Singapore does not seem to be a Country at the top of everyone’s list but it really should be. We had an opportunity to visit this beautiful Country and to stay at the wonderful Marina Mandarin hotel.
A Country that is as wonderful and vibrant as this one, needs a hotel that is easy, comfortable and convenient. We were glad that The Marina Mandarin fitted the bill perfectly.
We were offered a club room and of course we said yes! Now some people may wonder what this means, well first it is a room upgrade and more importantly it gives access to beer o’clock!
Lets start from when we arrived, so we can explain what the full flavour of being in a club room means. We pulled up in our taxi and with any good hotel the door man kindly took our bags, but we were then greeted by a receptionist at the door. We were asked out name, a quick check on a list and we were then taken straight up to the top floor of the hotel, to the 21st floor with its impressive views!
There were became part of a select group of guests. The top 2 floor of this hotel are for club guests only and we had our own club room! This is a perk most people do not know about and it really was like a secret society in there. Not stuffy or strange, but a relaxed and comfortable place to hang out.
The club room is positioned right at the front of the hotel, with a lounge, a meeting room, with dining areas. The club room is staffed by very helpful staff all keen to make sure our stay was first class. Cristian who was the Meritus Club Operations Manager was a top bloke, he was always cheerful, polite and made sure he said hello every chance he got. He made sure that the club room was always running perfectly. The right food, drink, guest relations and organising people were just a small part of his role but it all worked great. It was these personal touches that make our stay more enjoyable. If you see him (you cannot miss him because of his piercing blue eyes), make sure you tell him that you know The Caveman and perhaps he might sort out some better beer, he did for us!
So what did we get for being club status, the dining area in the club room served club guests with their own breakfast, with an ‘egg’ station which was great as the dining hall downstairs can seen a little impersonal. Then throughout the day, there were soft drinks and snacks put on however the big wait was for 6pm. This became known as Beer o’clock. The club room dining area puts on a spread, with some great treats, hot food, salads, desserts and fruit. The best bit was there was beer, wine, soft drinks and spirits all left out for the guests to help themselves – for free (well part of the upgrade). If this was not enough there were cocktails on offer, being made from a menu on the tables and we only needed to ask the staff who were more than willing to get more drinks for people.
Beer O’clock went on for 2 hours, in this time we found new friends, chatted to Cristian who told us about local areas of interest, where to visit and where to eat on the go, we had a great time, all whilst watching the sun go down and the landscape of the Singapore skyline change.
Now not everything revolved around the clubroom, there were other perks as well. A great room, laundry (which meant we came back with a suitcase of clean clothes), free Wi-Fi and the use of a mobile phone, with calls and a data connection, with all the social media apps we needed. We took it out with us when we explored the island and it worked great (the google maps app was a brilliant discovery).
Did we mention we were club guests? We were very excited, our room was 2033, meaning we were up on the 20th floor, with a balcony that has an amazing view across the Marina bay and more importantly as it was Chinese New Year, we had all the fireworks going off in the bay as well.
The room was large, spacious, air conditioned and had a huge bed. It had everything we needed for our 10 day stay. The bathroom was well equipped, an amazing shower unit, which was cleaned twice a day with fresh towels when needed. A big TV with 3 movie channels, a fridge and a mini-bar, with an almost unlimited supply of bottled water!
The size of the bed was mammoth (see what we did there? the big hairy elephant thing..) yet it did not dwarf the size of the room. Again it was changed and made up twice a day, the room attendants work hard and we never saw them it was brilliant, they even lined up shoes left out and folded clothes left hung over chairs, the service really was excellent.
Singapore is not seen as a relaxing holiday destination, but the Marina Mandarin Hotel had a fantastic pool. The deep end, really was deep at 2.5 meters. There was a lane for serious swimmers and a shallow kids paddling pool to the side. There were plenty of sun loungers, umbrellas and chairs out for those that want to spend a day or afternoon by the pool soaking up the rays.
The pool is guest access only, with pool towels by the entrance and there is a bar at the pool. With a life guard during the day, to make sure everyone is safe, it was fun to hang out there. We spent several afternoons at the pool, after some serious walking and exploring of Singapore City. Our favorite lounger was right in the corner, so with a book in hand and the huge umbrella, along with it being close to the pools corner steps it worked out just right. It was a perfect place to chill, lay in the sun and take a dip to sooth our achy legs and feet.
What else is there?
The position of the Hotel was perfect, attached to the Marina Square shopping centre, we could walk out the hotel into the shops and down to the SMRT, Esplanade stop (the brilliant Singapore underground, tube station). We had access to the whole island from here and we made full use of it. Costs to use the SMRT was cheap and the station maps were easy to read as well as signs everywhere to help people get to where they wanted to go.
We had a really active trip but still found that the hotel gym and fitness room had something to offer us, whether it was stretching off the old limbs or pumping some iron. Again staffed with towels on offer, there is enough to do in there to keep anyone entertained for half an hour or more.
Throughout this hotel, we found that The Marina Mandarin had amazing space and is an amazing hotel. The open atrium, when walking into it on the 4th floor at night, makes everyone look up with their mouths open.
There is a bar in the corner of the guest area, plenty of comfy looking seats and a piano that we heard often and enjoyed the music. There was a choice of eateries, from the steak house restaurant, to Peach Blossoms Chinese dining and of course the Aqua Marine restaurant.
With great looking conference facilities and a grand looking ballroom, which hosted a few Chinese New Year celebrations, this hotel had it all.
Our best memory of staying here, was the dragon dance for the New Year celebrations. For the entire morning a group of dragon dancers made their way around the hotel, drumming, dancing and entertaining the guests, visitors and staff alike, it was a once in a lifetime experience.
Being that this was a great location and the hotel was stunning, we made comment that this really would be a great cruise hotel. Not far from the cruise terminal and if those wanted to try, it was only a few stops on the SMRT. Cruisers would want to stay a night here before catching their boat, or wait here until the next day for their flight. As we said this, we walked through the reception area and spotted luggage with Celebrity Cruise tags on them, some people obviously read our minds.
We want to thank the Marina Mandarin hotel for a great stay, thanks to the staff who looked after us especially Cristian who knew what beer o’clock meant. If you do stay here and find yourself up in the clubroom between 6 and 8 pm and the beer does not quite taste right, you only need to ask for the Caveman’s beer! The staff will happily go and grab a cold Tiger beer, as what else would you want to drink in this brilliant hotel!?!