There’s something magical about the month of December. People tend to be out more, meet up with friends and family, go travelling and generally let their hair down, compared to the rest of the year. Since we just returned from South Korea and have no travel plans till next year, we were tempted by Mandarin Orchard Singapore’s Christmas and New Year package because, Christmas lights and shopping!
The lobby was decked out prettily with a lavish Christmas tree and a festive mood. Though it was crowded when we checked in around 4pm – the hotel has 1,077 guestrooms and suites after all – the process was a breeze and we were up in our Premier Room in no time.
Those staying with the hotel during the month of December will find vouchers enclosed in the cardholder with the room keys upon check in. Look forward to receiving $25 off the men’s and women’s department at Takashimaya Department Store and F&B savings like a 20% discount on food at Shisen Hanten and 50% off for the second person dining during lunch at Triple Three, Mandarin Orchard’s buffet restaurant.
Premier Room & Meritus Club Benefits
Space is a luxury in Singapore – especially when it comes to prime locations like Orchard Road – so we were surprised by how large (33 square metres, 362 square feet) our room was. Located in the Main Tower, our sanctuary on the 29th floor affords a rarely seen spectacle of Orchard Road and skyline views of one of the busiest parts of Singapore.
Besides all the usual amenities of a five-star property, you’ll also find something very handy called, well, Handy. This convenient little device can be used as a personal Hotspot in-room (though you wouldn’t need it since the entire hotel is wired for complimentary wifi) or a very smart smartphone outside of the hotel, since it acts as a local guide with a curated directory of places to eat, shop, and visit.
Before it got too late, we headed to the Meritus Club Lounge for evening drinks and canapes, which is just one of the many benefits of booking a Meritus Club room.Available from 6pm-8pm daily, guests can look forward to a variety of cold cuts and cheeses, hot snacks like chili prawns and crab croquettes, and even an array of desserts to go along with classic cocktails and wines.
Other perks of booking a Meritus Club room includes all-day coffee, tea, and light refreshments, two pieces complimentary pressing or normal laundry a day, and daily buffet breakfast at the Meritus Club Lounge.
Michelin Starred Dining at Shisen Hanten
Opened by Chen Kentaro, the grandson of Japan’s “Father of Szechwan Cuisine” Chen Kenmin and son of celebrity Iron Chef Chen Kenichi, Shishen Hanten is the first overseas branch of the same restaurant group in Japan (which have been around since 1958). Celebrating the flavours of Szechuan cuisine, Shisen Hanten also received two stars in the Singapore Michelin Guide.
We’ve always loved the many crystal chandeliers and high ceilings of the restaurant, which makes it fancy without being stuffy, as well as the city views from their window seats. Aside from being a perfect place for family meals as Chinese food usually is, it’s quite ideal for couples celebrating special occasions, especially if both of you love spicy food.
The generational family recipe Chen’s Mapo Doufu ($28) is a must-order – think smooth, silky tofu in a slightly savoury and spicy sauce of fermented beans and chili peppers – as is the Sautéed Chili Peppers and Chicken ($28), an iconic dish from the region that’s also their answer to fried chicken. We preferred the previous rendition of Chef Kentaro’s fusion Foie Gras Chawanmushi with Crab Roe Soup ($26 per portion) – there was more play on texture with a whole slab of egg custard and a stronger hint of foie gras – but the flavour profile is still worth a try.
Other dishes worth trying include the Stir-Fried Prawns with Chili Sauce ($38), where the sauce is quite similar to chili crab and can be mopped up with fried buns, and the Stewed Fish Fillet with Pickled Vegetables ($32) in a hot stone pot. Chef Kentaro uses sea perch fillet for the latter, which holds up well in the spicy and sour broth. Cool off at the end of your meal with a cold and creamy Almond Pudding ($8).
Local Favourites Elevated at Chatterbox
Mandarin Orchard Singapore’s all day dining restaurant opened in 1971 with much fanfare, because it was the first hotel-owned outlet to feature hawker fare on the menu. I’ve never had the signature Mandarin Chicken Rice ($27) before so I was definitely excited to take it to the taste test!
It’s said that every set of chicken rice at Chatterbox is apportioned quarter of a chicken, and the portion definitely looks at least double the size of the chicken rice you find in the local coffee shops. The rice could be more fragrant, but it’s really well-cooked with each grain discernable from the other. Pair it with the well-balanced chili and a side of Bean Sprouts with Crispy Silver Fish ($9), and you’re in for a treat.
Another signature of the restaurant is the Chatterbox Lobster Laksa ($36), another satisfying dish of whole Boston lobster, thick rice vermicelli, quail eggs, fish cakes, and dried bean curd in a thick, spicy coconut gravy. I would have loved for a side of sambal chili for that extra kick, but more importantly, the chefs managed to retain the fresh sweetness of the crustacean without it being overcooked.
Besides the facilities and amenities within the hotel, Mandarin Orchard Singapore is also attached to lifestyle mall Mandarin Gallery so you literally don’t have to leave the complex at all if you don’t want to. Have a happy staycation!
This article is sponsored by Mandarin Orchard Singapore.