by Faris Almussallam
My trip to Singapore came as a bit of a surprise to me. My original trip to Stockholm was put on hold when my grandfather sadly passed away (may his soul rest in peace). Although I could have changed my plans, I had already booked a number of activities and restaurants and didn’t have time to be emailing back and forth to try and change everything. Instead, I scrapped my Stockholm plans, and decided to go somewhere familiar where I’d take it easy.
This narrowed the options down considerably, and upon careful consideration, I was left with three options – London, Paris, and Singapore. As this was the height of the summer travel season, the thought of being in London or Paris wasn’t so appealing, so Singapore was the winning choice. Because my intention was to unwind, I figured that I’d be spending considerably more time at the hotel than usual, so I decided to splurge a bit and selected the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
I booked a Club Room, with the thought that they are usually quieter, on a higher floor, and with an access to a wider array of services and amenities, such as use of the Club Lounge for breakfast, and a free airport transfer. I took advantage of this, and immediately was blown away by the luxury experience.
As we approached the hotel, I noticed that there were a few members of staff standing outside, and as the car stopped, I realized that they were there to greet me. I was slightly bemused by this, as I wasn’t used to the celebrity treatment. One of the friendly agents welcomed me to Singapore and to the hotel, and at this point, I thought that she was going to take me to the reception desk where she’d be checking me in – I was wrong. I was taken straight up to my room, where the final touches of the check-in process were completed. I was also asked if I’d like a newspaper or wake up call in the morning. All of this was simply mind-blowing – to me at least. I’ve been to some really fancy hotels in my life, but nobody’s check-in experience comes close to this celebrity experience, where it seems that their intention was to shield me from being seen or interacting with the public. As it was already past 10 in the evening, and I had gotten very little sleep over the last few days, I crawled into bed and went to sleep. It’s worth mentioning though, that view I had was probably as good as you get in Singapore!
I had a very restful night’s sleep, and actually woke up quite early – just as the Sun was coming up. I got dressed and made my way to the club lounge to have my breakfast. It was so peaceful and quiet, and I was the first person there. There was a small, but well-stocked buffet, as well as a number of items you could order a la carte. I had the eggs benedict – which would become the theme of this trip. They were so good, I had them every day!
Normally on my trips, I’m out the door and ready to explore the minute I finish breakfast. This time, however, I changed into my swimming shorts, took my iPad, and made a beeline for the pool. As it was still quite early, it was still very peaceful. I swam a couple of laps, and also walked around the area to enjoy the skyline views before plopping down into a cabana to chill.
As anyone who knows me knows, I’m a foodie. Although I did not try any of the hotel’s other restaurants, I did try their main restaurant where they serve breakfast – which has one of the most extensive buffets I have ever seen. However, the tradeoff here is the atmosphere. After getting used to the serenity of the club lounge, eating in the main restaurant was a bit too boisterous for me.
Another foodie point – I ordered from their room service menu – which was also quite extensive, and finally selected on a Thai dish. The presentation was simple, yet elegant, and the dish was extremely flavorful and filling.
I had never stayed at any of the hotel chain’s properties before, but after this experience, I’ll try to include them in my travel plans (whenever my budget permits, as they tend to be restrictively expensive, especially in certain cities around the world!).
Keep up to date with Faris’ journeys around the world by visiting his website www.traveleye.net, and follow him on Instagram @travel.eye, and on Facebook: Gotraveleye. Follow his YouTube channel @TraveleyeGlobal.