PAN PACIFIC SINGAPORE - A HOTEL OF DISTINCTION
I love that nervous feeling when you pull up to the front of a hotel like the Pan Pacific Hotel Singapore and you just know that you’ve arrived somewhere special before you even step out of the car.
The Pan Pacific Singapore was no exception. From the very second my taxi door was eased open by a smiling doorman, I sensed that I was special too.
That my needs mattered.
That someone else cared about me and what I wanted.
I spend a lot of time travelling on the road and reviewing hotels both for work and a growing list of readers. And I love it when everything seems to gel and come together. When the check in process is so effortless and soothing, that in one fell swoop, your body untangles every tense knot and just melts into this kneaded lump of puppy-dog contentment.
My opening reception augured well for my upcoming “Odyssey”. In the next 16 days, I was going to stay in 10 hotels, in four countries. And now, with hindsight on my side, I can look back affectionately and say, that the Pan Pacific Singapore eclipsed, outclassed and outshone most hotels I stayed in.
Harbour Studio – Room 3117
I barely had to breath for myself as I ambled across the foyer towards the elevator. I was in the capable hands of Charlene Ong, the Guest Services Officer, my bags already on route to my room on the 31st floor.
Service is clearly a forté of the Pan Pacific.
When the doors whoosed open, they revealed an external lift with the most amazing floor-to-ceiling glass view of the city. As we ascended to the 31st floor I watched the turquoise blue of the swimming pool disappear beneath me. It looked endlessly inviting, even on a grey, rainy day. But my real treat was yet to come: the room.
I was booked into a Harbour Studio, room 3117, which at 46 square metres (495 square feet) was not titanic but incredibly stylish. As a man on the go, it ticked most of my boxes with an enormous cherry on top, an outrageously great view beyond the Marina Bay towers and out towards Sentosa Island. On this morning, I spied two cruise ships in the distant port, side by side.
There was no luggage rack immediately noticeable (built in or otherwise) which was disappointing, but cupboard and hangar space was ample for the stay. I often prefer to dump and live out of my unzipped suitcase in lieu of unpacking it. A mild irritation.
I found a safe in the closet too, quite a large one, always a welcome resource for my clutch of meagre items (mostly cash and electronic goodies). I smile when I find one, mostly out of habit, not insecurity. And better still, I prefer a lock box with a four-digit code. I’m always flummoxed when I have to contrive a six-digit passcode when jet lag reigns supreme. I’m pretty sure I don’t have a six-digit code for anything back home home and I’m damned if I’m going to break that habit in another country. Too much stress to deal with.
Work space is crucial to me, but even that pales in significance to one other thing: electric sockets. I need them.
I travel for work and with me comes enough electronic hardware to light up a factory: laptop, iPad, phones, camera (generally two), back up battery pack. You get the gist. Nothing bugs me more than when I find there are limited or no electrical plugs, especially near the desk, or by the bedside table. The Pan Pacific Singapore had not such issues. A massive tick.
And trailing close behind, nearly neck and neck, is my need for internet access. This too was provided complimentary with my stay.
I swivelled my focus to the king-sized bed. It was alluring, delicious, huge. Beautifully set against a soft, panelled wall that had a distinct neutral, yet Asian theme. Like immovable papyrus panels lit by warm wall lights.
I love a big bed. It has to be soft. Warm. A giant workstation that I can crash in. I can put my laptop beside me. A book. A phone. A newspaper. I can drift off and relinquish myself to sleep, but when I wake up, everything will be just as it was. Barely a crease in the sheets. A well-earned slumber that was only possible from space and comfort.
These are the little things that matter. To me.
When people say, “It’s like a hotel bathroom,” they do so for a reason because it carries connotations of being lavish and plush and often over the top. As travellers, we forget that we spend a very large percentage of our hotel time in our bathrooms which is why space matters in this room. So do the accessories.
The Pan Pacific Singapore does not cut corners here. The premium Hans Grohe fittings, the marble surrounds, the fresh white robes and towels, and rain shower completing the “hotel bathroom” feel. The “home-away-from-home” we all yearn for.
