Review: InterContinental Singapore

Singapore has a large number of depressingly middling five star hotels, and we are constantly searching for a property that impresses.

The 403 room InterContinental Singapore, located at the Bugis Junction integrated development (office tower, shopping mall and hotel), opened in 1995 and consequently has a very dated feel. This is something not uncommon in Singapore hotels.

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Pulling into the hotel’s driveway, we were immediately helped with our bags by a bellman. Inside, there was no line to check-in, and those formalities were handled promptly.

The hotel has a grand lobby lounge bar (pictured above looking down on it from above), with Straits Chinese-inspired design.

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It’s worth noting that it can be difficult to get a taxi from this hotel as it seems lots of non-hotel guests use the hotel to get taxis.

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We were assigned a Premier Room – essentially a junior suite – in the hotel’s 16 floor tower block. This is one of two upgrade choices from the base room category (which is like most hotels, called Deluxe) for InterContinental Royal Ambassador members at this property. The other choice is club access. We continue to be underwhelmed by the need to choose between one or the other and the general recognition of our Royal Ambassador status at this property. At a number of other hotel chains getting a dated-looking junior suite-sized room and club access would be very achievable as an upgrade for those with top tier status.

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The hotel doesn’t sell the Premier room category online even though there are four of these L-shaped rooms on a number of floors of the tower, clustered around the elevators. Adequate insulation means you don’t hear or feel the lifts going up and down behind your bed. Although noise made by a family staying down the hall from us drifted under our door a few times.

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We took the elevator from the lobby (keycard required), and didn’t have far to walk from the elevators to our room. The reception staff didn’t offer to escort us to our room (as is our experience at the Conrad Centennial Singapore and other hotels in Singapore). That is not a problem for us as we always decline such an offer in any event.

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Our room had a spacious entrance hall and comfortable sitting area, along with a dining table and work desk.

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The old LCD television swung around so it could be watched from either the sitting area…
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Regretfully, the curtains didn’t fully block out the light from outside the room. We also found the work desk chair uncomfortable for longer sittings. On the plus side, the work desk had an international power outlet on top of it, which was helpful.

The minibar at this property also doesn’t have any wine.

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The bathroom was spacious, with separate soaking tub and shower.

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On this stay, we did not pay extra for access to the Club InterContinental (as we had a busy schedule as it was). We have previously used it, and found it to have an excellent spread in the morning and evening. It is located on the second floor. From the elevators it is located down a hallway balcony overlooking the lobby.

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The hotel has renovated rooms in the form of its ‘shophouse’ rooms, which are on the lower floors of the hotel and overlooking the glass covered ‘shopping streets’ below. These rooms are smaller (we find them over-stuffed with furniture for their size) and some complain that these rooms are noisy late into the night from the shoppers in the mall below.

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The hotel has a pleasant outdoor pool, accessible from the fourth floor.

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We were disappointed with the hotel’s Royal Ambassador welcome gift, which was a welcome drink at the Victoria Bar, located on the ground floor (not even the classy-looking lobby bar). When we said we appreciated the gift, but no thanks as it was of no interest to us – the hotel had nothing else to offer. This property used to provide the welcome drink and various Singaporean trinkets (a different one every time) which we could take home to the family as a handy souvenir of our trip to Singapore, but not anymore.

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The hotel has a back entrance which spills out into the Bugis Junction shopping mall, which is convenient as it allows undercover access to the Bugis MRT station (although not early in the morning as we found out to our displeasure one morning as we were rushing to an engagement).

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While a solid hotel offering in the Lion City, there is nothing about the InterContinental Singapore that we found impressive. Rather, we continue to be disappointed by the stingy room upgrades for InterContinental Royal Ambassador members. We will continue searching for a ‘go to’ Singapore hotel.

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