when the property underwent a renovation. The Peranakan theme remains but it’s now compounded by a contemporary vibe. I recently checked out the Intercontinental Singapore through a staycation to find out exactly how the property has changed.
If you’re into patterns, this property has plenty to keep you busy. Tiled columns, snazzy carpeting and even the subtle wallpaper designs all bring the property’s Peranakan – classical design concept into life.
The hotel has a very refined lobby where locals like to sip their afternoon tea. Graced by no less than nine lavish chandeliers, it was just a prelude of things to come in the luxurious property. Compared to the pre-renovation phase, the lobby looked almost the same except for the columns which now have circular patterns carved on them and are partially painted in baby blue.
I checked in a couple of hours prior to check-in time and fortunately enough, the front desk informed me that my room was already available. Like other IHG properties I have been to, there was a separate queue for IHG members so I did not have to wait for my turn.
Refurbished Deluxe Room
Upon entering my Deluxe Room at Intercontinental Singapore, I was greeted by an unprecedented lightness which I took to immediately liking. The room had an ethereal vibe – the contrast between white and baby blue genuinely made me feel like I was floating high above the clouds. The “cooling” color scheme was especially apt given the hot and humid weather of Singapore. I like my rooms bright and what was surprising about this brightness was that the room’s window wasn’t even particularly wide, with a mirror in the center that splits it into two.
The walls were a mix between an European palace and those found in a Peranakan mansion, with those colorful patterns I cited earlier making their way inside my room. Even the bedding displayed a bit of this theme, with a batik-like fabric in the middle of the bed.
At the far end of the room was the desk and a sofa. I was impressed to see that housekeeping even bothered to leave some fresh flowers in my room. While I am not into flowers generally, I thought this was a nice touch as this gesture was something I’ve not encountered before.
An attractive lacquered drawer with scenes from medieval China opened up to reveal the minibar which had a good balance between chargeable snacks and drinks and complimentary ones. My room came with a coffee maker and a number of coffee capsules as well as tea pouches. As an IHG Rewards Club member, I was also given a welcome fruit basket.
The bathroom was more in keeping with the style of most Intercontinental hotels, with mocha colored tiles contrasted against black marble. Toiletries were from the brand Agraria, as with other Intercontinental hotels.
Club Lounge at Intercontinental Singapore
Located in the second floor, the Intercontinental Club Lounge is perhaps one of the largest hotel club lounges I’ve seen anywhere. Designed in an unmistakable colonial style, it goes beyond many other club lounges by also offering three-tier afternoon high tea sets to guests aside from the standard breakfast and evening cocktails.
Essentially, these are the club lounge benefits at Intercontinental Singapore:
- Breakfast from 6:30 to 10:30am
- 3-tier afternoon high tea between 2:30 to 5pm
- Evening cocktails at 5:30 to 7:30pm
- Complimentary pressing of two pieces of clothing
- All-day refreshments
- Personalised check-in
- 25% discount on laundry services during stay
- Complimentary 1-hour usage of meeting room
- Complimentary local calls
- Priority reservations at food and beverage outlets
I dropped by in the afternoon to check out the high tea which runs from 2:30 to 5pm daily. I was soon offered a number of goodies set on a three-tier stand – with scones on the topmost level, a variety of sandwiches on the second and dessert on the third. I particularly liked the sandwiches they had, and I eventually asked for seconds and thirds.
At exactly 5:30pm, the afternoon tea gave way to evening cocktails. It consisted of about 3 hot items, a variety of canapes, salads, cheeses and desserts alongside a drinks menu. They also make one of the country’s iconic drinks – the Singapore Sling which is something to try if you don’t come to this part of the world often.
Heritage Tours Around Bugis and Civic District
One of the unique things you should check out when staying in Intercontinental Singapore, especially if you happen to be there on a Saturday, is the heritage tour at 4pm. It’s a departure from the typical touristy walks with a guide taking guests around the neighborhood to explore less-known attractions for 2 hours. For foreigners, it’s especially enlightening as the guide gives glimpses of local life by examining Singapore’s housing conditions, eating habits, family and religious values. I’ve lived in Singapore myself for around 8 years and still found the tour quite fascinating!
One observation I had about the property is that their fitness center and swimming pool are located in different floors. The fitness center’s located in one floor, surrounded by hotel rooms while the pool is in another, with views of the surrounding cityscape. There’s definitely nothing wrong with this – it’s just a set up that I rarely encounter.
Breakfast at Ash & Elm
With my club access, I could opt to have breakfast at the lounge or at the hipster-ish all-day dining restaurant, Ash & Elm. Like everywhere else, I went to have breakfast before 9am in order to have a head start before the crowds came in. Breakfast hours are from 6AM to 10:30AM Mondays to Fridays and 6AM to 11AM Saturday and Sunday.
I loved the open-kitchen breakfast concept here where diners can go inside the cooking stations to choose how they want their eggs or to have the staff whip up some noodles.
Although it’s not stated anywhere, it’s possible to request for items not found in the buffet. I managed to get myself some eggs benedict and pancakes by requesting for them from the waiting staff.
That being said, the buffet here is more on the functional side – with items categorized neatly into Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Pastries, Cheeses & Cold Cuts, Eggs and Noodles and Salads.
Juices were of the chilled variety but during my time there, they had a special drink of the day which essentially was a juice blend made from fresh fruits and veggies.
I’ve visited the Intercontinental Singapore before their transformation in 2015 and I must say I’m a big fan of the hotel renovation, especially with what they did to the rooms. With an ambiance that gives off a cool and refreshing effect as well as possessing a superior club lounge, the property is just the type of place you’d want to spend all day in. The revamped f&b in the form of Ash & Elm is also a very welcome change to the previous Olive Tree. Last but not the least, it is the only luxury hotel in the fascinating Bugis area which makes it a wonderful alternative to staying around Orchard Road.
For a well-appointed 5-star hotel, this property is pricing nicely and rooms can often be had for well below SGD 300 (before taxes and surcharges) per night. For Singapore, this is a good deal for a hotel of this category. If you’re an IHG Rewards Club member, you can redeem a night’s stay here for 50,000 points. Given this hotel’s price point, it would perhaps be wiser to pay for your stay rather than using points.
80 Middle Road
+65 6338 7600
Reservations: Intercontinental Singapore Website