As the winter chill slowly takes over Australia we decided to escape to Europe to keep our new year's resolution of having an endless summer. Everyone back home knows that trying to go anywhere that isn’t Asia results in at least a 17-hour flight and a stopover in either the Middle East or Asia itself, thankfully for us our first leg of the journey was a short 5-hour flight and a 24-hour layover in Singapore.
We only recently joined the Le Club AccorHotels loyalty program but even being on their lowest “classic” status we were still able to save 10% off our booking.
Having just under a day to explore the city and a red-eye arrival and departure meant finding a hotel with a central location was key and if possible, having an after-hours refreshment centre where we could shower well beyond check-out as a bonus. This is where we stumbled upon the Sofitel City Centre, one of the newest luxurious hotels to open in Singapore.
Being a part of the Accor Hotels group we opted for booking directly with the Accor Hotels website so that we could continue collecting loyalty points as a part of their Le Club loyalty program. There were several room options to choose from but we opted in for their king sized luxury room which included that world-famous Sofitel breakfast.
Price: SGD: $535.54 (around $AUD528) including taxes
Arriving at the hotel & checking in
We touched down in Singapore just before midnight after our 5-hour Scoot flight from Perth. As it was quite late, and we were very much ready for bed, we immediately made our way to the Changi Airport Terminal 2 taxi zone where a staff member guided us to the next available taxi.
Quick tip: she initially sent us towards a “premium taxi” (which costs around $SGD40-$50 to get to the city centre during peak time) so just make sure you let the attendant know you want a regular taxi which is around $SGD10-$15 cheaper. We didn’t notice any notable differences, save your money and grab the cheaper car.
After a 20-minute drive and our tired eyes slowly closing we noticed that the city centre had surrounded us as we arrived at our hotel–or so we thought. We had booked to stay at the Sofitel City Centre Hotel, but it wasn’t until a welcome drink later and a failed check-in that we found out that the taxi driver was still getting used to the fact there is a new Sofitel in town...he had dropped us off at the Sofitel So Singapore Hotel by mistake.
Before the receptionist could call a new taxi for us, a very worried but familiar taxi driver came running back into the hotel apologising and told us once he left he realised he had taken us to the wrong Sofitel. He was so friendly and even drove us with no additional charge to our correct hotel, the Sofitel City Centre, apologising profusely along the way.
Once we arrived at the correct hotel we couldn’t help but look up as our hotel was located in the brand new Guoco Tower, officially Singapore’s tallest skyscraper. Before we could stare too long we were greeted by the hotel concierge who swiftly took our bags and escorted us to a lift before making our way to the reception which is located is on the 5th floor.
This time check in at the very large and grand reception room was a success and a few minutes later given the keys to our room without a welcome drink, at least we got our fresh mango juice fix from the other hotel.
Get 75,000 points when you apply online by 26th Sept 2018, are approved and spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.
Receive a $400 Travel Credit each year towards any flights, hotels and car hire when you book online with this card.
Smartphone Screen Insurance for up to $500 for screen repairs when you pay for your phone or contract with this card.
Earn up to 2 pts per $1 spent on eligible purchases with the Membership Rewards Gateway program.
0% p.a. for 12 months for balance transfers and a one-off credit plan establishment fee of 1%.
You are eligible for the signup bonus points if you have or have held, an Amex companion card from a different bank.
Enjoy two complimentary entries per year to the American Express Lounges at Sydney or Melbourne International Airports. (Conditions Apply)#
Travel with peace of mind with the complimentary travel insurances.
Promotion. Credit criteria, fees and charges apply. Read the terms and conditions before making a decision.
#Entry into The American Express Lounge is governed by the full Terms and Conditions available at amex.com.au/airportlounge.
This credit card offer is subject to change and may not be directly related to the content of this article.
The Room Details: Luxury Room - 1 King Sized bed
- 38m2 Luxurious Room
- Bathtub and rain shower
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- Mobile phone (Handy Phone) usage throughout stay with complimentary calls to 10 Countries. There is internet and maps on this phone so you can take it out with you during the day to use.
- King Sized Sofitel MyBed
- 49” Smart TV
- Bose sound system
- Lanvin Amenities
- Pillow menu
- Custom-made stationary box
- Vanity Box
- Nespresso coffee machine and TWG tea
- Complimentary in-room mineral water
After being ushered towards our room which was located quite high up the towers on the 11th floor we couldn’t help but feel like we had arrived home when staring at the king sized bed at one in the morning.
Our Luxury Room is their entry-level room, but if you have ever stayed in a Sofitel hotel this is far from basic and just as the name says, it was very luxurious. Our stay had everything we needed and more–starting with the soft king size bed as the centerpiece of the room (you can choose 2 single beds if sharing the room) accompanied by a huge bathroom containing a rain shower and large separate bathtub with removable book, dessert and wine holding stand for those relaxing nights in.
The first thing we seek out when entering our room is how we will be fueling our caffeine fix in the morning and thankfully a Nespresso coffee machine along with TWG tea was tucked above the well stocked mini bar. Coffee pods and the wide selection of flavoured and black teas are replenished twice a day, one during turn down and the other in the morning.
It was nice to see universal power points throughout the room which saved me searching for our power adaptor to charge my phone that night. The tailend of the room had floor to ceiling windows that overlooked the city of Singapore.
