Opened in late 2018, The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore is the first foray of the Kempinski brand in the Lion City. The luxury property sits literally in the middle of town, connected to City Hall MRT via the adjoining Capitol Theatre and walking distance to some of the city’s most popular meeting points such as Raffles City, Chijmes and St. Andrew’s Cathedral. This low-rise hotel (4th floor is the highest) has a mere 155 rooms which gives it a bit of a boutique vibe despite being a chain hotel. Physically, the hotel is the melding of two heritage buildings – the Capitol Singapore which dates back from 1930 and Stamford House which dates back from 1904.
That being said, the hotel has two facades – the neoclassical facade of the Capitol Singapore faces Raffles City and the grounds of St. Andrews while the Venetian Renaissance facade of the Stamford House faces the quieter Victoria Street. Neither of these original entrances are used as the main doorway to the hotel however, entry is via a small alley separating these two buildings.
Architecturally, I do prefer the Stamford House side. The plaster work is quite elaborate and there are very few other similar-styled buildings in Singapore. It reminds me of those grand buildings in Europe.
My check-in formalities were done by one of Kempinski’s iconic “lady in red.” The original booking for my stay was for the Grand Deluxe Room but I was informed upon check-in that I was upgraded to the Terrace Room.
Since the hotel occupies two heritage buildings, the layout even within the same room category aren’t always very clear-cut. The Terrace Room is the highest non-suite category room in the house, even though it is not necessarily the largest in terms of size. The largest sized room category is actually the Grand Deluxe which is one tier lower than the Terrace Room.
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The Terrace Room, at 45 square meters, is of conventional rectangular size. The entrance is a dimly-lit foyer where the dressing cabinet and minibar are located. Non-alcoholic refreshments are complimentary for all rooms at The Capitol Kempinski Singapore. I counted no less than 6 bottles of beverage (excluding the mineral water) which included some juices, sparkling water and softdrinks. Tea bags come from TWG while coffee comes from Nespresso. Four coffee capsules were available including one which is decaf.
Luxuriant touches of the Kempinski brand were quite apparent in the wardrobe cabinet. For instance, the staff was thoughtful enough to include some shoe polish – although I don’t think local folks on staycations would bring leather shoes with them. I also noted how mineral water bottles were conveniently and thoughtfully placed throughout the room. There were a few bottles in the minibar, some by the bedside table and a couple near the bathroom sink.
I am used to seeing mirrors placed in all sorts of corners in hotel rooms but it’s only at The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore that I have encountered a gigantic mirror just above the bed’s headboard. I suppose that feature would be quite a treat for couples on a romantic getaway.
The bed here was extremely comfortable. I absolutely loved how fluffy the mattress was, and coupled with the gigantic pillows, I could not help but fall asleep in the middle of the afternoon right after checking in. For a hotel in a heritage building, the electric setup was thoroughly modern. Power outlets were everywhere, including by the bed. Curtains were drawn through a remote switch and one of the side tables even had a wireless charging pad to allow guests to power up their devices. The TV had the chromecast / bluetooth screening feature to allow one to project one’s phone into the TV.
The only thing about the Terrace Room is that due to the room layout, there is no space here to put an actual couch so the seating is essentially limited to one rather spacious lounge chair as well as the work chair. This is mostly fine for those staying alone or with one partner but it would also be nice to have a sofa to lie on.
The Terrace Room also comes with a balcony, as is suggested by the name. Even though the property is right smack in the middle of City Hall, the balcony is quite private – good for a tete-a-tete – due to the high foliage obscuring any view of the scenery below.
The bathroom here notably spans the same length as the bedroom so it’s quite spacious and even gets a window of its own. The standalone tub is situated just under the window, allowing one to bathe in natural light – with a TV as icing on the cake.
Given the length of the bathroom, it comfortably fits a his and hers sink. I love the low-hanging ceiling lamps that drop down to both sides of each sink, giving off a warm hue as one comes in for a wash or just for a vanity affair.
The toiletries are also placed here by the sink. They come from Ferragamo and smell really good. The label indicates that the toiletries are made in Italy, and not outsourced to a factory elsewhere.
At the opposite end of the bathroom lies the shower and toilet. Both of these have separate enclosures. There is a rainshower alongside an adjustable one and I like that they thoughtfully put in a built-in stool for guests to sit on while the toilet bowl has the Japanese-style bidet.
