I was just thinking the other day that there’s never been a better time to try the Shangri-La Singapore’s Valley Wing.
Over the past few months, prices have edged lower and lower for this exclusive “hotel within a hotel”. During Cyber Monday, rooms went for S$504 nett; during 12.12, S$492 nett; during the (still ongoing) New Year Sale, S$457 nett.
But then I started thinking: how low can you realistically go? I mean, this is a place with all-day champagne, caviar at breakfast, and all the afternoon tea and evening canapes you care for. That price just seems a little too good to be true.
And in fact, it is.
Klook’s “Valley Wing” package
Klook has just launched a Shangri-La “Valley Wing” package that prices at S$400 nett for weekdays (Sunday to Thursday) and S$483 nett for weekends (Fridays to Saturdays). This includes the following:
- 1-Night Stay in a Valley Wing Deluxe Room for Two
- Breakfast at The Line for Two
- Complimentary Parking
Now, if you’re familiar with the Valley Wing, you’ll immediately sense that something’s off. Valley Wing guests should have a choice of breakfast at The Line or in The Summit Room (and seriously, no one chooses the former). Why does this package only list The Line?
Come to think of it, where’s the other valley wing inclusions? Your typical Valley Wing benefits list reads something like this:
- Breakfast in The Summit Room
- Afternoon tea at The Valley Wing Lobby Lounge
- Evening canapes and cocktails at The Champagne Bar
- All-day champagne at The Champagne Bar
This had to be a clerical error, right? My curiosity piqued, I reached out to Klook and was told the following (emphasis mine):
This package is purely a stay in Valley Wing Deluxe Room with breakfast at The Line package, which does not include Valley Wing benefits. This package is exclusive to Klook currently.
So…you’re basically buying a room in the Valley Wing, with none of the Valley Wing perks. Why would they even sell this?
|Update: I also emailed Shangri-La reservations about this, and was told that Valley Wing benefits could be added on at S$200 nett for 2 pax. Definitely not worth it- the New Year’s sale represents better value|
The leading theory is that Shangri-La’s doing very well with staycation bookings, so much so that the 158-room Garden Wing is booked solid. And with the 503-room Tower Wing still hosting SHN guests, the only way to accept more bookings is to open up the 131-room Valley Wing. In that sense, the Valley Wing is serving as an “overflow area” of sorts, which doesn’t exactly gel with the exclusive image that Shangri-La tries to project.
But the highlight of the Valley Wing is not the room. Trust me, I’ve stayed before, and the rooms are nothing to get excited about. It’s not that they’re bad; they’re just stuck in a time warp, and in urgent need of a refresh.
If we’re talking about rooms per se, I’d much rather be in the Garden Wing, which got a makeover in 2012. While Garden Wing rooms are slightly smaller than Valley Wing rooms (50 sqm vs 57 sqm), you look at the photos and be the judge.
The upshot is: People don’t choose the Valley Wing for the rooms; they choose it for the amenities and perks. I certainly wouldn’t be happy with my Valley Wing stay just based on the room alone.
To compound matters, Klook is offering an identically-priced package for a Garden Wing Deluxe Room with virtually the same inclusions. If I’m not receiving Valley Wing benefits, why should I pay the same for an inferior room?
|Valley Wing package||Garden Wing package|
|Room||Valley Wing Deluxe||Garden Wing Deluxe|
|Breakfast||2 adults||2 adults, 2 children|
|Rate||From S$400 nett||From S$400 nett|
It’s like they’re trying to ride on the prestige of the Valley Wing name, while offering none of its benefits. Quite frankly, it comes off as misleading. It’s of course their prerogative to use the Valley Wing however they wish, but the listing should come with some highly-visible disclaimers.
People will see “Valley Wing” and assume (rightfully so) that it comes with all the usual perks accorded to guests here. I mean, the Shangri-La website says so in black and white:
How awkward a conversation do you think it’ll be at the front desk?
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen “creative unbundling” on Klook. Last month, I wrote about how their Andaz Singapore package was giving “room-only” rates a new meaning. Guests who booked this rate were denied access to the swimming pool and gym, a clause tucked away in the fine print (it’s since been given greater prominence). Oh, and the listing said that the reason for this was that the pool and gym were already full for the month, a statement that was flat out false.
I can’t help but feel this “no-Valley-Wing-benefits Valley Wing package” is going to end up damaging the brand more than anything, but well…
Who’s waiting for “lobby-only” packages?