Review: The Fullerton Hotel Singapore Staycation

Last Updated:

Staycation guests at The Fullerton Hotel will enjoy stunning architecture, updated rooms and great service. Pity about the breakfast, though.

The Fullerton Hotel will be a familiar sight to those of you who work in the CBD. Situated on the banks of the Singapore River and overlooking the Civic District, it’s one of only three hotels designated as National Monuments (the other two being Raffles and Goodwood Park). 

Fullerton Hotel | Photo: Straits Times
Fullerton Hotel | Photo: Straits Times

I decided to do my next staycation at the Fullerton because: 

  • It’s a chance to review the #1 hotel in Singapore, as ranked by reviewers on Tripadvisor
  • HSBC was offering a flash sale on Fullerton staycation packages, which cost just S$299 nett with S$80 of F&B credits
  • After staying at the Raffles, I wanted to compare the overall experience with other colonial-style hotels
📋 In This Review
🏨 Other Staycation Reviews
Crowne Plaza Changi Airport | Conrad Singapore | Hotel 81 Tristar | Hotel Soloha | Mandarin Orchard | Outpost HotelRaffles Hotel | The Barracks Hotel | W Hotel Sentosa Cove | YOTELAIR Changi Airport

Booking a Fullerton Hotel Staycation

HSBC customers can currently book the following staycation package at The Fullerton Hotel for S$271++, valid for both weekday and weekend stays: 

🏨 HSBC Staycation Treats (S$271++)
  • 1 night in Premier Courtyard Room
  • Daily breakfast
  • S$80 F&B credits
Book By 31 Aug 2020
Stay By 30 Sep 2020
Link

From 14-16 August, HSBC ran a 3-day flash sale, which reduced the price further to S$254++ (S$299 nett). I managed to snag this deal, which I charged to my HSBC Revolution card to earn 4 mpd. 

Other Fullerton Hotel staycation deals include:

🏨 Luxury of Time (S$380++)
🏨 Pure Relaxation (S$320 nett)
  • 1 night in Heritage Room
  • Daily breakfast
  • 11 a.m check-in
  • 6 p.m check-out
  • S$150 F&B credits
  • 1 night in Premier Courtyard Room
  • Daily breakfast
  • S$80 F&B credits
Purchase By 31 Aug 2020 Book By 31 Aug 2020
Stay By 1 year from date of purchase Stay By 31 Aug 2020
Link
Email Fullerton Reservations and request 

Fullerton Hotel Singapore: Pre-arrival

A week before my staycation, I received a pre-arrival email from the Fullerton Hotel reservations team, asking me to specify my intended arrival and departure time. 

The form also had options to reserve time slots for breakfast, the gym and swimming pool (the full list of time slots can be found in their respective sections in this review). 

This isn’t mentioned in the pre-arrival form, but should you be staying on a weekend, you’ll definitely want to book one of Fullerton’s complimentary heritage tours. These operate at 3.45 p.m and 5 p.m on Saturdays and Sundays, and are limited to four people per time slot. Book early to avoid disappointment. 

Fullerton Hotel Singapore: Arrival and Check-in

Fullerton Hotel driveway
Fullerton Hotel driveway

Even though the package we booked didn’t come with early check-in, we decided to try our luck and arrived around 11 a.m on a Friday morning. 

The Fullerton Hotel is just off Battery Road, and a brief walk from Raffles Place MRT. Thanks to the current work-from-home mandate, there’s hardly any traffic in the area, even during weekdays. 

Fullerton Hotel driveway
Fullerton Hotel driveway

There’s no two ways about it- The Fullerton Hotel cuts an impressive figure. And why shouldn’t it? After all, this used to be one of the most important buildings in the whole Civic District, and since its opening in 1928 has housed the General Post Office, Ministry of Finance, Chamber of Commerce, and the Singapore Club. 

Fullerton Hotel facade
Fullerton Hotel facade

The grey Aberdeen granite facade and 37 metre high fluted Doric columns have borne silent witness to the fledgling careers of many of Singapore’s pioneer leaders. 

Onlookers used to scale the roof and parapets of the Fullerton Building to catch one of Lee Kuan Yew’s fiery lunchtime rallies. Goh Chok Tong recounts how he literally worked his way up the building, starting on the second floor and progressing to the fifth and sixth floors as he rotated through the civil service. Goh Keng Swee was rumored to have a secret entrance to his office, built to let him slip in and out while avoiding people he’d rather not meet (I empathize). 

