Hello everyone – welcome back to another of my reviews. In today’s article, I’ll be reviewing my stay at York Hotel.
York Hotel is actually under the Goodwood Group of Hotels, which of course includes Goodwood Park Hotel. Now, I didn’t have the best experience with Goodwood Park Hotel, but I thought I’ll give its sister property a try to see if it fares better. Let’s see if it’s any good.
York Hotel – Video Review
Those interested in seeing some hands-on footage of the hotel can check out my Youtube review of York Hotel below:
York Hotel – the Brand
First opened in 1972, York Hotel is situated in Mount Elizabeth, right beside the hospital, Paragon, Orchard Road, and literally down the road from its sister property, Goodwood Park Hotel.
While Goodwood Park Hotel is rated as a five-pearl establishment, York Hotel is offered on most booking websites as a four-star hotel. And unlike its more upscale sibling where renovations ended just earlier this year, York Hotel last went under the knife in 2008 – that’s 13 years ago.
That’s also why York Hotel is substantially more affordable than Goodwood Park Hotel – though still not cheap. The entry-level category starts at around $120, which puts it within the same ballpark as other four-star hotels such as Orchard Hotel, Ramada Wyndham, and Orchard Rendezvous Hotel. I decided to book the lead-in Superior Room category to see how it fairs against the competition.
York Hotel – Check-in
As I arrived on a weekday, there was little queue and I was assigned my room within minutes.
Clad in marble and white walls, the lobby of York Hotel has an old-school splendour to it. It’s also one of the most spacious I’ve seen for a four-star hotel, with plenty of resting spots for weary guests.
There’s also a figurehead of the late Khoo Teck Puat in the lobby. While most now associate the name with the hospital, Khoo Teck Puat was actually a prominent hotel owner back in his day, owning both Goodwood Park and York hotel. In fact, his daughter Elizabeth Khoo is apparently still the managing director of York Hotel.
The lobby is full of Chinese touches, including the quintet of auspicious figurines above.
Upon alighting on level 11, I was greeted by a vast lobby that looked straight out of the 1990s.
The corridors of York Hotel has an…intriguing blue and white palette that reminds me of those haunted hospitals in horror movies.
York Hotel – Superior Room
Like the corridors and lobby, the Superior Room of York Hotel was unfortunately equally dated.
Although the room was relatively spacious, it looked straight out of the last century with its beige walls and dim lighting. And where there was lighting, it was a tad too yellow – I didn’t use any filter in the above photo, it genuinely looks like that.
Although the wardrobe was sizeable, it looked barren, with just an ironing board and iron, a few hangers, and a pair of disposable in-room slippers populating it. It’s possibly the saddest wardrobe that I’ve seen.
While Goodwood Park had TWG Tea and Nescafe Gold coffee sachets, it’s a much simpler affair over here at York Hotel, with fairly generic Super coffee and Lipton tea. However, I did find it interesting that the hotel provides a full 1.5L of water, instead of the usual dainty bottled water.
There’s also a fairly large mini-fridge, which should accomodate a bottle of wine (and then some) with ease.
The main bedroom is of a decent size, comparable to that of the other four-star hotels in its price segment. There’s a King-size bed, a work desk, and a pair of armchairs. However, the antiquated wallpaper and the overly yellow lighting really results in the room feeling like it’s stuck in a time capsule.
The King bed is decent – not remarkable like the Serta matresses of Five/6 Hotel Splendour and Ramada, but a step above cheaper three-star hotels such as Hotel Bencoolen and Hotel Royal. I also appreciated that there were power sockets on both sides, so you and your partner don’t have to fight over which side to sleep on.
If you’re planning to get some work done, there’s a workstation that comes with a desk lamp and multiple sockets. I actually liked how the table featured tempered glass, which lends it a sense of sophistication. However, the chair itself is rather ordinary, and became uncomfortable to sit in after some time. Due to the large mirror above the desk, the workstation can also double up as a vanity desk for ladies to touch up on their make-up.
