Tatler checks into one of Orchard Road's most iconic hotels, Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza for a weekend getaway

By now, most of us would have come to terms with the fact that we can’t go on our annual vacation or that long-awaited trip that was planned months ago. There are, of course, ways to cure your wanderlust with virtual travel options but who are we kidding? It’s not the same.

But Singaporeans are a lucky bunch—there are plenty of luxurious hotels around the city to choose from, making it perfect for us to embark on a staycation. Since the Singapore Tourism Board’s announcement in July that hotels could apply to accept staycation bookings during phase two of the country's safe re-opening, many rejoiced at the fact that they could finally enjoy a ‘Singapoliday’.

(Related: Phase 2 Staycations: The Best Hotels in Singapore)

Not one to feel left out, we checked into the Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel for one weekend to enjoy a much-needed getaway.

1. First Impressions

I’ll be honest: walking into a hotel lobby after months of quarantine brought upon a wonderful feeling. It signalled a blissful weekend ahead, one that would help relax the mind and put troubles aside even if it’s just for a short while. Safe distancing measures were in place as I had to do a SafeEntry check-in, the national digital check-in system that logs the name, NRIC and mobile number of individuals, upon entering the hotel lobby and get my temperature checked via a contactless thermal scanning device.

Checking in at the reception was fuss-free even though the process now includes filling up a travel declaration form as part of safety procedures. I appreciated how the hotel lobby was expansive, sparkling clean and most importantly—peaceful; this meant that I wasn’t bothered by long waiting lines and received my room key cards in a short amount of time. The lift lobby was also cleverly hidden behind the reception desk—this allowed me the privacy of lugging my bags (and my parents’) from our parked car (at a carpark that’s accessible via a separate lift lobby at the back) without making a spectacle of myself. I was offered help with my luggage but rejected it, so I would definitely recommend guests to just sit back, relax and let yourself be pampered.

2. Do Not Disturb

The historic hotel features 403 guest rooms and suites, and I was checked into the Premier Deluxe Room.

My room was located just beside my parents’ so it was especially convenient and comfortable for all three of us. The rooms were spacious and modern, with a sophisticated charm.

What I loved most about the room was the marble bathroom that featured an ensuite vanity, so that scored extra points for the beauty junkie in me. There's just something about being able to continue your skincare regime seamlessly even when you're away from home—and a vanity table really helps. Although I travel with my own bathroom essentials, I pay extra attention to the amenities provided by hotels because I believe it gives an added touch to your stay. And I am happy to report that Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel provides toiletries by well-loved Thai aromatherapy brand Thann for their guests.

When nighttime arrives, you’ll be taken by the view from the huge bedroom windows. Thanks to the hotel’s enviable location on Orchard Road, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the streets below as you watch the night go by. There may be fewer shoppers walking around due to safety precautions amid the coronavirus pandemic so the streets may not be buzzing with activity, but the beauty of Singapore’s most popular shopping belt remains.

3. The Extras

Whether you want to take a quick dip in the swimming pool or get your daily workout in, this five-star hotel is not short of facilities. The fully-equipped fitness centre features state-of-the-art equipment, weight resistance machines and free weights so it’s perfect for gym rats like my father, who never misses a day at the gym. As part of safe distancing measures, guests are required to book appointment slots before they head to the gym and this is easily done with just a phone call. 

4. Food & Drink

Dining options are aplenty at the hotel. I initially had trouble deciding on where to eat but since my mother and I are tea fanatics, the English Afternoon High Tea experience at the Lobby Lounge was the most obvious choice. There are several ways to enjoy high tea in Singapore and one of the most popular forms is the tiered tea sets, as it is done at the Lobby Lounge.

(Related: The Best Afternoon Tea Experiences in Singapore)

After choosing our tea from a menu of tea blends by homegrown brand TWG, we were served two tall glasses of lightly sweetened iced tea to whet our appetite. Soon, we were presented with gilded silver trays of light bites that included savoury treats such as finger sandwiches, quiches, and breaded shrimp sticks as well as your quintessential high tea sweets: mini cupcakes, brownies and more. There was more than enough for two of us and we had trouble finishing our food. As such, we were graciously allowed to take away what we couldn’t finish to enjoy in the comforts of our own rooms later on.

As a seasoned traveller, I look forward to hotel breakfast buffets all the time. I was especially curious about breakfast this time because guests are currently not allowed to take their own food from the buffet spread, to ensure a healthy and safe experience for everyone. The procedure was very simple at Marriott Cafe: guests have to fill out a form that lists everything from beverages to mains and you just need to indicate a tick next to your food item of choice. And everything will be served to you at your table. While this takes the fun out of walking around and surveying all the food available, it’s a necessary step taken at buffet restaurants and it does provide a sense of comfort for guests. After all, you won’t be missing out on anything because every food item from the buffet spread is still available for you. Some of the buffet highlights that you shouldn’t miss are the vegetarian dim sum, prata with dhal curry and some fresh Danish pastries.

5. Tatler Tip

There’s nothing better about the iconic Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel than its prime location on Orchard Road. I’m a city girl and I enjoy staying somewhere that’s bustling with life so this hotel was perfect for me. I love that it’s in close proximity to some of the popular malls in town, including Ion Orchard, Tang Plaza, Paragon and more, for the convenience of shopping plus you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to food options. Burger fans will be happy to note that Shake Shack just opened its latest outlet at the adjacent Liat Towers and it closes at 2 am on weekends—so your supper cravings will be well taken care of.

(Related: Editors' Picks: The Best Burgers In Singapore)

Too lazy to leave your room? Order yourself some room service and get comfortable under the sheets. As part of the hotel's Ultimate Family Getaway staycation package, you are entitled to a full 24-hour stay with flexible check-in and check-out. On top of that, you'll also receive F&B credit that's redeemable at four F&B outlets, in-room dining, poolside dining or your own minibar. 

Hotel guests will also receive complimentary parking but should you require more than one coupon that each room is entitled to, the hotel staff will be happy to accommodate guests who need to drive in and out of the property during their stay. 

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