Arriving late into any city in the world there’s nothing you want more than a seamless transition from the airport to your hotel, and ultimately, directly to your room to sleep.
It was a surreal feeling to speed along the Pan Island Expressway as the time neared midnight with no traffic to speak of. Pulling up to the hotel entrance I was in a daze, unbeknown to me as I paid my fare my bags were being carefully removed from the boot and the porter was opening the door to the cab - he smiled widely as he welcomed me to the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
I was given a tag and instructed to present this at reception where I would check-in, a process that went so smoothly I barely noticed the time passing and moments later two key cards were pressed onto the counter in front of me and I was being directed to the elevators.
The junior suite I entered appeared as if imagined. As if I had been able to take all the favourable elements from previous hotel stays and assemble my own room in advance of my arrival. This was a progressive deduction as I looked around, my first thought had been that the entrance and living areas were so spacious I hoped there would be sufficient capacity for an equally sizeable bedroom and bathroom. I was not disappointed.
I stopped staring longingly at the kingsized bed and at the same time picturing my bag unpacking itself, my phone automatically connecting to WiFi and three necessary emails writing and sending themselves. Maybe too that what was left of my makeup would dissolve from my face and that the feeling of a long bath would overcome me without committing the time required to do any of it, all just so I could get immediately into bed.
Back in the real world I hit the shower.
While the in-flight hand towels and a succession of my own makeup wipes had got me this far I was looking forward to standing beneath the large round monsoon shower head for as long as I felt was required to wash away fourteen hours of travel. I was there a while and blame June Jacobs. This world-renowned spa visionary partnered with Grand Hyatt to come up with a custom-designed line, one inspired by their bestselling Green Tea and Cucumber collection. I overindulged and hoped they would be replenished the next day by someone who understood my need for post long haul excess.
The sheets, the pillows, I think I melted into them and slept like I’d not slept in months. Sure, holidays will do this to the best of us but there are beds and linen and there are beds and linen. And pillows. The curtains locked out the light until I was ready to open my eyes of my own accord and I woke feeling rested and ready. For most of us, I’m quite sure that’s a win we would all be grateful for.
I had eaten my fill on the plane and located the mini bar on arrival, a disservice in hindsight because it meant missing the hotel breakfast at Straits Kitchen due to not being remotely hungry. I was however afforded the intel that a nearby coffee house would see me through a much needed caffeine fix. Let’s name it up, it is after all only next door - and, Coffee Academics is an institution.
If I’m honest, I missed breakfast for another reason too, because I had a bath. There were more spa products bath-side you see and a loofah, and it takes a while to fill a bath too. How am I going with the list of excuses?
I don’t know about you but I like to choose my accommodation based on what it offers, I’ve never just wanted to stay somewhere solely out of convenience, but little did I know that in the coming weeks, the Grand Hyatt Singapore would go so far as to come to feel like home. This is something that might make complete sense to a regular business traveller but that wasn’t the sole purpose of my stay, so - this feeling was entirely new to me.
There were certain slivers of service that crept beneath subconscious expectations that no lucid person could ignore. And, as always it’s the simple things that go the distance; for example my name was always remembered, yes I recognise this could be because I was the only person who on most mornings arrived for breakfast in thongs, shorts and a t-shirt among the business clientele - all so well dressed that if I had an acknowledged inferiority complex I might have ordered room service.
Don’t ever let the business contingent deter you from Straits Kitchen though. It blew my mind, I love good food and I have about as much self control when it comes to food as fire in a cane field. I’m not partial to any one cuisine which made ALL the stations in Straits Kitchen appealing, it also made for a questionable mix. At least to the observer of my passing plate. I am always going to succumb to a patchwork of cuisines if they’re there for the taking. My stomach was looking up with a serious case of “what the hell; what time is it, are you really going to eat that for breakfast?” I can’t possibly share with you all I enjoyed because as a meal, it quite simply doesn’t work on paper, only on plate - through my own eyes.
I will tell you this much though, if you’re looking to savour authentic hawker-style dishes in one place, you have most certainly arrived. You are in for a gastronomic overload! If traditional hawkers markets appeal then Straits Kitchen will hit the mark for all the cuisines, Malay, Peranakan, Chinese and Indian. The Grand Hyatt actively sought the best hawkers in town and employed them to ensure the authentic standard of the food. I rightly wanted something from every station and I think you might too - it was all sensational.
It depends where you’re from I suppose but for me sitting by a pool in Singapore, even by Australian standards there’s every chance you will melt. It’s beautiful, but dive in quick because baking poolside is not attractive, it’s more likely to resemble a high intensity workout, just without any of the effort and not in your gym gear. In any case it usually means you’ll find a free banana lounge. The restaurant overlooking the pool is a good choice for its open charcoal-fired grilled vegetables, premium meats and succulent seafoods.
