Andaz Singapore is giving “room-only” rates a whole new meaning

Andaz is redefining "room-only" by selling rates on Klook without pool or gym access. I can't even begin to tell you how bad an idea this is.

Ah, the Andaz Singapore. As much as I enjoyed my stay in early October, the hotel has sadly been on a steady downwards trajectory ever since then. Service standards, cleanliness and breakfast have all slipped, and at the current prices, it certainly wouldn’t be on my recommended list.

Therefore, it seems rather par for the course that the Andaz has just introduced a new rate which is so absurd, it’s almost funny. 

Andaz Singapore’s new “room-only” rate

Andaz King Room
Andaz King Room

The Andaz Singapore is now selling a room-only rate on Klook that prices at a flat S$240 nett throughout December 2020. 

“Room-only?” you say. “Fair enough. I’ll just wander around the area for breakfast, come back to the hotel and relax at the pool or workout at the gym.”

Well no, you won’t. Click on the “View all” button on the right of the screen, and the following notice pops up. 

In case you can’t see that, it says:

**Kindly note that this package is strictly Room ONLY and does not come with Breakfast and SGD100 F&B Dining Credits. Do note that due to the swimming pool and gym access being fully booked for the month of December, this package will not be provided (sic) both swimming pool and gym access.

Wow. 

So if you book this package, you won’t be allowed to use the swimming pool and gym in the hotel. I have no idea what enforcement will look like in practice, but since pool slots need to be booked in advance and the gym is accessed with a special keycard drawn from the front desk, it’s certainly possible. 

Andaz Singapore swimming pool
Andaz Singapore swimming pool

But such a move is unprecedented for a luxury hotel, and I can already foresee the issues arising from this. The caveat is hidden away in the “View all” section, and while it’s of course the customer’s responsibility to read all the fine print, you can bet that people will miss this. After all, when you see a “room-only” rate, most will (rightly) assume it just means you don’t get breakfast or hotel credits. That’s the only logical way of interpreting this, really. 

So imagine their surprise (and incredulity) when they get turned away from the pool or gym, or how awkward the conversation will be at the front desk when they’re told “oh by the way, you do know your rate doesn’t come with pool and gym access right?” I already feel sorry for the frontline staff who will likely have to bear the brunt of customers’ frustrations. 

It’s not even true

But wait. If the pool and gym are already full, there’s nothing that can be done right? That’s what the wording on Klook seems to suggest (emphasis mine):

Do note that due to the swimming pool and gym access being fully booked for the month of December, this package will not be provided (sic) both swimming pool and gym access.

Here’s the thing though- it’s not true at all. 

First of all, Andaz Singapore only allows pool bookings to be made within 72 hours of arrival, and even if they bend that rule occasionally, there’s no way they’re letting everyone make bookings willy-nilly up till 31 December. 

Second, Andaz’s own pool booking system says otherwise. A few clicks and you’ll see there are indeed slots available over the next 3 days- not ideal timings for sure, but they definitely exist. 

Third, the rest of Klook’s packages for December don’t mention the “no pool” restriction (nor does Andaz’s official website). You’d think that if the pool were truly off limits to all new bookings for December, they’d be highlighting that fact across the board. Instead, the verbiage for other packages merely mentions that guests should make bookings in advance. 

Learn more about Andaz Singapore’s Pre-Arrival Information and secure your F&B Dining and Pool Reservations in advance before your stay.

The link sends you to a PDF file, where you’ll find information on how to make a pool booking. Again, nowhere does it mention the pool is full for December. 

So all I can surmise is that Andaz is testing a new rate that’s truly “room-only”, perhaps seeing whether guests will accept this. It’s kind of like Ryanair floating that “1 Euro to use the toilet” idea, only that never happened, while this is very much real. 

Of course it’s the hotel’s prerogative to experiment, but I wish they’d be upfront about it and not try to hide behind a phony “the pool is fully booked” excuse. Furthermore, if the Andaz is offering this rate due to concerns about overcrowding, isn’t it a sign they should perhaps stop selling additional rooms for the period in the interest of overall guest experience? I mean, I don’t even want to think of what breakfast will be like during December, much less the queues for check-in. 

Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair

As I mentioned at the start, the Andaz Singapore experience has lost a lot of its magic as it’s struggled to cope with staycation demand. Guests are reporting long waits at check-in, bugs in their phone (quite literally), rubbish in their drawers, toenail clippings on the floor, dust on the blinds, and just all sorts of cleanliness issues in general. I don’t see how cramming in more people is going to resolve this, when the staff and facilities are maxed out as it is. 

