Kim Jong Un Slept Here: A Review of The St. Regis Singapore
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To The Point
The St. Regis Singapore is everything you’d expect from a top-tier hotel in one of Asia’s business hubs, luxurious and discreet, if not remarkable. Pros: solicitous staff, nice facilities, plenty of restaurant options. Cons: feels like it could be anywhere.
Though it’s been one of Singapore’s top hotels for years, The St. Regis Singapore recently shot back to prominence (or notoriety) because North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un stayed there during his summit with President Trump. He naturally got the presidential suite, complete with a 12-person dining room and a white baby grand piano, but my own visit was a single low-key evening in a standard room. I thought the hotel was a nice option, if not entirely memorable.
Although room rates at Singapore’s high-end hotels can range well above $800 per night, I was thrilled to see that they were much lower for the single night’s stay I needed toward the end of October. Among the hotels where I could earn and redeem points, the 299-room St. Regis Singapore offered the best cross-section of luxury and value.
The rates for rooms in the lowest category, executive deluxe, started at $299 for both refundable and nonrefundable prepaid rates. I could also have booked it as an award for 60,000 points, or 30,000 points plus $250.
Though the regular award rate would have gotten me a value of 0.5 cents per point, I thought the cash-and-points rate was just plain laughable. It would have meant spending 30,000 points to save $49, a value of a mere 0.16 cents per point.
The St. Regis Singapore was in one of the main business and shopping districts of the city, just off Orchard Road. It was also a few minutes’ walk to the Singapore Botanic Gardens, a major tourist attraction, though you’d have to take the metro or a taxi to get to the waterfront and sights like the National Gallery Singapore. My taxi ride from the airport cost around $30 Singapore dollars (about US $25).
I arrived at the hotel at around 6pm, when it was not too busy.
Almost before the taxi even stopped, doormen were at the trunk to take my suitcase and then asked if I wanted to keep it with me or have them send it up to the room.
I held onto it while one of them showed me to the reception desks to the left of the main entrance, which was lit by a “Phantom of the Opera”-sized crystal chandelier.
The lobby was expansive and beautiful, with silk panels along the walls and massive orchid floral arrangements. It was exactly what you’d expect of a high-end hotel here, and looked a lot like other St. Regises I’d visited in Asia, including the ones in Kuala Lumpur and Beijing.
The agent who checked me in was friendly, confirming the details of my stay, thanking me for my loyalty and asking if I needed any help making plans in the city. He suggested a few restaurants for dinner, then handed over the keys to my room and walked me over to the elevators, though he did not come up with me.
I was not offered an upgrade, but since I was just staying the one night after taking the long flight from Newark and was not going to have much time to enjoy the room, I didn’t care too much.
The room I was given on the 13th floor ended up being a lemon. When I opened the door, I immediately noticed a strange odor, and there was an ozone cleaning machine on the floor buzzing away. Clearly, something had happened in the room, and they were trying to deal with it. There was no way I was going to stay there. I called down to the front desk and spoke to another agent to ask if I could change rooms.
She said that I absolutely could and apologized profusely that there was an issue. By the time I got back to the lobby, she had my new room key ready, two floors higher up on the SPG floor (yes, it still had that signage), and I was able to settle in.
Although it was the starter category of room, my executive deluxe room was beautiful and spacious.
There was a foyer just inside the door with a beautiful chest that held a kettle and French press.
It also hid a well-stocked minibar.
The main room was through another doorway.
A rack for pressed clothes, the wall-mounted TV, a table with room information and the desk were along the closest wall.
Beyond them was a window seat with counters and lamps on either side.
The sheer shades and blinds were electronic and could be operated with buttons at the bedside. The view was just of the surrounding buildings and neighborhood.
The bed was set against the far wall and had a tufted fabric sofa at its foot and a similarly tufted leather headboard set against a large wooden backsplash that matched the nightstands.
The look was classic and European. While sumptuous, I thought it could use a little refresh.
One of the nightstands had a clock and the telephone, while the other was empty.
Both had pullout drawers with buttons to control the lights and shades as well as the “do not disturb” indicator on the front door.
Just inside the entrance to the bathroom, the closet contained a safe and space to set your suitcase, as well as hangers and drawers.
The bathroom was probably the most impressive part of the room. It was enormous and done in thick-veined French marble. There were two sinks, one on either side of the room, and a drawer of amenities like a dental kit and a shaving kit. The standalone bathtub was also a beautiful feature.
There were separate stalls for the toilet and the shower, which had a spa-style setup with overhead and Vichy shower heads. I can’t tell you how good it felt to have them all going at once after my 18-hour flight from the US.
As is the standard for the brand, the bath products were Remède.