Fullerton Hotel facade
Fullerton Hotel facade

In fact, the building’s stint as a hotel is relatively nascent. The Fullerton Hotel only opened its doors in December 2000, after a $400 million refurbishment that began in 1997. The building was gazetted as Singapore’s 71st National Monument in 2015, and all in all, it’s come a long way since the foundations were laid in 1924. 

Fullerton building entrance
Fullerton building entrance
Fullerton building entrance
Fullerton building entrance

Staff came to assist us with our bags as we alighted from our Grab, and we did a temperature screening and SafeEntry declaration before entering the building proper. 

Fullerton Hotel Safe Entry and temperature screening
Fullerton Hotel SafeEntry and temperature screening
Fullerton Hotel entrance
Fullerton Hotel entrance

If you thought the building was grandiose from the outside, it’s equally impressive within. Think grand staircase, an expansive courtyard bathed in natural light, and tall marble pillars stretching skywards. 

Fullerton Hotel lobby
Fullerton Hotel lobby
Fullerton Hotel lobby
Fullerton Hotel lobby

We were ushered to a small holding area in the courtyard and seated at a numbered table to complete the obligatory health declaration. It’s an elegantly simple idea, insofar as it prevents overcrowding at the check-in counters, and ensures fairness in processing arrivals- your table number corresponds to the order in which you arrive, so there’s no wandering off to fill out forms and losing your place in line. 

Fullerton hotel holding area
Fullerton Hotel holding area

After that, we were escorted to the counter for check-in proper. Fullerton has installed plexiglass dividers at all its check-in counters, a feature I think we’ll see more frequently as businesses re-open (apparently demand for plexiglass is up 4X from the previous year).  

Fullerton Hotel check-in counters
Fullerton Hotel check-in counters
Fullerton Hotel check-in counter plexiglass shield
Fullerton Hotel check-in counter plexiglass shield

Although my staycation package booked into a Premier Courtyard Room, I received an upgrade to a Quay Room. These are actually smaller in size, but the views more than make up for it (see section on room below). 

A small postcard (this used to be a post office, after all) was issued with reminders of my bookings for breakfast, as well as gym and pool access. 

Fullerton appointment card
Fullerton appointment card

Fullerton Hotel Singapore: Quay Room

The Fullerton Hotel has numerous room types, and the architectural constraints presented by the building mean that rooms within the same category can vary significantly in size (most notably the Heritage Rooms). 

  Size
Premier Courtyard Room 42 sqm
Heritage Room 34-58 sqm
Quay Room 36-39 sqm
Marina Bay View Room 36-39 sqm
Esplanade Room 53 sqm
Straits Club Courtyard Room 42 sqm
Straits Club Heritage Room 37-71 sqm
Straits Club Quay Room 36-39 sqm
Straits Club Marina Bay View Room 36-39 sqm
Premier Collyer Suite 65 sqm
Palladian Suite 93 sqm
Loft Suite 109 sqm
Fullerton Suite 90 sqm
Governor Suite 77 sqm
Presidential Suite 201 sqm

As mentioned, we were upgraded from a Premier Courtyard room to a Quay Room, on the 6th floor of the building. 

Room 659
Room 659
Room entrance
Room entrance

First impressions were great. Although the room was objectively narrow, the natural light streaming in from the full length windows provided a sense of space. The facelifted interiors maintained a sense of old-world charm, while looking fresh enough to avoid an old and worn vibe. 

Fullerton Hotel Quay Room
Fullerton Hotel Quay Room
Fullerton Hotel Quay Room
Fullerton Hotel Quay Room
Fullerton Hotel Quay Room
Fullerton Hotel Quay Room

The Quay Rooms were recently renovated, and trust me, the updated decor looks much better than before. You can find some older reviews of non-renovated rooms, and they look…bad. There’s something about yellow walls and bed runners that screams early 2000s. I understand that 70% of the rooms in the hotel have been renovated already, so it doesn’t hurt to request one at check-in. 

LHS: Non-renovated Quay Room (Photo Credit: Secret Life of Fatbacks) RHS: Quay Room now

Although the room eschews the traditional rectangular work desk, it does have a smaller circular table which can pull double duty for in-room dining. 

Quay room table
Quay room table

On the table were three envelopes for you to store your masks in. These were a constant presence throughout the hotel, whether at the restaurants or in the executive lounge.

Envelopes for masks
Envelopes for masks

Underneath a panel on the side desk were four universal power sockets, a HDMI connection port for the TV, and two USB ports.  

Power plugs
Power plugs

The chair was comfortable enough for prolonged periods of work, and the internet speeds were none too shabby. 

