I checked into Pan Pacific Singapore on a recent stopover as an easy point of access to Changi Airport as well as the Singapore Flyer and Gardens by the Bay in the Marina Bay area, and the Orchard Road Light Up over the Christmas season. More importantly I wanted to check out for myself the results of the extensive renovation to the lobby, guest rooms, restaurants and the executive club lounge which have been receiving fave reviews since the hotel reopened in October 2012.
This iconic hotel in Singapore underwent an extensive SGD80 million transformation, it biggest investment since opening in 1987. Within 5 months, the hotel emerged from its renovation cocoon with redesigned rooms, new dining concepts, an entire floor dedicated to the executive club lounge and an impressive lobby. As a business and leisure traveller who spends up to 70 percent of the year living in deluxe-class hotels, the rejuvenated Pan Pan Singapore gets my thumbs up in several aspects.
Here are 5 top reasons to stay, work and dine at the Pan Pacific Singapore on your next trip into the city.
Checking in will never be the same again for me thanks to Pan Pacific Singapore. While the process is mostly painless during my stays in other deluxe-class properties like Westin Melbourne, Hilton Kuala Lumpur, Pulitzer Hotel Amsterdam or Ritz Carlton Singapore, the practical application of integrated mobile technology (i.e. tablets) to the check-in process raised the bar on arrival experiences.
I no longer had to wait impatiently at the reception counter as the front office staff organised my room. In fact, I could complete all the necessary procedures in the comfort of my room. If I decided to remain in the lobby, there was a 22-metre long bar and handmade timbre pods that reminded of fishing baskets or rattan huts of the Pacific Islands to wow me while being checked-in.
I congratulate Pan Pacific Singapore for getting the rooms redesigned right, having stayed in so many properties where simple things like a power socket is placed incorrectly. First and foremost, no more irritating insert cards which could not decide between green and red to access my room. Simply tap and open.
With 70% of its guests being business travellers, the hotel has done several functional enhancements like the location of the workspace in relation to the rest of the room, maximising natural light from the large windows through to the bath, and my favourite being the universal power sockets practically located where I could run my lap top and charge my phone without the need for an international adapter.
For ladies, the hair dryer is importantly salon standard and bathrooms are properly fitted with handheld showers and not the spouts sticking out of the walls. There's also a bar counter with a Nespresso machine, upmarket Herman Miller desk chair and Hans Grohe fittings to add a touch of luxury to the room.
The latest technologies are also built into the guests room including a motion sensor that automatically turns off the lights and air-conditioning when the room is vacant. The hotel introduced Internet Protocol (IP) telephony and Internet Protocol televisions (IPTV) which offer a wider choice of entertainment and services at the touch of a button as well as enables guests to "plug and play" their mobile devices with the TV.
Firstly the executive lounge at the crown of the hotel, spans the entire 38 level, which once housed the famous Hai Tien Lo Cantonese restaurant. It offers relaxation areas, private meeting rooms and even a smoking room.
Secondly Pacific Club is opened 24 hours with round-the-clock refreshments and work stations for the busy business traveller managing different time zones.
Sometimes you just want to get out of your room and catch up on emails from your offices over a cuppa in a spacious lounge at 2am. At least in the Pacific Club, I can do so.
Thirdly, the dedicated kitchen in the Pacific Club means a greater variety of food and beverage options in the comfort and exclusivity of the executive lounge.
Apart from the Champagne breakfast from 6am to 11am, there's after tea between 3pm to 5pm and evening canapés and cocktails from 6pm to 8pm. There are also lunch and dinner menus allowing for private meals in the Pacific Club's dining rooms.
Add all the above to the contemporary European and oriental decor and spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding Marina Bay district, South China Sea and fireworks displays during the Singapore National Day and New Year Eve, and you've got the ideal executive lounge to please the business and leisure guests.
What was the all-day dining Global Kitchen has been replaced by the Edge, an extensive and interactive dining venue with a what-seemed-endless culinary journey of the Asian region and Pacific Rim to surpass the likes of Shangri-La's The Line and Mandarin Oriental's Melt-The World Cafe.
Imagine seven open kitchens offering samples of Chinese, Malay, Indian, Singaporean, Thai, Japanese and Pan Pacific's signature 'Pacific Cuisine' dishes inspired from around the Pacific, be it for brekkie, lunch or dinner. There were more brekkie items than my favourite Marriott Singapore gourmet breakfast. Not forgetting Chef Philip's delectable made-on-location deserts and pastries that would put Brunetti's pastries in Melbourne to shame.
They are also available for take-away at the popular Pacific Marketplace which offers a sit-down area for quick meal options like pastry and coffee, freshly made sandwiches and Mediterranean inspired salads in addition to its gourmet retail shop.
Relocated to the 3rd level, Pan Pacific Singapore's awarding winning Hai Tien Lo now combines contemporary and oriental touches into an extensive space featuring more private rooms and a special 20-seater table for extravagant banquets. Chef Lai continues to helm the kitchen, dishing out tasty Cantonese cuisine, season after season, festival after festival, including his Cantonese styled Christmas menu.
All time favourite Keyaki continues to serve authentically prepared, freshly sourced sashimi, teppanyaki and sukiyaki using fresh, seasonal imports from Japan. This 25 year old restaurant remains located in an exclusive Japanese private residence created using a traditional Japanese architectural system of building without nails, with its own beautifully sculpted Japanese garden and koi pond.
Located in the lobby is the Atrium Lounge which features a 22-metre Lobby Bar centrepiece offering an extensive boutique wine list, boutique craft beers and a selection of specially-concocted Pacific Cocktails.
Pan Pacific Singapore already has numerous accolades to its name including Asia's Leading Business Hotel by World Travel Awards from 2006 to 2011, World's Leading Business Hotel by the World Travel Awards from 2007 to 2010, and World's Leading City Hotel by World Travel Awards in 2011.
The transformed Pan Pacific Singapore has further anted up the hospitality scene in Singapore by providing guests with new levels and standards of comfort and convenience, all through the reception, rooms, dining and Pacific Club.
As General Manager Scott Swank explained, the transformation of Pan Pacific Singapore came on the back of comprehensive research on the changing needs of the hotel's guests and associates and the need to enhance its competitive advantage locally as a premier hotel of choice for discerning business and leisure guests. The result is a quality hospitality experience synonymous with the Pan Pacific brand and Singapore as a top destination globally.