I always enjoy seeking out the tech that powers a room so it was surprising to find a wall mounted 49” smart TV with plenty of local and satellite channels available as well as a Bose sound system which can be used through the TV or if you prefer your own Spotify playlist you can sync up your smartphone. In the corner we had a large work desk with a well stocked stationery kit and being a LeClub member, WiFi was free of charge throughout the hotel.
Next to our mini office was a lounge chair and ottoman in front of our large window, perfect for those relaxing afternoons. Speaking of taking a moment to yourself, you can’t help but notice the side tabling carrying an easel with pencils and an adult colouring in book, not what you would expect in a hotel room. This novel idea is placed for you to fill in during your time and left for future guests. Trust me, you may think this touch is novel, but it will come up in conversation well after you have left.
The bathroom amenities kit is located above the deep-soaking bathtub in a white box, containing a toothbrush (perfect to store in our carry on for our connecting flight the next day), shower cap and a hairbrush. As with all Sofitel hotels your bath amenities come from Lanvin including shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and a body lotion with a bath bomb from Prija.
For us, our reasoning behind staying at a Sofitel begins and ends at breakfast. Taking place in their in-house restaurant Racines, the fusion of Sofitel’s french heritage and local Asian culture of Singapore meant that both Western and Eastern food were on display.
Upon being escorted at arrival towards our table you can’t help but fight your willpower of having a healthy breakfast out the window as you pass the fresh bakery of french pastries, breads and waffle station.
Sofitel hands down has the best buffet breakfast in town with fresh juices, a personalized egg station, yogurts, local Asian delicacies, fresh bread and pastries and plenty of coffee–they do not skimp on the breakie.
As food is spread out throughout the restaurant we always recommend going on a walk through first to scout out what is on offer, before going ahead and filling up your plate.
The Pool & Gym
If you ever manage to drag yourself away from that super comfortable bed or once you have filled your bellies to the brim at breakfast, make sure you pop outside to see the grounds. The pool which is located several floors above ground level was a highlight of ours. It’s a large 30m pool with a built-in spa, surrounded by lush greenery and incredible views of the city.
Beyond providing you with swimming towels, they also have robes on offer, sunscreen, after sun-gel and a bag for your wet gear after your swim. This is one of the best inner-city hotel pool experiences we have had so far.
We are going to admit to you, we were too busy to experience the gym, but it is available 24/7 for all hotel guests and includes an extensive range of weights, treadmills and those other machines i’ve heard are good for your health.
The service you will find at every Sofitel is what you would expect with a $500+ room. Concierge will happily and swiftly take your bags to your room and even though we weren’t silver LeClub members we were offered a late-check out of 3pm to which we did decline due to being out all day at Universal Studios.
With the limited interaction we had with the staff beyond checking in and out and being escorted to our table at breakfast, we found everyone to be very friendly and generally intrigued with our travel plans as well as jumping at the opportunity to tell us their favourite ride at Universal Studios.
There is no fault we can provide the staff at Sofitel Singapore City Centre.
One of the main reasons that we decided to stay at this hotel, was the refreshment centre offered to guests who have a late flight that day. During check-out, the staff hung onto our bags as we spent the day out on roller-coasters on Sentosa Island.
Upon arrival back at the hotel at around 6pm, we picked up our bags, headed to the floor that housed the gym and pool and used a spare room which contained a shower, plenty of room to lay our bags down and the same Lanvin Amenities found in our hotel room.
Honestly, being able to shower, change your clothes and prepare for the flight that night was the icing on top of an already memorable stay.
LeClub Accor Hotels
The LeClub Accor program is an umbrella rewards program that reaches across multiple hotel brands including Sofitel, Novotel, Ibis, Pullman and loads more. So if you book directly with any of their partners you will start to gain reward and status points.
There are so many ways you can gain points but the major ones being from booking direct (you can’t claim points if you use sites like Skyscanner and Booking.com) to paying for breakfast or even helping yourself to those midnight snacks from your mini bar.
There are two types of points you can earn:
- Reward points which can be used towards vouchers to save money on your bookings.
- Status points which move you up the ranks from classic to silver, gold etc. and expires each calendar year. Silver will give you priority check-in, a welcome drink and late checkout. Gold will give you early check-in, room upgrades and welcome amenity kit and platinum status will give you all the above as well as access to the executive lounge.
There are a whole bunch of other rewards which you can browse on the LeClub Accor program’s site but one notable bonus worth mentioning is being able to get a discounted lounge access pass for Airports. If purchased through the LeClub Accor hotels website you can get a Priority Pass membership (discounted) up to €40 as well as receiving up to 1,500 points towards your account.
The Sofitel Singapore City Centre is for those luxurious travellers who understand the value of skipping the airport hotel for a night of class and top-notch service. With hotel rates being above what you would generally pay for staying in the CBD, you get what you pay for and if it’s in your budget we cannot recommend it enough.
Though you will need to jump in a taxi or head to the MRT (train line in Singapore) to go out and see Singapore, there are still a range of restaurants and cafes in the area if you are looking for a short walk from your room. Check out the Le Club AccorHotels program to start saving today or at least sign up to their newsletter for when those sales come through.