Fullerton Hotel Wi-Fi speed test results
Fullerton Hotel Wi-Fi speed test results

Wi-Fi clocked in at a zippy 23 Mbps up and 24 Mbps down, which puts the Fullerton Hotel in the upper half of hotels I’ve reviewed so far. 

  🔽 Download 🔼 Upload
Mandarin Orchard 273 Mbps 294 Mbps
YOTELAir Changi 29 Mbps 49 Mbps
W Sentosa Cove 34 Mbps 34 Mbps
The Fullerton Hotel 23 Mbps 24 Mbps
The Barracks Hotel 7.3 Mbps 7.7 Mbps
Hotel 81 Tristar 7.0 Mbps 6.8 Mbps
Raffles Hotel 6.9 Mbps 6.8 Mbps
Hotel Soloha 4.7 Mbps 5.1 Mbps
Internet speeds based on Speedtest.net scores as recorded during my own visits 

In the wardrobe you’ll find an iron and ironing board, together with shoe horn and emergency light. 

Wardrobe
Wardrobe

And also storage space for clothes, and a safe. An extension cord is available too, if you have multiple devices to charge. 

Wardrobe
Wardrobe
Wardrobe
Wardrobe

The room had a King-sized bed, which was pleasantly firm and great for sleeping. 400 thread count-calibre sheets are standard at The Fullerton, and in terms of comfort, I’d say it’s second only to the bed we had at the Raffles Hotel (those who have stayed at the Raffles will know that’s high praise indeed). 

Quay room bed
Quay room bed

Both bedsides had a universal charging outlet and a USB port, as well as a master power switch. On the right side (facing the bed), you had additional controls for the electric curtains. 

Bedside charging and control switches
Bedside charging and control switches
Bedside charging and control switches
Bedside charging and control switches

The mini-bar came fully stocked, and this continues to be an interesting inconsistency among hotels during Phase 2. Some hotels have said that STB requires mini-bars to be emptied entirely, others continue to stock them like nothing happened. 

Quay Room mini-bar
Quay Room mini-bar
Quay Room mini-bar
Quay Room mini-bar
Quay Room mini-bar
Quay Room mini-bar

Although items in the mini-bar weren’t free, the Nespresso coffee and TWG teabags were. 

Coffee and tea bags
Coffee and tea bags

Shortly after we got to the room, a small welcome gift of a fruit platter and bottle of wine arrived. The wine wasn’t anything fancy- a 2018 Pierre Jean Merlot that retails for about S$24, and so sweet it was practically undrinkable. Still, the handwritten card from the GM was a nice touch. 

Welcome gift
Welcome gift

The room came with a Samsung tablet that lets you access basic hotel information and the in-room dining menu. It’s not quite as advanced as the tablet at the Raffles Hotel (which allows you to control every device conceivable, from the lights to the curtains to the television), but you can still submit service requests for housekeeping, laundry, and luggage collection. 

Fullerton hotel tablet
Fullerton hotel tablet
Fullerton hotel tablet
Fullerton hotel tablet

The spacious bathroom has a separate bathtub and shower, although there’s only room for one sink. The choice of beige marble over more modern grey tones isn’t to my liking, but I don’t think the bathrooms got a lot of attention during the renovations anyway.  

Quay Room bathroom
Quay Room bathroom
Quay Room bathroom
Quay Room bathroom
Quay Room bathroom
Quay Room bathroom

The designers didn’t have the foresight to build a seat into the shower cubicle (it’s useful for washing your feet, you know), but there’s a small stool that serves the same end. Unfortunately, the shower head has very small coverage, yet the water pressure isn’t fantastic (normally, the more you decrease coverage, the stronger the pressure becomes). 

Quay Room shower
Quay Room shower

Shower amenities are from the Amber Empire collection by Atkinsons, an Italian-based perfume brand. The soap was easily one of the nicest I’ve ever had in a hotel, with a lingering lavender fragrance. 

Atkinsons toiletries
Atkinsons toiletries
Atkinsons toiletries
Atkinsons toiletries

These products are for sale in the gift shop as well, but at a hefty S$8 for a 40ml bottle.

Atkinsons toiletries for sale at gift shop
Atkinsons toiletries for sale at gift shop

Other accessories include two toothbrush kits (with proper Colgate toothpaste), a comb, shower cap, sanitary bag, vanity kit and shaving kit. 

