With its stunning architecture, extensive selection of restaurants, and its location right on the water, Mandarin Oriental Singapore, proves its age is timeless
The Mandarin Oriental is one of our favorite hotel groups. We love it for three simple reasons, the location (consistently they’re always the best all around the world), their restaurants, and the service is always A+. The design might vary from place to place, but we know we can always count on these factors being up to par.
The Mandarin Oriental Singapore is one their biggest properties; boasting 527 rooms, along with seven restaurants and bars. Sure enough, its location does not disappoint and the Mandarin Oriental can be found right in the heart of the Marina Center. This is the city’s entertainment, dining, and tourism hub which sits on one side of the Marina Bay. The Helix Bridge is right outside the front of the hotel, and makes for a beautiful stroll when it is lit up at night. Doing so will take you to the famous Marina Sands Hotel – perhaps Singapore’s most famous landmark.
When you pull up in the front of The Mandarin Oriental, you are impressed by its size but its design initially appears unremarkable. You are greeted by a flat facade, although the opulence inside is visible through the front windows. Approached from behind however, the interesting architecture becomes apparent. It is shaped like a fan – a decision made to represent the chain’s logo – and has a distinctive pyramid shaped wing which sits in the fan’s fold.
The architecture is most impressive inside. The core of the building is hollow, meaning that once you have passed through the lobby, you find yourself standing at the bottom of a huge twenty floor cavern. The edge of this is ringed with curving walkways (allowing access to the rooms), and the space gets smaller the higher you get. Some light is let in through the glass roof but, as this is small, the space is dark and the rays of sunlight which do get in accentuate the textured wood walls, and the statues in the lobby. The whole thing is spectacular.
We stayed in one of the Marina Bay View Rooms and as well as being comfortable, it was also well designed. As well as the king size bed, it had a comfortable reclining chair (complete with foot stool), and a desk. It was simple and functional, but the Eastern decoration made it feel elegant. I loved that they name their rooms according to what it overlooks, as this allows you to choose what you want to have a view of. We went for the Marina, and the floor to ceiling windows of our room gave us outstanding vistas of the most recognizable part of Singapore’s skyline.
Out of the seven food and drink options, five are fully functioning restaurants (and the other two serve sandwiches and snacks). As we were only there for a few nights, we only tried one but we were happy with our pick. Cherry Garden is Mandarin Oriental’s authentic Cantonese restaurant, and it ended up being one of our favorite Cantonese restaurants, period.
The decoration is beautiful, and once inside it feels like you are sitting in a pagoda. A mock roof of wooden beams runs overhead, and Eastern sculptures adorn various nooks and crannies. To get inside, you must pass through the dramatic wooden doors which – with their ornate metalwork – it looks like they have been there for hundreds of years. The whole place is laid out according to the principals of Feng Shui, giving it a nice touch of authenticity.
Their food is nice and light (unlike some Chinese restaurant’s offerings), and everything is packed full of flavor. The Cherry Garden is without doubt, a modern adaptation of traditional Cantonese fare, but this keeps it interesting and accessible. The sweet and sour Kurobuta pork with pineapple may sound simple, yet when mixed with cucumber and spices, the dish becomes special and memorable. Don’t even think about skipping the fried rice with Chinese sausage and vegetables, and do yourself a favor and save room for dessert...don't worry the best dessert is avocado cream and maple walnut ice cream...healthy right? The food can also be delivered to your room, and we liked it so much that this is exactly what we did the following night. It was a fun having a lazy evening eating Chinese takeaway in our bathrobes while watching a movie.
Breakfast was served in Melt Cafe, a casual restaurant with an international theme. Throughout the day, this place provides buffet food from all over the globe and breakfast is no different. The morning options included everything from local and Japanese dishes, omelettes, and pastries, to Belgian waffles and pancakes.
While the hotel does not have a long list of amenities to choose from, but the options they do have are done extremely well. Apart from the restaurants (there are Italian, American, and Japanese options to choose from), one of the Mandarin Oriental’s best features is the spa and wellness center. This is huge, as is the list of options available within. There are many different massages on offer, as well as other similar treatments, and a beauty menu which is almost as long. There is also a gym complete with personal trainers, and yoga sessions can be organized as well. My favorite feature however, was the beautiful 25 meter pool which was the perfect place to escape the heat.
Thanks to its location, you are spoiled for things to do if you stay at the Mandarin Oriental. There is a mall connected to the hotel, which has a few dining options and some little stores to walk into. In fact the Marine Center has no less than five different malls, so shoppers shouldn’t have any trouble finding something they like. The best one however, is Marina Bay Sands, over the Helix Bridge. This is one of the nicest malls that I have ever seen and the views are worth the visit as well! It is also home to a great food hall which is not to miss. Food halls in Singapore are awesome, and packed full of counters selling both local food and bites from places like Thailand, India and China.
This is a hotel for people who like staying in comfort and luxury. You won’t find yourself wanting for anything, and the hotel building is an attraction in itself. Once again, the Mandarin Oriental brand proves that it is one of the best high luxury groups, and cemented itself as one of our favorites. It’s the perfect place for people who travel in style and want to see Singapore, and it would also make a great choice for those visiting for business.
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