By Bino Chua
By Bino Chua
Conveniently situated near the crossroads of Orchard and Scotts, Royal Plaza on Scotts has consistently been recognized as one of the best places to stay in Singapore’s main shopping belt. The award-winning property has also completed an extensive renovation in late 2018, retaining its opulent theme with touches of Singapore’s heritage throughout the rooms and public spaces.
Royal Plaza on Scotts possesses one of the most iconic hotel lobbies in Singapore with its twin staircases and this is now complemented by a chandelier that is hard to ignore. The multitude of crystal pieces swirling from the ceiling mimic the Phalaenopsis orchid with its gold and crimson colors. There are also elements retained from the original look including the tropical landscape murals but these are now overlaid with a sepia tone to match the colors of the lighting and carpets lining the stairs.
The hotel’s room categories are segregated based on color – with the entry-level Deluxe rooms decked in red, Premier rooms in blue and Royal Club Premier rooms in yellow. For this occasion, I stayed in a Deluxe room. Overall, the colors in the room remain muted with the reddish parts being relatively light and not garish. The red lounge chair blends perfectly with a painting of a Peranakan shophouse in similar colors. Everything else came in contemporary beige.
At 32 square meters, the Deluxe Room feels slightly larger than its published size due to the lack of unnecessary protrusions.
Cabinet space is modest, corresponding with the needs of short-stay travelers while the bulky work desk of yore has been replaced with something more compact to suit today’s tablet and smartphone wielding generation.
For overseas guests staying at Royal Plaza on Scotts, there is a pocket WiFi device available for free that can be used while exploring Singapore’s tourist attractions. The property is the first to offer this and it contrasts with the handy phone provided in most other hotels. The pocket WiFi device allows for connectivity with one’s existing mobile phone and avoids the hassle of having to familiarize with the user interface of other handheld devices. Up to 5 mobile gadgets can be connected to the pocket WiFi with complimentary data of 500mb per day.
Royal Plaza on Scotts is notable for offering a free minibar even in its entry-level rooms. This contrasts with other hotels in Singapore where a free-minibar may only be offered in club-tiered rooms. Guests naturally can’t expect the whole shebang but the cans of coke, tea and even chilled juices are definitely a step-up over the standard elsewhere.
Caffeine lovers can also find delight in the in-room Nespresso machine, again something usually found in higher-tiered rooms elsewhere. Tea comes from English Tea Shop, a brand known for their organic Sri Lanka-sourced leaves.
The Deluxe room is the only room category in Royal Plaza on Scotts that does not come with a bathtub. However, I found the rain showers practical. Toiletries are from an inhouse brand while the towels here come especially fluffy and thick.
In terms of facilities, the hotel has a small swimming pool that comes with colorful lounge chairs. At the time of my visit, there was only one other person in the pool which I thought was unusual given (a) it was the weekend and (b) the hotel appeared busy judging from the number of people I saw at the lobby. Perhaps most people were out shopping. The hotel is so close to Orchard Road after all.
For those needing a workout during their stay, there is a modest 24-hour gym with a decent set of equipment. I had the gym all to myself when I dropped by during a Saturday afternoon.
Carousel, the all-day dining restaurant at Royal Plaza on Scotts, is especially popular among residents. Frequently listed among the top hotel buffet in Singapore, the venue practically requires no introduction when it comes to the local market. It’s easy to see why, especially after glancing upon the buffet spread. Featuring up to 17 culinary stations, options range from healthy salads to an abundant range of seafood.
Along with the renovation of the venue, new culinary stations have also been added including a Brazilian churrasco section. For those with a weakness for sweets, the culinary team has a garden-themed dessert station where cakes and pastries are made using ingredients such as beetroot, coriander, rhubarb and more. It’s definitely not your run-of-the-mill hotel buffet.
Breakfast is likewise served in Carousel. The spread is understandably not as huge as the dinner buffet but all the morning staples are well-represented here. For folks who have a tendency to wake up late as I did – the breakfast buffet timing is from 6:30AM to 10AM. It ends slightly earlier than in other hotels. For those staying during the weekend, it would be recommended to come for breakfast by 8:30AM to avoid the crowds.
The hotel’s refurbishment only reinforces its status as one of the better options in the Orchard area. Rooms are designed with practicality in mind while service is attentive without being too obtrusive. I like how this hotel offers plenty of “extras” even to guests staying in base-level rooms. Those who enjoy hotel buffets will find the restaurant to be a plus.