Singapore has one of the world’s best airports and is a popular stopover spot for international travellers. However, therein lies the problem. Many regular visitors have already ‘been there, done that’ when it comes to Singapore’s local attractions. It still makes sense to take a day or two to relax before your onward journey so we decided to enjoy a ‘Singapore Staycation’ instead.
Our family recently gave the ‘Singapore Staycation’ concept a test drive at the Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel on our way to Europe. We had a good flight with Scoot but were keen to take it easy on arrival due to an early start and the time change between Australia and Singapore. We didn’t venture out on our first night, preferring to have a light bite at the Executive Lounge instead.
Executive Lounge at Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel
Located on Level 27, this lounge offers numerous food presentations throughout the day including a 4 hour complimentary cocktail hour between 5.30pm to 9.3pm. Here you’ll find a selection of beer, wine, cocktails and spirits along with an impressive selection of hot and cold hors d’oeuvres served from 5.30pm to 7.30pm daily. Desserts are available until 9.30pm.
A lot of thought has gone into what is on offer here with a combination of dishes that reflect the hotel’s Singaporean location as well as some crowd-pleasing international choices. The dumplings we had at this hotel were some of the best we’ve had in Singapore. We also enjoyed the high-end salad options which were prepared in smaller, regularly refreshed portions to keep them fresh and crisp. Breakfast is also available in the lounge each morning or you can head downstairs to the Marriott Cafe buffet breakfast at no extra charge.
It’s worth noting that children under 12 are not permitted in the Executive Lounge. We really enjoyed the serenity and were lucky as our son was old enough to join us. However, if your children are younger, a room without Executive Lounge access might be a better option unless you can afford to pay for babysitting or are travelling with extended family who can look after the kids for an hour or two each evening.
Which room at Singapore Marriot Tang Plaza Hotel
Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel has a distinctive octagonal shape which makes the Singapore Marriott rooms larger than average. There are ten different categories to choose from ranging from Deluxe and Premier Deluxe to the top suites. Rooms have a corporate feel with luxurious touches such as live orchids and high-end THANN products in the bathroom. I appreciated the work desk which had a comfortable chair and enough room to work. There was also a little side table that fitted over the couch so you could enjoy a coffee or room service snack while watching TV.
The Pool Terrace rooms located on the same level as the newly refurbished pool area are brand new and have a very different feel to the corporate vibe of the other rooms. Pool rooms are very much geared to romance and relaxation and come with a deep, stand-alone bath tub, an extended vanity area and outdoor sitting area screened with a low hedge and clever privacy screen. If you are travelling as a couple, one of these would be my top pick.
Singapore Marriott pool
The pool area has just been refurbished at great expense and it shows. Poolside cabanas and comfortable lounges surround the pool which is large enough to accommodate a vast number of guests without feeling crowded. It’s also more than large enough for swimming laps. There is also a spa on the same level as the fitness centre although this seemed like a bit of an afterthought.
The steam room and plunge pools are in the gym changing area and the ‘relaxation area’ where you fill out your paperwork and enjoy a welcome cup of ginger tea is a padded bench squeezed into a tiny space in front of the lifts. However, that said, the massage at this spa was one of the best I’ve ever had and the therapists were extremely professional. If you are more interested in a quality massage than the ‘overall spa experience’, then this spot is definitely worth a look.
What to see near Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel
Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel is located directly above the Orchard MRT Station and iconic TANGS department store. Shopping is a favourite pastime around this area (and, some would say, everywhere else in Singapore) for locals and tourists alike. Even if you are like me and not much of a shopper, it is fun to wander around and check out the likes of Prada, Rolex and Chanel. Don’t forget to stop in at TANGS which has a fabulous homewares section in the basement as well as an excellent food court. Just follow the locals.
Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel dining
We started each day at the Marriott Cafe, a light-filled buffet restaurant on the ground floor with live cooking stations and a juice genie, or at least that’s what we called her. This lovely lady would delight in mixing each of us the perfect juice from her many bottles of freshly squeezed goodness. After just one morning she remembered our order, saying to our son, “Pineapple and mango, but with more pineapple, yes?” Some of the other service at breakfast could be a bit hit and miss – we waited so long for our coffees one morning that we eventually gave up – however the superb breakfast spread more than made up for any minor glitches.
If you walk all the way through Marriott Cafe, you will come to Crossroads Cafe, a street-side restaurant offering an engaging mix of local and international cuisine. Think 100% Wagyu burgers, Hainanese chicken rice and soft shell crab salad. Servings are generous so be careful not to over-order. And, whatever you do, don’t miss the laksa. There is also Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant which serves Cantonese cuisine and the new Java+, a premium deli and coffee shop in the lobby. As well as providing a reliable and convenient coffee hit, this cafe is also a nice spot to relax with a glass of wine and listen to the pianist who provides live musical entertainment in the evening.
It is hard to choose a favourite dining venue at this hotel but I think ours would have to be the Pool Grill with its white linen-napped tables and elegant yet laid back vibe. It serves contemporary international cuisine and is very romantic in the evening with candles flickering throughout and soft lights illuminating the pool. Pool Grill also serves Sunday brunch from 11am to 5pm with locally inspired dishes such as Singapore chilli crab omelette and banana pancakes topped with palm sugar. There are always dining promotions going on at the hotel so ask about the latest specials when you check-in and plan your stay accordingly.
We thought Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza was the ultimate ‘Singapore Staycation’ hotel. We loved the beautiful new pool area and relaxing at the Executive Lounge each evening, browsing at Orchard Road and being able to indulge in well-priced hotel dining. When you’re feeling sad that you have to leave because you’re flying out to Paris, one of the world’s most beautiful cities, your ‘Singapore Staycation’ has definitely been a good one.
Disclosure: The writer was a guest of Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel.
If you’re in Singapore and looking for great coffee and a cool neighbourhood to explore, head to local favourite Tiong Bahru.