Checking in: Andaz Singapore
Locally inspired design
Is it odd that I started with that? Andaz Singapore made a great first impression upon being dropped off at the entrance of the mixed-use Duo twin skyscrapers which houses the Hyatt boutique luxury hotel. The sight of the two futuristic-like buildings draped in a latticework of hexagonal windows is breathtaking. But personally, it was the breakfast buffet spread that left a (more) lasting impression. More on that later.
Unlike its sister hotels under the same group, Andaz has the freedom for creativity and fun. More often than not, the brand manages to draw inspiration from its surroundings and adapt it to its interior, design, and character. This is what makes every Andaz hotel around the world so exciting. Opened in November 2017, Andaz Singapore is the brand's seventeenth property and first to open in Southeast Asia; and they couldn't have picked a better location. Sitting at the heart of where Kampong Glam, Little India and Bras Basah Bugis meet meant famed interior designer Andre Fu of AFSO could play with the various accents of the nearby shophouses—furniture, colours, shapes, art, decorative details and more. That also meant an uninterrupted panoramic view of Singapore's cityscape.
While it's not located within walking distance of the busy shopping hub that is Orchard Road, Andaz Singapore is well connected. A short 20-minute drive will take you to Changi Airport while Orchard or Marina Bay Sands would only take 10 minutes by car. Not to mention, Bugis MRT station is just downstairs.
Like a lot of hotels these days, Andaz Singapore's lobby is not on the ground floor where you enter the building. Instead, it's on the 25th floor which gives an added wow factor when the lift door opens and you see the check-in counter against a backdrop of the sky. But personally, it meant having to change lifts twice to get to the room or out of the hotel. It's a minor pet peeve.
Despite being a luxury boutique hotel, Andaz Singapore accommodates quite a large number of rooms—a total of 342 guest rooms, which includes 26 suites. I stayed in the King View room and with the floor-to-ceiling windows, the view was quite grand. Inspired by the surrounding architecture, every room is furnished with a bespoke post-box doorbell with a rectangle area to tap your key card; and a shophouse-style door in bold mustard yellow separating the bedroom and the bathroom. It's an endearing detail. While extremely cosy, the room was a tad smaller than expected. On the plus side, as per standard Andaz policy, the minibar is filled with locally sourced snacks and non-alcoholic drinks—and it's replenished daily and complimentary.
Bath amenities are by French perfumer Christophe Laudamiel, who created an exclusive Andaz Singapore scent. Made with local ingredients such as Indian jasmine, cloves, orchids and ginger lilies, he called it Singapore Fusion #19. It's a keeper.
There's an infinity pool on the 25th floor (not super big) and a 24-hour gym on the 38th floor (not particularly huge). Sadly, there isn't a spa. For those looking to host events, however, there are six spaces to take advantage of, with the most distinct one being The Glasshouse.
While there's not much to do inside of Andaz Singapore, there's much to eat. For starters, guests can enjoy complimentary refreshments at the Sunroom and complimentary wines and local beer during the Andaz Lounge Hour (5pm - 7pm daily).
Then, there's Alley on 25 which features all-day dining with seven shophouse-inspired venues that transition seamlessly from one space to another. Each one specialises in one food preparation method. For example, you can find barbecued delights at Smoke & Pepper or go for something more familiar at Auntie's Wok and Steam. In the morning, these venues shape an almost endless trail of the breakfast buffet. The waffles are amazing. Oh, and so is the bacon. Go early though because by 9.30am, the crowd is in and the cooks might not be able to whip up the hot stuff as fast.
For something a little more intimate, 665°F specialises in gourmet meat and sustainable seafood cooked in its wood-fired oven and grill. To complement the dish on your plate is a stunning view of the Singapore skyline. Quite romantic.
But our favourite has to be Mr Stork, the rooftop bar on the 39th floor with teepee-hut seating and a breathtaking 360-degree view of the city.
Andaz Singapore is a beautiful hotel. From the staff's uniform (and there are so many designs of them) to the silhouettes of the furniture to the murukku snacks available at the check-in counter to the Andaz Times newspaper on the table in the room (essentially their mini guide in- and outside of the hotel) to the numerous art pieces scattered around the hotel as a homage to the local culture, the attention to detail is phenomenal and admirable. As the first Andaz hotel in Southeast Asia, it truly did justice to the brand.
5 Fraser Street, Singapore 189354
Rates start from an average of SGD$270 per night. For more info, or to book your stay, visit Andaz Singapore's website.