Singapore - Swissôtel The Stamford
By the time I walked through customs, it was about three minutes to midnight, and the subway was no longer operational (you’d think that in a city this big, it would run around the clock, but no…), so I hopped into a cab and 15 minutes and SGD18 later was at the Swissôtel The Stamford, which I had pricelined for $50 or so. Upon check-in, I was offered a room upgrade including breakfast for SGD50, but declined. Based on my LX Gold card, which is supposed to give preferential terms at Swissôtels, the lady then offered me a free upgrade to a harbor view room, but said that they only had a smoking room available. I accepted, but made sure that they would reaccomodate me if the smell were too bad. As it turned out I could hardly smell anything, and the room offered a nice view over the convention center, the Merlion and the city. I liked the little balcony that I got, and in the middle of the night, the outside climate was also bearable. The room itself was okay, but started to show its age and is a far cry from the refined and sleek room at the Raffles The Plaza next door, where f4free and I resided a year ago. For the price I paid though, and considering that I’d only stay for a night, it was absolutely fine.
The next morning started with a disappointment when I noticed that nobody had bothered to deliver a newspaper to my door. Priceline or not, that’s something I would expect from a 4* hotel, and doing it for guests staying on regular rates but not for “Priceliners” as I assume they did judging by the papers at other doors is just pettish. Be it as it may, I went down to the pool where they had a selection of papers available and read the Straits Times on a lounge chair before going for a swim and then returning to the room. My request for a late check-out had been denied, and I therefore had to pack and check out before heading to Orchard Road and into my favorite Sushi place for a lavish “brunch” from the conveyor belt. It was good as usual, and just like Dim Sum, Sushi is “mean” food. You hardly feel when you have had enough, but once you rise from your chair, there’s that heavy rice and fish ball in your stomach that holds you down… This at least made it easy to walk past the ice cream parlors and other food outlets that I encountered during an afternoon of roaming the countless shopping malls on Orchard Road and later on down at Suntec City. Despite having mostly been in airconditioned areas, I still felt a need to freshen up and change when I returned to the hotel to collect my bags, and the concierge offered me the use of their “hospitality suite”, essentially a shared hotel room that guests in situations like mine can use to take a shower or so. I gladly accepted his offer, changed, stowed my purchases in my case and then took the MRT to Changi airport. The last time I did that, they still offered direct trains from downtown to the airport, but now they’ve changed the line layouts and one has to change trains at Tanah Merah station. An unnecessary inconvenience methinks, but for SDG1.50, the ride is still a perfect bargain and a convenient way to get to Changi.