From The Straits Times    |

Photo: Andaz Singapore

Andaz Singapore is a lot of things – it’s modern, charming and lively – but one thing it is not is predictable.

An elevator ride to the 25th floor of the Duo Tower in the middle of Bugis takes us to an oasis of calm. The lift lobby opens up into a spacious reception area that’s decorated with large tropical plants and flooded with natural light.

Interior designer Andre Fu of AFSO designed the hotel with Singapore’s heritage neighbourhoods in mind. But this isn’t your run-of-the-mill, nostalgia-inducing restored shophouse space. The sophisticated islander aesthetic, enhanced by the locally-inspired flourishes on the furniture and art pieces, inspires a sense of adventure.


Dining concept

This put us in the mood to explore the winding corridors of Alley on 25, a collection of seven dining concepts (five restaurants and two bars) located on the same floor as reception. Each “venue” is dedicated to a specific style of food preparation instead of an individual cuisine, a refreshing take on the hotel dining experience.


The Green Oven. Photo: Andaz Singapore

At The Green Oven, as the name suggests, everything on the menu is baked in a large Beech oven, from braised lamb shank and lobster mac and cheese to brownies baked in-house. Icehaus serves all things chilled and frozen. You’ll find cold cuts and seafood, and ice cream desserts like the Andaz Pop ($10), a popsicle made with palm sugar-coconut ice cream and red bean-caramel filling, coated with pandan-flavoured white chocolate.

Auntie’s Wok and Steam is inspired by local and Szechuan cuisine. Expect fresh, sustainably-sourced seafood, Chinese rice and noodle dishes, and dim sum. Some scrumptious highlights on the menu that are close to the heart include double-boiled beef short rib noodles and mapo-style silken tofu with Alaskan king crab meat.

ALSO READ: A new hawker centre at Pasir Ris to have modern ‘hipster’ food market vibe


Plancha’Lah!  Photo: Andaz Singapore

For barbecue fare like grilled squid, diver scallops and more, head to Smoke & Pepper and enjoy the variety of Asian-inspired dishes cooked on the open charcoal grill. Or, if you want your dinner with a show, Plancha’Lah! will entice you. The chefs create dishes like Hokkaido scallops in truffle butter, and Kurobuta pork chop with Fuji apple purée before you on an open hotplate. We liked that one of the five-course dinner sets (from $108) was a vegetarian option.

Wind down at Bar Square, which serves up locally inspired cocktails or at the Sunroom, where you get complimentary wines and the homebrew Andaz Pale Ale during the Andaz Lounge Hour from 5 to 7pm daily.

If you haven’t made plans for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve, consider hitting the Alley on 25 buffet ($118++ for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, $138++ for New Year’s Eve) which combines the menus of the five restaurants for a hearty spread, plus unlimited Champagne, wines and beer ($168++ for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, $188++ for New Year’s Eve).


The amenities

Photo: Andaz Singapore

The words “infinity pool” set our hearts aflutter and we shimmied into our swimsuits to soak up the evening sun along the deck, just adjacent to the restaurant area on the 25th floor. In the female changing room located a floor above the pool, we discovered a luxurious feature for pool users: a laconium – that’s similar to a sauna but uses dry-heat. All of the 10 deck chairs were occupied when we got there, but there were still plenty of fresh towels and chilled bottles of water on the side that we could help ourselves to.  Better still, they provided pool noodles. The child in us was greatly pleased.


Teepees at Mr Stork. 

After our juvenile exploits in the water, we headed up to on the 39th floor rooftop bar Mr. Stork to have some grown-up fun (read: booze). It’s truly an escape from the hustle and bustle of Singapore’s city life, complete with a pavillion that houses the bar and numerous little teepee huts in the midst of lush greenery.

Fitness junkies will be pleased to know that the 24-hour gym on the 38th floor that’s compact but well-equipped. Apart from the cardio and weight machines, there are free weights, yoga mats and balance balls at your disposal. Suffice to say, we did not have the time to use any of it for we had some serious lounging around to do.

ALSO READ: 7 cool new Artic experiences to add to your bucket list


The rooms and service

King Room. Photo: Andaz Singapore

So we ambled on to our King Room (from $390++). If you wanted to see our beautiful city in full unobstructed glory, this is the place. Occupying the 25th to 39th floor of Duo Tower, Andaz Singapore boasts a stunning view from all of its 342 guestrooms. From ours, we could look across the Marina Bay skyline from the daybed against the floor-to-ceiling window.

The room itself was modest but comfortable. Its design was contemporary, dressed mostly in muted colours save for the playful pop of yellow on the swinging doors and door frames. You get a roomy walk-in closet and well-stocked minibar. There’s also a pretty wicked Bose sound system you can connect to via Bluetooth and a widescreen television that can swivel to face either the bed or daybed area, and more importantly, complimentary wifi. Did we mention that there’s a Nespresso machine too? Yasssss.


The view from our room.

We were a little disappointed that the en suite bathroom had no bathtub (which is only available in the suites), but to make up for it there was a rainshower and some incredible-smelling soaps, made by celebrated French perfumer Christophe Laudiamiel specially for Andaz Singapore. Another unexpected but not so pleasant surprise was that we shared the room with dozens of tiny drain flies that escaped from the toilet and invaded the bedroom. When we called housekeeping, the cleaner did her best to exterminate the unwanted guests with a spray bottle of pesticide but there remained a few dozen that visited upon us in the night.  

When we contacted Andaz Singapore about the flies, they said this was the first such incident that was reported, and they suspect that it might have been because a previous guest had left some strong smelling food in the room. Not the most satisfactory response, but we don’t fault them as the hotel is still relatively new and teething problems are unavoidable. 



The breakfast egg station at The Green Oven.

The next day at breakfast, we had a choice between an Asian spread at Auntie’s Wok & Steam, which serves local dishes like fried noodles and congee, and a Western one at The Green Oven. We went with the Western breakfast because the egg station and fresh sourdough from Tiong Bahru Bakery was calling out to us. The selection isn’t as heavy as your typical continental breakfast, or as wide. But you get a decent range of baked goods, fruit salad, cold cuts and cheeses, cereal and waffles, plus delicious cold-pressed juices from Juice Junkie.

Overall, we loved the ambience and good vibes that filled the alleyways of Andaz Singapore. The service was top notch, thanks to a young team of service staff that was extremely warm and eager to please. Needless to say, we’ll be back to this tropical resort in the sky soon when we desperately need a break from the daily grind.