Most people my age, I’m guessing, come to know of the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel Singaporebecause of Zouk, since passing the façade of the hotel was essential to getting to the club’s old digs by the way of Jiak Kim Street. It is perhaps a relief to the Grand Copthorne (and their guests) that the nightlife institution has moved to Clarke Quay, and the property now looks spiffier than ever, following a S$17 million renovation that was completed end of 2016. Recently, we returned to check out what’s behind the familiar façade for our series on staycations in Singapore.

grand copthorne waterfront hotel singapore review

Grand Copthorne Waterfront shows its age with its largess when it comes to space, which is, naturally, a great thing for us space-starved Singaporeans. A giant installation is the life of the lobby, dotted with furniture in rich hues of burgundy and bronze. The massive lobby also leads guests off to two restaurants (all-day diner Food Capital and Italian Grissini, their Italian restaurant), and Tempo Bar, where the bartender shakes up a surprisingly good Gin Fizz. It was busy when we arrived in the afternoon, as should any 574-key hotel should be. The perks of snagging a Club Deluxe Bayview Room includes a fuss-free (and probably queue-free) check in at the Executive Club Lounge on level 29, so it was there that we went.

Since afternoon tea was being served at the lounge, we decided to linger over TWG tea and snacks and, of course, to admire the view. Being outside the CBD as its advantages sometimes, and the skyline as seen at the lounge bears a different but not less beautiful side of Singapore. Though not large, the food selection covers savoury items and sweets. We definitely ate too many egg mayo sandwiches. Come 6pm, the lounge also hosts the evening cocktail hour, offering executive club guests unlimited pours of prosecco, white wine, and red wine for two hours over a buffet of canapes.

grand copthorne waterfront hotel singapore review

Executive Club Lounge

Rooms on the top floor are accessible from the lounge via a staircase, so it was a quick walk up to our room for the night. The generosity of space at Grand Copthorne Waterfront reinforces itself in the Deluxe Room at 32 square metres (344 square feet). Amidst the contemporary colours of white, grey, dark wood, and pops of bright yellow sits a king-sized bed, a work desk, sofa, and a coffee table bearing a heavily loaded fruit platter alongside a bottle of red wine. We slept well, though staycationers looking for an even better sleep can take their pick from the pillow menu – how about one that’s lavender scented?

Wine glasses were available in the room’s mini pantry, which also stocks more complimentary TWG tea and coffee. As with everything, the bathroom – heavy on dark marble here – is larger than the average one attached to a deluxe room and comes complete with separate bathtub, shower, and toilet facilities.

grand copthorne waterfront hotel singapore review

Swimming Pool

Speaking of facilities, the hotel fares well with an old-school swimming pool (which is oddly endearing), a fitness studio that’s open 24/7, and two tennis courts available for guests to use. While the spa, J’s Salon, located in the hotel is independently owned, they’ve worked together to offer a Spa Retreatpackage. On top of free parking, breakfast for two, and discounts at Grand Copthorne’s restaurants, there’s a Golden Respite Treatment for two – a 60-minute Hair or Scalp Ritual for ladies and a Body Massage for men. Having been in the spa industry for more than 30 years, it’s no surprise that their therapy rooms are excellent in combining aromatherapy, music therapy, and even light therapy. The hair spa has been consistently voted the best in Asia, and we’ve also fallen in love with the garden-like room specifically designed for hair spa treatments.

grand copthorne waterfront hotel singapore review

J’s Salon

We finally tried Grissini as well, the hotel’s contemporary Italian grill restaurant. Named for breadsticks, these carbs arrived shortly after we settled into our seats. However, just as we thought we’ve seen it all, Grissini comes up with something else to tickle appetites – dark rye bread served with an edible, homemade thyme-infused butter candle. Unfortunately, the butter didn’t melt – though it did when we returned on another occasion – we we ended up scraping butter off the candle.

grand copthorne waterfront hotel singapore review

The class Caprese ($24) – buffalo mozzarella, beef heart tomatoes, Sicilian olive oil, and pine nuts – was under-seasoned and there wasn’t enough balsamic vinegar to go around. The Vongole($34) was better than average; the Mediterranean clams are fresh, spaghetti al dente, and came extra spicy (as requested). The Josper oven is put to good use here; the smell of the char on the Polpo ($42) and the Agnello ($44) was mouthwatering. The texture and bite of the octopus didn’t vary much throughout – which is good as the tentacle vary in thickness at across and cooking time needs to be quite precise – and is accompanied by carrot mousseline, ratte potatoes, heirlooms, and Kalamata olives. Sporting sides of pumpkin mousseline, potatoes, and asparagus, the Australian rack of lamb was an excellent medium rare.

With an enviable location by the Singapore River and five minutes from neighbourhoods like Robertson Quay, Chinatown, and Tiong Bahru, Grand Copthorne Waterfront isn’t a bad option for a city staycation. Just remember, spending a little more here on an Executive Club room goes a long way here.

Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel Singapore is located at 392 Havelock Road, Singapore 169663, p. +65 6733 0880. Club Deluxe Rooms start from S$300++ a night.

Top Image: Club Deluxe Bayview Room