5 Raffles Ave, Marina Square, Singapore
In hot, tropical Singapore, it’s always a pleasure to enter the confines of the Mandarin Oriental. They must have an "Arctic" setting on their air conditioning, because it certainly is the city’s coldest hotel—which guests either love or hate. As this is primarily a high-end business hotel—and business men and women wear suits—presumably the cold air is for them.
Like it’s neighbour down the street, the Ritz-Carlton Millennia, the Mandarin Oriental presents a very solid 5-star luxury offering, though rooms at the Mandarin are typically a tad cheaper than those at the Ritz, where standard rooms are about 30% larger—and more luxurious. Still, the Mandarin has become an old faithful “go-to” hotel for Singapore, and it sees quite a lot of repeat business, from what we are told.
Rooms are contemporary Asian luxury, with lots of dark wood, elegant oriental furnishings and colorful silk accents. Business travelers will appreciate the large executive work desk, but tourists will wish they had a nice sofa perched in front of the room’s floor-to-ceiling windows.
There are two basic room views—the somewhat misleading “Ocean View,” which looks out to the east past the Benjamin Sheares Bridge and Singapore Flyer, and the “Harbour View.” By harbour view, they mean the magnificent Marina Bay view, and by “ocean” view they must mean flat body of darkish water on one side and full residence towers on the other. Opt for the Harbour View!
The hotel is admittedly getting a bit old (it first opened over 20 years ago), and some of the rooms are due for a refurbishment, though the hotel did complete a “soft renovation” in 2007.
This is a 527-room hotel, so expect long taxi queues and occasional wait times for the breakfast service. The hotel’s 25-meter rooftop pool is a one of the property’s best features, although it too can get crowded at busy times of the year.
The hotel has five or so dining options, but we tend to stick to Morton’s Steakhouse (within the hotel) or explore the many food and beverage options surrounding the hotel. For the best steak in Singapore, head over to Cut by Wolfgang Puck. Not only will you find the choicest cuts of meat, you can also sample some of the city's best cocktails (our favorite is London Calling).
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