Bathroom accessories
Bathroom accessories
The highlight of the bathroom? That would have to be the TOTO washlet, complete with heated seat and wall-mounted control panel. Even the mighty Raffles Hotel didn’t have this in their rooms, and trust me, once you’ve used one of these babies you’ll think toilet paper is for Neanderthals.  
 
TOTO washlet
TOTO washlet

TOTO washlet
TOTO washlet control panel

The toilet cover automatically opens when it detects your presence, and emits a soothing blue light that ensures you don’t need to blind yourself by switching the lights on in the middle of the night. 

Quay Rooms have private balconies, thoughtfully separated from the room by a double layer of soundproof doors. 

Quay Room balcony double layer doors
Quay Room balcony double layer doors
Quay Room balcony
Quay Room balcony

The views from the balcony are undoubtedly the highlight of Quay Rooms. They’re great during the day…

View from Quay Room
View from Quay Room
View from Quay Room
View from Quay Room
View from Quay Room
View from Quay Room

…but simply phenomenal at night. 

View from Quay Room
View from Quay Room
View from Quay Room
View from Quay Room

I normally get bummed out when I’m “upgraded” to a smaller room (as was the case at the Raffles), but the views here were really something. Sitting on your private balcony at night with a glass of wine and watching the river nightscape is a very special experience, and a world apart from starring at the inner atrium from a Courtyard Room. 

Fullerton Hotel Singapore: Straits Club Lounge

Straits Club at Fullerton Hotel
Straits Club at Fullerton Hotel

Our room did not originally come with Straits Club access, but a rep from the hotel invited us to have a look. 

The hotel’s website says that the Straits Club is temporarily closed, which is incorrect. In fact, the Straits Club is very much operational, and serves afternoon tea plus evening cocktails daily. Breakfast is only served here on Sundays; for all other days, it’ll be at the Courtyard area in the main lobby (see breakfast section)

The Straits Club is located on the fourth floor of the hotel, with its own dedicated check-in area as well as a meeting room. There’s supposed to be a small library as well as vintage Peranakan/Straits Chinese artifacts, but I didn’t see either- they may have been removed to facilitate cleaning during this time. 

Straits Club reception
Straits Club reception
Straits Club seating
Straits Club seating
Straits Club seating
Straits Club seating

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea is served at The Straits Club from 3 to 5 p.m daily. In terms of offerings, it’s exactly the same as the afternoon tea set available at The Courtyard for S$50-55++ per head (remember, SCB Visa Infinite and SCB X Card members get 50% off)

Courtyard Tea Menu
Courtyard Tea Menu

You’re allowed to have as many servings as you wish, with your choice of TWG teas or Fullerton coffees. 

Tea set at Straits Club
Tea set at Straits Club

The bottom layer had savory options, such as ricotta chives and mashed egg mayonnaise sliders, dill and crabmeat mayo with mustard cress in a mini tartlet, and five-spiced smoked chicken with guacamole. 

Savories
Savories

The middle layer had seared beef pastrami sandwiches, rainbow bread tuna chunk sandwiches, and sous vide tiger prawn cocktails with cucumber. 

Savouries
Savouries

The top layer had the sweets- chocolate moelleux, battenberg cake, maple pecan orange tart, graham cracker key lime tart, Fullerton fruit cake and ondeh ondeh macarons. 

Sweets
Sweets

This was served with scones and clotted cream.

While it was an enjoyable experience, I’m not sure I’d be willing to pay S$50-55++ per person, unless I had the Standard Chartered discount handy. Do note that if you take afternoon tea in the Courtyard, you’ll have unlimited servings of savory items and scones, but interestingly enough, only a single serving of the sweets. 

Evening cocktails

Evening cocktails are served from 6 to 8 p.m daily. Like the tea set, it’s presented in a three-tiered stand, with as many helpings as you like. 

Happy hour canapes
Happy hour canapes

Unlike some other happy hour lounge spreads, this was carbo light. You could finish one set, and still have room for dinner (whether that’s a bug or a feature depends on you, but there’s nothing stopping you from ordering multiple sets if you’re hungry). 

The bottom tier came with fried spring rolls, chicken wings and crab cakes. 

Happy hour canapes
Happy hour canapes

The middle tier had prawn cocktails, chicken cubes, crab meat and some delightful onion jam on top of yellow squash. 

Happy hour canapes
Happy hour canapes

And the top was a layer of cakes, although different from the tea selection. 

Happy hour canapes
Happy hour canapes

Guests can choose from a selection of house red, white and sparkling wine (Chandon Brut from Australia). It’s my understanding that Veuve Clicquot champagne used to be served during happy hour, so that’s sadly a downgrade from before. 

