Park Royal on Beach Road – Singapore

I was staying in Singapore for 11 nights on business as part of a project.  There were some 21 global colleagues staying in the same hotel; alas I had no choice in the brand.

I had never heard of Park Royal hotels before I received the reservation confirmation from my client.  They seem to have a number of hotels in Asia that target the higher end of mid-range clientèle.  They do not have their own loyalty programme, however they are part of GHA (Global Hotel Alliance), which is at least something.

A chauffeur car was included with my Emirates flight and less than 20 minutes after leaving the airport, we were pulling into the hotel.  The first thing I noticed was that there was a huge building site right next to the hotel – more on this later.

There are 7 floors here but from the outside, the building looks a lot bigger.  There are many rooms here – indeed walking from one end of the corridor, passed the elevators and down the other end is a task that I don’t want to repeat.

As my car pulled up, the concierge helped me with my bags.  The check in process was complex.  And very, very long, starting with a request for my passport and ending some 15 minutes later with a room key in an envelope.  Throughout this experience I did manage to connect my phone to the free Wi-Fi, which is available throughout the hotel.  Despite having to log on every 24 hours, the fast Wi-Fi throughout is probably the hotels biggest asset.

My room was on the 5th floor.  It was advertised as a ‘Deluxe’ room but I suspect it was as standard as they come.  The corporate rate was SG$210 per night net.  The room was pretty big; it has a Queen bed, a desk, a wardrobe with real hangers, a bench for my luggage (with a handy drawer for laundry), and all the normal stuff you would expect.  It also had a mini-bar that provided a limited selection of water, beer and spirits.  A can of Tiger beer was SG$10.  The view from room was beautiful; I could see the detail of the building site next door.

After a shower (toiletries were OK, toothbrush and a few other extras included as standard) and a change of clothes I went out in search of a Singapore PAYG SIM.  I took a short walk to Bugis MRT (took about 15 minutes, which in the sun to a dazed and confused Scotsman like me was long enough).  There was a great store here which sold me a SIM for SG$18 which gave me SG$15 of credit.  SG$7 gave me 1GB of mobile data which could be used over 7 days – what an excellent deal.  The provider was Sing Tel.

I killed a few hours (and spent more than a few dollars) having a wander and a beer.  I was amazed at all of the eateries behind Bugis station that served meat and a cooker to your table so you could cook dinner yourself!  After this it was back to the hotel.

Breakfast was served downstairs and offered a pretty good selection (although not quite as cool as the Hilton PJ).  The apple juice was nice (yeah!) and you could have everything from cereal to toast to curry to omelettes and everything in between.  Service wasn’t bad – although you did have to stop one of the very busy waiters if you needed some more tea or coffee.

The bar here was odd; think of a 1930’s club that plays old music and sells spirits by the bottle.  Every time I looked in the window I saw locals wearing dresses and suits, dancing – normally to the tango.  I am sure this could have been fun if I were staying with Mrs Travel Freak, but I do not think it’s the best place to go for a quiet beer.  There is a pool on the 4th floor that has a small bar but its only open till 9pm and the beer was as flat as a pancake.  If you do go to the bar check out the lights… and try not to have rude thoughts!

Fast-forward a night – its 8:30pm and I was doing some work at the desk.  The noise from the building site was becoming unbearable.  I called downstairs and explained the situation.  I was assured that the noise would all stop by 9pm.  It did and I went to bed.

The next morning I woke up and went to put my laptop in my bag (it has been charging at the desk) and noticed several tiny ants crawling on the keys.  As I made some noises around the laptop several more appeared from within the keyboard.  I was not best amused at my shiny and new MacBook Pro being covered in ants.  This happened a few times during my stay – ants randomly appearing on surfaces, although never the bed.  I am not sure why this happened but it was the biggest surprise I have woken up to in a hotel room (when alone anyway!) for a while!

Fast-forward another few nights – its 10:30pm and the noise is outrageous.  I call downstairs again and I am informed that the building works may go on until 11pm.  Had I been made aware of this in the first place then I would have moved rooms.  More to the point – why are they even selling these rooms?  The noise did stop about 11:15pm on this night, however there was one night during my stay when the noise didn’t stop at all; I went to bed hearing a hammer and woke up to the same noise.

Top tip – ask for a room away from the building works.  You should also be aware that you can walk to Little India from the hotel – it’s a 2-line change journey on MRT or a leisurely 20-minute walk that shows you a bit of the Singapore away from the tourist areas.

There was an Exec Lounge here (Orchard Club) however despite my best efforts I couldn’t get a status match on my Hilton Diamond; I wasn’t given the opportunity to upgrade to a Club room and I didn’t feel the need to ask.

Several different taxi drivers reliably informed me that over the next year or so, several more large hotels are opening in Singapore.  Hopefully this will encourage all of the current players to up their game.  I wouldn’t rush back to the Park Royal at SG$210 a night – but maybe I am still bitter that I didn’t have lounge access.  Status is everything when travelling…is it not?

Park Royal on Beach Road, 7500A Beach Road, The Plaza, Bugis, 199591 Singapore.  Website

Wow. It's Quiet Here...

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