You’re probably no stranger to the Sofitel brand, which first entered the Singapore market in 2014 with the stylish SO Sofitel, and then its elegant resort and spa in Sentosa a year later. So it might also not be news that the French luxury chain recently opened its third property, Sofitel Singapore City Centre, right above the train station in Tanjong Pagar half a year back.
We found ourselves staying at the hotel for a night last week, and it’s a good thing we did. Because when we say we checked out of a hotel feeling absolutely blown away, we mean it.
Location & Space
Nestled on the outskirts of the Central Business District, Sofitel Singapore City Centre climbs high up into the sky, presiding over Tanjong Pagar and Chinatown – which we feel are two of the island’s best (and historical) neighbourhoods. With an MRT station right below and within walking distance of the Maxwell Hawker Centre, it’s easy to experience the authentic Singapore experience.
If the Sentosa property is muted sophistication and SO Sofitel stylishly vibrant, the City Centre property is would be best described as a cocktail of pure luxury and French elegance.
The hotel is still fairly new and it’s apparent that everything is properly cleaned and well-maintained. From the ground floor entrance, you take a lift to the fifth floor lobby, an expansive space brazenly filled with classy copper mirrors, marble-topped tables, and designer armchairs all round.
In a sort of cultural homage to Singapore’s botanical richness, you’ll find a number of floral-inspired art pieces created by artist-in-residence and celebrated Italian painter Arianna Caroli.
Sofitel City Centre’s promises of refinement and spaciousness are best experienced in the rooms. Our Luxury Club room is cleanly designed with floral-print cushions and carpets, brass lamps, and ample storage space, and the bed, a proprietary Sofitel MyBed, is very comfortable with more pillows than you’ll need. A full-length window promises you views that look out into the greater part of the Chinatown and Outram Park precincts. The free minibar – stocked with coconut water, assorted drinks, some olives, and a packet of truffle chips – is a much-appreciated gesture, and there is an enamel white TWG tea set with assortment tea blends, including a delicious French Earl Grey.
There are also nice touches like a large Bose bluetooth speaker, Handy smartphone with complimentary data, a purchasable colouring book for kids, and a full stationery set – if you ever need a ruler or stapler on the go. The bathroom boasts designer Lanvin toiletries (that we may or may not have brought back home with us), and little surprises like a tub caddy on which you can place your glass of wine or book for when you’re feeling fancy.
Facilities & Service
If you upgraded your room, you get access to a private check-in at Club Millésime, the regal executive lounge that looks out into the pool. Needless to say, the process is fast and smooth – complete with a refreshing face towel and sweet welcome drink (a cold lemongrass and pandan tea). The lounge staff are friendly and down-to-earth, and our needs are so quickly attended to, one could almost feel like French royalty – almost.
Also find a well-equipped gym (aptly named SoFIT) on the same floor, and the aforementioned outdoor infinity pool that’s long enough for laps. Lined with small trees on one side and facing buildings on the other, the pool is partly joined to a small jacuzzi that’s heated. Club room guests are also allowed access to the Virgin Active Fitness at Tanjong Pagar Centre, accessible through a private link bridge on the same floor.
Food & Drink
In the evening, club guests can head to Club Millésime for cocktails, canapes, and light bites of salads, cheeses, and charcuterie. You’ll want to try a hand at their wine dispenser, a cool auto-pour system that allows you to select precise pours.
Below, there’s Racines, a chic French restaurant headed by award-winning (“Chevalier de l’Ordre du Merite Agricole”) Executive Chef Jean-Charles Dubois, who’s formerly of Raffles Grill over at the Raffles Hotel. This is where he serves up dishes like a lobster bisque served with coral oil and Emmental ravioli, and a chargrilled Galician octopus with lime crème fraîche. That, and a spankin’ good breakfast of pancakes, waffles, and crepes.
As for drinks, be spoilt for choices at Coffea with 13 varieties of Grand Crus coffees (alongside freshly-baked pastries and gourmet sandwiches) or the cocktails at the 1864 lobby bar.