Hello everyone – welcome back to another of my reviews. In today’s article, I’ll be reviewing my stay at YWCA Fort Canning Hotel.
YWCA (short for Young Women’s Christian Association) Fort Canning is one of the few hotels in Singapore that functions as a social enterprise. According to the association, YWCA’s community service programmes are supported by YWCA Fort Canning, with all net proceeds contributing towards social initiatives such as Empowering Mums, Meals-on-Wheels, and Sustenance for Families. Intrigued by the social enterprise nature of the hotel, I decided to book a stay out of curiosity – let’s see how it went.
YWCA Fort Canning – Video Review
For those who are interested in viewing some hands-on footage of the stay, do check out my Youtube review of YWCA Fort Canning below:
YWCA Fort Canning – the Brand
YWCA Fort Canning first opened its doors in 1997, and received a renovation in 2019. As its name suggest, the 175-room mid-size establishment is located beside Fort Canning Park, and is a stone’s throw away from Plaza Singapura and Dhoby Ghaut MRT.
Classified by most booking platforms as a four-star hotel, YWCA Fort Canning is actually rather pricey, with entry-level rooms going for about $150 a night. However, given that it’s for a good cause I decided to go ahead and book a stay anyway.
YWCA Fort Canning – Check-in
Situated about 5 minutes away from Dhoby Ghaut MRT, getting to YWCA Fort Canning requires an uphill climb – be warned.
The lobby of the hotel has clearly benefitted from the renovation. It’s large, airy and spacious, with plenty of seating area for waiting guests. in other words, its a lobby that befits a four-star hotel. There’s even a piano, though it’s locked shut due to the current no live music rule. Check-in was a breeze, and I was assigned a room within minutes.
The hotel also has a restaurant on its premises named Cafe Lodge, which offers a 1-for-1 lunch daily. The food was nothing outstanding, but the ambience was nice and it was affordable – I think I paid <$10 for lunch whilst I was there.
Should you need some sustenance late at night, there are multiple vending machines where you can buy snacks and drinks, as well as a microwave and hot water dispenser. There’s also a kueh shop on the premises, which is interesting.
The hotel corridor is decked out in red carpetry, with wooden tones accentuating the walls. Nothing too spectacular, but definitely better than the dim, narrow corridors of budget hotels.
YWCA Fort Canning – Executive Room
Although I had initially booked the Deluxe room, the staff kindly upgraded me to the Executive Room, which includes a double bed.
At 20 sqm, the Executive Room is of a decent size. Due to the floor to ceiling windows, the room also felt bright and airy. Coupled with white walls and light wooden tones, the room feels relatively contemporary – it felt like I walked into someone’s HDB flat.
A large wardrobe is situated on the right of the entrance, though it’s pretty bare bones. There’s a couple of wooden hangers, a safe, and a bag rest – that’s about it. The usual iron and ironing board, in-room slippers, extra pillows etc were all conspicuously missing.
The Executive Room features a King-size bed. The bed was passable, though firmer than I would have liked. I would also have preferred more pillows – only two were provided. However, it was at least clean and devoid of stains.
The bed is flanked by a pair of bedside tables, lighting switches and power ports, so you won’t have to fight with your partner over storage space or phone charging. An analog phone is conveniently located next to the bed as well.
There’s also a dedicated workstation, which benefits from plenty of natural lighting due to it being situated right beside the window. I liked the wooden tabletop – the wooden chair not so much, as it wasn’t very comfortable for prolonged sitting. There’s also a large mirror, thus allowing the desk to double up as a make up counter.
The hotel provides an infobrochure, which educates guests on the charitable mission of the hotel, as well as practical information about its facilities.
Being run by YWCA, it’s no surprise that a copy of the Bible can be found in the desk drawer, along with a Philips hairdryer.
The view is actually pretty good, with the hotel pool and (the much more expensive) Fort Canning Hotel being visible.
The room comes with a 32-inch Sharp TV, which looks like it has been there since the hotel first opened in 1997. The picture quality isn’t the best, though there are a few cable channels available. However, don’t expect to be able to stream Netflix or Youtube on it.
Oddly, refreshments can be found in a cupboard below the TV. The refreshments are simple, consisting of Super coffee and tea. Given the price of the hotel, I would have preferred more atas tea, though I suppose every cent saved translates to more money for YWCA’s charitable programmes.
There’s also a largish mini fridge, which was more than able to store a bottle of wine and a few slices of cake.
Although the room was supposedly renovated in 2019, airconditioning controls are still analog, and were honestly inefficient – I would definitely have preferred a digital display here.
Moving on to the bathroom, it’s decked out in 90s-esque beige tiles, and is rather small.
Simple toiletries in the form of dental kits, soap and shower cap are provided. Everything that you need, nothing that you don’t.
The toilet is of a traditional design – no concealed cistern here – but thankfully, it comes with a bidet.
The shower stall feels cramped, and is only viable for one individual at a time. There’s no rain shower – one gets a simple hand-held shower head.
Although it provided decent water pressure, the shower head has clearly seen better days – the nozzles are yellowed and grimy, while its metal exterior had plenty of scratches and was flaking off in certain areas.
Showering toiletries come in large attached wall pumps – very gym shower vibes. It’s nothing remarkable, so I would recommend bringing along your own toiletries for a more luxurious showering experience.
YWCA Fort Canning – Amenities
YWCA Fort Canning used to have a host of amenities – including a tennis court! – although that has been whittled down to a solitary swimming pool.
The swimming pool of YWCA Fort Canning is of a decent size, though there isn’t much of a view – it’s no MBS infinity pool. Still, the pool was clean, and long enough to do some laps. However, I noted that there were external swimming classes being held, which resulted in only half of the pool being available for guests. It was inconvenient, but not a deal breaker.
Conclusion – so YWCA Fort Canning “shiok” or not?
Ultimately, YWCA Fort Canning was a decent stay. The location was good – plenty of food options in the area, and a short walk away from Orchard as well – while the room was clean and fairly spacious. I don’t really have much complaints about the hotel, though there really isn’t a compelling factor that would prompt me to return. The biggest weakness of YWCA Fort Canning would be its price. At ~$150 a night, there are simply better, more luxurious hotels at the same price point, such as Orchard Hotel, Orchard Rendevzous Hotel, or even Wanderlust if you prefer a more boutique hotel vibe. Granted, none of those are social enterprises, so if you are the sort who likes to give back to society then YWCA Fort Canning might be a good option to make your staycation expenditure more meaningful.
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.
YWCA Fort Canning location: 6 Fort Canning Rd, Singapore 179494
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.