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Located in Orchard Road, Hilton Singapore – which first opened in September 1969 – is an iconic landmark that showcases an architectural amalgamation of Eastern and Western influences.

When Dickson invited me for a staycation at Hilton to do a review, I immediately jumped on the opportunity. After all, with Hilton set to manage the Mandarin Orchard Singapore in 2022 (under a newly rebranded name Hilton Singapore Orchard), this year is the last year we get to stay at this iconic property that once was unparalleled  along Orchard Road.

CHECK-IN

I arrived for check-in at 2pm, and the process was rather smooth and painless.

In line with procedures, I was required to first check-in using my TraceTogether app or token, while also taking my temperature, a standard practice now in Singapore.

Within a couple of minutes, I was handed the key card, and was informed of a complimentary upgrade to the Twin Deluxe Plus Room! This was one tier higher than the basic Deluxe Room.

Twin Deluxe Room Plus

For this stay, we were awarded the corner room on the 14th floor and while the room was clean, I felt the facilities were rather dated. The bedside tables were lacking USB charging ports, and the TV was not a smart TV – meaning no Netflix or Disney Plus.

The Nespresso machine and the Herman Miller ergonomic chair were nice touches but overall, the room failed to impress. However, the room did have one saving grace – the mattresses.

The mattress was really comfortable, having the right level of softness without compromising on back support. It was so enticing that I took the opportunity to take a siesta after settling in. This was in line to what I experienced with Dickson in Malacca when we visited the Doubletree Hilton Malacca.

Like the room, the toilet was also dated and overall rather disappointing. The shower-bathtub combo was not up to par for a five-star hotel and seemed more befitting of a Hilton Garden Inn property.

As Dickson stays at Hilton rather often, he has kindly provided photos of other room types. Below are some images of the premium rooms, which offer rain showers and a 50 inch SMART TV which includes the Premier League! You can definitely see that it is more refined and it’s worth an upgrade if you want a more cosy experience.

Sadly, Dickson has never been upgraded to the Executive Suite. Based on released photos, its definitely worth looking at! The upgrade offer stands at about $150.

EXECUTIVE LOUNGE

As we approached evening, we proceeded to 22nd floor for afternoon tea at the executive lounge. 2 slots lasting an hour each were given to guests, at 5.30pm and 6.30pm respectively. It’s not possible to book the lounge before your stay, so it’s imperative to do this as you check in at the front desk. I managed to snag 2 seats for the 630pm time slot for this stay!

The lounge certainly captures imagination on what a renovated Hilton Singapore can offer. You can tell from the pictures below on how the new furniture and refreshed ambiance differs from the room.

Similar to other Hilton properties, there was an extensive selection of alcoholic & non-alcoholic beverages available for guests.

The food options at Hilton lounges change daily and can be rather hit-and-miss. Strangely, they dont seem to showcase the menu and rather let guests be surprised! Fortunately, there always seem to be at least a couple of good selections and I thus requested for only these items during subsequent servings (Yes, the food is free flow!).

We left the evening cocktails with our cravings satisfied and a full belly, so much so that we decided to give dinner a miss.

As mentioned, Dickson has stayed multiple times at the property and has provided photos of other food options he has received too. He especially loves the focaccia bread, chicken wings, and lemon passionfruit tart!

FACILITIES

We decided to explore the rest of the hotel after leaving the executive lounge.

The fitness centre is located on the 23rd floor of the hotel. The gym looked to be well-equipped and in a good condition.

We then headed to the rooftop to visit the swimming pool. While the pool was not the biggest, it did offer a decent view of Orchard Road. It also looks to be a great spot to spend your afternoons chilling out. For those who like landmark spotting, you can see Singapore’s highest vantage point too, Bukit Timah Hill!

As with most hotels in Singapore during the COVID-19 period, we were required to book a timeslot to use the swimming pool. We thus booked the 7am timeslot for the following morning.

We eagerly headed up to the pool come the next morning only to be greeted with ominous dark clouds. Still refusing to give up hope on using the pool, I changed into my swimming trunks, took a quick shower, and jumped into the pool to get some laps in.

Alas my luck held only for a few minutes before the heavens opened up, thus leaving me scrambling for my belongings outside the pool, and bringing my morning swim to a premature end.

Nevertheless, the fresh air at the rooftop and the morning sunrise made it a serene environment to start any day!

BREAKFAST

After the travesty of the (lack there of) morning swim, we headed down to the in house restaurant, Opus Grill, for breakfast.

Diamond members used to have the option of having breakfast at the lounge, but this has been put on hold ever since COVID-19 struck.

Breakfast items were pretty standard. We started off with some pastries, fresh fruits, and hot drinks.

For the main course, I chose Mee Hoon Goreng (the Asian Daily Special) while Dickson went with the Nasi Lemak.

The Mee Hoon Goreng was a tad too salty and the serving size was quite underwhelming. Dickson seemed to be enjoying his Nasi Lemak so I shamelessly asked for a small sample.

While the rice in the Nasi Lemak was painfully mediocre, the dish was more than saved by the most important ingredient, the chilli! With the just the right mix of sweetness and spiciness, the sambal chilli did an excellent job flavouring the dish.

Feel free to grab refills of items like muesli, fruits, toast, yogurt, just ask the kind Hilton staff!

After breakfast, we headed to D9 cakery – located just outside the breakfast are facing the front desk – to try some cake.

We ordered a slice each of the double chocolate cake and the Hilton famous walnut cheese cake. The cakes did not disappoint.

The chocolate cake was rich but not over powering. There was just the right amount of cocoa to flavour the cake. Unlike most other chocolate cakes, it was not overwhelmingly sweet. A slice typically goes for S$6 and a whole cake for S$55.

The walnut cheesecake was just as good as the chocolate cake! It was smooth, rich, and well-flavoured. My only minor gripe would be that I would prefer the cheesecake to be a tad denser.

CONCLUSION

The staycation at Hilton Singapore was a great experience overall and a welcome respite. While the rooms were dated, that was my only gripe from my entire experience.

The service was excellent overall, and the facilities were adequate. While the food is rather hit-and-miss, there are enough options to satisfy one’s cravings.

The highlight of the trip in my book was definitely D9 cakery. I would definitely head back down to try out more desserts from the menu and I certainly hope that the cakery will survive the shift to Hilton Singapore Orchard.

I am eagerly awaiting the 2022 opening of the Hilton Singapore Orchard and cannot wait to try a staycation over there!

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