While we’re on the topic of restaurants, during my stay I was fortunate to sample the Mezza9 top ten dishes and top five desserts, closely followed by their nine signature martinis. Needless to say this was a gastronomically memorable evening and one I look forward to sharing over the coming weeks. However, if you are staying at the Grand Hyatt Singapore now, or plan to, I suggest you make it your business to pay both the restaurant and the Martini Bar a visit, I am confident you will find them eminently satisfying.
For now though, back to Grand Hyatt Singapore efficiency. I woke the next morning having slept in. I jumped out of bed, slid across the bathroom floor, splashed water on my face, cleaned my teeth and grabbed all the half-dry washing I had slung off every rail I could find - including the one in the wardrobe. Everything was thrown into my pack, I jammed my shoes in at the end and quickly zipped it up. Still in the last nights' clothes I hoist my day-pack onto my shoulder and dragged my big pack out the door mentally revisiting the room I’d just left to ensure I’d collected everything as I went down in the lift.
Downstairs I raced over to reception in a panic, “I’m late!” I say, “Can you please just charge my card?” This was no issue and I was escorted out to an awaiting cab who high-tailed it to the airport.
But let’s back it up. Never before had I experienced hotel hospitality of such consistent standard, there is so much to be said for time, for genuine interest and ultimate dedication toward influencing a positive guest experience. So many could learn so much, I was learning, every day.
I left feeling valued and respected. Even as I flew out the doors and right by the wonderful doorman I’d spoken to daily for five days, I received the same heartfelt well wishes - a courtesy that will more often than not affect a good-natured response in others. I consider myself well-mannered at the best of times but staying here, well I don’t think I have ever said thank you so frequently and meant it so sincerely.
Two weeks later I returned to the hotel. We’ve all had that feeling, after a long day at work or in transit when you arrive home. Everything is in its place and the relief is instant as you walk through the door and sink onto the couch - overcome with tiredness but knowing you are home. I, had come home.
The Grand Hyatt Singapore is also where you will find the Damai Spa. I had discovered this during my first stay when I went to use the gym, now though, after two weeks on the road I had no intention of using the gym and took the elevator down to the Spa to collect a menu. The team on the desk were very patient in dealing with my indecision and ten minutes later I had booked myself in for a three hour “Spa Journey” comprising the Lemon Sugar Full Body Polish, a Traditional Malay Urut Massage using deep thumb and forearm kneading and palm pressure along energy meridians to promote physical and mental well-being and a ESPA Purifying Facial. I was booked in for 6pm which meant I had an hour and a half to fill in so I headed back upstairs to order room service for an early dinner.
I have neglected to mention the extensive room service menu. Also my initial confusion in locating it. It was my first night and I was on the phone having a work discussion while opening every drawer and cupboard I could see thinking that there must surely be some kind of compendium containing, amongst other information, the room service menu. As the conversation was coming to an end I exclaimed with excitement that the search had ended and that I must go because there was so much to choose from I needed to sit down and flick, sorry - click through all the options, and the wine list. It was so much better than channel surfing!
Having eaten a light meal with a glass of water I returned to the Spa. Damai, meaning peace in Indonesian culture embodied this; while I waited I was delivered a warm towel and a glass of fresh cool coconut water and under the warm, subdued lighting I began to relax. I was led down a hallway of yellow balau timber floor to a beautiful treatment room, an inspired sanctuary embracing the multi-ethnicity of Singapore and its environment with a view to its own water feature.
I recall having a shower after the Lemon Sugar Full Body Polish and returning to the massage bed for the remaining two hours of treatment, but little else! The massage therapist was first class. Spa Journey complete I floated out to the front desk to collect my supper, a freshly made salad and lime juice from the Oasis Restaurant. With no recollection of any conversation that may have ensued, I took the elevator back up to my room, my brain in a tranquil, content state of mush. What an idyllic way to bring a wonderful stay at this outstanding hotel to a close.
My stay at the Grand Hyatt Singapore was flawless, this was my experience then and my unshakable view some two months after having returned home to Australia.
The Grand Hyatt Singapore is located in the heart of the world-renowned Orchard Road precinct, the city’s shopping and entertainment district and minutes way from the financial district and cultural attractions. It’s just a 5-minute walk from Orchard MRT Station and only a 25 minute drive from the airport. So for me, while a hotel stay is about the experience, at the Grand Hyatt Singapore you get convenience as well.
Reward yourself, the Grand Hyatt Singapore goes above and beyond.