Conclusion

While unbundling may be the direction the aviation industry is headed in, it hasn’t yet happened with hotels, and even if it did you’d think it’d be the budget ones taking the initiative and not a 5-Star property. If the Andaz Singapore can’t give every guest facilities access, it surely suggests they’re exceeding the occupancy rate that allows them to deliver an experience commensurate with their positioning. 

I’m also none too impressed by the fake “fully booked” excuse. If you’re creating a lite product, just be upfront about it and make sure the disclosures are highly visible. Don’t try to mislead customers; it never ends well. 

On the whole this move smacks of short-termism, given how certain I am there’ll be at least a handful of people caught out by this- hardly the way to get repeat customers. 

What next, stairs-only packages?

(HT: Matthew)

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

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James

Having just done a staycation at another popular luxury hotel I would say that while the ‘pool and gym being fully booked’ statement is somewhat misleading, it actually makes sense that they would say this if they do the math on 1) how many other guests they have on one given day 2) how many pool and gym slots are realistically available for those other guests without these room restrictions. Basically with this rate you are paying for the room with knowledge that there essentially no more available slots for the pool and gym. This also saves other guests who… Read more »

thomas

are people really “paying for the room with the knowledge there are no more slots”?

based on how the term is hidden as the last point in the fine print (that doesn’t even appear unless you click “view more”, i’d say no.

and re: pool being full, it’s not somewhat misleading, it’s an outright lie.

ZYX

I think the rate looks more outrageous when there is a package with room, $100 dining credits and pool and gym access for just $42 more. It looks more like a price anchor that pushes people to get higher-priced package with those benefits (and in the end possibly running into the dilemma of full pool/gym)

JW19

I respectfully disagree with your opinion, hardship should not be a cause for opportunism. The government is forking out the amount at the expense of tax payers so its not like hotels like Andaz are getting less in return, in fact revenue for December will definitely pick up with us locals staying in Singapore for what is normally a glut season for the hotels. I despise such a move and this practise should not be given a chance to take traction.

logicbomb

exactly! you see what is happening at grand park orchard with their crazy 5 hour queues? would “supporting the hotel industry” mean keeping quiet and not complaining about it?

Guest

James, why should local travel blogger play a part in helping the local hotel industry, its always about survival of the fittest. In fact the hotel industry is doing well with help from all the desperate staycation customers like you.

Last edited 5 months ago by Guest
Bzc

You must be kidding right? Hiding the non-usage of gym / swimming pool away in the fine print is ill-intentioned. Like Aaron had said, most people understand room only rates at hotels as not including breakfast.

Last edited 5 months ago by Bzc
$$$

Hahaha what’s next? Healthy rate – cannot use lift? Adventure rate – no bed provided? Early bird rate – must check out by 6am?

Law23

Supporting the hotel industry does not mean blind acceptance of everything they do

shexytyme

Andez Fragrance/ 81!

Lum

Aaron, thanks for calling them out.

Brad

Thanks for calling Andaz out Aaron. They have since removed the package.

noob

plot twist, this is a sponsored post meant to get viral.

double plot twist, it was sponsored by a competitor.

Wendy Low

Have always been a silent reader here. But this time, this article and the subsequent comments propelled me to get my fingers to type something. 1st thanks for calling them out in this. It’s definitely been helpful I would say. Highlighted this to friends who were looking to book and they were surprised at it. After all, a room only rate in the hospitality industry has always typically meant zero breakfast. Ya know what I mean? It’s like would you expect to book a room only rate, only to find out there aren’t any toiletries, toilet rolls, rissue papers and… Read more »

Yukino06

Agree with you! Room-only always means no breakfast. But this brings room-only to a whole new level. It’s really good that this is pointed out!

hha3838

Well done Aaron, for flagging the issue!
It’s absolutely amazing what wonders “shoddy writing” and a “huge conclusion” (as per that priceless initial post) can do LOL

Let’s see what other “innovative workarounds” are in the pipeline besides Room Only..after all, SL Valley Wing, in the spirit of Xmas, has already outdone Scrooge with the glorious Two Main Dishes at Breakfast Only (per pax) 😀 ;-D

Last edited 5 months ago by hha3838

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