Hello everyone! In this article, I’ll be chronicling my staycation experience at One Farrer Hotel.
In my previous review of the Mint Den at One Farrer Hotel, I pointed out some cleanliness lapses of the room to the hotel management. If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to read that article first, which also covered the general facilities of the hotel.
As a gesture of goodwill, One Farrer Hotel kindly extended a “service recovery stay” in the higher category Mint Premier, complete with Skyline club benefits for two. Let’s see if second time’s the charm.
One Farrer Hotel Skyline Studio – Video Review
For those interested in seeing some hands-on footage of my Skyline Studio staycation experience, do check out my Youtube review below.
One Farrer Hotel – Skyline Studio
As this was a complimentary stay, I arrived with no expectations whatsoever. To my utmost surprise, I was informed by the receptionist that I’ve been upgraded to the larger Skyline Studio. Located on the 18th to 20th floors of the hotel, the room promises “sweeping views of the urban skyline”.
When I first reviewed One Farrer Hotel, I commented that the hallways “evokes hospital corridors”. That wasn’t the case on level 18, where full-length windows are installed on one side, while large paintings adorn the walls on the other. In other words, it feels much less like a hospital, and much more like an upscale hotel.
My first impression of the Skyline Studio was that it’s bright, spacious and airy. Like the Mint Den, the high ceiling here gives the room an added sense of roominess. However, the floor to ceiling windows allows more natural light to bathe the room. And unlike the Mint Den which had a long narrow corridor, the Skyline Studio immediately opens up and allows one to see the room in its full glory. It’s also considerably more spacious (49m²) as compared to the Mint Den (38m²).
Like the Mint Den, amenities in the Skyline Studio include an Illy coffee machine, a kettle, as well as two complimentary bottles of water.
There’s also a sizeable mini-fridge that was large enough to chill a bottle of wine.
Illy coffee pods and TWG tea sachets are also provided, with more available upon request.
In addition, proper wine glasses were provided (not those cheap plastic IKEA ones). As the hotel gifted me a complimentary bottle of wine (more on that later), these definitely came in handy.
Like in the Mint Den, there were a variety of cups and utensils available, including a wine opener. However, this time around the cups were all sufficiently clean, without any stains or marks.
The room also featured a work desk with a Herman Miller chair. Chair enthusiasts would be happy to know that it’s actually a Herman Miller Eames Aluminium, which actually costs about quadruple that of the Herman Miller Sayr found in the Mint Den room. If you’re planning to do a workcation, this will fit the bill nicely. And unlike the Sayr in the Mint Den room, the plush black leather of the Eames here was spotless and appeared to have been sanitised shortly before my arrival.
There are plenty of connectivity ports located conveniently next to the work table, as well as an analogue phone clad in stealth black. Both appeared to have been meticulously wiped down, as I couldn’t even find dust on them, must less any stains/marks.
There’s also a leather padfolio to aid writing. The pen provided is made of sleek black aluminium, which I much preferred to the tacky plastic/rubber one of the Mint Den that had a penchant for collecting dust and lint.
In a similar vein, the tableside lights are also crafted out of smooth black metal. As such, it appeared much cleaner and modern than the grimy white light fixtures of the Mint Den.
There’s also an armchair and a marble table fixture, as well as an overhead lamp. I can imagine it being the perfect space to read a book in the morning, sipping on a cup of freshly brewed coffee, and occasionally taking in the views of the city skyline outside. The armchair was incredibly comfortable too. Once again, the armchair and the table were all spotless.
On the other side of the room, a cool art installation gives Skyline Studio an added sense of stylistic sophistication. I have no idea what the art is about, but it looks cool. The same goes for the white ceiling lamps, which lends another dimension of refinement to the room.
As the icing on the cake, there’s even a couch (and a little red coffee table) in front of the bed. For those that want to be closer to the television, the sofa comes in handy. It’s also great for clean freaks, who might not want to “dirty” the bed in their outside clothes before showering. The bed itself appears to be identical to that of the Mint Den – i.e immensely comfortable.
I also checked the window grilles, and I’m pleased to report that they are devoid of the suspicious white splatters that marred the grilles of the previous Mint Den room. It’s clear that One Farrer Hotel has tightened up their cleanliness measures here – it literally shows.
The pièce de résistance of the Skyline Studio however is undoubtedly the bathroom. Just look at it! It feels as though I’ve stepped into a spa. In fact, it did remind me of the hotel’s Aveda Spa that I visited in my past stay (which has since closed down) – a welcome comparison since the spa was the highlight of my previous visit. The marbled walls and soft lighting just puts my mind at ease. It’s also by far the most spacious bathroom that I’ve been in, and features both a bathtub and a separate rain shower.
While the entire bathroom is amazing, the highlight has to be the bathtub. Not only is it roomy enough for two, but the faucet is also positioned in the middle, which means that two people could lie on each side. Honestly, this is how bathtubs should be designed – I don’t understand why all bathtubs aren’t built like that. In any case, I had the absolute best time enjoying a lavender-scented bubble bath while sipping on some Shiraz (I did say the wine glasses came in handy). If the point of a staycation is to rest and relax, this certainly did the trick.
