Rendezvous Hotel Singapore

In a city as well connected as Singapore, diverting from the hubbub and centrality of Orchard Road can sometimes prove refreshing.

In a city as well connected as Singapore, diverting from the hubbub and centrality of Orchard Road can sometimes prove refreshing. Rendezvous Hotel wins by avoiding a smack-in-the-heart location while still managing to stay in the thick of things. At the juncture of Bras Basah Rd and Bencoolen St, the hotel isn't surrounded by malls and restaurants but instead, the National Museum and the Singapore Art Museum. Mini brunch central Prinsep St sits around the corner with independent café Strictly Pancakes and board game haven The Mind Café taking precedence. For a spot of greenery, Fort Canning Park is a short trot away.

The hotel claims to take inspiration from the arts and culture district it's located in, an assertion that can be rationalised by the hotel's façade alone; a mild Elizabethan influence is glaringly juxtaposed against a steelier tophalf. Inside the newly renovated reception area, things are more functional; a dark-toned lobby area is made comfortable with high ceilings, plush sofas, art pieces and sculptures. The multi-sensory installation in the middle - what looks like layers of seashells draped around a pillar - is fitted with lighting that changes colour depending on the hotel's 'mood'. It barely escapes the curse of gaudiness.

The superior rooms are standard-sized for couples or lone tourists but things might get a little tight if you're travelling with kids. Meanwhile, the newly installed Club Rooms on the top three floors of the hotel are more business-styled with geometric designs on the walls and carpeting, complemented by hazel-coloured wallpaper and curtains. This is elevated by a full-length mirror at the foot of the room's entrance - a feature you never thought you needed. If space is an issue, the general comfort and lushness of the rooms aren't. Those who check into the Club Rooms not only enjoy personalised check-in service but also exclusive access to the Club lounge, where daily happy hours mean unlimited (free) cocktails and finger food. For the rest, facilities include the standard pool, outdoor Jacuzzi and fitness centre.

Straits Café on the hotel's ground floor bears a conspicuous banner claiming to serve award-winning laksa; it's no surprise that tourists (hotel guests or not) flock at lunchtime for a sample. The restaurant also offers high tea buffets at just over SGD40++ (about RM104++) with a vast selection of meats, seafood, soups, salads and noodles, and a crowd-pleasing durian dessert station; it's a decent spot for when to introduce a finicky tourist to Singaporean or Malaysian food.

Rendezvous Hotel Singapore
9 Bras Basah Road, Singapore (+65 6496 7699/www.stayfareast.com). From SGD220++ per night (about RM570++); from SGD380++ per night for Club Room (about RM989++).

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