Wi-Fi was free and fast.
Food and Beverage
The hotel had six restaurants and bars, including French, Italian, Chinese and Japanese plus cocktails and afternoon tea. However, I wanted Indian food the night I was in town, and the concierge staff were happy to suggest several options ranging from local takeout to Michelin-starred dining.
I did stop by the Astor Bar, just off the main entrance, on my way home from dinner and I had a fantastic Manhattan made with Michter’s Rye, Antica Formula vermouth, port and bitters.
The St. Regis claims the Bloody Mary was invented by Fernand Petiot in 1934 at the original St. Regis New York’s landmark King Cole Bar. Thus, the Astor Bar at St. Regis properties around the world all have special Bloody Mary sections of their cocktail menus with a signature location-specific version. The one here was called the Chilli Padi Mary and included lemongrass, chilli padi and aged Chinese ginger. The bar also served versions from the locations in New York, Bora Bora and Houston.
As a side note, suite guests were entitled to a complimentary cocktail and canapé at the Astor Bar from 6pm to 10pm.
On the lobby level, there was a bakery counter for pastries, coffee and tea called La Pâtisserie, which you could have along with a menu of all-day dishes in the casual drawing room next to reception.
The hotel’s French restaurant, Brasseries Les Saveurs, was at the back of the lobby level and served breakfast and both set and à la carte menus for lunch and dinner. Brunch service on Sundays included options with just food and coffee or tea as well as those with free-flowing wine and beer, unlimited ‘R’ de Ruinart Champagne and Krug Grand Cuvée, depending on how much you wanted to spend (hint, that last one could be more expensive than the room rates!).
Also on the ground floor, Shinji by Kanesaka was an outpost of a Tokyo restaurant and had earned a Michelin star for its omakase.
Up on the mezzanine, Yan Ting was a gourmet Cantonese restaurant serving both à la carte and set menus for lunch and dinner plus a dim sum brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.
Finally, next to the fitness center and the pool on the hotel’s second floor, LaBrezza was a cheerful fine-dining Italian restaurant open from 10am to midnight, serving Italian classics with a focus on fish and seafood.
As I mentioned, I was craving Indian, so I opted to dine out. I probably would have done the same even for a longer stay than a single night, because Singapore has more exciting and innovative restaurants that are priced more attractively.
The hotel had a Remède Spa down on the second floor, which also held the pool and fitness center. The spa was offering a couple special services for October, including a 60-minute Dr. Babor facial with a take-home skincare kit and a discount on Bastien Gonzalez mani-pedis. They also had a promotion for repeat hotel guests with increasingly larger discounts on repeat visits to the spa.
The normal menu included a hammam ritual with black soap and Rhassoul clay, a warm jade stone massage and a body wrap with orange-flower rhassoul clay enriched with seaweed from Brittany. Most hourlong treatments ranged from $200 to $400 Singapore dollars (US $145 to $290). The facilities included a sauna, steamroom and ice fountain.
The fitness center was small and had cardio machines, free weights and a few weight machines.
The pool area was also small but tranquil, with shaded lounge chairs and tables, and a Botero sculpture in a corner with views of the surrounding buildings.
Speaking of the sculpture, one of the most impressive things about the hotel was its art collection, reputedly one of the best private collections in Southeast Asia, valued at over $7 million. Works I saw included paintings by Miró in the public areas on the second floor, sketches by Picasso in the Astor Bar and a series of large landscapes painted with Chinese inks on rice paper by Singaporean artist Chen Kezhan, which were magnificent. The hotel even offered free art tours that you could book by appointment.
Like all St. Regises, this one featured butler service. Among other favors, they’d pack and unpack for you and provide tea or coffee at any time of day.
I called for coffee with cream and sugar the morning of my departure at about 6:20am, hoping it would arrive quickly so I could have some before I checked out at 7am. But it took about half an hour for the tray to arrive and only had sugar and powdered creamer, not cream or milk, so I just had a quick cup as I closed up my suitcase. I’m not sure if the butlers on my floor were busy, but when I’d ordered it in the past, it had come much faster, in around 10 minutes or so.
Other than that, the staff was all fantastic: friendly, immediately available if I needed any help and quick to smile.
The St. Regis Singapore is a solid luxury option in one of Southeast Asia’s business hubs. While not an entirely remarkable experience, I did think my stay here was pleasant enough, and the room was priced well. I wish the restaurants were a little more exciting and included some options that were not so expensive, but since the hotel is within walking distance to so many other places to eat, not to mention shop, I didn’t consider that a major shortcoming. What with a spacious room, nice amenities and a lovely staff, my short stay ended up being a very pleasant start to a multiweek trip to Asia.
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