I totally agree with the previous reviewer. In many ways, whether or not to stay at this hotel should be a simple matter of taste. Do you want to step out of your hotel tower straight into the activity and retail mayhem of Orchard Road, or do you want the peace of a low-rise colonial building set atop a hill surrounded by glorious rainforest? If your preference is the latter, this hotel SHOULD fit the bill. But for every plus at this place, there's a minus to cancel it out. Probably easiest to list:
LOCATION: May be the greatest strength of this hotel and its biggest weakness. Early morning walks under the forest canopy of Fort Canning are a stunning way to start the day, especially when followed by a swim in one of the hotel's two impressive pools and breakfast. BUT leaving this oasis is a bit of an ordeal. To reach the shops (or business centres) one must either get a taxi (they are relatively cheap) or walk down many steps, cross a couple of roads and go through a shopping centre carpark to get to Dhoby Ghaut interchange, where trains are fast, clean and ruthlessly efficient. While the hotel is a haven to return to at the end of the day, walking back up the precipitous stairs in the equatorial heat after a shopping spree is exhausting. Few taxi drivers know the hotel.
ROOMS: Developers have done a nice(ish) job transforming this one-time country club, but the design of the rooms -- certainly the deluxe ones -- while admirably quirky, was the source of our greatest irritation. The location and configuration of the bathrooms is ridiculous. Situated against the only window, the prospect of a bath with a view initially feels inviting until you realise that all of Singapore can see you too. With no mirror over the basin, like the previous reviewer, my husband had to stand in, or lean over, the big bath to shave. Having to lower blinds -- very slowly as they're motorised -- every time somebody wants to pee let alone shower gets very annoying, especially as the rest of the room is plunged into darkness. It is probably the major fault with this place. (On a very minor note, one small bar of soap to cover three wet areas is not enough, nor does it make sense to have the tissues on a desk at the other end of the guest room. The hairdryer is not top quality.) Our bed was curiously located in the centre of the room with a desk and the room's door behind it. The room was too narrow for bedside tables, leaving nowhere to place a morning cup of tea but on a shelf above your head. The potential problems with that are obvious.
THE POOLS: Fantastic. There's a lap pool and a resort-style pool, as well as a paddling pool for toddlers. Again, on the downside, there is very little shade against the brutal heat and there is no drink/food service. It definitely lacks a 'resort' feel. In the whole time we were there, we saw three other people using the pools. Most of the time we had them to ourselves.
BREAKFAST: I see others have been impressed by the breakfast, but by south-east Asian hotel standards, we found it pretty dull and very limited. There is something for everybody, i.e. a nod to Chinese/Japanese/Indian/European but very, very few options within each category and they never change (this was probably more irritating over a week, than it would be for shorter stays). If there were gluten-free options available, it was purely an accident.
COMPLIMENTARY DRINKS: This is a lovely touch every evening at 6.00.
SERVICE: Two requests -- one to move to a more conventionally laid-out room (most of them are, aside from the bathroom factor) and a late check-out -- were both refused on the basis that the hotel was full. This may have been true, but there was little evidence of a full house.
BOTTOM LINE: For a peaceful Singapore stay, this hotel should be a no-brainer but until management fixes some huge flaws -- the lack of opaque window coverings, some strangely configured rooms and a sterile pool environment -- I would suggest staying somewhere else.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Surrounded by the lush greenery of a historical park, the heritage Hotel Fort Canning offers a discreet sanctuary of calm in the vibrant city and an epitome of style and modern comfort in each of its 86 guestrooms and suites. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Fort Canning Singapore