Hotel Review: The Fairmont, Singapore

Having stayed at The Fairmont before, it was a safe bet for me to stay in this hotel a second time when passing through Singapore for just a few days. The Fairmont has a lot going for it. It is centrally located, it’s connected to the City Hall MRT station on the East-West line which is a direct service from Changi airport, and it offers a competitive rate.

It is also one of the few hotels in Singapore that offer rooms with two double beds: a gem if you are traveling with family and don’t want to book two rooms.

We arrived into Changi at 8.00pm and took the MRT into the city centre. Two years ago the MRT ticket machines would only take cash but they now accept credit cards so this can make things simpler if you arrive without Singapore dollars. It’s about 40 mins on the MRT from Changi, probably about the same duration as a much more expensive cab ride. Arriving in City Hall station take the escalator up to the shopping zone and follow the signs for The Fairmont.

We arrived a little tired and the staff were quick to notice and offer some cool water. Check in was quick and we were offered the chance to upgrade our room to a large penthouse suite for a modest amount. We declined. (More on this later!) Although many of the rooms seem to now be renovated there may still be some non-refurbished rooms around, so make sure you ask for what you want. We had booked an executive room in advance. The price uplift was modest for the access to the lounge and the free breakfast for for people so it seemed like a good deal at the time.
As the helpful agent handed over our keys, she let us know that she had upgraded us to a suite in any event, free of charge. That was a nice touch. I am an Accor Platinum member and although the Fairmont group was recently acquired by Accor, there is no integration of their loyalty schemes so my high status officially counted for nothing!
Now to the room. This wasn’t a contemporarily decorated room, in fact it seems to have been one of the non-refurbished rooms, but what it lacked in modernity it made up for in space and comfort, as you can see from the pictures below. 

The views were excellent too and the complimentary  water and fruit were welcome alternative snacks for a late night bite, rather than dinner anywhere. (These were updated daily.) Now, I should point out that there was a welcome note in the room for me with my name on it: so paid upgrade or not, we were always likely to get this room!
Although we could have breakfast in the Lounge, on the first morning we went poolside for breakfast. 

This was probably the best location for breakfast. It wasn’t too busy and there was a selection that was on par with the main restaurant. We went there for breakfast the next morning and it was chaotic: slightly greater choice, but the wait for a table and crowds weren’t worth it.
One benefit of the Executive room is the access to the Lounge. We only had one evening when we arrived early enough to visit it. It’s a pleasant enough space. A little formal and stuffy though. There was a pleasing selection of drinks: beers, wines, and a few spirits, although the Moët et Chandon was the most popular tipple. This is not a ‘pour-your-own’ environment: the staff were very attentive though and I don’t think my glass was ever empty. The canapés were quite good too. I think I tried everything to make sure they were fit for purpose!

So I guess I could summarise this hotel as follows: excellent property, great location, outstanding staff and customer service, great value. I don’t know what more anyone could ask for!


Hotel Review: Hotel am Steinplatz, Berlin

The Steinplatz, part of the Marriott Autograph Collection is simply a wonderful boutique hotel. Like the Marriott Frankfurt which I reviewed here, I stayed here on a Visa pre-paid rate which offered free breakfast. This is not a particularly cheap hotel, but it is a high quality establishment, small, and discreet. I loved it. Its individual, slightly funky, Gaudi-esque  entrance gives you a clue about what to expect, the lobby area is compact and trendy enough to let you know you are in for a treat.

At checkin my Marriott Gold status was noted, but that was about it. There was no upgrade offered nor amenity provided. I was told that I would have been offered free breakfast for myself and a guest, but since that was included in my rate it was a rather moot point. There is no lounge here, so no access there, but even though I had expected a drinks coupon or two for the bar, none of this was forthcoming.

From there it all got better though. The room, though small, was very classy.

There was very much a modern luxury elegance to the hotel: the rooms finished to the highest standard. We stayed here on a B&B rate and if you have the opportunity I would suggest you do too. The breakfast area was lovely: you could sit indoors or in a summer garden area, as shown. The menu choices were excellent. A supreme buffet of typical cold cuts and continental selections and some hot foods to order: sausages, bacon, eggs, etc. You can also order one item off the menu: the eggs with Hollandaise sauces and spinach is not to be missed!

Even the corridors in this hotel had a certain charm about them. 

Not only are they very calming, but the framed pictures on the walls were, for the most part, framed video screens, and they had some really cool, and somewhat ghostly, old German imagery.

​ Overall, this is a great and very classy hotel in the Charlottenberg area of Berlin. It’s convenient to and a short walk from the S-Bahn Zoologischer Garten stop and there are several reasonably priced and relaxed eateries and bars close by. At about €172 per night including breakfast for two, I felt it to be great value for the quality of the establishment.

Hotel Review: Frankfurt Marriott Hotel

The Frankfurt Marriott on Hamburger Allee is huge but it’s also a bit of a gem. It’s popular with airline crews and multi-national travellers and of course many of those redeeming frequent traveller points. If you are looking for a small, intimate getaway this is not for you!

I stayed here on a pre-paid rate. Pay with Visa and get free breakfast. For around €100 for the room and two people this was a pretty good deal. With Marriott Gold status I was given access to the Executive Lounge upon checking in, but there was no room upgrade or other amenities offered, which was a little disappointing. I wasn’t too bothered though, the room was excellent and I got good use of the Lounge.

The room seemed recently refurbished and well presented. The bed was extremely comfortable. I was surprised that there was no free in-room water offered, but the lounge access made up for this slight inconvenience. However, the in-room tea selection was one of the best I’ve ever encountered: quite a selection!

The Executive Lounge was open all day and there were snacks, fresh fruit, and a fine selection of hot and cold drinks. The evening service kicked off from 5.30pm and ran on until 11.00pm with a good selection of wines and beers available. There was also a generous hors d’oeuvres selection: plentiful supplies of meats, salads, breads, and a hot dish. The cakes were outstanding too!

There was a breakfast service in the Lounge but we ate in the main restaurant: Brasserie Ici. This was a bit mad with a lot of food offerings, a lot of people, and not so much space!

The spread was impressive though and so was the price: €30 each if you chose the full buffet, so having it included in our rate was a good bonus.

Immediately outside the hotel was a tram stop with direct service to the main station just a few stops away, so from a transport perspective this Marriott was amazingly easy to get to, even from the airport.

Overall, I liked this hotel very much. The staff were very friendly and helpful. Like I said, the only slight drawback is its size, making it very busy and causing rather long waits for the elevators. However, if you can get a good deal and are patient, this place is a winner.