The Kempinski Heritage Escape comes with a 2-hour guided tour of the area surrounding the hotel. At exactly 5PM, a licensed tour guide from Toureast met me at the lobby and brought me around Chijmes, Capitol Singapore, Armenian Street and Hill Street. I won’t go into spoilers here and reveal the exact contents of the tour but I have to say my guide was quite knowledgeable with the history of the place and even went into details about the architecture and artwork that we encountered during the tour.
A complimentary drink at The Bar at 15 Stamford is included after the tour and essentially, guests are able to choose a cocktail of their choice. I went with the bar’s signature drink – the Plantation 1840 is a rum-based concoction with sweet vermouth, pineapple juice, sugarcane syrup and lemon juice. Overall, it was quite refreshing and easy to drink – especially apt after a hot afternoon doing the walking tour.
Given the relatively intimate and colonial nature of the property, I did not really expect to see a lot of families at The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore. As such, booking of facilities is highly recommended especially if you are staying during the weekend.
The Saltwater Relaxation Pool is named as such because it’s primarily meant for lounging and wading rather than serious swimming. It is not especially long so it’s not recommended for laps. This isn’t really considered a flaw given that the hotel is made up of two heritage buildings where it’s not really feasible to create a lap pool anywhere. In fact, I am quite amazed they even managed to carve out a pool of any size in here.
Similarly, the fitness centre which overlooks the pool made good use of the existing heritage features of the building. Even the gym carried a historic vibe with its colonial-era wall borders, prominent columns and irregular shape. However, it was quite well-equipped with exercise machines for strength training and cardio. They even had a TRX machine.
I’ll say it simply – the breakfast offering at The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore is possibly the best I’ve encountered among hotels in Singapore in the pandemic era. Where do I begin? Firstly, it did not taste mass-produced at all. Granted, many hotels are doing breakfast as ala carte buffet these days and Kempinski’s does not exactly have the widest variety. However, their ala carte breakfast buffet just tasted better overall. It also has quite a few courses which mimic something grander – like a Sunday brunch if you will, but featuring breakfast items mostly.
Breakfast is served in the marvelous dining hall of 15 Stamford by Alvin Leung. If you are interested to complete the dining experience here, you can also check out their Sunday brunch which is likewise fantastic.
Throughout the morning, there is a pass around service with staff members showcasing freshly-made bakes for the day such as croissants, pain au chocolat and various types of bread. I particularly enjoyed the matcha muffin – a must order when you come here for breakfast.
Next up is the wagon trolley where guests are served with honey, jam, various spreads, chocolate and more. A must-order here is the truffle honey. It goes well with the sourdough bread from the pass arounds.
Juices here are also made fresh which is a true hallmark of a luxury hotel. Aside from that, staff members also serve various types of power shots for a healthy start to the morning.
I ordered a few dishes from the breakfast menu including Chwee Kueh, Pancakes and Kaya Toast. The latter was particularly memorable. I was initially against ordering one as it’s quite a breakfast staple in all of Singapore so I thought it’d be a waste of calories but the kaya was surprisingly good and the bread perfectly crispy.
There are also a few off-menu items that one can order if one asks nicely. The Steak and Eggs was a personal highlight. The beef was succulent and well-flavored. I never could imagine eating something like this for breakfast, of all meals.
I also ordered Avocado Toast, another off-menu item. While this is a dish one can easily make at home, I thought their sourdough bread was rather addictive, especially with the truffle honey from the wagon trolley earlier slathered all over it.
The coffee they use for the breakfast service is from Illy – a treat for caffeine lovers. My cafe latte came well-layered and the staff had no qualms in making an oat milk version when I asked for a dairy substitute.
I have such great memories of the breakfast here that it’s become my favorite among all my hotel staycations in Singapore. It’s just a shame that their breakfast service is only open to guests for now which means that I’d have to book another stay here if I want to experience the breakfast again.
A stay at The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore combines the elegant touches of being in an opulently renovated colonial building with the heightened service level of a luxury hotel. Given that overseas travel is not practical at the moment, I thought the Kempinski Heritage Escape is well-crafted for those seeking a tourist’s kind of experience without stepping out of the country. Even for someone who frequents the City Hall area, I have to say I learned a lot of new and insightful things with the tour. I thought the bells and whistles such as the late check-out, drinks after the tour as well as breakfast service only heightened that feeling of being in a getaway. It’s easy to forget that my actual workplace is only 1 or 2 km away!
The Kempinski Heritage Escape staycation package is available for stays until 31st December 2021 and is eligible for SingapoRediscovers voucher redemption. You can book this as well as their other staycation packages here.