Mandarin Oriental, Singapore

The Mandarin Oriental, Singapore, is a five-star hotel with 510 rooms and suites. The property reopened in September 2023 following an extensive renovation.

THE LOCATION

The Mandarin Oriental is located across Raffles Avenue from Singapore’s Waterfront Promenade and has some of the most rewarding views of Marina Bay and the high-rise buildings of the Central Business District. That means it’s a brief taxi ride to attractions across the city.

Staying here places guests a 10-minute walk across the Helix Bridge, a footbridge whose design is modelled on the structure of DNA, from the ArtScience Museum and The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, one of the many shopping malls in Singapore. It’s a 20-minute walk to the multifaceted Gardens by the Bay.

The Singapore Flyer is approximately 15 minutes away by foot but it’s debatable as to whether views from the giant Ferris wheel are an improvement on those from the upper floors of the luxury hotel.

THE CHECK-IN

Krishan, a doorman whose uniform included a Panama hat, welcomed me to the hotel. After polite chit-chat, he presented me with a bottle of mineral water and offered to take my suitcase into the lobby. I subsequently chatted several times with Krishan during my stay and his personable approach and small talk helped make me feel very welcome.

The check-in was smooth, swift and pleasant. The serene, air-conditioned lobby of the hotel was cool and a welcome contrast to the sweat-inducing humidity outdoors. I was offered a face towel to mop away the beads running down my forehead and a cup of tea.

After checking in, I was guided up to my room on the 20th floor and shown how to operate the wall-mounted television, the roller blind and blackout curtain as well as the location of the tea and coffee-making facilities – inside a wooden cabinet decorated with oriental carvings.

THE ROOM

Mandarin bed

My carpeted bedroom (2032) proved spacious and, as I would expect of a luxury hotel, comfortable and quiet. It presented fine views of the nearby Singapore Flyer, Bay by the Gardens and Marina Bay Sands Hotel. I enjoyed relaxing in the armchair by the window and sipping tea while appreciating the view.

The wardrobe had plenty of space for me to hang and store my clothes plus a safe large enough for my laptop, camera and valuables. A tote bag was provided for my use while staying in the Mandarin Oriental –unfortunately, I didn’t have time to test if it could carry everything I needed to spend a day lounging by the pool.

My single criticism of the room was it did not have a traditional desk where I could sit and use my laptop in true comfort. The choice was to hunch over the coffee table or use of the ledge, the depth of my laptop, between the television and the drinks cabinet.

The bathroom had a bathtub as well as a walk-in shower, twin wash basins and lovely fluffy yet not overly soft towels. The adjacent toilet had a heated seat that I didn’t feel inclined to test in the tropical conditions.

Complimentary water bottles were available on the bedside table along with a copy of Mandarin Oriental magazine and other reading material. The bed was turned down by the time I returned to my room after spending the day exploring Singapore’s attractions. A small gift, a pouch holding sleep-inducing lavender, had been left. Perhaps I would have slept well anyway on the Egyptian cotton sheets?

KEY FACILITIES

The hotel has a 25-metre swimming pool on its fifth-floor terrace. Sun loungers surround it and the pool deck presents fine views of Marina Bay.

In addition to swimming, there’s a fitness room. Complimentary wellness activities are offered and personal training sessions are available for an extra charge.

Massages, facials and other treatments are offered in the hotel spa. There’s also a nail salon within the hotel.

As you would expect of a luxury hotel, meeting rooms and event facilities are available onsite.

RESTAURANTS

The Mandarin Oriental Singapore has eight food and drink outlets offering a range of dining experiences and culinary focuses. They include the Mandarin Cake Shop in the lobby, which offers exquisitely presented cakes, and fine-dining options such as Cherry Garden, where Cantonese cuisine is served, and Morton’s, The Steakhouse, serving American-style dishes.

I enjoyed starting the day at embu, the all-day restaurant whose sprawling buffet was exquisitely presented and encompassed a range of cuisines. I nibbled freshly cut fruit, delectable seafood dim sum and finished with a French-style pastry. The array of cheeses, meats, curry, noodles and Western-style cooked offerings looked tempting but my resolve held and did not overload my breakfast plate. The quantity was matched by the quality of the options available.

Coffee was delivered to my table and I read a copy of The Straits Times, Singapore’s long-established English language newspaper, while enjoying breakfast. Still having the sports section to read, I cracked and collected a second plate of the excellent dim sum.

Sightseeing sapped my energy, meaning that soaking in the bathtub proved more tempting than a cocktail when I returned to the hotel. Otherwise, I may well have spent an hour or so appreciating views of the city skyline while sipping a nightcap in MO BAR on level three.

VERDICT

The Mandarin Oriental proved a comfortable and very pleasant base while exploring Singapore.

Breakfast at embu was undoubtedly one of the highlights of staying at this upscale property that justifiably has the reputation of being one of the leading places to stay in Singapore.

THE DETAILS 

A night at the Mandarin Oriental, Singapore, starts at around £459 per night.

The Mandarin Oriental, Singapore, is at 5 Raffles Avenue, Marina Square, Singapore 039797.

mandarinoriental.com