Swissotel The Stamford, Singapore

On my many trips to Singapore over the past 15 years I’ve probably stayed at Swissotel The Stamford 30 or 40 times. During that time you could see the hotel getting older and starting to look tired.

Thankfully the lifts, corridors and rooms have started to be renovated and are now quite fresh though the room has a number of issues.

They hadn’t renovated the whole hotel when I was there, but the new renovated rooms are listed separately on the website so you can ensure you get a “new” room.

First thing you’ll notice is the new carpet, much improved lighting, a HUGE television and modern artwork on the wall.

The old clunky wooden bedside tables are gone and replaced with a wall unit with the landline phone and clock radio. There’s also a mobile phone that you can use for making calls and surfing the web while you do the touristy stuff. But I couldn’t find a way to send SMSes, and I couldn’t set it up as a wifi hotspot. I ended up getting a local SIM and not using the phone.

The nightlights have motion sensors attached. So if you get up in the middle of the night the floor level nightlights will automatically come on – no fumbling for the light switch. Nice!

The TV isn’t in the best of locations. It’s inconvenient to watch from both the bed, and the couch.

Speaking of the couch. This is a new addition to the Swissotel rooms. They’ve replaced the desk and desk chair with a more modern table and couch combination. Not an ideal setup if you want to do some work. And if you want to charge your laptop and phone, then you’ll need to drape the cables across to the power points that are on the wall next to the couch. They do have USB charging points along with the power points which is nice, but you’ll need a long charging cable.

The whole desk, couch power point setup just hasn’t been thought through and I’m guessing they’ll be getting complaints.

The bathroom has also been rejigged. There is now a walk in shower, no bath anymore. However, the shower head in my room was playing up and leaking, and you could see the paint damage. The vanity area was well done.

My room also had a Nespresso machine, but that might have been because I am a Swissotel Circle Eleva member.

Overall, the renovation is a good start, but I think there needs to be a number of tweaks to make the room a little more functional, especially for a business traveler.

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Ji Biru, Singapore

A search for Craft Beer in Singapore bought up Ji Biru, a Japanese craft beer bar down at [email protected] at 313 Orchard Road.

After my trip to Japan I became partial to Japanese craft beers, so I decided to jump on the train to Somerset station, do a bit of last minute shopping and have a couple of beers.

Ji Biru opens at noon and I think I was the first person in the door.

The beer list is impressive, and bought back memories of my evening in Nagano at James Nagano Beer Market.

While I had a couple of servings of yakitori I tried 3 of the Hitachino beers. I first tried the Hitachino Nest Pale Ale followed by a Hitachino Nest 3C’s Fresh Hop Bitter and finally a Hitachino Nest White Ale.

All of the beers were great tasting and were a great accompaniment for the yakitori.

Prices for both the food and the beers were good – pints of beer being SGD$10.50.

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Fremantle Seafood Market, Singapore

Fremantle Seafood Market is a restaurant at Clarke Quay on the Singapore River, pretty much across the river from SQUE Rottisserie & Alehouse.

It was mid afternoon, it was hot, it was humid and the rain was on and off. I was thirsty, and it was happy “hour”.

Walking past the restaurants and bar that face onto the river while trying not to get drenched I decided that I’d just have to wait this rain out.

Fremantle Seafood Market has an inside area and also a large covered outside area right on the river. There were a couple of tables occupied but I had no problems getting a seat right on the river looking over towards Marina Bay Sands.

I didn’t bother ordering food, but the menu certainly looks reasonable and is probably worth a further look on my next Singapore trip.

Being happy hour beers were 2 for 1, so I ended up with 4 pints of ice cold Tiger for SGD$9 each which wasn’t too bad.

There was only one server looking after the outside area so as more people came in it was hard to get their attention of them to order beers, and to finally pay the bill.

Certainly worth another visit.

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REDDOT Brewhouse, Singapore

After visiting Little Island Brewing I got off the train at Raffles Place thinking that I’d have a couple of quiet ones down by the river.

As is becoming more common these days I totally lost my bearings upon seeing daylight and what should have been a 5 minutes walk became a frustrating 15 minutes. But I was soon sitting by the river and had ordered a pint of beer.

As I sat down the weather started to close in and the passing showers gave me a good excuse to try a couple more beers.

Over about 90 minutes I tried some really good beers – all locally brewed. A Czech Pilsner, an IPA and finally a Kolsch each a a relatively reasonable price of $11.

A great location for a drink while watching the river traffic.

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Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney, Australia

I’d attended a seminar at the Sydney Shangri-La before but never had the opportunity to stay here.

It’s in a sort of weird location right at the corner of the Cahill Expressway and the southern approach to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. So close that my room window allowed me to almost look across the bridge in it’s entirety.

Upon entering the hotel you’re welcomed by a bright, marble reception area with a lobby lounge to the left and reception to the right. Checking in was fast and painless and I was off to my room in about 5 minutes.

In many hotels the corridors are cramped and claustrophobic. But here they are expansive. Probably the widest I’ve seen in any hotel recently. No filthy carpet like the Hyatt Regency either :).

The room was large by comparison to the Marriott and the InterContinental. I had a view of the Harbour Bridge and Circular Quay from my sixth floor room.

For drinks we headed upto Blu Bar on level 36 which offers absolutely magnificent panoramic views of Sydney. Drinks were standard hotel prices but the view means you’ll forget getting gouged.

The bed and pillows were some of the most comfortable I’d had in quite a while but that’s expected of a 5 star hotel.

Bathroom was large and had a separate bath and shower which you don’t see that often anymore.

Despite my room being on a low floor and being so close to 2 majorly busy roads there was no problem with noise.

Superb hotel!

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