Chandon brut
Chandon brut

Thankfully, this “cocktail hour” isn’t a misnomer. Guests can actually order from a small selection of cocktails, including Cosmpolitans, Singapore Slings and Kamikazes. 

Cocktails
Cocktails

Fullerton Hotel Singapore: Facilities

Pool Gym Spa
Yes: 7 a.m to 10 p.m Yes: 7 a.m to 10 p.m Yes: 12 p.m to 8 p.m (Fri-Sun only)
Kids’ Club Business Centre Others
No Yes N/A

As you’d expect from a luxury hotel, The Fullerton has both a swimming pool and gym. These need to be booked in advance, so be sure to fill out that pre-arrival form

Swimming Pool

Fullerton Hotel swimming pool
Fullerton Hotel swimming pool

The Fullerton Hotel boasts a 25-metre outdoor infinity pool, which overlooks the Singapore river. 

Pool timings are divided into 90 minute slots, and you can select a maximum of one slot per day (i.e two on a 2D1N stay):

🏊‍♂️ Fullerton Hotel Pool Timings
0700-0830 hours 1430-1600 hours
0830-1000 hours 1600-1730 hours
1000-1130 hours 1730-1900 hours
1130-1300 hours 1900-2030 hours
1300-1430 hours 2030-2200 hours

The swimming pool is on Level 2, but is currently accessed by going to the 1M floor, registering with SafeEntry, then climbing half staircase to the poolside level.

Staircase to swimming pool
Staircase to swimming pool

A maximum of 24 guests are allowed in the pool area at any one time, and with 10 slots of 90 minutes per day, there’s just about enough capacity for the 400-room Fullerton Hotel (much better than the 1,107-room Mandarin Orchard at least, which pool can take just five guests). 

Even though it’s not particularly high off the ground, the swimming pool still has expansive views of the surrounding CBD, as well as the nearby Cavenagh and Anderson Bridges. The view’s even better at night when the sun goes down, so don’t rule out those after-dark time slots either.  

Fullerton Hotel swimming pool
Fullerton Hotel swimming pool
Fullerton Hotel swimming pool
Fullerton Hotel swimming pool

Nice though the views were, I thought the service routines had much room for improvement. 

Staff are virtually absent at the pool, so you could never be sure if a crumpled towel on a chair meant the occupant was taking a dip, or had already left. Short of shouting “anyone taken this chair?” across the pool, there was no way of knowing. 

Occupied or not?
Occupied or not?
pool chairs
Pool chairs- taken during the middle of the day when it was blazing hot and pool was empty

Here’s where hotels like the Fullerton could really take a leaf from the Raffles playbook. At the Raffles, guests were ushered to specific pool chairs, with staff keeping track of which seats were already occupied, and which had been vacated. This removed any potential ambiguity or awkwardness of “stealing” someone’s seat unintentionally. Assigned seating also allowed the staff to facilitate the relocation of odd-sized groups, so couples could be seated together. 

It was also strange that there was no sanitization of pool chairs or tables in between guests. At the Raffles, each pool chair had a towel draped over it, which was swapped out between guests. Staff also wiped the tables and reset the furniture if necessary.

The general absence of staff at the pool area also meant there was no one to take food or drinks orders- a shame, because the hotel could easily have generated some ancillary revenue from selling poolside F&B. 

Gym

Gym timings are divided into 2 hour slots (3 hours for the first slot of the day), and you can select a maximum of one slot per day (i.e two on a 2D1N stay):

🏋️ Fullerton Hotel Gym Timings
0700-1000 hours 1600-1800 hours
1000-1200 hours 1800-2000 hours
1200-1400 hours 2000-2200 hours
1400-1600 hours  

The gym can take a maximum of 10 guests at any one time, but I wouldn’t sweat it (pun). I never saw more than a couple of people inside, and I guess working out isn’t the highlight of a staycation for most. 

Fullerton Hotel gym
Fullerton Hotel gym
Fullerton Hotel gym
Fullerton Hotel gym
Fullerton Hotel gym
Fullerton Hotel gym

Exercise machines are separated by full height dividers, but even with these in place, alternate machines are still blocked off. 

Fullerton Hotel gym dividers
Fullerton Hotel gym dividers
Fullerton Hotel gym dividers
Fullerton Hotel gym dividers

Fullerton Hotel Singapore: Breakfast

Served at Cost Style
Courtyard S$45++ (Adult)
Set Menu
Hours Sparkling Wine? Discounts?
Seating 1: 0730 to 0830
Seating 2: 0830 to 0930
Seating 3: 0930 to 1030
No None
🍳 Update: Fullerton Hotel has informed me from 1 September, breakfast will be changed to unlimited servings. 