The toilet is thoughtfully enclosed from the main bathroom area, so there will be no nasty smells permeating the entire bathroom even if you’re doing a number 2. The toilet bowl itself seems to be positioned lower and was therefore more comfortable, unlike the Mint Den room where I was on my tiptoes whilst on the throne. However, other aspects of the bathroom – including the backlit non-fogging mirrors, terrific toiletries from Fresh Skin Lab, and the terrapin fixture – remains the same.
As I often do, I woke up in the middle of the night needing to use the washroom. Upon getting out of bed, lights positioned underneath the bedside tables lit up. As I walked away and into the bathroom, the lights automatically switched off. After relieving myself and returning to bed, the lights turned on again (probably proximity-activated) and allowed me to get back into bed conveniently. Interestingly, the lights didn’t switch on in the day, so I presume it’s wired to only be activated during nighttime/darkness. Needless to say, I was wowed by the thoughtfulness of this nifty little feature, so much so that I felt it warranted a special mention.
Still, the room wasn’t perfect. For one, I was bizarrely woken up at 7am to a blaring alarm. Blurry-eyed and confused, I spent a full minute searching for the source of the head-splitting noise, before realising that it came from the above-pictured device that I had previously assumed to be a speaker. It then took me a few further minutes to disable the alarm, which I eventually did by simply disconnecting the cable. I’m pretty sure I didn’t set any alarm for 7am (that’s way too early for me), so I deduced that it was probably an alarm setting from the previous guest.
Secondly, the Skyline Studio advertised panoramic views of the Lion City. However, in reality the view is blocked by unsightly scaffolding. I didn’t mind as this was a surprise upgrade on a complimentary stay, but if you’re planning to book the Skyline Studio specifically for the view, this might be a disappointment.
Still, those are minor quibbles in an otherwise terrific room. It’s certainly a marked improvement over the Mint Den, and I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the Skyline Studio, especially the bathroom. The cleanliness was beyond reproach as well. Try as I might – and I really did – I couldn’t find any housekeeping lapses. To date, it’s still the best room that I’ve stayed in, and I will definitely be looking to return one day.
One Farrer Hotel – Skyline Pool
Although there is a full-length pool at level 6 (which I covered in my previous review), guests of Skyline rooms are granted access to the exclusive Skyline pool located on level 18.
The Skyline pool is much smaller than the main pool on level 6, though it’s still wide enough for substantial swimming, with multiple lounge chairs at the side to relax on afterwards.
I was a tad disappointed to not see a jacuzzi section (there was definitely space for one), though there is a waterfall-esque feature that looks made for Instagram shots. It also mimics the taps and bathtub faucet found in the bathroom of the Skyline Studio, so I appreciate the continuity in design.
I would say that I enjoyed the Skyline pool more than the main one on level 6 despite its small size. For one, the pool water felt colder, cleaner, and more refreshing as a result. Furthermore, it has an “infinity pool” vibe, as the Skyline pool is positioned on a high floor and overlooks much of the city. Soaking in the pool, looking down on the hustle and bustle below – you feel like you’re on top of the world.
My only knock is the lack of privacy – your every action is visible to guests dining in the Skyline lounge. I’m a guy and I don’t have the body of a model so I’m sure no one’s looking at me, but if you’re a lady and planning to rock a bikini for some pool shots, just note that there might be others staring. Perhaps One Farrer Hotel can consider installing some blinds on the pool-facing windows of the Skyline lounge, which would alleviate this issue.
One Farrer Hotel – Skyline Lounge
My stay also came with Skyline Lounge benefits, which included a light lunch, a cocktail dinner (where free-flow alcohol is served), and cook-to-order breakfast.
When I arrived, the Skyline Studio wasn’t ready yet, so the duty manager invited me to have a light lunch first in the Skyline lounge while waiting. It’s certainly much better than waiting in the lobby, so I accepted the invitation. You can see the menu above.
If you’re an alcoholic like me, you will be pleased to know that the Skyline lounge serves evening cocktails with light refreshments from 5.30pm to 8pm. The food was nothing to shout home about (in fact, I ordered additional food from the Escape restaurant below, which they kindly delivered up to the Skyline lounge), but the alcoholic in me revelled in the endless supply of drinks. However, do note that even though it’s advertised as a cocktail dinner, technically cocktails aren’t served as the lounge doesn’t have a bartender. Instead, it’s mostly spirits with mixers (gin and tonic, whiskey and coke, cranberry juice and vodka, etc), as well as standard white/red wines and beer. Still, it’s free flow, and as you can see I helped myself to multiple servings like a typical kiasu Singaporean. The staff was also very accomodating, allowing me to place multiple drinks orders right before 8pm, which I slowly consumed till the lounge closed at 10.30pm.
In addition, the cook-to-order breakfast was simply fantastic. You can view the menu above.
