Singapore has been on my bucket list for a very long time. Like many people, I became a little obsessed with Singapore after seeing the movie Crazy Rich Asians. The city is the biggest star in this typical rom com movie.
So when I booked my around the world trip, I had to include Singapore. And am I glad I did – what a spectacular city! The Gardens by the Bay and the nightly light show are one of the most spectacular things I’ve ever seen. A light and water show by Marina Bay Sands is another must see in Singapore.
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When I was thinking about a place to stay in Singapore, I quickly settled on the Andaz because it sounded like the perfect place to stay for my visit to this amazing city. I liked the modern decor, views and the location. I’d like to share my thoughts on the hotel as a recommendation for your next trip to Singapore.
Getting around the city is easy. The subway (MRT) goes to all the major tourist sites, is pristinely clean (like everything else in Singapore) and is very easy to navigate. The buses are also easy to figure out with the help of Google Maps.
I’d recommend getting an all transport EX-Link card on your first day and using it to pay for all public transportation. I got one at a subway station at the customer service booth. There’s a small non-refundable deposit and the leftover funds can be refunded to you; just ask the person in the customer service booth. When you get on the subway, just touch it to the subway gates, and you won’t have to worry about having exact change for the bus.
I thought Andaz’s location was perfect!
There’s a subway station in the basement of the building, called Bugis. There are actually two subway lines, the green line and the blue line, which makes getting around town so easy.
You can take a cab from the airport for about $15. Or, if you are traveling light, you can take the subway from the airport for less than $2. The train will take longer, but you can’t beat the price! To buy the train ticket, you’ll need the the EZ-Link card that you can buy at the ticket office at the airport. Or, if the line is too long, you can just buy a single ticket at the ticket machine.
The machine only accepts small denominations of S$5 or S$10. So after you withdraw some money from an ATM upon arrival, if you decide to take the train, buy a bottle of water or a small snack because you’ll need smaller banknotes.
There’s also a very affordable airport bus, but you can only bring one piece of luggage with you.
Andaz Singapore is located in the beautiful area called Kampong Glam which feels like a real neighborhood. There’s a big area of artfully restored traditional “shophouses” across the street, now occupied by Middle Eastern restaurants and stores. I highly recommend Alaturka, a great Turkish restaurant less than a four-minute walk from Andaz.
And since we are talking about food, I highly recommend a little hole in the wall Vietnamese restaurant Mrs. Pho, about five minutes from Andaz. It’s inexpensive and you’ll find the best Hanoi-style fried spring rolls outside of Vietnam.
I made sure to check out the location of other chain hotels bookable with points, such as the JW Marriott and Grand Hyatt. They all are located in busy commercial districts, which are basically skyscrapers and shopping malls.
We were staying at Andaz on a Guest of Honor reservation. A friend who has a top tier Globalist status made a reservation for me. Guest of Honor reservations are extended the same benefits as the Globalist. That means an upgraded room (if available), free breakfast, free parking, late checkout and whatever other amenities the hotel is extending to the Globalists.
The receptionist found our reservation right away, but when I mentioned that this was a Guest of Honor reservation, she looked confused. It took a few minutes to straighten everything out and we were taken to our room.
I booked our room for 20,000 Hyatt points a night. Starting in March 2020 Hyatt will have an award chart that will have standard, peak and off peak rates. This category 5 hotel will cost 17,000 points off peak; standard rates will stay at 20,000 and during peak dates Andaz Singapore will cost 23,000 points.
To get to our room, we had to take the elevator to the 25th floor, where there was another lobby, the restaurants and the lounge. We transferred to another elevator and got to our room on the 32nd floor.
According to the receptionist, we were upgraded to a higher floor room, and the view was indeed great. The light-filled room was not big, but cleverly designed. There were lots of surfaces to put my things and everything just made sense.
The public spaces and the rooms are done in what I’d call updated mid-century modern style. Everything is done in pale wood, brushed bronze metals and subtle fabrics. If I were building or redesigning a house, this is exactly the style I’d pick! Everything looked new and fresh and very current.
There were lots of outlets and USB charging ports. There was a round table with more outlets and USB ports nearby. Some sort of work surface is a must for us, so we were both happy.
