The PARKROYAL COLLECTION Marina Bay is perhaps the first large hotel to open in 2020. Although not entirely new – the property was formerly the Marina Mandarin Singapore – the overall feel is a marked departure from the hotel’s Meritus days. Under the PARKROYAL COLLECTION branding, this upmarket hotel now sports a rather calming warm tone as well as an inviting garden theme.
This garden theme is palpable the moment one enters the property. At the ground floor reception area, a high wall filled with hanging plants acts as a focal point while the bubble lifts that take guests up to the main lobby on the 4th floor provide glimpses of pavilions surrounded by lush greenery and an iconic hanging sculpture conceptualized by the late architect John Portman. The soaring atrium is a trademark of his design and this property is one of four that he conceptualized in Singapore – the others being Regent Singapore, Pan Pacific Singapore and Mandarin Oriental Singapore.
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For this particular staycation, I stayed at a Lifestyle Room which came with a city view. This was not my first time here. I have stayed twice before when the property was still the Marina Mandarin Singapore and got a similar facing room before so I had a good idea of the layout in the past.
For the Lifestyle Room, PARKROYAL COLLECTION Marina Bay changed the bulk of the previous design concept. The current look can be described as a more masculine version of the Muji design – with plenty of wooden elements but a couple of shades darker. Japanese sensibilities are likewise evident in things such as the wooden wardrobe cabinet which is partially see-through and styled in a criss-cross manner. Bits of metal can also be found throughout the room – mostly as linings to accentuate shapes. There’s an apparent avoidance here of sharp edges. Everything from the bedside table to the working desk and even the wardrobe’s surface have curved edges. Ironically, the only semblance of sharpness in the room are the ten or so decorative sticks embedded into the wall on top of the bed.
A highlight of the Lifestyle Room which can’t be found in the other room categories is the presence of an alcove by the window. For neat freaks who absolutely won’t sit or lie on their beds with clothes they wore outside, the day bed on the alcove provides for an alternate lounge area in the day. For families, this alcove also provides for space for an additional family member to sleep in.
One thing to note about the television is that it is HUGE and spans a good part of the length of the work desk. As such, those looking to work out of their laptops in the room might find it inconvenient to have the TV on at the same time due to the resulting glare. However for the bulk of leisure guests where work desks are not used that much for “working”, this should not be an issue.
All room types at the PARKROYAL COLLECTION Marina Bay with the exception of the entry-level rooms are equipped with a Nespresso machine. I noted that they used the Zenius model which is part of Nespresso’s business range. The coffee capsules are the disc type. In the long run, using the business range will probably enable the hotel to save more money as there’s less likelihood of hotel guests keeping the unused capsules which are incompatible with the personal range of machines.
The bathroom on the other hand, retained quite a bit more of the Marina Mandarin design than I expected. The attached bathtub, marbled wall and shower area are roughly similar as before while the sink area was extensively refurbished.
Gone are the double sinks. Instead, one of them has been replaced with a water filter to enable guests to safely procure drinking water. In this sense, rooms at PARKROYAL COLLECTION Marina Bay also don’t come with mineral water bottles. Toiletries come from Metis, which as I understand, is an Australian skincare brand.
Many of the hotel’s facilities are located in the same area where they used to be including the spacious gym – this time fitted with a new set of equipment. There is also a brand new spinning studio that I chanced upon during my visit although I would suppose the latter would be for members of the hotel’s health club rather than for hotel guests.
One of the key selling points of the swimming pool here is the mineral water used. It’s supposed to be less drying and milder for those with sensitive skin if compared to the normal swimming pools. At night, it’s also illuminated which is quite a sight. After some renovation done in 2019, It is now shallower – at 1.2 meters at its deepest. In 2016 when I last swam there, the pool was up to 2.5 meters deep. As of this writing, the club lounge which used to be located at the top floor was in the midst of being relocated to the pool level.
Pan Pacific’s spa brand – St. Gregory’s Spa – has opened an outlet at the PARKROYAL COLLECTION Marina Bay. The treatment rooms feature warm tones (think: lots of dark wood) in keeping with the look of the rest of the property. I had gone for the Relaxing Aromatic Body Bliss (S$160), a relaxing 60-minute massage utilizing Swedish massage techniques. I particularly noted the chamomile oil used which helped to lull me to sleep during the treatment. The spa also offers other treatments. The list of spa services can be found here.
Breakfast is served at the all-day dining restaurant – Peppermint (the former Aquamarine). As I was staying over the weekend, I noticed how the queue got longer at around 9AM as several guests came at the same time for breakfast. However, the queue was cleared pretty quickly.
As with other hotels in Singapore, breakfast has now switched to ala carte buffet. Diners get to choose eggs done their way with turkey bacon, chicken sausage and hash browns. There is also an Asian selection with nasi lemak and dimsum. For those who prefer their carbs in the morning, they can go for the pastry/bread basket and pancakes.
For those looking to have the rest of their meals in the hotel, PARKROYAL COLLECTION Marina Bay has a number of gems in its premises. The popular Chinese restaurant, Peach Blossom, has undergone a facelift with a new menu that is very design-centric and sure to generate oohs and ahs among diners.
Peppermint also has a very decent ala carte buffet – their main differentiating factor being the sustained use of herbs and even vegetables grown from the hotel’s own garden. While rooftop gardens have become quite popular among hotels in Singapore, this property’s vegetable garden is among the biggest I have seen in the country’s hospitality sector and it supplies 20% of Peppermint’s herbs and vegetable needs. I particularly took quite a liking at their Peppermint Lemon Iced Tea infused with herbs grown inhouse. At only S$5 a jug, it’s quite a steal!
For the design-conscious, the PARKROYAL COLLECTION Marina Bay is definitely worth checking out for its distinctive interiors. It is amazing how the current designers were able to keep John Portman’s 30+ year old iconic design up to date by incorporating newer botanic elements. Those looking for a city getaway will be spoiled for choice here with the hotel’s numerous dining options, spa facilities as well as pretty comprehensive gym and pool. Marina Square is adjacent to the hotel but I never had to venture out at all – except that I wanted to check out the Singapore Flyer that evening.
The hotel currently has a few staycation packages, including a limited time promotion that starts at S$270 net and includes a one-night stay in an Lifestyle Room or a 100% dining credit rebate where they give you the equivalent of what you paid for the room as dining credit that you can use at Peach Blossoms, etc. They also have other packages that include spa services. You can check out their staycation packages here.