Breakfast is served at The Courtyard/Town Restaurant for all guests, including those with Straits Club access. Breakfast is only served in the Straits Club on Sundays, presumably because of the need to manage crowds. 

This arrangement strikes me as odd, because one of the reasons guests pay extra for lounge access is for the additional privacy. Moreover, Straits Club guests are entitled to a daily Chandon breakfast (it used to be champagne); I don’t see how that gets delivered when Straits Club and non-Straits Club guests are mixed together. 

While other aspects of The Fullerton Hotel may be excellent, the breakfast situation is simply dire.

Town restaurant
Town restaurant

It’s not the service or the seating- the hotel handles both of those admirably. Staff are out in full force every morning to usher arriving guests to seats, and with both the Town Restaurant and Courtyard area commandeered for breakfast, there’s hardly any wait. 

Courtyard seating for breakfast
Courtyard seating for breakfast
Town seating for breakfast
Town seating for breakfast
Riverside seating for breakfast
Riverside seating for breakfast

But once you’re seated, you’re presented with a menu and told to pick one item. Yup, just one. There’s no “please sir, I want some more” here. You’ll get just one portion, and dammit, you’ll like it.

Fullerton Hotel breakfast menu
Fullerton Hotel breakfast menu

Granted, the portions are sizeable, and with all the bread, yoghurt and fruit you want, you won’t go away hungry. But that’s the thing- shouldn’t the ambitions be a bit higher than merely “not going away hungry”? At a cheaper hotel, sure, you carbo-load the guests because food is fuel. At a place like The Fullerton though, you’d expect a greater emphasis on quality and variety. 

Moreover, it’s not like any of these items are particularly expensive. I’d be more sympathetic if they were offering lobster omelettes or steak and eggs and limited you to just one. Let’s be honest: chicken congee, laksa with frozen prawns, pancakes, eggs with processed meat- none of these are what you’d call opulent. 

So why wouldn’t you let guests pick more than one item? If the concern is wastage, then scale down the portions. You’ve already made the laksa gravy, the pancake mix, the pot of congee. How much more can it really cost to dole out an additional portion? The whole exercise just comes off as penny wise, pound foolish, and for whatever small savings you derive from ingredients and manpower, you lose much more in guest goodwill. 

Anyway, I opted for the nasi lemak, while the Milelioness had pancakes. After orders were taken, a small bread basket and two tubs of yoghurt were served (the fruit never came). 

Bread basket and yoghurt

The nasi lemak was sad. While there was a huge dollop of rice (it looks like easily 1.5 times a regular sized portion), there were only three small pieces of chicken. Fried fish, which should accompany any self-respecting nasi lemak, was missing, and the eggs were rubbery. 

Fullerton Hotel Nasi Lemak
Nasi Lemak

The Milelioness’ pancakes weren’t much better. A single, single fried egg (“we must make this last, my dear” said I as we split the meager portion) topped off three average pancakes, with three sausages and two strips of bacon as accompaniments (you could feel the chef counting out each piece). 

Pancakes
Pancakes

I triple checked with our server that seconds weren’t offered, and each time received an apologetic “no”. To top it off, the coffee was bad, and the latte was abject (The Milelioness said that it tasted like something you’d get from an instant coffee machine). 

After all the great experiences we had elsewhere at The Fullerton, I just couldn’t wrap my mind around the stinginess demonstrated at breakfast- it was as if we were in a different hotel altogether. 

Have I mentioned the price? S$45++ per person, or S$53 nett. Paying that much for a single serving of Nasi Lemak or Laksa is criminal (especially when the food isn’t anything to shout about), and when eggs cost maybe 20 cents each, I can’t believe they don’t even let you order that as an additional side. 

I pawed through some past reviews, and saw that as recently as September 2018, the hotel served Russian vodka scrambled eggs with caviar in the lounge. How on earth did we go from that to this? 

Straits Club breakfast from 2018 | Photo Credit: Secret Life of Fatbacks

So sort it out, whoever’s in charge of F&B. I can understand a lesser hotel offering a bento breakfast, but this simply isn’t the standard The Fullerton should be aspiring to. 

