Sometimes, it’s not the size of the room that matters most. It is the surprisingly smart-quirky themes that are found squeezed into the space or around it. InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay is a prime example of how to do this. Making do with land-tight Singapore, it cleverly transforms an old building block (the ex-Gallery Hotel) into a refined feature in the upscale neighbourhood of Robertson Quay, which many are discerning to be the next up-and-coming purlieu in Singapore.
The most vital river in Singapore (it is called the Singapore River for a reason) spans more than 3km and flows through the city’s CBD. Out of the three main quays on the river, Robertson Quay is the most upstream and the largest. To rival the two energetic heavyweights nearby (bustling Boat Quay and clacking Clarke Quay), RB Capital’s multi-million-dollar ‘Quayside’ project at Robertson Quay, which includes the newly opened Intercontinental Singapore Robertson Quay hotel, is turning the residential area into a long-awaited lifestyle hub. World-class restaurants and bars are now at your fingertips. But if you still insist on partying hard, take the hotel’s handsome Tokyobike for a spin along the wide walkway beside the waterway to the nearest nightclub. In doubt, just follow the course of the river.
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Rooms aren’t massive, with most studios and suites barely reaching 400sq-ft, but the clever open-design and floor-to-ceiling windows wondrously amplify the area. There are sliding wall panels for cover; an open powder room separated by a stout bench-drawer; and large-scale mirrors everywhere, including the shower door. Full-room carpeting is swapped with snug rugs that reveal the parquet flooring, while a circular table and cantilever bench replace the formal-type desk and chair. These touches all point to the outpost’s residential design ethos, possibly paying homage to the many condo-homes it surrounds. Also, according to management, this hotel targets a younger crowd, believing the notion that most millennials prop their laptops on the bed these days anyway instead of slogging away on a proper worktop.
InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay has also gussied up each room with a fun DIY cocktail kit — copper shaker and all. Concoct your own mishmash of a drink and get smashed anytime of the day, with the help of a recipe book created by local bar collective experts Proof & Company. Petite bottles of spirits can be found in the drop-down shelf and pull-out drawer fridge.
Of course, for those who value floor space, there’s the expansive penthouse on the top floor of the hotel, overlooking the Singapore River and city. Three times bigger than the executive suite, the penthouse has a living room, which alone seems to be the size of a full studio room here. There’s also a separate dining area that sits about eight people, a large bedroom, walk-in closet, and a bathtub swathe in Italian marble.
A must is to sit at the hotel’s 24-hour club lounge. While the hotel’s main reception lounge is impressive enough, with little living room-like settings littered around an ebony centrepiece cabinet stoked with glittery glasses, the Club InterContinental Lounge is cosier. Furnished in earthy tones, the subdued glamour is spiked with greenery, especially in the leafy outdoor seating area. The club lounge serves gratis breakfast, a three-tiered curate stand for afternoon tea and daily apéritifs for guests who’ve checked into the Club InterContinental rooms or the suites and penthouse. Those looking to maintain their wellness routines can use the lap pool and all-day, all-night fitness studio.
The Culinary Experience
Service at Publico Deli & Ristorante, a casual Italian establishment on the ground floor by the waterfront, is pre-emptive and fluid. Breakfast at the all-day designated Deli is half à la carte and half all-you-can-eat with cold cuts and cheeses for the choosing on the counter. On the menu, all is equally hearty. Pick the chicken and waffles, avocado on toast, an Italianised Full Monty, or Publico’s 97.6% — the go-to breakfast combo apparently 97.6 per cent of Italians consume — which is cornetto, a shot of espresso and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.
Dinner is a candlelit affair; with plenty of options if you’re craving pastas, pizzas and Italian wines (the two-full-page wine list almost only carries wines from this region). Publico Ristorante opens in the evening and has twin wood-fire ovens — the only kind that a pizza should roll out from. The pizza to try would be the Tartufata, a savoury star brim-full with mozzarella, porcini mushroom, smoked scamorza, and truffle. For pasta, go for the slightly spicy lobster spaghetti, which pairs well with a zesty glass of Pinot Grigio. As most dishes here are rather rich, make sure to wash it all down with a shot of limoncello — it’s the definitive after-dinner digestif.
InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay has all the credentials expected of an international five-star hotel: professional and understated service, craft-driven amenities and terrific culinary experiences. The hotel copes with the limited space via innovative thinking and mod designer elements. Besides, you could always head out of the room to relax or work at the club lounge or restaurants nearby. Plus points would be the hotel’s retro bikes that can be borrowed for free, thus enabling many to explore this once-swampy, now-filled-with-watering-holes stomping ground.
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