Another sign of the room’s age is the TV, which is actually perched on top of a television cabinet. I haven’t seen such a set-up since the early 2000s, as modern TVs are now mostly wall-mounted. In case you’re wondering, the TV doesn’t have smart capabilities.
However, there’s a variety of ports (USB, HDMI, even SD card) should you wish to connect your own devices to the television.
Interestingly, the safe can be found below the TV.
Rounding up the room is a pair of armchairs, as well as a glass coffee table.
As York Hotel is located in the more secluded part of Orchard, you don’t get a view of Orchard Road as you might with Orchard Rendezvous Hotel. Instead, the view consists mainly of low-rise landed properties.
As compared to the bedroom, the bathroom is decked out in monochromatic colours, and appear much more modern as a result.
However, the toiletries provided were fairly generic. Certain items such as body lotion, shaving kit, mouth wash etc were noticeably absent.
However, what I really appreciated was the integrated bidet, which makes a world of a difference as compared to wiping. This convinced me that the bathroom must have received a recent renovation – I can’t imagine toilets with integrated bidets being a thing in the 2000s.
Last but not least, the room actually comes with a bathtub, though it isn’t the biggest and can realistically only fit one. There’s also both a handheld shower, as well as a wall-mounted one.
York Hotel – Cleanliness Issues
Unfortunately, there were multiple cleanliness lapses in the Superior room. In fact, I would say that the cleanliness lapses I’ve encountered here were by far the worst I’ve experienced.
Firstly, there were numerous conspicuous stains on the chair, which was off-putting.
Secondly, there were also obvious stains on the desk lamp.
There are also stains on the armchair…
…and stains on the curtains. You get the idea.
However, what I found most displeasing were the stains on the bedsheet.
I also found conspicuous blood stains on the side of the bedsheet – I’m stumped as to this passed housekeeping’s inspection.
I also found a discarded (and presumably used tissue) beneath the desk…
…as well as a strand of hair stuck between the toilet seat. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and I immediately requested a room change.
York Hotel – Deluxe Room
After changing rooms thrice (and with each room not passing muster when it came to cleanliness standards), I got fed up and requested the upper category Deluxe room instead.
Upon first impressions, the Deluxe room is definitely much bigger, with its long corridor reminiscent of the Deluxe Premier room of Goodwood Park Hotel.
At 37 sqm, it’s definitely one of the largest rooms I’ve been in, and makes the previous Superior room feel cramped by comparison. Instead of armchairs, there’s an actual sofa and table, which proved invaluable since my stay was during the takeaway-only period. However, the decor still looks dated (which is exacerbated by the yellow lighting).
The workstation has also been upgraded, with the room featuring a full-fledged office desk and an actual ergonomic chair that was significantly more comfortable than the chair in the Superior room. I actually got quite a bit of work done here – I found the environment to be pleasantly conducive.
The TV has also been upgraded into a flat-screen, wall-mounted one. There’s supposedly internet connectivity, but I didn’t manage to get it to work during my stay. However, the picture quality was markedly better than the one in the Superior Room.
The bed remains a King-size one, and I couldn’t discern a difference in the quality of the mattress/pillows as compared to the Superior Room. Nevertheless, I still got a good night’s sleep – no complaints here. There’s also a separate vanity desk for ladies to touch up on their make-up.
However, the biggest difference between the Superior and Deluxe rooms is the bathroom. In the Deluxe room, the bathroom is twice as spacious, with marble touches adding a touch of sophistication as compared to the monochromatic aesthetic of the bathroom in the Superior room. The toilet now features a modern concealed cistern design, though there’s no longer an integrated bidet, which is a surprising exclusion.
The bathroom also now features a separate shower and bath, which makes a world of a difference. I never liked the integrated shower/bath concept – showering in a bathtub and seeing the soiled water pooling around my feet has always felt distasteful. It might be my imagination, but the bathtub appears slightly bigger as well.