I really enjoyed the spread that was available. Not only was everything mostly tasty (the prata was a miss though), the food also helped dampen the hangover that I had from the alcohol buffet the night before. Ironic, I know. But nevertheless, the quantity and quality of food impressed – the staff even brought out a variety of flavoured jams and yoghurts for me to try! Definitely one of the best hotel breakfasts that I’ve experienced, and I’m thankful that I managed to drag myself out of bed (I was literally eating in my pyjamas) for it.
The Skyline Lounge itself is small and cosy. It’s not as big and grand as the lounges of other 5-pearl establishments, but the personalised service (more on that below) more than made up for it.
One Farrer Hotel – Gym
I’ve read that Skyline residents also had access to a private gym on the 19th floor, but was told that that gym was unfortunately permanently closed. I was instead directed to the main gym at level 6. As I didn’t have the chance to check out the gym in my previous visit (it was closed due to COVID measures then), I decided to have a look.
Disclaimer: I’m no gym rat, and I can’t actually recall the last time I did a workout in a gym, so feel free to disregard my opinions here. Still, I think that the gym was of a decent size, with plenty of free weights, a bench press machine (at least I hope that’s what it’s called), with bottles of water (both chilled and non-chilled) conveniently available at the side. There are also treadmills and bicycle machines, as well as plenty of TV screens broadcasting a variety of channels to distract you from your physical pain.
Lockers are also present, and other machines that I suppose helps you train specific parts of your body. I would say that it’s a decent-sized gym – not the biggest hotel gym I’ve seen, but one where it has everything you need and nothing that you don’t.
One Farrer Hotel – Service
In my previous review, I stated that the service was one of the highlights of my stay. Incredibly, the service standard has gone up a notch further, and I was simply blown away by the hospitality.
From the moment I checked in, it seems that the hotel was genuinely apologetic for the cleanliness lapses that occurred in my previous visit. Patrick (the assistant guest service manager) immediately apologised, gave me a room upgrade to the Skyline Studio despite it being a complimentary stay, and directed me to have a light lunch in the Skyline lounge whilst waiting for my room to be made up. He even found me in the Skyline lounge afterwards to pass me the room key, and granted me a late 3pm check-out on the spot – none of that “please call the next day” nonsense. And upon entering, I was greeted by a welcome platter of fruits, chocolates, a bottle of Shiraz wine, and a handwritten apology note by General Manager Gilbert Madhavan. They did misgender me on the envelope of the letter, but as I’m not a snowflake I wasn’t too offended. It’s the thought that counts, and I could feel that One Farrer Hotel was going above and beyond to make up for the lapses of my previous stay.
The exceptional service level extended to the Skyline lounge, where Malek was an absolute star. He was incredibly attentive during my visits to the Skyline lounge. As mentioned previously, he preemptively offered me and my guest a variety of jams, breads, yoghurts and juices to try. For lunch, Malek even helped reheated and plate a leftover burger that I ordered from the Escape restaurant the previous night. In my interactions with him, it’s clear that Malek is the definition of service-orientated – he remembered and addressed me by my name throughout the entirety of my stay. I remember chatting with Malek about the state of the hospitality industry during these COVID times, and he recounted how some of the guests were unhappy during the no dine-in period of P2HA, where the in-room dining food sometimes arrived cold or slow. “We have our own limitations and challenges, but even in such scenarios, we can ensure that our service remains impeccable,” he said.
My Skyline Studio stay with One Farrer Hotel happened in June, so it has been almost 2 months. Yet, I still clearly remember the names of Patrick and Malek because they both made such an impression. I’ve been to multiple 5-star hotels since, and I can safely say that the service of these other establishments did not even come close to what I experienced at One Farrer Hotel. If any management from One Farrer Hotel is reading this review, please give my compliments (and perhaps a raise) to both Patrick and Malek – they deserve it.
Conclusion – so One Farrer Hotel Skyline Studio “shiok” or not?
Hell yes. I’ve been on almost twenty staycations these past few months, and my experience at One Farrer Hotel’s Skyline Studio still takes the cake. The room was mightily impressive, meticulously clean, but above all, the service was impeccable. I really appreciated and enjoyed the warm hospitality shown to me by One Farrer Hotel. It has definitely turned me into a convert, from a critic to a loyalist – that’s how transformative good service can be. No establishment is perfect, lapses are bound to happen. It’s the response to a guest’s negative stay that defines the hotel, and in that regard this service recovery stay did exactly that. It recovered my impression of One Farrer Hotel, and now it’s one of my favourite hotels in Singapore. With entry-level rooms starting from around $150 and the Skyline Studio (with lounge benefits) costing about S$280, One Farrer Hotel is great value for money. I’ll definitely return.
Those interested in booking a stay at One Farrer Hotel 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 or attractions purchase with a minimum spending of $100. My promo codes are stackable with any of Traveloka’s app or bank coupon codes, so be sure to stack them all for the best deal. Here’s a pro tip: keep a lookout for Traveloka’s Weekend Flash Sales which occurs every Friday to Sunday for the lowest prices!
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.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.