Hello everyone – welcome to another of my reviews. In this article, I’ll be reviewing my recent staycation at Furama City Centre.
Furama City Centre – or FCC for short – was designated as an SHN hotel for the better part of the pandemic, and only reopened to the public late last year. Since then, it has garnered popularity as a top pick for an affordable staycation. Out of curiosity, I decided to check FCC out – let’s see how my stay went.
Furama City Centre – Youtube Review
For those interested in seeing some hands-on footage of my stay, do check out my Youtube review of Furama City Centre below:
Furama City Centre – the Brand
First opened in 1984, Furama City Centre – as its name suggests – is part of the Singapore-based Furama hospitality brand. The brand runs one other property in Singapore (Furama Riverfront) and other properties in Thailand, Indonesia, China, and Australia.
Furama City Centre is a four-star property, with a total of 445 rooms that were last renovated in 2018. Located in the heart of Chinatown, FCC is relatively affordable as far as full-fledged four-star hotels go, especially considering the relatively large size of its rooms. Despite being twice as big as Yotel’s rooms, the entry-level Superior room starts from around $120, making it low enough for me to try it out.
Furama City Centre – Check-in
Sharing a linkway with Chinatown Point, Furama City Centre was very convenient to get to. Like Village Hotel Bugis, it’s located within a rather old (and sketchy) shopping mall.
Thankfully, the hotel lobby of Furama City Centre looks more modern and atas. As far as four-star hotels go, it has one of the largest lobbies I’ve seen. However, the actual check-in counter was small, and there was only two staff manning it whilst I was there. Thankfully, the queue was short, and I was assigned my room within 10-15 minutes – a far cry from the hours guests had to wait when FCC first reopened.
The lobby also hosts the hotel restaurant, Tiffany Cafe. I actually had dinner there, and I must say its meals – a mere $8.80 nett – were very value for money. Iced water was free too. I would readily return just to dine at Tiffany’s, which is not something I can say for most hotel restaurants.
The corridor of Furama City Centre looks dated, like something out of the last century. That’s perhaps unsurprising, given that the hotel first opened its doors almost 50 years ago.
Furama City Centre – Deluxe Room
Though I had booked the Superior Room, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I was (either by accident or design) given an upgrade to the Deluxe Room.
First impressions were good – the room felt much more spacious than Yotel, and also pretty bright and airy due to the large windows.
The Deluxe Room features a King bed, which I found to be above average in comfort. Though a little old – I could feel the springs in the mattress – the heavy duvet was comfy and nice to snuggle in. The sheets were clean too, with nary a stain to be seen. There are also bedside tables and lamps on both sides, though the angle of the lamps cannot be adjusted and the power port is on the right side only.
However, lighting controls can be found on both sides. There’s also an analog phone, a notepad and sharpened (!) pencil on the right desk. I tried contacting reception through the phone several times (for more water, towels, etc), and found the service to be hit and miss as my calls were only picked up about half the time. The staff also failed to address me by name – something five-star hotels never fail to do – and simply referred to me as “Room 1910”, thus lacking the extra personal touch.
While the bed wallpaper was vibrant and colourful, most of the room was dull by comparison, with many furnishings fashioned out of light brown wood that’s emblematic of 90s interior design. The wardrobe is one such example, though it does have the basic necessities (extra pillows, hangers, iron and ironing board, safe, laundry bags, etc).
A Bible and a book on the teachings of Buddha can also be found in a wardrobe drawer, which is an odd place to store religious books, to say the least.
In-room refreshments were ordinary, namely Dilmah tea and Nescafe tea sachets. However, the cups provided were clean, which isn’t always the case even in five-star hotels.
There’s also a rather large mini-fridge, which stored a bottle of wine, multiple canned drinks, and even a sushi platter easily.
A bag rest is provided, while a 32-inch “flat-screen” Samsung TV hangs on the wall. The TV is one of the key differentiating factors between the Deluxe Room and the cheaper Superior Room, as the latter only has standing TVs that can probably be classified as antiques at this point. However, the TV here isn’t much better – it’s technically “flat-screen”, but remains quite bulky in appearance. It’s also rather small at only 32 inches, and looks to be something from 2008, not 2018. It certainly can’t hold a candle to the 40-inch flat-screen smart Samsung TV of Yotel.
However, I was surprised at the inclusion of Youtube, Netflix and Spotify on the TV. The apps worked without a hitch, though no mirroring was available so you have to painstakingly enter your log-in details using the TV remote. The picture quality is mediocre at best, though still acceptable.