York Hotel – Amenities
There’s a gym and a jacuzzi, but unfortunately both were closed due to pandemic restrictions. As a result, I only managed to visit the pool.
Surrounded by palm trees, York Hotel’s pool has a resort vibe to it, and reminded me of the Mayfair pool of Goodwood Park Hotel. There’s a kid’s pool, as well as a larger one for adults to frolic in. Still, I would say that it’s one of the smaller hotel pools I’ve been to. If I recall correctly, there were about eight guests (including me) in the pool at the time, and it felt quite cramped – I ended up swimming horizontally instead of vertically. Those tired from their swim can take a breather on one of the multiple lounge chairs scattered around the pool.
I usually don’t cover the hotel restaurants, but White Rose cafe caught my attention for one particular reason – it’s reportedly Khaw Boon Wan’s (ex-Minister of Transport, now head of SPH) usual haunt. As such, as Minister/CEO Khaw and Sumiko did in their interview, I decided to order the breakfast to see how it fares.
Ordering is done the old-fashioned way – ticking desired items on an order sheet. While most hotels have moved on with the times and implemented an online ordering system (especially during the pandemic), White Rose cafe – like the hotel it’s in – remains steadfast in its opposition to modern innovations.
I decided to order the Sunrise breakfast (omelette egg), and paired it with a latte. As you can probably tell from the photo above, the food looked uninspiring, and unfortunately tasted so as well. The same goes for the coffee, which tasted like it came out of a generic coffee machine. However, the service at White Rose cafe was attentive, with the staff pre-emptively asking if I wanted more servings, and even offered to pack some food for my companion (who was still sleeping). It’s definitely much better breakfast service than I had encountered at Goodwood Park Hotel – if the food wasn’t so average, I would probably return.
York Hotel – Service
Like its sister property, the service at York Hotel was a mixed bag. After discovering several cleanliness issues with my first room, I went down to the reception to request a room change. The receptionist then sent someone up to inspect the room before issuing the new keycard. Unfortunately, I once again found hygiene lapses in the second room (stains on the bedsheets), and thus requested once again for a room change. I thought third time might be the charm, but alas the Superior room was dirty as well. The receptionist on duty was going to assign me a new Superior room, but it was at that point where I decided I had enough and put my foot down to request an upgrade to the Deluxe room. The receptionist called his manager, and the manager (a lady whose name I can’t recall) was nice enough to not only assign me a Deluxe room, but also check it beforehand herself to ensure everything was spick and span. She also apologised for the multiple room swaps, and extended my check-out time to 4 pm the next day. Later at night, the staff was also kind enough to offer a sizeable slice of cake for a birthday celebration, and wine glasses were also promptly brought up upon request. You win some, you lose some, I suppose.
Conclusion – so York Hotel “shiok” anot?
As I’ve had unsavoury experiences with three different Superior rooms, I unfortunately cannot recommend York Hotel if you’re planning to book the lead-in Superior category. However, the Deluxe room is a different matter. It was spacious, and I really enjoyed the bathroom – I had a pleasant stay. Relatively speaking though, where York Hotel falls short is in its value proposition. The Deluxe room generally goes for $150 a night, which is simply too expensive. For comparison, Orchard Hotel has a room that’s almost as big (which also features a separate shower and bath), renovated furnishing, and better facilities, all for substantially less. In fact, for $150 you could snag the Mint Den over at One Farrer Hotel, which is actually slightly larger, better equipped, and with all the amenities that’s expected of a proper five-star hotel. Until it gets a makeover, the Deluxe Room (and York Hotel in general) is simply too expensive for what it is.
Those interested in booking a stay at York Hotel can do so on the Traveloka app. Traveloka constantly has some sort of ongoing promotion, 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) for new users and $5 off any hotels or attractions purchase (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 this hotel, and as you can see I’ve been honest in my review.
York Hotel’s Location:
21 Mount Elizabeth, Singapore 228516
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.