I loved the glass window pane above the bath tub. It made the studio brighter and that much more spacious and inviting. I took a bubble bath and watched the flat-screen TV in the lounge with the integrated speaker volume up and the lights off. It was really soothing and regenerative.
The Little Bits that Count
I’m not a giant mini-bar user (especially with prohibitively expensive prices!) but this one was fully computerized and automated, apart from being well stocked and very cold: Asahi, Heineken and Tiger beer; tonic, juice and Perrier; Bombay Sapphire gin, Smirnoff Vodka, Bacardi rum; Snickers, M&Ms, Twix and an Alpen bar. I did, however, dip into the slightly less fattening complimentary fruit bowl.
The Dining Experience
“Embark on a diverse culinary experience at Pan Pacific Singapore,” the hotel likes to boast and they are not far wrong: innovative dining concepts, award winning restaurants, a massive, full length 44-metre lobby bar and a gourmet marketplace are but a few of the treats on offer.
Han Tien Lo
The Pan Pacific Singapore is renown for its choice of food and if there is one restaurant that leads the charge, it is the superb, award-winning Han Tien Lo. Here you find the best traditional Cantonese dining with a contemporary twist. The chefs still dip into age-old recipes to produce classic dishes, but their modern spin has got the food pundits calling it ‘new Cantonese’ cuisine.
Leading the foray is Master Chef Lai Tong Ping whom I had the great pleasure of being cooked for and served by. A medley of outstanding dishes from dim sum, double-boiled soup, Peking duck and a modern spin on the “Trio of Treasures” and “Lobster in Lemon Butter Sauce”.
- Location: Level 3
- Seating: 180
- Private dining: Room for 20 guests, 4 private dining rooms (10 guests each); 4 semi-private dining rooms (8 guests)
- Lunch: 12:00pm to 02:30pm (daily)
- Dinner: 06:30pm to 10:30p (daily)
Edge presents an engaging gastro-tainment dining experience and a culinary tour of Singapore, the region and the Pacific Rim. Seven ‘live’ food theatres present a la minute cuisine which include a variety of delectable Asian and Pacific cuisines – including Chinese, Malay, Indian, Singaporean, Japanese and Pan Pacific’s signature “Pacific Cuisines”. A self-serve dining concept, diners are invited to explore the live food theatres to interact with the chefs and take their pick from an extensive choice of almost 120 dishes and 35 desserts that are available. For the ultimate indulgence, Sunday Champagne Brunch is a convivial event with traditional roasts, crustacean on ice, freshly-made pasta, a grill, 30 types of cheese and 20 varieties of dessert.
- Breakfast: 06:00am to 10:30am
- Lunch: 12:00pm to 02:30pm (daily)
- Makan Makan: 12:00pm to 04:00pm (Saturdays only)
- Sunday Champagne Brunch: 12:00pm to 04:00pm (Sundays only)
- Dinner: 06:30pm to 10:30p (daily)
Renowned for the use of seasonal delicacies air-flown from Japan, Keyaki provides authentically prepared and immaculately presented traditional Japanese cuisine. These include sashimi, teppanyaki, kaiseki, omakase and more. Perched on level 4 of the hotel and surrounded by a beautifully sculpted Japanese garden and koi pond, this elegant venue provides an authentic setting for Chef Hiroshi Ishii’s exquisite cuisine.
- Location: Level 4
- Seating: 146
- Private Dining: One private Tatami room (six persons): one private Western dining room (10 persons); one semi-private dining room (eight persons); four outdoor tables (seating four persons each)
- Lunch: 12:00pm to 2.30pm daily
- Dinner: 6.30pm to 10:30pm daily
Located in the heart of the lobby, Atrium presents a curated collection of craft beers, boutique wines and spirits. Guests can enjoy a bespoke cocktail at the dramatic 44-metre (144 feet) long bar or have an intimate tête-à-tête at a private pod floating over a reflection pool.
- Location: Ground floor
- Seating: 207
- Pods: 16 pods (holding a total of 132 persons)
- Living Room: seats 48
- Front & Back Bar Counters: seats 24
- 10:00am to 01:00am (Sunday to Thursday)
- 10:00am to 02:00am (Friday & Saturday)