The separate bathroom/closet area was very spacious and had lots of counter space and a few towel hooks. In addition, the water pressure was absolutely amazing which is always a plus.
At all Andaz properties, beer, water, nonalcoholic drinks and snacks in the minibar are included and are replenished daily. The spirits aren’t included though and they are quite pricey. I love the idea of a free minibar!
I know that hotels make big money on minibar sales, and minibars at Andaz aren’t really free because the drinks are, of course, included in the daily rate, but that creates much better customer experience.
Our king bed was really comfortable and the air conditioning was powerful but quiet. The blackout shades didn’t let in any light, and were easy to operate. We couldn’t hear any noise from the neighbors or from the hallway. I’ll give the sleep quality five stars.
On our second day there I asked the front desk staff if they had bigger rooms available. They offered to move us to another room for the last two nights, but the other room was only marginally bigger (just 4 sqm larger) so we decided to stay put.
The pool is located on the top floor of the building and provides perfect views of the city. We were in Singapore over the New Year’s Eve and we, along with many other guests, watched the fireworks from the pool deck.
The pool isn’t huge and it was usually busy. If you want to get a swim in, you’ll have to go early in the morning or right before dinner when the families aren’t using it. The pool deck is pretty small and there’s definitely not enough pool chairs for everyone.
I peeked into the gym and it looked to be very well equipped, but on the small side.
Because we were staying there on a Guest of Honor reservation, breakfast was included. We both enjoyed it very much since the food quality was excellent and there was a good variety of hot and cold dishes.
The egg station was well staffed and there was never a line. There was also a huge Asian food section in a separate room.
I love a good hotel breakfast, and when the hotel has gluten-free items, then I love it even more. I don’t eat gluten so seeing delicious gluten-free muffins and banana bread every morning made me extra happy.
There was a self-service juicer and a variety of fruits and veggies nearby. I love freshly squeezed juice, so that’s another score! And I was happy to see two self-service coffee machines. I don’t like to wait for my coffee first thing in the morning and I’d rather grab it myself than wait for table service.
I mentioned earlier that everything in the room just made sense. The same thing was true about the breakfast: the cold food was cold, the warm food was warm and the service was unobtrusive and timely.
The lounge at Andaz is open to all guests. It’s just one big room with a coffee machine, water, lemonade and ice tea and very light snacks – think peanuts and cookies. It was usually very crowded, probably because we were there over a holiday and the hotel was fully booked.
I have to give a special mention to Andaz’s special homemade iced tea. I don’t know what they put in it, but it was addictive! I probably drank gallons of it during my stay!
There are three on property restaurants but we only tried Alley on 25 for lunch a couple of times. I usually don’t eat at the hotels’ restaurants, but I needed a break from the heat and humidity outside and didn’t feel like going anywhere. The food was well prepared but on the expensive side.
There are also two bars, one on the 25th floor right next to the lounge and a rooftop bar on the 39th floor. Alcohol is very expensive in Singapore, not just at hotels, but everywhere. So if you like to drink a cocktail or two on vacation, prepare to spend quite a bit of money. Or you can enjoy two bottles of beer a day from the free minibar in the room!
The vibe at Andaz Singapore was more young and hip and the crowd is definitely on the younger side with a smattering of families and baby boomers. However, the hotel’s location is so close to the great restaurants and the MRT station which makes this hotel a perfect base for exploring the city for families, couples and solo travelers. You also get a respite from huge shopping malls and tall buildings in that area of the city.
From the outside, Andaz’s building and the identical building right next to it, look like two giant, beautiful and architecturally interesting honeycombs. The inside didn’t disappoint, especially if you like contemporary design.
Don’t miss National Gallery Singapore. It’s not huge and the free tour of the building is very interesting. I learned a lot about the history and politics of the city just from this tour. There are a couple of other museums in the same area, and it’s just a few minutes by bus from the Andaz.
I loved the included minibar, the delicious free iced tea and the casual vibe at the Andaz. Singapore is a beautiful city with so much to offer. Just bring lots of good sunscreen and your lightest clothes!
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