Hello everyone – welcome back to another of my reviews. In today’s article, I’ll be reviewing my stay at Hotel Grand Central.
Despite being situated a stone’s throw away from Orchard Road, a night at Hotel Grand Central costs well under $100. It’s also newly renovated, with the property having undergone a major refurbishment back in 2015. With its low price point and stellar location, I decided to book a stay at Hotel Grand Central to check it out.
Hotel Grand Central – Video Review
For those interested in seeing some hands-on footage of the hotel, do check out my Youtube review of Hotel Grand Central below:
Hotel Grand Central – the Brand
A three-star hotel situated on Cavenaugh Road, Hotel Grand Central first opened in 1968, and was closed for renovation in 2012. After nearly half a century since its initial opening, Hotel Grand Central re-opened its doors in 2015, boasting 263 refurbished rooms.
Although it may not look like it, Hotel Grand Central is actually part of a larger conglomerate named Grand Hotels International, of which it was the founding hotel. Other hotels in the group’s portfolio include the Hotel Grand Chancellor and the Hotel Grand Continental chains, which can be found in countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and even China. In other words, it’s a pretty legit hospitality chain – it’s even publicly listed and traded on SGX.
One of the biggest draws of Hotel Grand Central is its price. Despite its prime location and newly renovated rooms, a stay at Hotel Grand Central costs just $90 a night. That’s one of the most affordable hotels along Orchard Road – I’m hard-pressed to think of another full-fledged hotel that’s cheaper.
Hotel Grand Central – Check-in
The hotel is a short 5-minutes walk from Somerset MRT, and is located right behind Concorde Hotel.
The hotel lobby has an old-school aesthetic to it that reminded me of Hotel Royal. Although it’s not the largest, it manages to fit a convenience shop (which I noticed had a large rack of condoms), a money changer, a seating area, and three lifts. Despite checking in on a Sunday, the lobby was rather quiet, and I was issued a room within minutes. It would actually have been faster if not for an irate guest who was shouting at the hotel staff for not informing him beforehand that the hotel was also accommodating ATP (air travel pass) guests. It should be pointed out that Hotel Grand Central does state on its website that it accommodates Stay Home Notice (SHN), Air Travel Pass (ATP), Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL), Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL), and Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) guests.
The corridor didn’t set a positive first impression – it looked straight out of the 1960s. This leads me to suspect only the rooms were renovated.
Hotel Grand Central – Deluxe Room
Thankfully, the Deluxe Room fared better in terms of first impressions.
Opening entering the room, I was struck by how bright and airy the room was. It was a stark contrast to the dim and musty feel of Hotel Royal, although certain elements such as the wooden furniture still look dated.
On the right side of the room door is a fairly sizeable wardrobe. In it, one can expect to find multiple wooden hangers, a safe, a pair of complimentary room slippers, as well as an iron and ironing board.
Instead of the regular bottled water, guests can use the in-room Hyflux water dispenser instead, which dispenses both room and hot water. It’s also a curious bit of history, since Hyflux has since winded up.
The refreshments provided are unremarkable, though I like that everything is neatly compartmentalised.
There’s also a rather large mini-fridge, which I appreciated. I was able to fit a bottle of wine with ease, and plenty of space left.
Similarly, the bag rest is also sizeable, and able to fit three bags without issues. However, it does look a tad dated – I suspect it’s a relic of pre-2012 times.
At 20 sqm, the bedroom isn’t spacious by any means, but it doesn’t feel cramped either due to it feeling bright and airy. I appreciated the floor to ceiling windows, which allowed for plenty of natural light to filter in. And while the overall decor may not look eminently contemporary, it doesn’t come across as old-fashioned either.
The room features a King bed. I would say that the sleeping experience was decent, and definitely much better than the beds of most 3-star hotels. The sheets were clean, the pillows were soft, and the duvet was nice and heavy – perfect for curling up in.
Modernity shows itself in the bedside controls, which are actually touch-enabled. Guests are able to manipulate the lighting of the room with ease, all from the comfort of the bed. There’s also a box of tissues and an analog phone provided on the bedside table.
The working area isn’t ideal however – it consists of a thin and long wooden desk, as well as a cheap office chair. I wouldn’t book Hotel Grand Central for a workcation, but it’s still viable enough to get small amounts of work done.
Nestled in the corner is a large armchair – an alternative to the bed, should you prefer sitting instead of lying down.
The view is decent, comprising mainly Concorde Hotel situated opposite and Orchard Plaza on the right. In case you’re worried about privacy, the windows are actually tinted on the outside, making it harder for outsiders to look into the room.
Perhaps the most obvious aspect of the refurbishment is the 39-inch flatscreen Sharp TV. The picture quality is good, and the TV is supposedly capable of smart capabilities, though I was too lazy to figure out how during my stay.
The bathroom is a tad cramped, with glass walls typical of cheaper, budget hotels. The glass sliding door can’t be locked, which might be an issue if you’re sharing the room with someone you’re not that close with.
There is a bathtub, albeit a mini one. It’s too small for a regular adult to lay fully in – I had to rest my feet on the edge, making it too uncomfortable for a long soak. Still, it is better than nothing, especially if having a bathtub is a staycation must for you. The toiletries provided are fairly generic as well, so if you’re particular about that you might want to consider bringing your own.
Another sign of the recent renovation is the modern concealed cistern design of the toilet. There’s also a hairdryer, but unfortunately not a bidet, which is a shame.
Hotel Grand Central – Amenities
Being a full-fledged hotel, Hotel Grand Central boasts both a rooftop pool and a gym.
The rooftop pool looks to be in good condition – again, clearly a beneficiary of the renovation. There are actually two pools, a smaller wading pool for kids, and a slightly larger (and deeper) one for adults. The pools aren’t that big, so those looking to do some serious swimming will be disappointed. But if you’re planning on taking a dip and some Instagram photos, it does the trick.
The hotel technically has a gym, but it’s rather spartan. There are no free weights, or any weights machine available – it’s literally a singular treadmill and a stationary bike machine. Again, something is better than nothing I suppose.
Conclusion – so Hotel Grand Central “shiok” or not?
I think Hotel Grand Central can best be described as a value proposition. The Orchard location is great, the renovated room is clean and has everything one needs (including a small bathtub), and there’s even a rooftop pool and a mini gym. Nothing was particularly outstanding, but in general Hotel Grand Central gets the job done. It’s not as impressive as Orchard Hotel and Orchard Rendezvous Hotel, but those are slightly pricier and are also situated on the more remote end of Orchard. As compared to York Hotel, it’s significantly cheaper and also substantially cleaner. Ultimately, if you’re searching for a hotel in Orchard that doesn’t break the bank, Hotel Grand Central is a viable choice.
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.
Hotel Grand Central Location:
22 Cavenagh Rd, Singapore 229617
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.S.S If you haven’t already, do follow my social media channels on Facebook here, and on Instagram here!
P.S.S.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.