Other Dining Options

Restaurant Status as of 23 August 2020
Jade (Fullerton) Open
The Courtyard (Fullerton) Open
Town Restaurant (Fullerton) Open
La Brasserie (Fullerton Bay) Open
The Landing Point (Fullerton Bay) Open
Lantern (Fullerton Bay) Closed

Guests at The Fullerton Hotel have access to three different restaurants, plus three more from The Fullerton Bay Hotel (F&B expenses can be crossed charged between hotels)

Do remember that if you’re a Standard Chartered Visa Infinite or Standard Chartered X Card holder, you can enjoy up to 50% off the bill, whether you’re staying in-house or just visiting. 

La Brasserie

La Brasserie is the only restaurant we had time to try during our stay. It’s located in The Fullerton Bay Hotel, accessible through an underpass that links the two properties. 

Fullerton Bay Lobby
Fullerton Bay Lobby

Although we only made a reservation 30 minutes in advance on a Friday night, they were able to accommodate us. 

La Brasserie
La Brasserie

As the name suggests, La Brasserie specialises in French cuisine, although they curiously have some Asian items on the menu like Hainanese Chicken Rice (the Milelioness forbade I try this), and bak kut teh. 

We ordered one dozen Escargots for a starter (S$36++), which came with garlic bread and garlic butter. These were excellent. 

Escargot
Escargot

For the main course, I had the steak frites (S$68++), requested medium rare. The cook was spot on, but the flavor wasn’t great. It’s strange, because the entrecote cut is supposed to be similar to a ribeye, but I didn’t taste any of the familiar marbled fat. 

Steak frites
Steak frites

The Milelioness had the filet de loup en papillote (S$50++), which was a baked temasek sea bass with vegetables. Although the vegetables were delicious, the fish was overcooked. 

Filet de loup en papillote
Filet de loup en papillote

On the whole, I wasn’t blown away by dinner. The ambiance makes it a nice place to burn your dining credit (or utilize your SCB discount), but had I paid full price, I’d certainly have been disappointed. 

Fullerton Hotel Singapore Service

Apart from the experience at the swimming pool, service throughout the hotel was excellent. I’ll even go so far as to say it could give the Raffles Hotel a run for the money.

Hotel staff were polite to a fault, and ever ready to assist guests. The Straits Club staff in particular were fantastic, always happy to strike up conversations with guests or give the more introverted ones their space, clearing tables quickly and making suggestions for food or drinks. 

I was really looking forward to the Heritage Tour, but since Saturday was my check-out day and I couldn’t get late check-out, I didn’t see the point in hanging around till 3.45 p.m. If your stay happens to fall on a Saturday/Sunday, do sound out on how the tour was. 

Phase 2 Reflections

Phase 2 regulations require hotels to place safe distancing markers and reminders throughout the property. While far too many resort to ugly masking tape and hazard tape strewn across lobbies and elevators, I was pleased to see The Fullerton Hotel took special care to preserve the overall aesthetic of the building. 

Safe Distance floor markers in the lobby and elevators are customized stickers…

Safe Distance Marker
Safe Distance Marker
Safe Distance Marker
Safe Distance Marker

…while in toilets, sinks had translucent covers with social distancing stickers affixed, instead of the haphazard criss-crossed masking tape you’ll see elsewhere. 

Social distancing reminder in toilet
Social distancing reminder in toilet

The hotel has set up hand sanitizing stations throughout the building, but instead of the sterile hospital white pump bottles you often see elsewhere, they bothered to invest in a nicer brand (Appelles). 

Hand sanitizer
Hand sanitizer

Strangely, the hotel didn’t seem to enforce temperature screenings at night. When we returned from a walkabout, we noticed the temperature scanner was off, and no one was manning the entrance. 

Unmanned temperature screening counter
Unmanned temperature screening counter

Our room passed the black light test, although there were some odd markings on the outer side of the bathtub. These turned out to be paint stains, perhaps leftover from the renovation. 

Fullerton Hotel blacklight test
Fullerton Hotel blacklight test
Fullerton Hotel blacklight test
Fullerton Hotel blacklight test
Fullerton Hotel blacklight test
Fullerton Hotel blacklight test
Fullerton Hotel blacklight test
Fullerton Hotel blacklight test

Conclusion

Architecture buffs and those who want a nice backdrop for photos will fancy a staycation at The Fullerton Hotel. The whole building is perfectly picturesque, especially at night, when the exterior lighting makes for some surreal photo opportunities (the surrounding Civic District is a must for a post dinner ramble). 

Fullerton Hotel exterior at night
Fullerton Hotel exterior at night
Fullerton Hotel exterior at night
Fullerton Hotel exterior at night

Protip: cross the road for some even more spectacular views. 

