Housed in a 1920s heritage building that was once home to the Telecommunications Authority of Singapore, Singapore’s first Sofitel brings 19th century French flourishes with a dash of designer flamboyance to the heart of the Central Business District.
For easy access to the Central Business District (Raffles Place, Chinatown, Marina Bay), its Robinson Road address is unrivalled. The nearest MRT stations – Downtown MRT station and Telok Ayer MRT station – are about 10 minutes by foot. A taxi ride to Marina Bay Sands will take no more than 5 to 10 minutes depending on traffic.
Style & character
Its 19th century neo-classical façade gives way to a plush – if ostentatious – Parisian-inspired interior decked with eclectic design pieces including a vertical “wall” comprising a crystal-studded hexagonal art installation separating the original heritage building (So Heritage wing) from the newly built tower (So Hip wing). Paris-based designer, Karl Lagerfeld, makes his presence felt throughout the boutique property by way of his custom-designed Lion’s Seal emblem sported on doorknockers (So Heritage wing only), bathrobes and bookend art pieces.
Service & facilities
The “ambassadors” in Lagerfeld-designed couture fronting the reception desk are sharp, polite and oh-so-efficient. But, there are service lapses elsewhere. We reported a breakdown of our in-room iPhone and, despite a reminder, the phone remained unfixed for more than 12 hours up until checkout. A request to tidy up the room during the evening also required two follow-up calls before action kicked-in.
- Fitness centre
- Room service
Fashioned in ornate French style with local accents, all 134 rooms and suites feature a clutch of distinctive design elements including a French cupola-inspired ceiling light box resembling a glass dome, an orchid-patterned felt board as well as a painting of Napoleon alongside framed photos of Singapore street scenes. Views are not the hotel’s strong suit but the in-room amenities – including Illy coffee machine, French-made bath amenities (including “his” and “hers” toiletries) and a thoughtful mix of free and chargeable drinks and snacks – plus free Wi-Fi – more than make up for it.
Apple fans will be pleased to know that the hotel’s default in-room phone is the iPhone and the iPad mini is used as a master remote control panel for everything from the TV to the air-conditioning. If money is no object, book the higher category rooms at the So Hip wing, all of which sport soaring ceilings, over-sized bathtubs and, exclusively for the So Lofty suites only, colonnaded balconies.
Food & drink
Apart from Hi-So, a rooftop pool bar perched on level six, there’s Xperience where Singapore’s first female French chef, Anne-Cecile Degennes, fields a menu of classics and fusion dishes (think foie gras pork dumpling with black truffles and braised wagyu short ribs with truffled gnocchi). While you’re here, don’t miss the festivity of tucking into satay, oyster omelette and other hawker fare at Lau Pa Sat; it’s no more than a skip, a hop and a jump away from the hotel.
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