Sofitel Singapore City Centre, review: Exceptional service and outstanding cuisine

Our rating

4.5 out of 5

THE LOCATION

The hotel is in Tanjong Pagar in Singapore's central business district. There's a MRT station directly underneath the hotel. 

THE SPACE

Much fanfare surrounded the October opening of this hotel; it's Accor's 800th hotel in the Asia Pacific region. The design is based on a botanical motif, which is a natural choice for a hotel on Wallich Street, named after the founding father of the Singapore Botanical Gardens, Nathaniel Wallich, and within the Garden City.  The lobby features an enormous display of fresh blooms, each of the 223 rooms has floral artwork on display, and even the signature restaurant, Racines, is French for the word "root".  Greenery surrounds  the 30-metre infinity pool, adjacent to an outdoor whirlpool. There's a gym onsite, as well as access to the Virgin Active Fitness Club next door for guests staying in luxury premium suites and upwards. Those seeking a spa treatment will have to travel to the SoSpa at Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa. 

THE ROOM

Obligatory to entering the room is the immediate testing of the new king-size MyBed and freshly plumped pillows. It passes the superior comfort test. There's Lanvin amenities, a separate shower and a deep bath with a wooden caddy laid across it with a wine glass ready to be filled and a Lonely Planet book, 101 Ways To Love Well to read while soaking. By the window is a colouring book of the Lion City on an easel with colouring pencils. There's free Wi-Fi, a Bose Bluetooth speaker, and a "Handy Phone" that you can take on city adventures for free Wi-Fi and complimentary international calls. Universal plugs by the bed are welcomed, as is the Nespresso machine and array of TWG teabags. 

Rooms feature light timber and on-trend leather handles on the fridge and drawers. The toilet has a handy mobile phone rack for those that can't let it leave their sight.  

What's in the mini bar is complimentary but should you need more, an R2-D2-style robot named Sophie can deliver drinks and snacks to your door. Order something just to see the spectacle. 

THE FOOD

The main restaurant, Racines offers French and local Chinese cuisine prepared by two brigades of chefs. I opt for the French menu, sampling dishes including lobster bisque, slow-cooked beef cheeks and Racines' signature grenouille (frog's legs) served with pan-fried pink garlic. Don't over-order on the latter, they are quite chunky thighs.

A dessert of yuzu tart with lime and well-made espresso end the meal on a high note.

There are four open kitchens should you want to watch the chefs in action. The design has a modern Scandinavian feel, with exposed timber, velvet banquettes and rose gold accents.

Racines is also the venue for the excellent buffet breakfast, try the freshly baked croissants direct from the Weinz oven, as well as fresh honey from the hotel's on-site apiary. The Singapore tradition of champagne brunches will regularly feature here soon.

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Also onsite is 1864, a tea lounge and bar. A focal point is the cluster of little barrels full of "barrel-aged" cocktails. Try the negroni.

The executive club, Club Millesime, serves a light breakfast as well as pre-dinner drinks – including a selection from a wine dispenser – and canapes. Plus there's 24-hour in-room dining. 

STEPPING OUT

Nearby is Chinatown, Singapore City Gallery, Maxwell Food Centre for local hawker delights and the Buddha Relic Temple and Museum. You can take a walk to see the historic shopping houses in surrounding streets. A short taxi ride (under $10) away (or via the MRT) is Haji Lane, the galleries and museums, and Supertree Grove. Sentosa Island is an easy 12-minute drive away and Changi Airport is 23 kilometres away. 

THE VERDICT

Exceptional service (from both humans and robot, Sophie), outstanding cuisine and the botanical-themed modern design makes this a top choice when in Singapore. 

ESSENTIALS

Rooms at Sofitel Singapore City Centre start from SGD 390 a night. See sofitel.com/gb/hotel-A152-sofitel-singapore-city-centre  

HIGHLIGHT

The 30-metre pool with a view never gets crowded so is perfect for laps or for lolling, which is requisite in the Singapore humidity. 

LOWLIGHT

The touchscreen airconditioner is a little tricky to operate; a bedside guide to the meaning behind each of the icons might be the solution. 

The writer travelled as a guest of Accor Hotels.