Fullerton Hotel exterior at night
Fullerton Hotel exterior at night

The rooms (at least the renovated ones) are sufficiently up-to-date, with refreshed interiors and modern conveniences. Service interactions and routines (swimming pool aside) were spot on, as you’d expect at any luxury hotel. 

However, that breakfast experience is in urgent need of rectification. It’s astounding to me that you’d invest so much in the overall guest experience, only to stumble on something as fundamental as breakfast. It’s likely to be one of the last impressions that people have of the hotel, and in its current form, leaves a bad taste in the mouth (literally and metaphorically). If your room rate does not include breakfast, save the S$45++ and go eat elsewhere- you’ll thank me later. 

👍 As noted above, the Fullerton will be changing its breakfast policy from 1 September to an a la carte buffet format

Have you been to the Fullerton Hotel for a staycation recently? What was your stay like?

🏨 In Summary

Beautiful architecture, modern rooms and excellent service make The Fullerton Hotel a solid choice for a staycation. Fix the breakfast situation, and this would be a no-brainer recommendation.

Do say: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day

Don’t say: Please sir I want some more

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion with the intention of helping people travel better for less and impressing chiobu. He was 50% successful.

Similar Articles

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
28 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ben White

Hey, Arron –

Great review Thank you.

I am a bit of a Shangri-la fan and would be interested in your views as a local as what you think is the best Staycation so far? Thanks, Ben

Sam

FYI Summit room breakfast only available in the weekend. Looking forward for your Shangri-La staycation report.(I hope it could be the valley wing).

Wang jiajing

Thanks for the review. I believe what i purchased was the luxury of time voucher . Cost me about 880dollars fir s night stay.hopefully when i decide when i wanted to have a stay, it wont disappoint. Would you think that the palladian suite would be way better then the room you stayed in considering the price difference?

Ben

What camera you using Mr Wong? The night view pics from the room have super jacked up noise reduction. Haha

Ben

Why no obligatory shot of Milelion in his swimming pool finest.

Ben

We need trial subscriptions so we can see if the pics live up to the name…

Thomas

For the $80 F and B credit, which restaurant would you recommend to use it on? I also bought the same package that you used.

A passerby

JADE! I used two nights’ stay credit at Jade. And Aaron’s right, the breakfast is terrible though the staff gave me endless rounds when requested. Ask for granola to go with your yogurt and honey – the cereal is bad too.

alex

While we all know the common idea that promotions are non-stackable, could the FnB credits be paired with the SCB x Fullerton promo ?

Naeem

Hi Aaron, I’ve actually got an upcoming staycation here using the Citi Prestige promotion ($490 nett for 2 nights in Premier Courtyard Room with breakfast and $80 nett dining credit) but this does not include Straits Club access. Based on your stay, do you think this makes a huge difference? Just trying to assess the relative value compared to other offers (or indeed hotels) out there. The breakfast situation sounds dire!

Kelvin

Hi Aaron, thanks so much for your review, always like your description skills and sense of humour.

Since the breakfast is disappointing, then why did you say ‘You’ll get just one portion, and dammit, you’ll like it.’

Dan

I actually stayed there early this month and I agree with you that the portion was smaller then expected but when I mentioned it to the lady that work there.. she explain me that buffet are not available because of Covid19 and whatever I asked they cooked and serve me.. which I actually prefer it better then buffet because first there is no wasted of food and whatever I get is freshly made!! Waiting for your next hotel review 🙂

cheesecake

The breakfast is… woeful. How did such an illustrious hotel get from “full buffet breakfast” to the penny-pinching misery of “order only one plate and no more” under COVID pretext?!

Doreen

Hi Milelion, thanks for the review especially the part on the breakfast. According to the hotel website, the breakfast menu seems like still unchanged.. Probably not enough complains received. Can check whether you managed to get early check in and late check out under the HSBC promo?

Jerome

I think the Heritage Tours are for 11:15 a.m. (Sundays) and 3:45 p.m. (Saturdays) – or at least according to the link you shared. But anyway.

Would you know if their suites will receive/have already received the renovations ahead of the other rooms, and when 100% of the rooms will be face-lifted?

abc

Hi Aaron…Your booking was for Premier Courtyard? That does not come with club access… were you given a complimentary upgrade to access the club for afternoon tea and evening cocktails?

CREDIT CARD SIGN UP BONUSES

Advertisment

Featured Deals

Advertisment

Follow us

6,566FansLike
2,641FollowersFollow

RECENT COMMENTS

TAGS