The Alcove Room
Photo: M Social 

The “M” in M Social may as well stand for millennials. Designer Philippe Starck has gone to town to include all things hip, whimsical and tech-focused. Tablets line the walls of the hotel’s restaurant, Beast and Butterflies. A robot named Aura delivers amenities to your room. Communal areas are awash with bright colours and quirky furnishings like oddly shaped armchairs. All the elements, we were told, were intended to provide talking points and bring people together. Minimalist, M Social isn’t.

But what it is, is charming. Each of the 293 rooms is the same size, though the use of the space differs for different types of rooms. The Loft rooms are divided into two floors, separating the living space (a couch, TV and a coffee table) and the bed. So if you’re the type of person who likes to lounge in bed and have TV marathons, the Loft rooms may not be ideal. We were told that they were designed for the guest who prefers to “prioritise work and play, before rest”.


The Loft Room
Photo: M Social 

The Alcove rooms (which we stayed in) have a 4m pitched roof, making up for its small space with the high ceilings. It’s a cosy fit for two people, with no unwieldy cupboards (you get a sleek metallic clothing rack), a glass standing shower stall with blinds for privacy, and a sink and mirror fitted outside the bathroom. Charging points for your phone are on conveniently found on either side of the bed (no need to share). It was the day of the Royal Wedding when we had our stay, which meant we were able to we sob over Prince Harry’s nuptials while ensconced in fluffy comforters. 


The workshops are held in a spacious room on the second floor of the hotel.
Photo: M Social

In the spirit of getting social, the hotel has teamed up with local creatives to conduct complimentary daytime workshops for guests.  Called The PassionArt Sessions campaign, the workshops run from March till June, featuring origami sessions, candle-making and painting. We joined artist Marina A for a painting workshop, where we reaffirmed that art wasn’t our talent, but we could have fun at it anyway. We did expect a little more guidance in the class, but in all fairness it was meant to be a fun, free form class - no expectations of burgeoning Picasso brilliance. The final session of the campaign will be the Art of Chinese Tea, taking place on 2 June.


Photo: M Social

In terms of facilities, the usual gym and pool (which overlooks the river and has glass panels at the edge for a faux infinity effect) deliver on their purpose. Washing machines and dryers are a new but welcome addition – if you don’t want to pay for the hotel to do your laundry, this is a cheaper alternative. Robot Aura can be seen charging in the lobby when she’s taking a break from delivering water, towels and the like to rooms. This smart cookie will ring the bell when she’s at your door. It was the closest we got to experiencing R2D2.
 

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Asian-fusion restaurant Beast and Butterflies is located on the ground floor of the hotel. The menu is eclectic, with baby back ribs and beef tenderloin alongside chicken curry and beehoon. The star though, was the crispy pork knuckle with sesame oil scented sauerkraut. No one likes a flaccid pork skin, and this one had a satisfying snap to its crackling exterior. It was the perfect foil to the tender pork with rendered fat. The lobster porridge is another signature, served Teochew style with the rice swimming in crab broth. If you want comfort food on a rainy day, this is it.


Crispy Pork Knuckle at Beast and Butterflies
Photo: M Social

 

Breakfast is also served in the restaurant, and you can expect a queue at the egg station. Robot Aura has its fraternal twin Ausca serving up fried eggs and omelettes, and judging by the number of people with their phones out, Ausca is the main attraction in the mornings. It’s easy enough to give Ausca  instructions – tap the button on what type of eggs you want, and you get a choice of omelette fillings. We were told that Ausca has a success rate of 90 percent, but perhaps it was sheer bad luck that a guest before me and I both had botched eggs (Ausca missed the stove when cracking the eggs). Still, the novelty of seeing a cooking robot did not wear off, and the other guests were accommodating enough to let us have another go. Ausca might not be as adorable as Aura (the latter does have a face on a screen), but for a machine that serves up food, it passed the taste test. 

 

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In terms of location, you can’t fault M Social. Robertson Quay is quiet enough so you won’t get the ruckus of traffic, but is still central enough to be a stone’s throw from town and with a slew of eateries in the area. The vibe we got from our stay was that this is a sleek, hip, lifestyle hotspot for people to chill out, have fun, and collapse into a welcome bed at the end of the day. And when you do, Aura and Ausca are at your service.

 

M Social is located at 90 Robertson Quay.