3 buildings (Tower Wing, Garden Wing, Valley Wing)
22 Orange Grove Road, 258350, Singapore
The Shangri-La Singapore is a very special hotel. The Shangri-La is one of the havens of luxury around the world, and this one was the very first Shangri-La that opened its doors in 1971.
Barack Obama likes to stay in this hotel due to its location on a hill that provides a higher security standard. I dare to speculate this is complete nonsense. He simply likes the hotel for its wicked luxury and beautiful ambience.
The design of the lobby might not be everybody’s cup of tea. When it comes to Asian luxury hotel interior design don’t be surprised to find floral sofas next to striped chairs sitting on violet and golden rugs. A taste that often leaves Europeans quite puzzled.
But believe me when I say: by the time the waitress elegantly kneels by your table, dressed in a beautifully embellished silk kimono, taking your order, you will suddenly forget all strange interior design choices. You read right. In the lounge of the Garden Wing the service staff serve your afternoon tea (which, by the way, is included in the room rate) on their knees. I was deeply impressed when I experienced this kind of service for the first time. My waitress graciously getting on her knees in her tight kimono, effortlessly balancing a full tray, so that she can recommend and serve drinks on the same eye level as the sitting guest.
Service on the highest level of the world
There aren’t a lot of hotels that can keep up with the Shangri-La’s love for detail. You will recognize it in the rooms as well as the restaurants, the service standard and the breakfast. Maybe not so much in the pool area, which is nicely kept but holds the occasional plastic sign pointing to the typical threats such as „slippery“ or „do not dive“. After a few years most hotel managers don’t notice these little disturbers anymore, missing the obvious.
In the Shangri-La Singapore you will enjoy a wonderful breakfast that is among the best in the south east Asian area. It is not only is it delicious, it is set up right next to the pool, overlooking a beautiful garden. If you don’t choose to eat outside you will find a table in a beautiful breakfast room holding the buffet that is rich in variety. You will find Asian, European and American specialties, freshly pressed juices and delicious egg dishes – see for yourself:
I ordered the „Classic Egg Benedicts“ and the „Poached Eggs with smoked salmon“. This is how the tasty creations look like when served:
The bread was crispy, the asparagus crunchy, the salad leaves fresh and the home made sauce hollandaise tasted just like in Paris.
While some hotels are proud to offer three different kinds of toast, you will not find a self-service toaster here. Your waitress will serve your toast at the table, perfectly prepared, together with your desired eggs.
There is another delicacy I have to recommend: By all means, even if you’re not into sweets, try the home-made pralines, they are an unbelievable delight.
The tiny lemon pralinés are delicious, the cookies are caramelized and crispy. My favorite were the raspberry chocolate pralines though, they are so very wonderful, one should book a night in the hotel just to try them. They just lie around the breakfast buffet to help yourself, which makes you feel like in paradise.
Rooms and Suites
The hotel has three wings. All rooms are beautiful and luxurious. There is no such thing as a bad room in a Shangri-La.
But there are differences. The rooms in the first category are located in the Tower Wing. It makes sense to stay here if you mostly want to see the city and don’t spend a lot of time in the room. In the Garden Wing there is more of a holiday vibe going on. It reminds me of an expensive Florida holiday resort with light and spacious rooms, reddish brown wood and comfortable balconies. The bathroom offers the same laid back chic, with lovely teak wood shutters.
This is a Garden Room bathroom with the connecting window to the main room.
The Valley Wing is reserved for the VIPs: You definitely have to pay an extra dollar for the ultimate luxury. But you’ll get something in return: Huge rooms, tasteful design and special services such as the ultimate tea and coffee set on a dedicated serving table.
With the rooms being 60 m² the Shangri-La claims to have the biggest deluxe rooms in Singapore.
They have one big disadvantage though: no balcony. When seeking the sun, the billionaires from the Valley Wing have to join the millionaires from the Tower Wing at the pool.
For presidents and the richest of the rich there is the Shangri-La Suite in the Valley Wing. With 348 m² it offers enough space for rockstars including band members, bodyguards and quite a few groupies.
The bathrooms are spacious and elegant with cosmetics from L’Occitane.
Even though the Valley Wing is the most luxurious I would try to get a Deluxe Room with pool view in the Garden Wing on the 4th, 5th or 6th floor.
To me these rooms are the most beautiful ones even though the hotel is proud of the more luxurious Valley Wing rooms. But see for yourself:
Here you see a Garden Wing room which is a little bit more understated, but offers the same luxurious materials and a comfortable vibe. It has a little balcony overlooking the beautiful tropic garden and pool area.
This is the view from your balcony in the Garden Wing. The floors 4 to 6 have the best view.
Here you see a Valley Wing room for comparison:
This room is significantly larger and has an elegant French inspired interior. As I said, to me the Garden Wing rooms are more appealing. And there are no balconies in the Valley Wing.
Restaurants and Bars
At the moment there are eight restaurants and bars pampering the guests of the 747-room-hotel. For a business dinner I would suggest the japanese „Nadaman“ or the chinese „Shang Palace“ restaurant. I personally prefer to explore the city when on a private trip so I would always eat outside the hotel. Right in the middle of the colourful buzz of the financial and commercial metropolis of Singapore, or by the water by the elegant and busy Marina Bay.
The hotel reigns among the best of the world, especially when it comes to service. No matter if it’s the Shangri-La, the Mandarin Oriental, the Peninsula or the Raffles – service doesn’t get any better than in these Asian luxury hotel chains.
What strikes you when it comes to the typical Shangri-La service is this passion for detail. Every little detail seems thought through, every uniform, every saucer at the breakfast table, every floral bouquet seems a little more beautiful and a little more accurately hand picked than in other hotels of the same level.
Everybody in this hotel will give you the feeling that they will go to great lengths to make you happy – even if you express a wish that is not covered in the handbook.
Only when it comes to the garden and the pool area the service can be a little inconsistent, especially when the house is full and even the very last desk chair is taken. But these are complaints on a very high level.
Pool and Gardens
There is no doubt that the gardens of the Shangri-La are beautiful. You will feel very relaxed midst the wild tropical vegetation surrounding a pool for cooling off. But the paradise is not perfect. There are little things that would have to be eliminated if you are seeking aesthetic perfection: unsightly signs, loose cables, plastic covers and gutters, bright orange lifebelt holders,… Dear Shangri-La management, I understand that every warning and every note is important. But there are hotels, such as the Eden Roc, the Parrot Cay or the Byblos in Saint Tropez that manage to integrate the necessary signs into the setting with a little more style.
As mentioned this is critique on a very high level. Fact is, dispite tiniest aesthetic weak points, the Shangri-La is the textbook example of perfect management, service and refinement.
Therefore this hotel earns a well deserved spot in our „WOW! list: Best of the Best 2014″.