Being a large room, the Deluxe Room features a workstation. It’s a decent one, with a large table and plenty of power ports. There’s also a makeup mirror, which allows it to double up as a makeup desk. However, the chair isn’t ergonomic, thus making it more ideal for short bursts of productivity rather than long hours.
A hairdryer – in good condition – can be found in the desk drawer.
However, the power socket has clearly better days.
It was a recurring theme in the room, where several aspects of the room needed some tender loving care.
There were also conspicuous stains on the sofa chair, which was definitely offputting.
I was also disappointed to see significant mould on the walls of the room, especially given its recent renovation.
The star of the room is the view, which not only overlooks Hong Lim Park but also attractions such as the Singapore Flyer and Marina Bay Sands. I could spot ships on the sea in the distance – it was really a stunning view. In fact, I would say that the view is even nicer than Yotel’s, which already had a great view of bustling Orchard Road. Seeing the sunset/sunrise from the hotel room window was really a memorable experience.
The bathroom fared better – it was clean and modern.
The toilet was of the concealed cistern variety, resulting in a sleek look. It’s a shame there’s no bidet provided.
All rooms in Furama City Centre come with a bathtub, making it perfect for those who like to enjoy a long soak during staycations. Here, the bathtub was clean and decent-sized – two people can fit in it, though it would be a squeeze.
What I loved was that the bathroom came with a separate standing shower, instead of having it integrated with the bathtub. The shower space is decent, and once again two people can just about fit into it. However, the water pressure from the handheld showerhead was fickle, and the showerhead cannot be fully extended. I would have preferred a rain shower/showerhead concept, similar to the one in Yotel. And unlike the three toiletries bottles provided in Yotel, there was only one bottle (hair and body wash) provided here – something that’s unbecoming of a four-star hotel, in my opinion. Definitely bring your own toiletries for a better showering experience.
The hotel provides individually packaged toiletries, though I was disappointed to see the knockoff A.ME toothpaste (which is fluoride-free) instead of Colgate. I did appreciate the variety available however – there’s moisturiser and even shoe shine provided.
All in all, I would say I liked the Deluxe Room of Furama City Centre. Given the hotel’s age – and the horror stories few months ago – I had low expectations. However, I found the room to be generally clean (save for the mould and some old stains), and I appreciated its spaciousness. I especially loved the stunning view – I would return just for the view.
Furama City Centre – Amenities
Being a full-fledged hotel, Furama City Centre has both a gym and a swimming pool on its premises.
Though it has a gym, the gym felt old and run-down – even more bare-bones than Yotel’s. It’s also one of the smallest gyms I’ve been in, with the equipment generally in poor shape. Given its 445 rooms, the gym is definitely much too small.
The pool fared better. It’s large enough for serious laps, clean, and with a good number of lounge chairs surrounding it. It’s also open air, and benefits from natural sunlight. There’s not much of a view, but I had a refreshing swim in the morning – no complaints here.
Conclusion – so Furama City Centre “shiok” or not?
Overall, I would say the Furama City Centre exceeded my expectations. I had my reservations given the age of the hotel and the bad publicity it received when it reopened, but I was pleasantly surprised by the general cleanliness of the room and its amenities. It’s certainly much better than comparable four-star ageing hotels such as York Hotel. I absolutely loved the view from the room – the view is to die for. I also appreciated its convenient location, with both Chinatown Point and The Central being a mere 5-minutes walk from the hotel. My only complaint would be the service, which came across as brusque at times. I recall dialling for additional water and towels (after finally getting through), and having my room bell ring about 10-15 minutes later. However, when I opened the door there was no one – the water bottles and towels were placed in a plastic bag and hung on the door handle. I understand that FCC isn’t a 5-star hotel so service expectations have to be tempered, but greeting the guest is basic hospitality.
Those interested in booking a stay can do so on the Traveloka app. Traveloka constantly has some sort of ongoing promotions, with prices so ridiculously low that I’ve personally booked about 90% of my staycations on Traveloka. Just for my readers, you guys can use the promo code “WAHTVLKSRV” (if you’re using SRV) and “WAHTVLK” (non-SRV) for 10% off any hotels bookings (up to $30 off, with a minimum spending of $100) for new users and $5 off any hotels bookings (with a minimum spending of $50) for existing users. The codes are valid till the end of 2022. Here’s a pro tip: keep a lookout for Traveloka’s Weekend Flash Sales which occurs every Friday to Sunday for the lowest prices! However, this post is not sponsored – I paid my own dime to book and review my staycations.
Furama City Centre Location: 60 Eu Tong Sen St, Singapore 059804
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wah so Shiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!
P.P.P.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.